I have been on the search for a new laptop for a while. As a technologist I have my own biases about what to look for, but most agree to get the most memory you can get and a Intel Core processor if possible (no slam on AMD just combined what I have read along with talking to owners as well as salespeople for over 20 years). I also needed both HDMI connector (to connect laptop to flat screen TVs) as well as a standard VGA port (to connect to projector) and a webcam. So with those things in mind and keeping the cost around $500 – I looked for a deal.
I looked online at all the major players websites: Dell, HP, Asus, Toshiba, and Samsung (sorry Apple – would have loved to purchase one of yours but cost is prohibitive for me at this point). I also wanted to keep my investment around $500.00 (with service contract) which narrowed the playing field considerably. How could I get a laptop with Intel Core Processor, lots of memory, and service contract and stay around $500.00?
I began by keeping an eye on my circulars each week from the Sunday paper. Any circular with laptops I pulled and scoped out prices, features, and models. For those that looked to be a good deal I then checked online prices from websites like Nextag, Pricegrabber, Tigerdirect, and Amazon. These sites gave me a snapshot of current pricing and some gave a snapshot of prices over time for the model and it’s ratings. I also checked PC Magazine for laptop ratings and reviews at http://www.pcmag.com/reviews/laptop-computers (Consumer Reports is also a option if you have a subscription).
Now with the new slimline notebooks out on the market they look mighty appealing, however I also wanted a nice large screen (my eyes aren’t what they used to be)! If I traveled a great deal for business I would have put more consideration into weight and size of laptop, however since that is not one of mine at this point I voted for a larger screen and in a slimline they were out of my price range. So I went for bit heavier laptop to get a larger screen.
Last week as I was going through my normal search I came upon a great deal from Staples. They had a deal on HP G7 Pavillion, Intel Core i3 processor, 17.3″ screen, 6GM Ram, and 640 GB Hard drive for $399.00 ($449.00 with a $50.00 rebate)! I knew that seemed at least $100 to $150 less than what I had been seeing for those same features. I went online to check pricing and found that the going price for this model (not refurbished) was anywhere from $550.00 to $655.00 (a minimum of 150.00 savings!). Staples also had their service plans at half price and I got a 2 year warranty for 80.00. With tax my total out of pocket for a laptop and 2 year service contract was $511.49 – Deal-E-O!
I called my local Staples and many had sold out, however one of their nice associates checked and found a store that had some in stock. So I headed there as soon as I hung up, purchased my laptop and service plan and am so pleased!
In closing – now what about the software. The laptop came with a 60 day trial of Office and Norton. I may purchase – however I can download Avast anti-virus and Open Office for free! Open Office can open and save Microsoft Office files and is a great option if you don’t want to spend the bucks. I have used Avast for several years on my home computer and laptop and so far it has done a good job for me in keeping viruses at bay. So depending on if I see a great deal on anti-virus or MS Officesoftware over the next couple of months will determine if I purchase or go for the free software, but isn’t it great to have the option!
Have you purchased a laptop or new piece of technology lately? If you have and scored a deal please share it with the readers of The Lifeboat!