“Do something that fits with your personality.” Someone that likes writing and geeks the hell out with tech, should be a blogger. The same logic goes for your PC. Why get something that doesn’t fit your needs – or your budget? A pro photographer or video junkie is going to need a different machine than, say, a student running all over campus with a backpack, an exec on a plane five days a week, a mom juggling kid schedules and family vacations, or a gamer out to rule the world.
Where do YOU fit in and what do you need? Well, we decided to look at a couple different usage models and gave different levels of suggestions depending on how much money you want to spend (or save).
Videographer / Pro Photographer Asking a professional videographer or photographer how much they’d like to spend on a camera is a lot like asking a kid how much candy they want at Halloween. The sky’s limit when it comes to equipment – but when it’s your livelihood, it’s worth it. Every shutterbug and video pro I know has spent a small fortune on gear, so it makes sense to also invest in a PC that’ll help make those pics and videos look even better – no matter what your budget.
Blow all your money on:An EliteBook Mobile Workstation. If you’re deadly serious about video editing, you need to check out a mobile workstation. A buddy of mine checked out a unit last year and he thought that it did an amazing job. It had enough horsepower to encode and stream video almost as quickly as he shot it – a big plus when clients need that SuperBowl commercial in a hurry. And it rocks a DreamColor-grade display for accurate color reproduction.
Save some money with: An ENVY Phoenix h9. I know, I know this is a gaming-grade desktop, but that means it is also a mean multimedia machine. Good graphics cards, piled-on RAM and a good CPU – all hallmarks of the ENVY Phoenix h9 are equally handy with video editing. Take this desktop and pair it with an awesome monitor like the Pavilion 27xi. (Like I hinted at up top, there are higher-resolution DreamColor monitors but those are pricey, pro-grade-level displays). If you configure your machine right, you’ll still have some money left over.
If you just need the basics: Consider an ENVY dv6 laptop. Honestly, not everyone is shooting a feature-length movie with special effects. Maybe you have some video clips that need editing. You wanna do that fanfic tribute to Ghostbusters? Hey, you could probably do that as well. And this laptop works it out like a champ, thanks to discrete graphics. With the money you save….Go buy a boom mic, a decent lens and maybe a solid tripod because you’re ready for…..”ACTION!”
Student Between a heavy class load and a likely equally heavy social life, the last thing you need is a machine that’ll weigh you down – or crash when you’re trying to text that cute co-ed, um, finish that philosophy essay or statistics spreadsheet. Check out our picks for killer computing power around campus…
Blow all your money on:SpectreXT TouchSmart. This highly customizable Ultrabook has a solid balance of mobility, horsepower (Ivy Bridge CPUs) and a touchscreen thrown in for good measure. Want to play some games on it? You can. Edit video? Why not? It’s got a Thunderbolt port for sick high-speed data transfers. Then there’s that whole TouchScreen thing. Trust me, very handy.
Save some money with: The ENVY x2. I’m going to make a wild assumption that if you’re running between classes, you’re primary concern is to travel light and not have to worry about plugging in your laptop at every class. I know for a fact that the x2 will last you the whole day. If you want to grab onto the keyboard and type up notes, go for it. You want to kick back in the library and read wikis on Mark Twain? Detach the screen and you’ve got a tablet as well. So, you’re basically getting two devices for the price of one. It also looks cool. Just mention the “two-for-one price” part to your parents.
If you just need the basics: Consider saving some money with a Sleekbook. Specifically, I’m thinking the Pavilion 14z. It’s a good balance of what’ll get you through the work day. Better still, it won’t break the bank. With the money you save….Honestly, you’d have so much left over, you could still afford to buy a Pavilion TouchSmart all-in-one PC for the dorm room AND still have money for….let’s just say, “extracurricular activities.”
The Gamer When you’re out to rule the world, massive computing power goes a long way – YOU COULD, if you wanted to, spend a ton of money on an overkill system that costs you well over $2k. Yep, you could opt for a gaming rig or a used car. Your call. Or you can save some money. Spend a bunch, or save – either way, you’ll achieve superpower status in no time…
Blow all your money on:ENVY Phoenix h9 and the Pavilion 27xi monitor. I’ve got the former and want the latter when it’s available on February 3. Performance? Well, let’s just say that when my wife wonders if I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, she usually finds me in front of the Phoenix. I’ve talked at length about what I like about the modest case that can accommodate a great single-card setup. The 600-Watt power supply can fuel a lot inside a tiny case. I'm able to smoothly run just about every game on the market right now at 1920 by 1080 with this single-card desktop. That's what matters to me.
Save some money with: ENVY dv7 laptop. It looks cool in black aluminum, and the graphics are pretty good….and yes, it’s a laptop. So you get the bonus of discrete graphics horsepower to go. I’ve tested this unit out and it’ll run games smoothly at 1600 by 900 resolutions. Considering you can configure these online for a reasonable price, I’d recommend giving this a look if laptop gaming is your thing.
If you just need the basics:ENVY 23 TouchSmart. OK, I will be the first to be straight with you – All-in-One PCs won’t deliver the same level of power you’ll find in a dedicated tower. If you’re tight on space, or maybe you’re cool with more casual games. You should check this out. Something else to consider: When configured with a discrete card, you can play modern games. If you set the resolution (in-game) to at least 1280 by 720 (a very moderate resolution) you’re already getting Xbox 360-level graphics. Adjust settings to your liking and it only goes up from there. With the money you save….Buy a good gaming headset….and a bunch of games. I have a couple suggestions for you in that department.
The Stay-at-Homer / Crafter If you’re handier with a glue gun than most people, or if you’re just looking for a way to keep kids and family schedules under control before you just give up and head to Aruba for fruity drinks, we’ve got you covered.
Blow all your money on:ENVY 23 TouchSmart and a printer. Not only is this an elegant piece of machinery, it has the computing chops to handle whatever you throw at it. Not literally, of course. And it’s been wear-tested by eight bloggers and their families – even better.
Save some money with: Pavilion 23 TouchSmart. Ideal for the budget-conscious, this is a great machine that’ll help you get organized for that next jewelry sale, or wrangle volunteers for the school carnival.
If you just need the basics:Pavilion 20 TouchSmart. With the money you save….Buy some ink, paper and all sorts of materials for some rainy day projects….or future ETSY items. Or just go to Aruba anyway.
The Road Warrior You can get through airport security lines in two minutes, know exactly what six ounces of liquid looks like, and the booking agents at hotels in every major city knows you prefer 6 am wakeup calls, extra dry martinis and egg whites for those power breakfasts. You don’t have time to mess with your PC; it just needs to deliver for that new biz preso, or Skype with the kids when you’re out of town. Try these on for size…
Blow all your money on:EliteBook Revolve. With tablet-to-PC and back again flexibility in a powerful package, this “Best of CES” pick is the one that will wow those new biz clients. All you’ll need to do is tell them where to send the retainer check.
Save some money with: SpectreXT. Business on a budget, or smart and savvy – this makes the grade with business chops and more.
If you just need the basics:ENVY x2. What this lacks in business-grade security features, it more than makes up for in flexibility. For all the same reasons a Student would love it, you should also consider this two-fer design to get you to the boardroom and back without weighing you down. Only thing that you’ll need to factor in: this comes with a 32-bit version of Windows 8. Make sure the business apps that you require will work in that environment. With the money you save….pass the savings along to your bottom line.
Well? Did I peg you and your needs? Or is there another category I’m missing? Let me know what you want to do with your tech and I’ll see if I have some recommendations for you….