Choosing a laptop can be utterly bewildering when faced with the vast range available. Are cheap models a false economy? Can a laptop replace a desktop? What specifications should you opt for? What is RAM anyway? I can’t answer every question that might arise (and since I’m no expert, you wouldn’t want me to), but I can suggest some points to consider when making your choice.
The first question to ask yourself is what purposes do you want the laptop for? If you have fairly simple requirements, then you won’t need a machine as powerful as a graphic designer would, for example. Is it going to be your main computer or a back-up? Is it for a student, and what will they need to use it for?
Will you need to carry the laptop around a lot? If so, smaller may be better, especially if this is to be a second laptop. For someone who travels, works in the library or needs the machine to be especially portable for whatever reason, a smaller netbook may be ideal. This will be lighter, easier to carry, and possibly cheaper.
Now, this is really important. It’s all too easy to get carried away and assume that a more expensive brand or machine is better. But, as with any major purchase, when choosing a laptop it is essential to set your budget and stick to it. Otherwise you may find yourself spending more than you can afford and paying for features that you don’t need and won’t use.
If, like me, you’re not very technically minded, you might need to do some research on what minimum technical specifications you need, such as processor speed and memory. Certain minimums are recommended, but if you just want to use the internet and word process, you won’t need as powerful a machine as someone who likes to play games, for example.
If you don’t plan to use the laptop away from a power source, then this won’t be so important. However, if you need to be able to use the battery power a lot then the durability of the battery charge is vital. Some machines have a very decent duration, so look for one that satisfies this requirement.
You may want a smaller netbook for portability, but do check out whether a smaller screen is comfortable for you to work with. If it isn’t, then a netbook will not be practical for you. However, a 10’’ screen may be a suitable compromise. If the laptop is to be a ‘main’ computer, then the bigger the screen, the better.
As ever, it pays to shop around. One shop may have the same machine at a cheaper price than another, or a better machine for the same price. Look online at reputable suppliers (don’t forget to factor in the price of delivery). And watch out for those extras that bump the price up!
Naturally, this gives just some of the points to consider when choosing a laptop. There are so many factors to take into consideration that it can be positively confusing. The key is to do your research and take your time. What other tips can you add, and is there anything you wish you’d considered when buying a laptop?
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