The big name OEMs spend millions of dollars on ads which try to tell customers what they want from their next computer. You need this processor, or that much RAM, a certain amount of disk space, so many hours of battery life or a a screen that's so-and-so across. But what do you want from your next computer?
Over the coming weeks and months new OSes will he hitting shelves and you'll be told that you absolutely must have Windows 7 (notice how OEMs will try to upsell you higher editions) or Mac OS X "Snow Leopard" - the launch of a new OS is a great way to make consumers feel that their current system is obsolete.
But being sold a system is different to being sold the right system. I come across a regular stream of people who feel that after a few days or weeks of owning a new computer they are dissatisfied with their purchase. Maybe it doesn't play a game they wanted or play, or maybe the new OS means having to replace a printer or scanner because there's no new drivers available. Or sometimes it's just something more fundamental, like not enough storage, a screen that's too small or a battery that doesn't last long enough.
Part of the blame for the dissatisfaction lies with the customer. I've noticed that most people need the cheapest, lowest cost system they can find ... until they get it home! Prevention is better than cure, and the best way to prevent buyer's remorse is through research.
The flip-side is people being mist-sold systems. Wander around any big-name retailer and listen to some of the rubbish that sales folks tell customers. Some of my favorites include:
- "That hard disk will never fill up."
- "Sure it'll run XYZ."
- "I've got one at home just like this and it's great."
- "This comes with everything you need."
- "This is more power than you'll ever need."
Add to this list any statement including the phrases "future proof" and "very reliable."
Again, research is way to counter this sort of nonsense. If you know what you want, not only are you far more likely to get it, but you'll also probably save money.
So, what do you want from your next computer? Is it a new OS? More storage? Better battery life or better portability? How important is price?