The message of this article is not to suggest that everyone should rush out and buy the same computer that I own. Different needs and desires call for different computers. Some people see computers as status symbols. Some see them in terms of raw computational capability. Some see them as doorways to information. Some as a way of communicating with family and friends. Some feel about them something akin to the feeling they get when settling down in a comfy chair with a favorite book on a rainy afternoon. Some, perhaps many, hate their little electronic guts and wish they were dead. Some like to cover them with pink heart stickers. Some fear them. Some couldn't care less about them. I think I understand these feelings, because, at one time or another, I've experienced them all. With this article, I hope to encourage you to contemplate developing an attitude about computers that could possibly help you increase your happiness with the next computer you buy.
A year or two ago, I thought it might be time to buy a new work laptop. So, I started the process of looking for a new one. After a few weeks of looking, I realized that the Dell Latitude E6220 is still the best fit for me. Even though it was made way back in 2011, I still prefer this little laptop to anything else out there. I'll try to explain why.
As I've already alluded to in many of the articles I've written for this website, functionality, performance, and long-term cost are the three factors I consider most when I think about potential computer purchases. It's not that other factors aren't important. They are; they're just ... somewhat negotiable. For example, if I go out and buy a computer with the best screen I can find, but it ends up sitting on the shelf, because it won't do what I need it to do, then it was just a waste of my time and money. Unfortunately, I've had that experience.
So here's where I am now. Here are the things I need in a work
computer. My laptop is actually more than just a work computer.
Since I've been traveling a good bit lately, at times, I need it
to able to do a bit of everything. Here's what I need:
Okay, I admit it. I'm picky. But you should be thinking about these things too. Everyone who buys a computer should be thinking about at least some of this stuff and most likely additional stuff that is not important to me. The point is that there is a lot to consider when buying a computer. You want to get one that does what you need it to do, and in the way you need, for a reasonable amount of money.
I think the fact that I can't find a newer laptop that meets even close to all of my requirements for a reasonable cost is very telling. One thing it may be saying is that laptop manufacturers have stopped paying attention to consumers' needs and have instead chosen to chase the latest thinness fad. Go through the list above and think about everything you lose when you buy a thin laptop. Is it really worth it?
Manufacturers in an industry have a way of all going off the rails together, so consumers have no choice but to buy something they don't want. For example, I remember shopping for a tie back in the late '80's. The only--and I mean the only--ties that anyone would sell me were absolutely hideous, van Gogh-looking, flower-covered ties. They looked like the garish patterns you sometimes see on upholstery. I couldn't find a tie with stripes. No solids. Only flowers! It was like a tie nightmare. I have no idea why nearly all manufacturers in a particular industry go insane together, but it's happened lately with laptop manufacturers. It seems like just about the only way you can get a laptop with a decent number of ports and upgradeability is if you're willing to buy a fire-engine-red, 110 Watt, 9 pound, gaming laptop. It's not quite that bad, but it's close.
Another thing that may be happening is that laptop manufacturers may have actually conned consumers into thinking that thinness is more important than anything else. And that brings me back to my reason for writing this article. You need to think (a lot) about what you want in a computer. Then buy that. Don't buy something just because I tell you to buy it. Don't buy something because your brother-in-law bought it. The two of you may be happy with completely different kinds of computers. He may be happy with this. You may be happier with this. Take the time to understand what will make you happy, and buy that. The reason I still love my seven-year-old Dell E6220 is that it's still the best option for me. Find a computer that you can love as much as I love mine.
Of course, this being the website it is, I would like for you to consider what options you have that are inexpensive. I've already written several articles on that. I suggest you read and think about them. Computers don't need to be expensive to be lovable.
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