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.
- 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.