School Laptop Buying Guide - 5 Things To Consider Before You Buy a Laptop
Classes officially start today for public schools here in the Philippines. Students don't have face-to-face classes in our region because of the pandemic. So, it's a must for students to have a gadget (a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop, or desktop) that can be used to go online.
I prefer that my children use a laptop or desktop mainly because it has a bigger screen monitor. It would help them view their lessons better and it would cause less strain to their eyes.
We already have two laptops and we recently bought a pre-owned laptop and a brand new desktop. We opted to buy a pre-owned laptop because it's much cheaper. We just hope that it will last a long time. Having a desktop assembled is also cheaper.
We still lack laptops. I have 5 children and I use one for my work online. So, some of my children will have to use a mobile phone in the meantime and I have to schedule my work when they don't have classes.
Thank God, our city government has promised to provide (give or lend?) a gadget for students in the public school this school year. My two daughters are enrolled in public school, so they would benefit from that. However, the gadgets are still not yet distributed as of this time.
Which Back-to-School Laptop Should You Buy?
1) Choosing The Right Laptop
If the school has provided the specs of recommended laptops to buy, that is helpful in deciding what to buy. For instance, my sons who are studying engineering are told to at least buy a computer with i5 processor.
If there are no recommendations, consider how your child will be using a laptop. If all that will be needed are the basic functions such as word processing, surfing the internet and using a video/ chat platform like Google Meet or Zoom, most laptops can handle those functions.
2) When A Desktop Is A Better Choice
Before you buy, ask first whether your child really needs a laptop. Does your child need a portable gadget? If not, maybe a desktop is a better choice. The choice is really personal.
A desktop costs less for more powerful systems. We bought a desktop with an i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 240 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD and 21.5-inch Lenovo monitor for P34,000. Laptops with more or less similar specs would probably cost at least P45,000. Desktops are also easier to upgrade and repair.
3) Where To Buy
You would want to compare prices from a number of stores if you're looking to get the best deal. Search on the internet to compare prices and laptop features side by side.
Nowadays, it's very common to purchase products online. If you're buying a brand new laptop, I think it's okay to buy one online as long as you know all the details of what you're purchasing. But if you don't know exactly what you want to buy, it may be better to visit a store so you can ask the seller who would probably be in a better position to make recommendations. If you're buying a pre-owned laptop or any gadget, I also recommend purchasing it in-store so that you can personally see the item and then decide if it's worth buying.
Always buy from a reputable store, whether in-store or online. If you're buying online, check the posted reviews before you buy an item. A purchased PC usually comes with a warranty. The seller may try to sell you an extended warranty for an extra cost, but most likely you won't need it. You could take up the offer though to cover the cost of repairs and replacements.
4) When To Buy a Laptop
I always follow the principle to buy something only if you need it. So the best time to buy a laptop is when you need one. But if you're anticipating that you or your child would really need it sometime soon, it's better that you know when it's best to buy a laptop.
Individual retailers offer sales at various times of the year. Usually, the best deals are offered after Thanksgiving and in January, so you could buy during these times.
It's not really a good idea to buy a laptop during the back to school season because the stores know that laptops are in high demand and probably won't offer the best prices. In fact, the prices of computers went up recently because many people are buying in preparation for the mandated online classes. Of course, there are still some that do make an offer, so be sure to ask about student discounts.
That said, use the internet to seek out the best deals. Actually, that is how I came to know that I could purchase a computer now on OpenPinoy.com and pay it 3 months later on installment for up to 6 months at 0% interest. That is the offer of BDO (Banco De Oro) to its credit card users. So, we haven't really paid for the desktop we recently bought.
5. What Is Your Budget
It is certainly a must to know your budget before you go buy something even if you're using a credit card. Knowing #1, the right laptop your child needs, will help you decide the limit of your spending budget.
So, make a list of the laptop specifications that are must-have and stick to it. If you don't have a list, you might be tempted to buy things that are not needed.
For example, when we bought the desktop computer, we opted not to buy the video graphics card (costing P7,000 to P11,000 at the store) at the same time. It was over our budget, so we thought that we could just buy that item later when really necessary.
So you don't need to buy everything right away. And you know what, sometimes even better deals are available later. A few weeks after going back to school, stores may sell off surplus stock at cheaper prices. If you delay buying some things your child won't need right away, then you could buy it later for less.