5 common mistakes to avoid when buying a laptop

You covet that amazing new Ultrabook with a ridiculously thin form factor, 4K display and a chassis made of unobtainium. You want it so much.

But hold on a second. Even if you can afford the asking price for the latest, hottest piece of laptop tech, it doesn't mean you should buy it. Manufacturers want you to buy it, but we want you to buy the right laptop for you.

Here are five mistakes to avoid making when you're buying a new laptop.

More: Windows Central Laptop Buyer's Guide

1. Get an unnecessary high-resolution screen

Do you need a 4K touch display on your laptop? Really? If you're a content creator dealing with photos and video, then yes, you probably want the very best, highest resolution display you can get. But if you're doing spreadsheets and writing email, it's a complete waste.

Not only will it make the price of the laptop go up, it'll make the battery life go down. By contrast, a 1080p display will mean fewer pixels to push, better battery life and a lower asking price. Don't be fooled into thinking a 4K display is for you if it really isn't.

2. Pay manufacturer prices without shopping around

The manufacturer will always be the most expensive place to buy any laptop. Those companies want to sell the laptop at the price they decide, and you're always paying top dollar.

Instead, shop around. Hit up places like Amazon online, or go to local stores and see what deals are available. You won't always find one, but if you don't look you definitely won't, and you may find yourself paying more than you need to.

3. Don't consider connectivity

That sleek Ultrabook with a single port sure does look nice. But wait, where do you plug in a mouse, phone, or an SD card?

These are all points to consider when buying a laptop. Don't just go for the newest, fanciest, thinnest design without thinking about what you need to plug into it. Are you prepared to carry around a bag full of dongles just to use USB accessories or connect to an external display? If you need a card reader or an HDMI-out connection, get a laptop that has them.

4. Don't consider the future

That new laptop you're looking at will be great for you now, but how about a few years down the road? Laptops are like new cars, as soon as you take them home the value plummets.

Make sure you cover your bases. One handy trick is to find out if you can upgrade parts like RAM and storage down the line. You may need more in the future as your computing needs intensify. If you can add more instead of buying a new laptop, your wallet will thank you.

5. Don't see it for yourself before you buy

If there is any physical chance you can see your preferred laptop in a store before you drop your money, GO SEE IT. Reading reviews and buyer's guides online is a great place to start, but what they won't tell you is how you feel about it.

Do you like how heavy it is? Is it comfortable to type on? Is the screen bright enough? Can you fit it inside your bag? There are lots of questions to ask yourself before making a purchase, and many are best answered with the hardware in front of you.

Your tips

Those are five mistakes we recommend you avoid when buying a laptop, but what about you? How do you make sure you're buying the best laptop for you? Let us know in the comments.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine