Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Hi everyone, this is Leo Notenboom with news, commentary and answers to some of the many questions I get at askleo.info.
Yes, the holiday season is coming up, and that means that a lot of folks are going to be looking to give new computers as gifts.
Now, I get asked all year long "what's a good computer", "how much memory / disk space / processor should I get" and so on - but the rate, and the reasons, intensify with Christmas approaching.
The good news is that prices are lower than ever. I recently picked up a brand new Dell laptop for under $900 when in the past that class of machine would easily have cost me twice as much, if not more.
The bad news for you gift givers out there is that the choices have multiplied almost as quickly as the prices have dropped.
So, what are some rules of thumb I can throw out at you?
Definitely understand their ... religion. Don't give a Mac person a PC, and vice versa. If it's for school, make sure it'll be compatible with whatever requirements the school or its courses might have.
Stick to brand names. I'm a big fan of Dell and have had nothing but good experiences with them.
Don't buy the "low end" line - if there is such a thing. I've been lead to believe, for example, that Dell's Latitude line of laptops is sturdier than the slightly less expensive Inspiron line. Based on anecdotal evidence, I can believe this.
Know your needs. Or rather, know your intended recipient's needs. Laptop or Desktop? Do they need raw horsepower, or will it simply be an email and web tool? Do they need wireless or wired? And so on.
Regardless of all that, I do have a couple of specific recommendations. For the computer itself.
I would not put less than a gigabyte of memory in any new machine, and I'd make sure it could be expanded up to at least twice that amount in the future. Adding memory is the single best way to get more performance out of Windows, and with Windows Vista on the horizon, more can only be better.
If you're getting a desktop, spring for the LCD/flat panel monitor. They, too, have come way down in price, they look better, they use less power and they take up less space.
Don't forget the "extras". How are they going to connect to the internet, if they're not connected already? Will they need peripherals such as a printer, a router or something else?
I go into all of these issues in a little more depth in my article What computer should I give? - if you're considering a computer as a gift this year, I encourage you to give it a read.
And if you are giving a computer this year - good on you! Now take those extra steps to make sure it's the right computer, and a gift that will be enjoyed for years.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit ask leo dot info, and enter 10924 in the go to article number box. Leave me a comment, I love hearing from you.
This is a presentation of askleo.info, a free on-line technical question and answer service. Hundreds of questions and answers are online and ready to help solve your computer problems.
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.