Things you should know before buying a laptop..

I’m pretty sure most of the people who visit this site have at some point or the other had to make a decision about what laptop to buy.

More often than not we buy our laptops and are very happy with them for the first month and then things begin to change. Of course, having spent all this money we’re not going to let anyone know that we’re unhappy now, are we? But soon the screen falls off and the touch pad gets a mind of it’s own and the keys begin to behave independently. (OK… this is over dramatizing it, but I’m sure at least some of us have regretted buying the laptop’s we bought. Right?)

Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying your laptop. A little bit of knowledge in these matters goes a long way.

One of the first questions you gotta ask yourself is “Why?”.  The motive / reason for buying your laptop will really help you narrow down a seemingly endless list to a handful that you can easily pick out of.
Some people buy laptops for work, some for leisure and some just to show off. Thankfully for all of us, there exists a laptop perfect for each one of us. (All hail capitalism!)

If you’re a journalist who’s constantly on the go but needs to write all the time, something light and small would be ideal. You don’t really have the time to enjoy a big pretty laptop with tonnes of features. Basic connectivity and the ability to publish are what you really need. You are a ‘Netbook’ person. On the other hand, an author who writes most of the time but would also like to enjoy watching movies would prefer a laptop with some kind of media capabilities. And of course, at the other extreme you have someone who just wants to replace their lumbering desktop with a cool looking laptop that performs just as well as a desktop. You would need a mainstream laptop with the processing power of NASA!

A few other things to know:

  • Weight Matters! And every extra feature adds weight. Right from the obvious, large screens, down to the not so obvious extra USB ports. I mean that’s taking it a bit far, but in the long run all these little extra features do add up to a considerable amount of extra LBS that you’re lugging around pointlessly.
  • Processing Power, Memory and additional Graphic support are a big deal! As mentioned before, if the reason to get your laptop is to accomplish one and only one goal, then it’s not so much of an issue. However if you want to use your laptop for many things, right from official work to playing games or watching movies in your spare time, you want a laptop with some juice in it and of course a nice graphics card so you can play Call Of Duty without feeling like someone’s trying to yank your eyeballs out of their sockets. Most Core 2 Duo laptops with at least 2 gigs of RAM and any of the mid ranged graphic cards should be just fine. (Having a slightly bigger screen here helps enhance the awesome COD experience.)
  • Battery Life! This is not so much of an issue for those who don’t travel too much. However travel junkies or criminals, business men and hedge fun managers, etc…  who move a lot would like some semblance of a battery life on their laptop. In my experience, the less features you have on your laptop, the longer the battery lasts. But this isn’t always true.
  • Connectivity! Most laptops, even the lower end one’s come with some sort of wireless feature these days. So this isn’t much of an issue. But you must check to make sure your laptop can connect to the net in some way, shape or form.
  • “Free your mind. The Brand isn’t there..!”. Yes, that’s right. Brands are an awesome way to show off but if you know what you’re getting in to, they should not matter. I would suggest going with the best after sales Warranty deal that you get. Most brands get their parts manufactured from the same guys so it really doesn’t matter which brand, unless of course you’re getting an excellent deal.
  • Size does matter! This is linked very closely to the weight issue, but size does matter. Not only in terms of weight, but also in terms of features and how comfortable you will be working on it. Someone with very big hands might find it difficult to work with smaller laptops. Also being size conscious means you may have to let go of a few goodies that you might otherwise get.
  • Burn Baby Burn! Not all laptops and notebooks come with DVD writers. Most of them do, but that is one thing you must be sure of when you buy your laptop. If you ever feel that you’re going to need to share media, especially in the format of DVDs and CDs, then this is something you need to think about. Though honestly, if you have a thumb drive or an external harddisk and are not obliged to burn CDs (at least in this day and age), you don’t really have to worry.

That pretty much covers my advice to you. If there’s something you’d like to ad, do let us know.

One Comment

  1. The top things that I look for while buying a notebook in no particular order are Battery life, RAM, HDD, DVD Writer ( ! ), durability ( !! ). CPU speed,brand and the other stuff can wait. Also ALWAYS try to type atleast a page of content on a laptop to test the keyboard. Is it easy to type on. Does the trackpad get in the way etc.

    You have to use a couple of different keyboards to realise how different they can be even if they all look the same and it’s very important to have the right one that complements your typing style.

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