Tips for buying your first laptop

Laptops are not the cheap commodity they used to be. Buying your first laptop can be daunting, especially if you are buying it for work or study reasons.

Mainstream laptops are designed for the average user, which means that you will get a reasonable performance at a reasonable price. However, there are many things to consider before splashing out your hard-earned cash on your first laptop. Here are 12 tips to help you find your ideal laptop without blowing your budget for a cheap laptop under $100 or getting fed up with spending hours trawling through laptop reviews.

1) Consider what you will be using the laptop for

With laptops, more expensive does not necessarily mean better. You should consider what you are going to use the laptop for before you buy it. If your main activity is writing essays or working on spreadsheets, then something cheap and cheerful with a low processing power should do the trick. If you are into gaming or editing high-definition video then you will need something more powerful that has a good graphics card. The best way to tell if your laptop is suitable for movie editing is to watch some movie trailers on YouTube, this will give you an idea of how well the laptop handles complex images and transitions between scenes.

2) Buy second hand or refurbished

If you are looking for a cheap laptop but don’t necessarily want to save every penny, then buying second hand is the way forward. There are many websites selling quality laptops at low prices because they have been returned by their previous owners within two weeks of purchase. These usually only have one or two marks on them and show no sign of use whatsoever. Searching “refurbished laptops” on Google will give you plenty of results.

3) Buy near the end of a financial year

A lot of retailers sell their stock at reduced prices just before financial years end, so if you are able to wait until November or December then you might be able to get your hands on an amazing laptop for half the price. The important thing is not to get swept up in all the sales hype and buy something that isn’t suited to what you really need it for.

4) Think about buying second hand online

You can save even more money by purchasing laptops online through auction websites like eBay, Gumtree or Craigslist. You might have problems knowing exactly what you are buying, but if you ask the seller a few questions before you buy, then you should be able to avoid any problems. If the price seems too good to be true then it probably is, stay away from laptops that are suspiciously cheap and don’t forget to ask about warranty conditions before you hand over your cash.

5) Shop around for the best deals

Go to a few shops and check out what they have in stock. You can then narrow down your choices by checking online at the same time. Online prices will always be cheaper than their retail counterparts, but you should still keep an eye out for store-wide discounts and coupon codes before making any final decisions on where to buy from. 

6) Consider the Specs

Specs aren’t everything, but they do matter. You will have different requirements from your laptop depending on what you intend to use it for, so check out the list of specs before making a purchase. If you want to watch movies and listen to music then you should consider buying a laptop with lots of RAM and a good graphics card. On the other hand, if performing office tasks is your priority then look for something powerful yet cheap; we’ve got some great deals on an amazing range of budget laptops .

7) Be wary of knock-offs and fakes

When it comes to luxury electronics like Apple Macbooks or Microsoft Surface devices, buying second hand is not recommended as there are too many fakes flooding the market. Unless you want to pay twice as much as the asking price for something that is essentially worthless, steer clear of these.

8) Don’t forget about screen size

Laptop screens have different dimensions, so before you buy something check the size of the screen. If your laptop is too small then it might be hard to see what’s on the display unless you are sitting right in front of it, but if it’s too big then carrying it around might become a chore. Between 10″ and 15″ should suit most needs, but if you want something bigger go for 17″ or more.

9) Make sure you know what you’re getting

Ideally, laptop specs should be listed with all the technical jargon in one place. If the seller doesn’t list them then press for more information or look for another deal because it could end up costing you in the long run. It’s best to find out about your future purchase before you buy, so check hard drive space, RAM, processor speed and graphics card before handing over any money.

10) Look for reviews

There are so many laptops on the market now that it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. One easy way to narrow things down is to check out customer reviews before making your final decision. These will give you a better idea of what it’s actually like to own this laptop, so they are definitely worth checking out before you buy.

11) Warranty

Warranty conditions are another important consideration because you want to be sure that your new laptop won’t break down on you straight away. Most places will offer some form of warranty, but if the seller doesn’t mention it then ask about this before making a purchase.

12) Don’t forget the extras

Check all the options before buying and don’t ignore things like extra memory sticks or carrying cases. These can turn out to be very useful when they aren’t taken into account in the price and it could save you future headaches and money in the long run. Don’t forget to find discount codes at to save money when buying laptop.