Got Your Eye On A New Computer? Don’t Ask Oprah.

Recently, I did a quick google search for buying a new computer tips when I surprisingly ran across Oprah’s site

This outta be good I thought. I just wanted to see if there was something out there I hadn’t considered when buying a new PC when I came across an article written by Leena Rao. Of course I had to see what Oprah agrees are the important factors to consider when buying a new computer.Oprah

While Oprah may be one of the most successful women of all time, this blog is coming from a guy who has built, bought, refurbished, recycled, donated, and repaired more than 10,000 computers in my career thus far(god that sounds nerdy). So, maybe this is coming from a biased perspective but I was floored at just how out of touch Leena was about purchasing a new computer.

So this will be a quick rubric on what to look for when purchasing a new computer, despite the Oprah advice

The 4 factors to consider when purchasing a new computer are:

How important is a computer?
What will this computer be used for currently?
What do will this computer be used for in the future?
How much can be spent?

Oprah’s advice aside, the average computer user runs the gamut from, just checking email and writing a few documents, to a power user running several processor intensive stock trading programs and editing videos while chatting and playing the SIMs.

How important is this computer?

Nobody wants the bottom of the line, but if you’re just using a computer for basic things, you can probably get away with any inexpensive widows laptop or desktop that will take care of everything you need. However Oprah, if you need something that has a little more chutzpah that you can grow with, you’ll need to move onto the next question.

What will I be using this computer for currently?

All computers are fairly equal when it comes to common tasks. As long as they can get to the internet, create documents, presentations, send emails etc. But for specialized things, different computers are better for different tasks. Unless you already have a personal preference it’s best to be open to the possibility of something new. If you’re into playing serious computer games (which I don’t think Oprah is), a windows computer will be a better option than say a Mac which is better for editing videos and pictures unless your Oprah then you’ll have a whole staff for that.  And, there’s also Linux, which is just plain silly.

Also portability if portability is an issue, there’s several things to consider when choosing between a netbook, a tablet (like the iPad), or a laptop. Laptops will always be larger than it’s more svelte than it’s closely related cousins Oprah, that’s because laptops will be more powerful and have more functionality than a tablet or netbook. However netbooks and tablets will usually have a battery life that will severely trump that of a laptop. Keep in mind that because the netbook and tablet are fairly new technologies, they’re also highly unstable and very difficult to repair when something goes wrong. Important data should always be stored somewhere else in the event of catastrophic failure, like a cloud or a thumb drive.

What do I want to use this computer for in the future?

Technology ages rapidly these days Oprah, so it’s a good idea to plan on getting something that can either grow with you, or something cheap that you can upgrade later on.

The standard specs for new Desktops and Laptops should be at least 250 GB of hard drive space and 3 GB or RAM (random access memory). Processor speed is important too Oprah, but it’s pretty self-explanatory, the higher the processor speed, the faster you computer will be.

For netbooks and tablets, speed, space, and RAM are all relative concepts. There’s not much range in specs when deciding on one yet Oprah, nothing that can necessarily push anyone toward one or the other. But one of the more interesting concepts is Google’s new approach to netbooks with cloud-based operating systems (Chrome) that store your computer information online.

How much do I want to spend?

I put price last because with the range in computer prices starting at $200 going all the way up to $12,000, thinking about price ahead of time can preclude some of your options and you may not get the right machine for your purposes or scare someone away from getting a computer all together Oprah. Unless you’ve got $4B.

Plus computer prices change almost as rapidly as the technology does. My laptop for example is $1000 less today than when I bought it two years ago.  So the best idea is to buy something you can afford at the time of purchase, otherwise interest charges can end up costing you double by the time you end up paying off the computer, which will then be half as much.

Personally, I use both windows and mac. But If I had to recommend a couple brands, they would be as follows.

Apple: Expensive, but they can do everything a Windows computer can do with a VM Ware Fusion. Great all around computer (used by Oprah in the above picture).

Lenovo IBM ThinkPad: These laptops are bench tested for a full year before they’re released so almost all of the bugs are removed before it’s even available for purchase.

Dell: Yeah they’re actually not bad computers Oprah. They’re on the lower end of my list of purchases and also pretty inexpensive, but their new line of computers are pretty good machines that last a while.

HP Netbooks: They’re great for what they are; cheap, light, portable, and great battery life, stable OS with windows XP.

And I still can’t recommend a tablet yet Oprah. There’s hasn’t been enough information collected about them to make a determination on which one is the best, so maybe Oprah’s advice on those isn’t so bad.
I appreciate wanting to be on the pulse of what’s “in” at the moment but in this case you’re staff was pretty off. Tell you what Oprah, I won’t recommend a book of the month if you don’t recommend computers anymore.

Sorry Oprah. Much Love



Leave a Reply