5 Top Tricks to Saving Money when Buying a Tablet or Laptop
Laptops and tablets are an essential part of student life, and many of these models do not come cheap. The average price of either is a big investment for a poor student to make.
Here's the thing:
You take potluck with those that are more affordable. Unfortunately, there are wildly varying degrees of quality on the market, so you have to be doubly careful.
But, if you have the right information and know what to look for, you can make an informed choice without taking a chunk out of your overstretched bank account.
Our guide gives you some top tips and tricks to use when weighing up (sometimes quite literally) the best laptop or tablet for you…
1. Don’t go too cheap
There are some great deals for laptops and tablets, but buyers beware. Just because something is a steal doesn’t mean you should hand over your money right away.
Watch your back:
A bit of research will show you while it seems brilliant to get, for example, a tablet under £100, you lose out in the long run if it doesn’t work out.
The quality of the design, speed and crucially battery life can all go by the wayside, if you get distracted by a knockdown price. Some tablets have as little as 2 hrs battery!
With regards laptops, tablets, or indeed any piece of tech, it’s good advice to look for the best at a reduced rate. “Best” doesn’t always mean top of the line of course.
Currys/PC World have a 40% off sale at the moment!
This means that you can pick up something decent for the cost of a poorly-made device anyway. Read more here.
2. Size isn’t everything
There’s an old expression you’ve probably heard of, “the bigger the better”. That’s not necessarily the case when it comes to laptops and tablets. Do you need to “go large”?
What's the score?
It depends what you’re doing with it. Take laptops for instance. If you need something to type your essays on 24-7, then a big, “sturdy” model is recommended.
A 15” laptop upwards is good if you’re using it all the time. But if it isn’t going to be like an extra limb, then smaller and cheaper is best. Plus small laptops are easier to carry!
For tablets, they’re more versatile than laptops, being easier to transport. Also you ditch the extra space given to a keyboard. Again, it depends what you have in mind.
A lot of people use tablets for reading, playing games and browsing/streaming. If all you require is something to occupy you on the uni bus then small is beautiful.
There is a range of options with different price tags. Before you buy anything, work out what you need the device for, and the choice should be more straightforward.
3. Smooth operator
A factor that’s easily overlooked when looking for a laptop or tablet is the operating system. Most people just want to switch it on and go, but this is worth considering.
It’s a delicate operation.
All the main operating systems have their drawbacks, notably that they’re skewed towards particular services and products.
So while it’s tempting to go by a reasonable price, you could end up with a device you hate using. Best be careful and read up on the different operating systems.
Another not-so-obvious tip concerns what’s on your new toy. Some notebooks for instance have touch screens. Do you require this expense-enhancing feature?
A good, affordable model with an efficient operating system not bogged down with this app and that program saves you both power and pennies.
4. Screen your Purchase
One of the big differences between laptops and tablets is usually a touchscreen. As we’ve mentioned some combine both, but it got us thinking about screens generally.
It can be so confusing.
The instinct is to go for an HD screen, but what’s HD these days, in the era of Ultra HD, 4K and all manner of HD categories?
The most affordable option in terms of new gear is to opt for 1080p resolution. For the less technical out there that’s what you see when you put a regular Blu-Ray on.
This should be more than enough for your budget, plus all your screen-based needs, unless you’re planning on using it for something visually specific, such as artwork.
5. Reconditioned models
Like anything out there, tablets and laptops can be bought second hand. It doesn’t mean you’ll get the latest model, but it can really take the strain off your finances.
Now, as you can imagine there are loads of shops that will sell you a used device, from the local phone emporium to branches of CEX and clearance outlets.
You never know what’s lurking on a machine that hasn’t been given a thorough cleaning and inspection. With refurbs or reconditioned devices you have peace of mind.
Outlets like Amazon offer machines with warranties for as little as £100, so it’s well worth having a browse. Bear in mind what we said about going for a very cheap price though.
There is an alternative to cheap by the way, and that’s free! Your campus should have a library full of computers you can jump on to finish those assignments.
Naturally you’ll be sharing the resources with everyone else, and you won’t always get a seat when you want. But it can save you a fair whack of cash during your studies.