Sunday, 26 September 2010 14:49

What should I look for in a new laptop?

Written by  Lou Attia
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 Purchasing a home or business laptop can be a much more confusing and sometimes frightening experience. Most users today have some experience with a desktop computer but not as many have experience with a laptop, what is properly known as a portable computer.  Portable computers are an excellent solution for anyone who needs to be portable and have all of their information on a small computer. 

What to look for?

- When purchasing a computer, it is likely that you will have a general idea of what you may like in the computer or for what you will use it.

- Below is a listing of the various components likely to be found in a computer, and recommendations and tips when considering any of the below components.

1- Battery usage


- Remember you’re buying a portable computer so the battery is a very important consideration for any users that need to have a working laptop on the road or in the air.


- Verify when purchasing a portable computer how long the battery lasts.


- Be cautious, as many manufacturers will indicate a battery usage time but this may be at the lowest possible settings;


- Ensure that the manufacturer clarifies what the standard battery usage life is when using the portable computer in all power modes.


2- Display Size & Ease of Portability


- All portable computers come with a type of display… the screen.


- When looking at the display, ensure it is large enough for your visual needs but small enough for your portability needs.


- A very easy method of reducing the cost of the laptop is to reduce the size of the screen. But unless price is a very important consideration I highly suggest that you purchase a laptop with a minimum LCD Screen size of 12" screen… any smaller and it will be strain on your eyes and fingers. So I recommend the size of 14" to 15.4"… any bigger and it loses the ease of portability factor.

- In terms of quality, Wide-screen notebooks, which have an aspect ratio of 16:9, offer larger, sharper, and all-around better images than their 4:3 standard-screen cousins. They're great for allowing you to have two documents or Web pages open side-by-side.

- A spacious 17-inch wide-screen laptop is a nice luxury if you're not planning on traveling with it.

3- The processor


When it comes to processors, go with the fastest you can afford, after considering what I mentioned earlier. You have a lot of options, so here are the basics.


4- The Hard Drive


- The hard drive will be where you store all of your files, information, music, games, videos, photos etc.


- When looking at the space of the hard drive, always get the maximum size hard drive, considering you will eventually always run out of space.

5- Memory

- Having enough memory is vital to system performance, and lots of RAM lets you run more applications simultaneously.

- Sufficient RAM is also necessary for graphics work, image editing, and video editing, and crucial for 3D gaming.

- I would suggest the bare minimum of RAM to be 1.5 to 2 Gigabytes but definitely 3 or 4 GB is recommended.

7- Go wireless

- Integrated wireless networking (Wi-Fi) has become an indispensable feature. That’s what allows you to connect to the internet wirelessly as Abid discussed a few episodes ago.

- The good news is most notebooks nowadays ship with that feature built in.

8- Typing and mousing

- As notebooks shrink in size, so do their keyboards. If possible, try some simple typing exercises before you buy. Pay particular attention to the spacebar, Shift, Ctrl, and Backspace/Delete keys. Be sure all are in a good location for your hand size and typing style.

- Computing today relies a lot on mousing. With a notebook, all you get is a touch pad or pointing stick. Test the notebook's input device for comfort and responsiveness. Some touch pads include extra features, such as a dedicated area for scrolling.

- Comfort is important

6- Get connected

- Ports, especially USB and FireWire, are necessities.

- At a minimum, look for two USB ports.

- If you'd like to use a digital camcorder or iPod with your notebook, make sure the notebook has a FireWire port.

- Connecting a monitor will require a VGA port. And if you want to output video to a television, find a notebook with an S-Video out.

Which brand of laptop???

At the end of the day all computer manufacturers have had users who have had a bad experience and there is no such thing as a bad or perfect computer manufacturer. But some things to consider would be:

1- The store where you intend to buy it from

2- The brand’s customer service and support

3- The warranty that is offered by the computer manufacturer. How long is the warranty? Does the warranty cover both hardware and software issues? Etc.

4- Ensure it comes with legal software. Many end-users or small computer companies who build or sell computers may provide you with burnt CD copies of the software, which is illegal.

Last modified on Sunday, 06 March 2011 07:51
Lou Attia

Lou Attia

Multi-talented and multi-faceted!

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