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Consider more than just price.
The lowest-cost computer may not be the best
longterm buy. Consider such intangibles as the vendor’s time in
business, the vendor’s regard for quality, and the vendor’s
reputation for support. If you need to upgrade your
computer often, you may want to consider a leasing arrangement,
in which you pay monthly lease fees, but can upgrade or add
on to your computer as your equipment needs change. No
matter what type of buyer you are, insist on a 30-day,
noquestions-asked return policy on your computer.
If you need computing capability when you travel or to use
in lectures or meetings, you may find a notebook computer
to be an appropriate choice. The guidelines mentioned in
the previous section also apply to the purchase of a
notebook computer. The following are additional considerations
unique to notebook computers.
Purchase a notebook computer with a
sufficiently large active-matrix screen.
Active-matrix screens display high-quality color that is
viewable from all angles. Less expensive, passive-matrix screens
sometimes are difficult to see in low-light conditions and
cannot be viewed from an angle. Notebook computers
typically come with a 12.1-inch, 13.3-inch, 14.1-inch, 15.4-inch, or
17-inch display. For most users, a 14.1-inch display is
satisfactory. If you intend to use your notebook computer as a
desktop computer replacement, however, you may opt for a
15.7-inch or 17-inch display. Dell offers a notebook computer
with a 20.1-inch display that looks like a briefcase when
closed. Notebook computers with these larger displays
weigh seven to ten pounds, however, so if you travel a lot
and portability is essential, you might want a lighter
computer with a smaller display. The lightest notebook
computers, which weigh less than 3 pounds, are equipped with a
12.1-inch display. Regardless of size, the resolution of the
display should be at least 1024
Avoid restocking fees.
Some companies charge a restocking fee of 10 to 20
percent as part of their money-back return policy. In some
cases, no restocking fee for hardware is applied, but it is
applied for software. Ask about the existence and terms of
any restocking policies before you buy.
Use a credit card to purchase your new
Many credit cards offer purchase protection and extended
warranty benefits that cover you in case of loss of or
damage to purchased goods. Paying by credit card also gives
you time to install and use the computer before you have to
pay for it. Finally, if you are dissatisfied with the computer
and are unable to reach an agreement with the seller,
paying by credit card gives you certain rights regarding
withholding payment until the dispute is resolved. Check your
credit card terms for specific details.
768 pixels. To compare the
monitor size on various notebook computers, visit the
company Web sites in Figure 47.
Consider purchasing an extended warranty or
service plan.
If you use your computer for business or require fast
resolution to major computer problems, consider purchasing an
extended warranty or a service plan through a local dealer or
third-party company. Most extended warranties cover the
repair and replacement of computer components beyond the
standard warranty. Most service plans ensure that your
technical support calls receive priority response from technicians.
You also can purchase an on-site service plan that states that
a technician will come to your home, work, or school within
24 hours. If your
computer includes
a warranty and
service agreement
for a year or less,
think about
extending the service for
two or three years
when you buy the
Type of
Web Address
For an updated list of companies and their Web site addresses,
Companies that sell notebook computers.
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