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Work at Home Computer Buying Guide, Part 1

5 minutes

Most work-at-home jobs tend to require you use your own personal computer. Buying computers these days can be confusing. With so many options, it is not always clear if the machine you want will meet the basic standards for your average work-from-home program.

To keep it simple, we came up with four baseline specs to compare:

  1. Screen size (if you are buying a laptop without a second monitor)
  2. Hard drive speed
  3. Amount of random access memory (RAM) and upgrade capabilities
  4. Includes ethernet port (Wi-Fi alone will not suffice for most work-at-home gigs.)

The first goal was to see if you could walk into a Walmart or Target and purchase a feasible computer for work-at-home needs. Based on the above four requirements, we compared the best, in-store machines available at these two big-box retailers, giving them a pass or fail grade.

As you can see, not all off-the-shelf PCs meet work-from-home performance standards.

Best available machine from Target

Model: Acer Aspire E5-575T-3678 Notebook
Hard Drive: 1TB (Capacity)
Ethernet Connection
The screen size is: 1366 x 768
Takeaway: The best available isn’t always good enough. This PC fails because its screen size doesn’t allow for multi-tasking, which is essential for work-at-home assignments.


Best available machine from Walmart

Model: Acer Aspire 5 A515-51-563W Full HD (PASS)
Hard Drive: 1TB (Capacity)
Ethernet Connection
The screen size is: 1920 X 1080
Purchase from Walmart

Takeaway: While made by the same manufacturer, this machine passes because it has enough storage, connectivity and screen resolution.

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