Time was when one very special person in the whole office had ‘The Computer’. Bigger than a small principality, it used ‘floppy discs’, (which was odd, because they weren’t floppy at all!), was noisy, temperamental and expensive. Nowadays, of course, the price allows most people to have their own personal computer, but the available options can be quite overwhelming.
Headaches lurk in the wings when the choice is so huge. Weighing up the merits of each and every brand, form, model and operating system can drive you mad. But, if you take a step back from all the advertising, packaging and hype, the answer will come quite readily. It’s all about asking yourself some relatively basic questions about how you live your business life and what your requirements are, not only now, but also going forward.
What do I want to use it for?
If staying connected and working on the move is important to you, a laptop or notebook is probably going to suit your needs best. That way, you can go about your day and use any spare minutes catching up on emails or editing a presentation from wherever you happen to be – café, library, train or bus station – without too much hassle. On the other hand, if you’re mostly in the office and clients come to you for meetings, then a desktop would be the savvy choice. The same goes for what you actually do on your computer. A graphic artist, film or music producer would, by definition, require far more grunt in terms of memory and storage, than would someone who just wanted to keep in touch with colleagues and clients on the move, so the advice there would be a desktop. And the size of screen is important, too. Desktop screens are available up to a whopping 27 inches (more if you use a TV screen), whereas the largest laptop screen on the market won’t exceed 17 inches.
Will I need to upgrade the memory at some point?
This is something only you can decide, and it depends on where you see your business heading over the next few years. The beauty of opting for a desktop PC is that it does have expendability – you can add more storage space, memory and video capabilities very easily, so it can literally grow with your business. Coupled with that, with a desktop, you won’t need to choose between having a hard disk (spinning platter) which offers more space, or a speedy SSD (solid state like a USB stick) – you’ll be able to have them both!
Does my job require me to travel?
If your answer to this question is yes, then you’ll almost certainly need a laptop. Having established that, your decisions will be about weight, power, size of screen, durability and finish. Generally speaking, the size of the screen will dictate the weight, but you also need to know that the lighter and thinner the laptop, the fewer ports it’s likely to have. Battery life is also a consideration here – and finish isn’t just about good looks: the more expensive stylish metal or carbon-fibre finishes have the dual benefit of being more durable, so there’s that to think about too.
How much money can I justify spending?
Computers are way more affordable than they used to be, but they’re still pricey assets, so it’s worth being honest with yourself about what you can justify spending. Portability comes at a price, and you’ll get far more bang for your buck with a desktop PC, which will be more powerful and can be upgraded. Bear in mind, also, that desktop models are easier to maintain and repair – and, unless you’re burgled, you’re much less likely to have it stolen! Whatever you buy, the important thing to remember is that it’s a vital business expense –one you can’t afford not to make. Don’t rule out the lease option, either – often this will be the solution to help you get exactly what you need for your unique business lifestyle.
If you’re still undecided and want further guidance – or if you have any other business computing issues to sort out, why not give me a call on 0800 872 328. I’ll be delighted to hear from you, and we can either chat on the phone or meet up. I’ll do my very best to help you.