As someone who publishes their opinion on the Internet, and as someone who has spent the past 20+ years working in Information Technology, I am often asked to provide my recommendation on what PC someone should purchase. I never tell someone which computer they should purchase, but I do have a spiel I give wherein I attempt to help the asking party determine what to buy.
Here is an "answer" to the question, "What is the best computer for me to buy?"
There is no generically "best computer to buy". Each user has their own priorities, and as such for each user there is a different “best” machine. Here are some questions to consider:
- What applications will I run on a daily basis? The machine must be powerful enough to run these very well.
- What applications will you run infrequently? The machine has to be able to run these, but performance doesn’t need to be great (since you only use them infrequently).
- Where do you need to use the computer? The answer to this question helps you determine whether or not you should purchase a laptop. If you travel a lot, a laptop may be needed; however, compared to a desktop PC laptops are more expensive, fail more often, and don't perform as well.
- If you have decided to purchase a laptop, then also consider:
- Do you need long battery life? Some machines have very short battery times, some have very long times.
- Will you be using the machine outside in sunlight? Some displays are specially designed to work in sunlight.
- If you think you need a Tablet PC: will you be mostly using the keyboard, or mostly using the pen-pad? If you mostly use the pen-pad then a true Tablet PC is a better bet than a “convertible” machine.
- Will you be traveling with the machine outside of your home country; if so, does the warranty extend to those other countries? Not all manufacturers will repair your machine when you travel internationally.
- What is the price (as configured the way you need it)?
- What are the hardware failure rates for that manufacturer? You can obtain failure rates from the Consumer Reports website.
Build a matrix with the questions on one axis and computer models on the other axis. Then rate each machine against each question (how well does it meet your requirement) and tally the result. That should help you quickly come to a decision.