Choosing the Right Laptop/Notebook Computer Today: Notebook computer, most commonly known as laptop is without doubt one of the most indispensable gadgets to those who travel a lot. This is especially true if you are working as a programmer, web developer, graphics designer, writer, blogger, or a person who can’t do business or simply can't live without a computer nearby. If you are still planning to buy a laptop because perhaps your new job is one of those I mentioned above, then better read this article carefully.
Choosing the right laptop to buy can be a little bit daunting since several aspects need to be considered before emptying your wallet or in extreme cases, your bank account. That is why I’m here to take that tiny burden off your shoulder.
These are the most important things to consider that will guide you in buying the right laptop.
For me, price should be considered first. When anyone is asking me for an advice in buying a new computer or just about any other gadget, almost always I ask them how much their budget is. Therefore, my first advice is to know your budget limit first.
Laptop prices are dropping like crazy, so it won’t be that much of a problem to those who are budget conscious. The cost of a low-end laptop model is usually around US$550. But to those who have money to spare, you can get a high quality notebook computer for as much as US$3000.
This is the part where we get technical. But don’t worry because I’m going to keep it idiot-proof as much as possible.
First, consider the size of the laptop that you want. Generally, the sizes are ranging from 11-17 inches (screen sizes measured diagonally). Most of the latest models are ‘widescreen’ so just go for it. If you value portability more than the screen real-estate, then the smaller is usually the better. This is because the size is normally associated with the laptop’s weight. Although, you should also remember that the smaller the laptop is, the more uncomfortable your hands and eyes will become. So when you are in a computer shop, ask the store-clerk nicely if you can try using the laptop for several minutes to test its comfort level.
Meanwhile, a laptop’s processing power(processor), memory (RAM), and storage(hard disk) will tell a different story. The bigger the numbers of the said specifications will typically result in a better performing laptop. The processor speed/clock rate is sometimes an exception as there are now dual core processors with lower speed but can perform faster than higher speed single core processors. Currently, the normal laptop specs that I can recommend for normal users should have at least 2GHz of processor speed, 512MB of memory/RAM, 80GB storage/hard disk. When I say normal users, I’m referring to those who will be using the laptop mostly for web browsing, office applications tasks, some simple photo editing, audio/video playing, and 2D gaming. You can go for the higher or lower than the normal specs that I have given depending on the demands of your computing tasks.
Another thing to consider is the laptop’s battery life; 3-5 hours of life span should be regarded as ideal. But no need to worry as almost all the latest laptops can deliver adequate battery power. Important peripherals like DVD-RW drive, video-out port, USB port, and WiFi internet capability is a must-have in today’s laptop. Some not-so-essential functions like firewire, bluetooth, and card readers are just icing on the cake.
For your laptop’s operating system, it’s up to you whether to choose Linux, Windows, BSD, Mac OS X, and Linux. And did I say Linux?
The laptop’s physical appearance like the color, design, and shape will depend on your preferences. And don’t ever ask me about this because I am not your mother.
The last but definitely not the least important factor to consider when buying a laptop is the brand name. Remember this; choose only to buy from trusted brands like Lenovo, Acer, Dell, Sony, HP, Panasonic, Toshiba, Apple, IBM, Asus, and Samsung. Forgive me if I forgot to mention other important brands.
If money is not a dilemma for you, then it won’t be that hard to balance the features that you want for your laptop and the specific brand to get. Nevertheless, knowing your budget limit will definitely matter as a whole in deciding what laptop to buy. I jut hope you will find some of my tips helpful. But then again, you can always use Google to get more information regarding notebook or laptop computers.
UPDATE: If you are planning to buy a netbook, check out choosing the right netbook post.