Laptop Buying Guide – Ten Most Important Factors to Consider

I have faced this question several times in the past from my friends, office colleagues, relatives and also those networked with me through various social networking websites and online communities. They ask me how to choose a laptop computer that will perfectly meet up their needs. And invariably I initiate dialog by asking this question – What is the purpose of this purchase? What do you expect it to do? And based on the responses so far I have received I would like to classify the purpose of purchasing a laptop under four broad categories and I believe a laptop, being more personalized in nature in comparison to its Desktop counterpart, you can not expect it to satisfy multiple intersecting purposes of every individual at your home or work place. After all, like your Mobile Phone – a laptop is basically engineered to meet up personal needs. But anyway, as you are so determined to procure your new laptop, so, please read on to have some guideline, which have helped my friends in making a decision.

Based on the requirements of the end users we may classify needs under four different categories:

1) For High School/College students

2) For Official Use – mostly for official correspondences, business presentation with little Internet Use.

3) Mostly for accessing Internet for online communications, chatting, emailing etc.

4) Heavy duty operations – A laptop for performing heavy-duty operations – which includes processing of multi-media applications gaming, graphics design etc. – expected to be acting as a desktop replacement in the truest sense.

Irrespective of your specialized need you should be made aware about few basic concepts that constitute the backbone of any laptop, and you will also learn their effects on your choice. Here are the details:

1) Processor: Today’s laptops support wide range of processors including Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Celeron M, AMD’s Turion X2, and so on. Matter of fact is that the price of a laptop largely depends on the processor it supports. As such, Intel Core 2 Duo processor series like T7200/7300/T7400/T7500 is highly recommended for a laptop to be used as a desktop replacement, or for running high-end multimedia applications, or to have a joyful gaming experience; whereas, laptop with Intel Celeron Processor is priced moderately and good for running office applications. For laptops, which feature AMD processors, are both reasonably priced and optimized for reasonable processing speed. And because of the price benefit without compromising efficiency much these are my recommendations for school/college children, and these models are also good for accessing Internet. In a nutshell, if you feel that you need a laptop with heavy-duty processing capacity then only investment in rather costly processor worth. Otherwise, there is no point in such investment.

2. Installed Memory: Besides processor, this is the second major factor, which differentiates the price and efficiency of a laptop and this is the installed memory. Most modern laptop supports DDR2 Memory, and though 1GB is good enough for processing office documents, or for running those applications required by school/ college students, and even great for browsing Internet but for Windows Vista you need to have a minimum of 2GB memory. As such it is so common to find a laptop with even up to 3 – 4 GB memory but there is no point in investing that much unless you have some reason for doing so. Also, you can almost effortlessly upgrade laptop memory anytime later.

There is a word of caution:
Check well to confirm the amount of installed memory. dell inspiron 3511 i3 11th generation It has come to my notice that few retailers brand a laptop model as ‘up to 4GB memory capacity’, whereas actual memory physically installed in that model may be 1GB only. Obviously, you have the flexibility to add extra 3 GB memory anytime but presently what you get is 1 GB. So, you need to know the amount of memory physically installed in a laptop.

3. Hard Disk Space: Space is no more a problem unless you have planned to save all your Music/ Movie collections in your precious laptop Hard Drive. Laptops with 80GB to 160 GB space is a reasonable choice for all purposes. Though for school/college students you may consider to keep the storage capacity on the higher side to accommodate enough room for those massive sized music/movie files.

4.Screen Size: Once again this is one parameter that is to be considered with precision for laptop to be used as a replacement for desktop counterpart. You will do better going for 17″ to 19″ inch screen size, whereas, 14″ to 16″ screen size will keep the laptop portable without compromising its usability; but laptop with 13.3″ or Less screen size are often referred to as Ultra Portable model obviously you can travel really light and travel freely while carrying the set with you. And laptop with screen size 10″ or less, termed as Netbook, offers more flexibility in terms of portability but may not be the best option if you want to use it for presentation purpose!

5.Portability and Weight: This is something rather overlooked often while selecting a laptop model; and this is the factor that is not at all important for a laptop that is more likely to be placed on a table top for the most of its lifetime. However, if you plan to move a lot carrying the laptop with you consider models that are designated as Ultra portable. From my experience, I know, carrying 7 lbs. + weighed laptop is not a very exciting experience in the long run. Ultra portable model weighing less than 2.5 lbs is the best alternative to consider.

6.Battery: Current laptops utilize lithium ion batteries, with more recent models using the new lithium polymer technology. Typical battery life for standard laptops is two to five hours for light-duty operations. Once you have chosen a particular model, read for reviews on that model, take a scrap paper, and note down end users’ feedback on battery performance if you need to rely on battery more. This is the best way to learn about battery performance of any laptop model. You may not rely on Manufacturers’ claims in this issue at least.

7.Networking and Connectivity: It is desirable for every modern laptop to have support for various connectivity interfaces like Ethernet Card, built-in 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth connectivity, and to have built in modem. Besides, a laptop that features Expansion Ports like USB 2.0 ports (minimum three in number recommended), DVI, RJ-45, RJ-11, and Cable Lock Slot etc. offers better flexibility in terms of its usage.

8.Built-in components: For laptops to be used for Internet access, browsing, online networking or communications, or for playing multimedia files, or for gaming purposes the one that comes with built-in stereo speakers with microphone, and a Webcam is a good choice. In particular Webcam is very essential for online communications.

9. Graphics Card: Besides, for avid gamers, or the individual who wants to run graphics applications, it is always the best option to select a model that incorporates NVIDIA or ATI graphics card.

10. Warranty: And finally, it is desirable to invest on a laptop model that come with a legitimate warranty coverage provided by the Manufacturer.

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