A family computer is an essential purchase these days. Even though we can get a lot of things done with a smartphone or tablet, a family computer will always be better in many respects. But buying a computer can be fairly difficult. While you could always just go to your local computer store and ask for some advice, it’s worth doing a bit of research to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
So in this post, we’ll be looking at ten things you should consider before you buy a family computer. This will help you not only choose the right family computer, but ensure that you get the most value for your money.
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1. Laptop or a desktop computer?
One of the first things you should decide is if you’ll be getting a laptop or desktop computer. There are a couple of benefits to both of these.
For a laptop, you’re looking at a portable computer that can be used anywhere. This is great for small homes where there’s limited space, or if you plan to take the laptop with you on holiday. However, they’re not as easy to repair and will often need to be sent to the manufacturer if it breaks or if there’s a problem.
Desktops are a little bigger and will require a dedicated monitor (usually bought with the computer) but they’re a bit easier to repair and upgrade in the future. It’s also a great opportunity to learn more about computers, especially if your child is interested in technology.
Functionally they are both similar and can use the same software and peripherals, so it’s a matter of personal preference.
2. Who will be using the computer?
Next, it’s important to decide who will be using the computer. As this is a family computer, we’re going to assume that everyone in the family will have access to it. However, if the computer is only for your children to share, then you can consider a couple of extra features. For example, you might want to get a dedicated graphics card so they can use the computer to play games.
3. What will the computer be used for?
You should also consider what the computer will be used for. If it’s for gaming for the whole family, then you’ll want a fairly powerful computer that has a dedicated graphics card. You should expect to pay quite a bit of money for a capable computer that can play video games. However, if the computer will only be used for basic tasks such as typing documents and doing homework, then you don’t need an expensive computer.
4. Setting up a place for your computer
You also need to consider the space needed for a computer. Many people prefer laptops because they can be used anywhere, but if you have space then we suggest getting a desktop as it’s a bit more durable and easier to use as a family computer. A desk is perfectly fine, but you could also have it in your study.
5. Consider the cost of extra accessories
You also need to include the price of extra accessories in your family computer purchase. Most computer sets will come with things like a monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers. However, some deals won’t include these things and you’ll need to buy them separately.
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6. Choosing between Windows and Mac OS
You also have the choice of picking between Windows and Mac OS. These are known as operating systems and will change the type of software you can install on your PC and also how it functions. If you’re accustomed to an iPad or iPhone then we suggest getting a Mac OS computer. However, most computers come with Windows installed and it’s a lot cheaper than buying a Mac OS computer. For a full guide, you should check out a Mac vs PC comparison to see the major differences.
7. The programs that you might need
Decide what kind of programs you’ll need to install. This could include office productivity programs like Microsoft Office, or it could be important security programs to scan for viruses and malware. These security programs are essential for removing things like malware, the Bing redirect virus on Mac computers, and other malicious software that you don’t want on your system. A firewall program is also recommended to block incoming and outgoing connections that are doing something suspicious on your computer.
8. Will the computer be used for video games?
If you’re going to use the computer for video games then it’s important to consider the cost of the games and also extra peripherals such as control pads and a headset. If you or your child will be using it to talk to their friends on the internet, then a microphone is also recommended. Gaming computers can be expensive, so it’s important to stay up to date with the latest offers and hardware releases to get the best value for money.
9. Budget options for buying a computer
If you’re looking to save money on your computer purchase then we highly suggest looking at refurbished options. These are usually office computers that have been repurposed for home use. They’re reset to default settings and they can also help you install various programs to make it easier for you to use. Look for reputable refurbishing companies to find some fantastic deals on cheaper computers.
10. Small computers for small spaces
If you don’t have much space then a small computer can usually be a great option. Laptops are recommended if you want a small computer, but you can also choose mini-computers in small cases. There are some computers that are the size of a small box. They still require a monitor to be attached to them and you often pay a premium for having a small laptop. However, they’re excellent if you want to save space or even attach them to your living room TV.