Here are the four things to consider before you buy:
Your computing needs: What do you need to use a computer for in your daily life?
If the answer is checking email, Facebook, and playing spider solitaire, then really you only need a tablet, or maybe even just a smartphone.
If, however, the answer is that you are heavily involved in photo and video editing and so you use Photoshop and Final Cut Pro daily, than an iPad is certainly not going to cut it for you.
Somewhere between these to extremes lie most of us. You need to determine where you are, I mean actually make a list, before you buy a laptop. If you don't do anything that requires heavy processing power, if you aren't what they call a "power user" then you probably don't need a laptop.
Your access to other computers: Even if you do have jobs or hobbies that involve heavy computing power, are you really going to do that work on a new laptop? Or do you have access to a desktop that it actually makes more sense to do that work on?
Your price point: How much money do you have? That is the most crucial question in all of this. If you have a lot of money and nothing to do with it, I guess you can go ahead and buy a laptop, that way you can use spreadsheets to keep track of all your spending and stock options. But if you are really in a tight spot, but really need some kind of computer than you need to consider this carefully. Don't get looped into buying a laptop just because the world seems to say you need one, do what is right for your needs and your budget. I highly suggest considering buying a used iPad, here is a how to guide.
- At work: If your job involves heavy computing then chances are you have a desktop at the office that satiates your need. In this case having a laptop is only necessary if you need to do a lot of work on the road. The truth is that a lot of us do need processing power to do our jobs, but we don't need to take our jobs everywhere with us.
- At home: Maybe you are just a hobbyist who likes to write HTML in your spare time, so you really need a computer outside of work to do that. But, do you already have a desktop at home? Do you really need a laptop for your hobby? Would you really even use it very much?
- At school: Most college students (which I have been posting about recently) have access to a lot of school lab computers so they really have consider whether they need their own computer or if a iPad would suffice along with using the labs when a desktop is needed.
- At the library: Since losing Internet at my house I have been going to the public library a lot. This has reminded me how many people still do not have home computers, and they still survive. Maybe there are times once or twice a month when you need to do something on a computer that you cannot do on a iPad, perhaps the library could cover these needs and you won't need to buy a laptop.
Your timeline: how long are you planning to hang on to this device you want to buy? 1 year, 2 years, 5 years? If you only plan on using it a short while than a cheep netbook might be right for you, but then an iPad mini might also be a good choice. The nice thing about an Apple product versus some of these other computing options is that they tend to keep working longer and hold their value better. For example the original iPad is now four years old, but many people still have them and they work fine, and they can still catch a pretty good price on eBay.
So that's it, consider those four things when deciding whether or not to buy a laptop and you will be good to go. If you have got any questions feel free to drop me a line on twitter or just leave a comment below.
If you find this post helpful I woul appreciate it if you would share it. You can , Tweet it or use one of the buttons below to share on other networks.
Thanks for reading, and remember, live better.