Choose a Laptop or Notebook Computer

Choosing a laptop computer that fits your needs will prevent disappointments.

The first question you have to ask yourself when buying a laptop computer is how you will use it for the majority of time. Is it going to be a replacement for a desktop computer? Or will it just complement your desktop computer, to be used when "on the road?"

Frequent travelers will tell you that after a while, that 9 lbs (4 kg) notebook computer will feel like a ton of bricks on your shoulder! So if you intend to use your computer on your trips, you should consider the weight as important criteria.

Do you like a large screen? Remember that larger screens = more weight! Lenovo's ThinkPad X40 laptop that is targeted to mobile users 'only' has a 12.1" screen, what contributes to the 3.2 lbs (1.45 kg) weight. Choosing a 14.1" screen on the Dell Inspiron 630m will increase weight to 5.47 lbs (2.48 kg), while a 15.4" widescreen (Inspiron 6000) will weigh in at 6.65 lbs (3.01 kg). A 17" Acer Aspire 9500 will weigh 8.4 lbs (3.8 kg).

Now if you are looking for a laptop to replace your desktop computer there are a few strategies you could choose from. Remember, all new laptop computers have a port to attach a monitor to them. So if you already have a nice monitor, you could just continue using that. Then your choice of laptop would not be dictated by its screen size. Just make sure that the laptop has a graphics card with at least 64MB memory.

Another point of consideration should be the hard drive. A 30GB or 40GB capacity hard drive would be fine for most users, but if you intend to use the laptop as a replacement for your desktop computer, consider a 60, 80 or 100GB hard drive.

One important point to note is that laptops aren't as expandable as their desktop cousins. Usually you'll get 1 slot to add some more memory, and if you have a spare (empty) drive-bay, you could get an additional hard drive, but that's about it. So you'll need to choose wisely!
You may also want to check on the keyboard. When you're just looking for a desktop computer replacement, this is not critical, as you can always hook up an external keyboard. But if you expect to use the laptop's keyboard frequently watch out for thes points:

  • Keyboard should be full size
  • Should have no button direct to the right of the enter key
  • Should feel comfortable

Memory requirements depend on your usage, but most laptops ship with 256MB of RAM these days, which will be sufficient for most users. If you intend to use the laptop as a desktop computer replacement, consider getting 512MB of RAM.

If you want portability, get the smallest, lightest laptop you can buy considering your budget. Also remember that infrequently used items (CD/DVD drive, Floppy drive) can be external.

Battery life is for a large part impacted by your choice of display size, larger displays use more battery power. If you expect to be running your laptop frequently on battery power, consider buying an extra battery when you buy the laptop. Most manufacturers will give you a discounted price if you order the battery when placing the order for the laptop.

You may note that I didn't talk about the processor... I don't think there's much to talk about. The Intel Pentium M or AMD Turion or Mobile Athlon 64 processors are all powerful enough to run today's applications & programs without a hitch. Try to choose the faster processor if you are looking for a desktop replacement, and cut down on the speed when looking for mobility. Faster processors require more power, so draining the battery quicker.

Choosing a laptop is difficult because they are available in so much diverse technology and styles, touch screen laptop is the latest form and for entertainment, special gaming laptop are being introduced by many companies but these latest laptops are little bit expensive but refurbished laptop are available which are cheaper then new and laptop accessories are available easily through company's outlet.

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