It’s 2023 – Time for New Windows Hardware?

so you are Ready to buy a new Windows computer To replace that old laptop you’ve been using for years – with a worn keyboard and cracked monitor – and you’re trying to figure out where to get it. Short answer: it depends. Do you like to try keyboard before you buy? Do you prefer to peruse the technology in a store dedicated to a single brand, or compare different computers side by side? Or maybe you prefer to compare options online and build exactly what you want.

With Windows 11 now offered on most systems, there are some minimum specifications to keep in mind. For example, it can be difficult to upgrade hard drives and RAM later—especially on some laptops. These days, with the ability to transfer data online or to a USB flash drive, getting a large main drive isn’t as important as it used to be. I rarely see Windows laptops sold with less than 256GB of storage, but that may be sufficient for most users. And generally, to support Windows 11 Minimum Processor RequirementsYou’ll need an Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processor.

Beyond the basics, focus on the keyboard. Some laptop users prefer tactile, “clicky” keys; Others want something softer. You may need a numeric keypad or, conversely, want to avoid anything that makes the laptop too heavy. I guess I have different needs for different tasks. For travel, I want my laptop to be as small and light as possible, even if it means a keyboard that’s less than ideal. (I found the original Surface Go laptop had a better keyboard than the new model for me, so I got the Surface Pro 7.) Try different keyboards to find one that fits the way you type.

Next, decide on the screen size and consider how light weight you want the laptop to be. Keep in mind that size and weight often affect do-it-yourself repairability in the future. The smaller and lighter a computer, the more difficult it is to open and replace a hard drive or upgrade memory. (These items are often permanently mounted and cannot be easily replaced.)

Note: The ability – or lack thereof – to open a computer and fix a component has led the European Union to demand that consumers have “right of repair,” which may play a role in future laptop buying decisions.

This is not the only change to emerge in recent years. At one time, you could buy netbooks with Linux on them. Now, you either have to take an existing computer and upgrade to Linux or find a specialized manufacturer that offers Linux machines. And if price is a major issue, a Chromebook that hooks into the Google ecosystem is now the preferred platform for a cheap laptop that allows for cloud storage and integration with Gmail.

Perhaps what has changed most in the past few years is that the Apple platform is now seen as a viable option for business. In fact, Microsoft is releasing more and more devices that integrate well with Apple hardware. (Most users don’t regularly move between Windows and macOS, but it’s now an option.)

Another factor to consider is each store’s return policy. Make sure you have enough time to evaluate the new hardware and replace it if it isn’t a good fit. Some vendors offer a 14 day return policy, others like Costco give you 90 days. Some require the box and original packaging to receive a full refund – so keep them in case you need them. And some vendors offer technical support as part of the buying process, either for free or as a separate purchase. Just keep in mind that you may have to purchase extended technical support within a certain time frame.

Once you’ve made your decision, I suggest not trying to migrate the software from one computer to another. If you’re changing operating systems, you may need to upgrade your printer as well as any critical software you use. (If you rely on specific PDF software in Windows 10, you may find that Windows 11’s native Print to PDF works quite well.)

The bottom line is that most people keep computers for a long time: buy a computer that’s maybe a little bigger, bigger beefier, a little more powerful than you need. You won’t be able to outgrow your hardware very quickly and it will remain a solid investment for years to come.

Technology is ultimately personal. Take the time to get the right computer for you.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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