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Go For a Test Drive

Here is yet another confession . . . when I was 16 I bought a 1969 Triumph convertible without test driving it. After I’d bought the car I found out that my feet wouldn’t reach the pedals without a box behind me and I wasn’t even halfway home with my new car when the transmission blew out! Of course I should have done some research and taken the car for a spin, but no one told me that.

So, I’m telling you now . . . no matter how tempted you are to have someone else make your computer buying decision, it is essential that you take a look at and test drive several computers before you make a purchase.

Here is a list of things that need to be considered:

  • Where and how will it fit in your home? It is important that you measure the computer and the space where it will live. Consider how the computer will look in the space. Computers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Part of your choice is how it will look in your home.
  • How well can you see the screen? Everyone’s eyes see things differently. A computer screen that is clear to me may be foggy to you. You need to compare different screens to be sure you are buying what is best for you.
  • Does the keyboard size work with the size of your hands? Each keyboard has a different feel and can be a different size. Be sure to see how the keyboard feels and fits your hands.

I’ve designed a Test Drive Form (available in my book) that you should bring with you when visit the computer store. Have the salesperson fill one out for each of the computer’s that you’re seriously considering. Then go home and review the technical aspects with someone who understands that stuff. You can then review your notes to compare how it will fit in your home, how the screens look to you and how the keyboards feel.