The holidays have been and gone and it’s a fair bet that some of us received good holiday gifts, and when we say good holiday presents, we are of course referring to cold hard cash, courtesy of mothers, brothers, aunts, cousins or significant others! The anticipation of how to spend it begins.
Should we wait until January, or run out that very afternoon and blow it all?
As self-confessing shop-a-holics, we know what our answer would be. Holiday cash burns a hole in our pocket, yearning to be spent. That’s why we’ve turned our bad spending habits into a positive lesson in holiday spending.
What are four useful ways to avoid unplanned spending this season?
1. Make a list.
2. Shop with a friend
3. Avoid the sale racks.
4. Have a budget before you begin.
As tech gadgets from TVs to computers to smartphones top holiday wish lists, let’s start with a list of what to consider when purchasing your next laptop or tablet.
Know what you want from your device: Do you plan on playing casual games like Candy Crush Saga and watching Netflix, or are you hoping to record and edit YouTube videos? Knowing what you want your device to do will dictate where you need to spend your money – whether you’re streaming a video or editing one, you might prefer something with a more powerful graphics processing unit. If you aren’t running any heavy processing, you can afford to lower your budget a bit.
Know your budget: …but be flexible. Knowing how much you want to spend on your new device is a great starting point, but if $20 more will get you double the memory or processing power, then it’s virtually a no brainer. Buying a full-fledged laptop plus a full-fledged tablet could set you back over a thousand dollars. If you are keen to maximize more bang for your buck, you can save big going with the right hybrid. For example, the Lenovo™ ideapad™ MIIX 700 2-in-1 tablet starts at $699.*
Don’t Pay for Features You Don’t Need: Laptops come absolutely packed with features today: backlit keyboards, extra SD card slots, high-end graphics cards, and tons of solid-state storage space. All of these are really nice to have, but before you drop a couple thousand dollars on a top-of-the-line laptop, take a moment to think about whether or not you’ll actually need those things. Photo and video editing will benefit from a more powerful graphics card. Complicated programs and calculations will need more RAM and CPU power. If you’re going to be traveling a lot, a larger battery will come in handy. If you have a lot of music, you’re going to need a big hard drive or solid-state drive. But if you can skip out on any of these things, you’ll save some money. So pick and choose what features you’ll really need.
Tablet or Laptop?: Why not both? If you’ve window shopped for a computer lately, you’ve likely seen a growing number of 2-in-1 laptops that either detach from the keyboard or bend around to become a tablet. A 2-in-1 tablet can be particularly useful for students and professionals who want the mobility of a tablet and the power of a laptop but don't have the budget to pay for two separate devices. One of the best deals in the premium detachable 2-in-1 category is the new ideapad MIIX 700. It ticks all the performance boxes – Intel® Core™ m7 processor, integrated Intel HD graphics card, 8GB memory and up to 9 hours of battery life. You can also choose from advanced capabilities including LTE advanced connectivity or an Intel RealSenseTM 3D Camera option. The not so obvious bonus to the not so savvy shopper is that you get all this performance and style plus the keyboard is included in the price. The ideapad MIIX 700 comes with a hard-bundle folio keyboard case, giving you all the benefits of a laptop when you want to be productive and the portability of a tablet. Be aware the keyboard option on other popular 2-in-1s can run an additional $130-160. Check out our handy comparison table.
Do you want a detachable or a convertible?
2-in-1s come in two basic forms. First are detachable laptops, which have displays that are easily removed from the keyboard. Second are convertibles, which remain attached to the keyboard and twist or fold into a tablet like device. If you want a lighter tablet, it’s best to stick with a detachable model like the ideapad MIIIX 700 because you can take the keyboard off.