Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to pick a great laptop

Most everybody I know owns one. There are people who swear by one brand or another. Today, we are going to talk about laptops. I will try to think of the average consumer when I consider laptop features. This means we are not talking about 2000 dollar gaming laptops or Macbook pros.  These laptops clearly have better specs than your average laptop, but are out of the price range for most people.  In the last five years, I personlly purcahsed two laptops and a netbook.  My first laptop broke after only 2.5 years. 

The first thing to consider is the screen size.  Laptops start at about 12 inches and run up to 17 inches.  The most common sizes are 14 and 15 inch notebooks.  If you are looking for a new laptop, I would start with these sizes first.  Few people have reason to buy a laptop smaller than 14 or larger than 15. You may, however, find you want somthing very portable or very powerful; that is your choice. 

Next, let's look at what you will be using it for. Are you going to carry it with you a lot? If you do, I would look at laptops under 6 pounds and below 1.5 inches thick.  How about photo editing?  Maybe you should look for a computer with a separate graphics card.   For most people, a 5 to 7 hundred dollar laptop should last several years. Now comes personal taste. I like to have a nice screen on my laptop, and I will pay more for it, or inversely, buy a slower computer to get a better screen. What is the purpose of buying a laptop that you can't read very well on? What about processing power? The number of processors determines the number of tasks you can complete at one time. They do have 4 core processors for laptops, but I see very few reasons to have one. A 2 core processor will work for 90% of the laptop users. Other people think brand is very important. I once bought an Acer, and, as I said earlier, it died after a couple years. HPs have had some problems in the past, but are usally recalled if something goes wrong with the model.  Dells are okay, but are less adavnced than the other brands. If you buy a Dell, you get last year's hardware at this year's price. Right now, I have a Samsung Q series notebook, which I would recommend to everybody willing to listen.   One last point is looking at warranties. For the most part, I do not think they're worth the money.  I know someone, however, who bought a warranty and used the warranty 5 times before they gave her a brand new laptop. . 

Overall, buying a laptop is a personal preference. Make sure you know how you will use it so that you can look for the combination that suits you best.

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