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The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
This will be a good guide to those who are going to buy a laptop/notebook soon
Laptop Buying Guide
With a gradual decline in prices over the last few years laptops are finally become very handy for common Indian families, and started to give a tight competition to desktop sales in the market. Since many brands, many components are there in this market it will be almost difficult to choose an apt model for you. If you just buy model you like without understanding the essential things about a laptop I can guarantee you, whole your money will be in vain. This article will be a guideline to those who really looking to buy a notebook soon but not aware of which one to choose from a vast collection in the market.
For a notebook, there are several factors that need to be taken in to consideration other than performance to select the components. Let’s discuss each factor one by one.
1. Screen size of Laptop
You may be wondering I have mistaken and chose screen size instead of processor as most imported criteria, well you are absolutely right if you are going to buy a desktop, but here the prime importance you have to give is on the screen size.
Many of us have a thought that the wider the screen the better the system Am I right? Actually it's not true. If you are a student, Or a teacher, or a businessperson, do you really need a big machine? No not at all. But if you are a video editor or a graphic designer or a gamer, yes, you need a really big machine of wide screen.
So our first question should be “what size do I need?"
These are our available options.
a) 12", 12.1" and 13.3"
b) 14", 14.1"
c) 15", 15.4"
d) 17" or more
It’s you to decide, OK, I'll help you
12", 12.1", 13.3"
Very light, Very small, weighs about 1-2 kg, easy to carry anywhere, But the small size of the screen may makes the text too small , keyboard may be uncomfortable, bit expensive compared to same configured notebooks of wider screen size. But if you wish to have an electronic pet with extreme portability, yes this is your right choice.
Small, light, weighs about 2-3 kg, with good portability and affordable price.
15" and 15.4"
It is the normal size of available notebooks in the market. They weigh about 3-4 kg, with average portability and these are the cheapest systems available in the market.
I would not recommend you this damn heavy machine weighs about 4.5kg unless you really need a big machine and do not want to move it off your table frequently.
It will be suitable to those who want to create an immense gaming experience with their notebooks.
2.Processor of Laptop
One of the most important things when buying laptop is to choose the right processors.
Well, there are many options available for a processor right now, but I prefer to use Intel processors over AMD processors because they are really damn battery eaters. So I have three options for you right now.
Intel core i3
Low end processors, released in Jan-2010, gives better performance than core two duo series, contains i3-350m and i3-300m.Hyper threading and virtualization technology enabled along with HD graphics and graphic processing unit (GPU) makes it the best entry level processors. These chips are priced at $133 only. If you are a student, or you just need a simple office notebook i3 is best for you.
Intel core i5
They form mid level segment. It contains i5-540M, i5-520M, i5-520UM and i5-430M. They are powered with Intel turbo boost technology which enables it to boost the frequency of the processor without increasing the power automatically. Additionally integrated GPU, LGA 1156 socket, Intel HD graphics, Intel smart cache technology and Hyper-threading enabled, makes the processor far better than i3.Price varies from $176-$256.This make the core i5 line processors ideal for the business user or home users, who are into intensive 3D gaming.
Intel core i7
The best Processors on the planet, Far ahead of i3 and i5, contains i7-620M, i7-640LM, i7-620LM, i7-640UM and i7-620UMi.Intel Quick Path Interconnect technology, Intel HD graphics, With L3 smart cache ranging from 8MB to 12 MB makes it the best. Price varies from $200-$1000.If you want to go for the best technology available, high end computing , if you want to be proud as an owner of the best ever manufactured processor, i7 is your right choice.
It’s better to invest more money up front in the processor. Unlike RAM or a hard drive you, can’t upgrade the CPU down the track,
3.Battery Life of Laptop
It plays a major role in choosing a laptop. Laptop batteries usually come in three flavours.4 cells, 6 cells, and 9 cells.
Do not go for 4 cell batteries if you want to use your laptop while travelling and never expect a battery life more than 1.5 hours.
6 cell batteries are the popular choice gives you a battery life of 2.5 - 3.5 hours, affordable.
9 cell batteries give you 4-6 hours battery life, and meant for those who are active even while travelling
As I already remarked do not go for AMD processors, they are battery eaters.
Most of the laptop users are not aware of the fact that AC adapters have a good role in determining the durability of a laptop. Usually a 65w adapter comes along with 6 cell batteries and 90w adapters come along with 9 cell batteries. If you go for a 90w adapters(bit expensive) for your 6cell battery it will take only half the time that is used to take to charge the battery with a 65w adapter.
4.Connectivity of Laptop
Make sure that your laptop is configured to wireless 802.11g (wifi) at least. They are really better than the previous 802.11b routers in speed and stability. If you find a model with wifi 802.11n series, that is much better for you because, they are the latest third generation wifi routers with outstanding performance, giving better speed than the 802.11g routers.
Check whether your preferred model have a built in Bluetooth option (nowadays Bluetooth comes as in built for all notebooks).
It would be better if your preferred model has a built in firewire port. Haven’t heard of a firewire port? They are almost like a serial port using fire wire technology to transfer data from one device to another. Today firewire port is used for many devices like camcorder, digital camera, hard disk etc. because of the fact that fire wire port offers an enhanced transfer rate between devices. So I suggest you to get a model with built in firewire port or you may regret later.
5.RAM Size of Laptop
Random access memory is the memory of a system which is the cheapest part in a laptop to upgrade. So you don't have to worry about low RAM of preferred model .Just buy the model and upgrade to the desired RAM.I suggest everyone to get a notebook with 1GB RAM at least and upgrade it. Upgrading RAM is a good money saving tip. For a normal home user or office user 2 GB RAM is well enough. For entertainment or gaming purpose upgrade RAM to 4GB.
6.Hard disk of Laptop
Hard disk is the storage centre of any computer. Usually they are available in 3 types, 4200 rpm, 5400 rpm, 7200 rpm (both SATA and ATI).Never go for a 4200 rpm hard disk because of its low performance. If you are looking for high end performance go for a 7200rpm.Do remember that 7200 rpm hard disks are far better than 5400 rpm hard disks in battery eating also.
Upgrading hard disk is also relatively easy. So get a model with low hard disk and upgrade it with cheaper Hitachi/Seagate hard disks. But do keep in mind that you got to discard your old hard disk though.320 GB hard disks will be large enough for any kind of user.
7.Graphics Cards of Laptop
Normally graphics cards are extra coast for a laptop and you won't get the proper gaming experience compared to the enjoyment in a desktop. So get satisfied with the on board graphics card. If you are too intense for gaming it is better to go for gaming laptops and they are bit expensive too.
8.Warranty of Laptop
Almost all the brands are giving at least one year warranty to their models. If you think the probability of getting your laptop destroyed in a couple of years is high then you should go for extended warranty plans. Notebook theft protection plans will be effective for students.
11 Top Mistakes You Should Avoid When Buying a Laptop
1. What Do You Need It for?
The first thing is to consider what you’ll use your notebook for- just basic web and email, data entry stuffs or as office gadget, or exclusively for gaming, or editing and doing graphics works, even the supercomputing facility become available in common man’s hand with launch of Intel i7 core as I have already stated. What will happen if you are purchasing a laptop only for Office applications and Internet, and after you discover that you cannot play your favourite 3D game? This is one of the most common mistakes that many laptop users do. How small and light does the laptop need to be? Do you need a large screen? Is a few hours of battery life enough, or should it run all day without a recharge? I have discussed these questions above as well.
2. Budget Factor
Well this is the most important step when you are going to buy anything even it is a small needle (just exaggerated it, but it is a fact). Start from an established budget and try to choose a gadget that suits you, and which you think it fits your lifestyle and your needs. After having a budget plan in your hand you can go for comparison of different brands suit your needs. Even if sometimes your budget may need to be changed if you notice a good deal, it is always important to have something to start with. Read different sites and forums and analyze the opinions of those who have the same product you set your eyes on.
3. NoteBook Vs NetBooks
One of the most common mistakes which laptop buyers make today is choosing a netbook instead of a notebook. The reason is obvious. Netbooks are cute, compact and insanely affordable.
However, netbooks don’t replace a more conventional notebook. They don’t have the processing power or the screens size or the features you need for everyday work.
Netbooks are good for the most basic tasks such as Web browsing, email, Skype and basic photo editing. Just that! But there are plenty of things that you can’t do with a netbook as an example most netbooks don’t have a CD/DVD drive, so there’s no way to convert your CDs into MP3 tracks or watch DVD movies.
But owning both of them is a great idea one for official other for personal needs.
4. Mismatching the notebook’s specs
Make sure you’re getting the right balance for your bucks. There’s no sense skimping on the processor in order to save a few pennies and you’ll have to put up with slow starts, rusted performance and even to carry multi tasking.
In the same way don’t go for the specs that you don’t need. As I have already stated above take care of meaty graphics cards.
As I said it is good to invest more on the processor as it is not available to upgrade unlike your RAM and HDDs.
5. Be very wary of rebates
We humans are very prone to offers and rebate. Some notebook companies rely on ‘cash rebates’ to bring down the official price and drives sales. It’s an especially common practice at large retail chains. However, my advice is, buying a notebook because it comes with a rebate should be your last choice. If you really want to make a saving, forget about factory rebates and just shop around – compare prices and then bargain down for the very best deal. Well I know bargaining in this case will not yield much in buying notebooks.
6. Take advantage of options
While many notebooks are comes preconfigured, a few vendors – like Dell – let you customise almost every aspect of your notebook. You can still choose one that’s preconfigured to meet broadly typical needs, but this feature allows you select the specs suit your exact needs.
7. Don’t buy overseas
It is not advisable to buy laptop (or any other electronic gadget) while you are in another nation even if you spy a cool notebook with cheaper price than in your country. The reason is not all notebooks come with an international warranty. If anything goes wrong in the first 12 months you’ll have to send the machine back to the country of purchase for repair – or more likely, face a massive repair bill through the manufacturer’s office in your country.
8. Don’t buy second-hand
Even if you are in tight budget never buy a second hand laptop. Why? Reasons are many. If the laptop’s been extensively used the battery life on a pre-owned notebook could be less than half what it should be. An excessively noisy fan, problems in hard drive or thigh-searing heat from the notebook’s underside you won’t be able to find it in your first observation.
Many notebooks sold cheaply online like in EBay or Gray’s online or other online marketing store through auctions or retail shop 'fire sales' are actually notebooks that have been returned to the manufacturer, been repaired/ refurbished and put back out for sale.
9. Do your research
Once you’ve got a few notebooks on your shortlist, spend a few hours for searching out reviews of them online? Start with trusted brands such as established magazines like APC and Notebook Hunter, and tech sites, but don’t overlook customer reviews on the largest online retailers like Amazon.com.
10. Try before you buy
If the store allows you try your desired model before buying. Check your email, visit a few of your favourite Web pages, even play some MP3 music or a video clip. Try your keyboard especiallyHow does the keyboard feel – is it too soft, too springy or too ‘clicky’? You’ll be using the keyboard all day, so make sure you’re comfortable with it. The same for the trackpad – a trackpad that is too small, inconveniently placed, or has irritating buttons could make or break your relationship with your new notebook.Is the headphone port in a place that will be convenient no matter what position you're working in. Headphone ports on the front are really terrible on planes.
11. Check the return and exchange policy
No matter how much research you out into buying your notebook, there’s always a chance – which you’ll need to return it. It could be because it’s simply not right for your needs: buying a netbook instead of a notebook is a common example of this. So check the store’s policy on returns, refunds and exchanges if not the story of your notebook could have an unhappy ending. It’s a simple precaution so that you’ll know exactly where you stand.
That's all; Wish you buy a good laptop.
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|Author: secretboy 01 Sep 2012||Member Level: Bronze Points : 0|
|Author: gokul v j 04 Sep 2012||Member Level: Silver Points : 2|
|This was an excellent article about notebooks with almost every information we want to understand when we are going to buy one. Everyone please read and understand this article so that you can understand your needs and buy a laptop according to that needs. If you are a game lover you should go for a laptop with extra graphics card with minimum 512 MB memory installed in it other than the build-in graphics.|