How to: choosing a new computer

people with laptops sitting around a table

It’s the start of the year and the most common question I see in forums and groups is: what computer should I get?

This is a really ambiguous question because there are just so many options! So, here are my tips to make the best decision:

#1 What is your budget?

Set your budget for what you can afford and then look for the best options available in that price range.

Financial help: If you are struggling to find funds for a new computer, you can apply for scholarships and grants such as the CSU Technology Equity Grant which provides up to $1000 for purchasing computer equipment. Check your eligibility and apply before 18 March.

Second-hand options: A second-hand laptop can be found at WorkVentures and Australian Computer Traders. They offer refurbished laptops and desktops with a warranty.

#2 Which features matter to you?

Then, decide on what is most important to have in your computer.

  • Does it need to be lightweight and portable?
  • What screen size would you like?
  • Are you after a desktop monitor to keep at your desk?
  • Do you want a tablet to go with it, or be able to sync to your phone?

The answers to these questions will narrow down your search considerably. If portability is important to you, look for something that is lightweight with a smaller screen and good battery life. If you want something with a bigger screen, it is most likely going to be heavier which might affect your desire to lug it around!

#3 Windows or Mac?

This is really down to budget and personal preference. Compare the costs with the available features and choose what you would need most.

Macs may be more expensive but high-end Windows computers can be too. Consider the software you will be needing, as some may be easier and accessible to run on different computers.

#4 Do you know your freebies?

You are a student after all, so take advantage of that and get access to:

Plus, no matter where you are shopping – ask if they do student discounts. You may find a sweet deal and it doesn’t hurt to ask! Be ready with your CSU Student Card or download your Proof of Enrolment statement (Student Portal > Administration > Your Enrolment).