Laptops Options: Research, Review, Discover and Save

By: Linda Marklund

So you want to buy a laptop. You’ve browsed the Internet for hours, read laptop reviews, compared prices, printed reams of information, or at least created a folder full of new bookmarks. What did you get so far? Overwhelmed, a window on your screen telling you your printer ink is low and a flashing message on your printer telling you it’s out of paper! You then go through all that printed matter, reading it again and highlighting the important parts. Or, call up that bookmark folder and click, click, click and click again. Think you’re any closer to making a decision?

Searching the Internet for information on the best laptops for my needs revealed some very interesting discoveries. Before purchasing my notebook, I want to be informed and educated, armed with facts and figures prior to my purchase. By reading many laptops reviews I gleaned much information that was not only useful, but some of the discoveries can actually save money.

If you’ve read one, you’ve probably read five articles on how to buy a laptop. They’ll all give you the most important points to consider: A quick review here:

What will you use it for? Size (dependent upon what you will use it for). Hard Drive: Preinstalled software takes up space.

Make sure there’s enough actual hard drive for your storage space. Processor: For processing applications, the higher the number, the faster the speed. RAM: It runs the applications and data on your operating system (i.e., Windows XP or Mac OSX) Connectivity: Wireless and plugins. Check before you buy. Battery Life: 2-3 hours is common. Remember, the bigger the notebook, the lower the battery life. Portability: Remember, the larger the notebook, the heavier. Accessories: Docking stations, extra battery, carrying case. You might want to include some of these in your budget. Price: Shop and compare. Don’t shy away from the little guy either. They have good deals too. Chances are he cares more about you than the giants do. You now have the checklist in hand. Great, you’ve done your homework. But somehow it feels like you’re on a scavenger hunt! Everything on that checklist has to go into just one laptop! Fear not. It’s not that hard. In fact, it’s fun and exciting when your choices are revealed. And here’s where the amazing discoveries are found.

Go to a laptop comparison site. I like the HP website. Here’s what you will discover. Intel Pentium M is a standard in many of the most popular laptops, even in the cheap notebooks.  AMD, by comparison, is also worth your consideration. Memory: You’ll be amazed at how many laptops come already equipped with 512MB. Hard Drive: 40GB seems pretty standard, and adequate for most. CD/DVD burner: you probably should get it, even if it raises the price a little. Video Graphics Card: The standard graphics chip for Pentium M is pretty sufficient for most users. Battery: Expect the standard 4-cell Lithium ion, 2 hours battery life. Warranty: One year is sufficient. Price/Deal: You don’t have to exclude the small dealers. Your warranties and tech support will come from the manufacturer, not the seller.

In summary, buying a laptop is not all that difficult, even if you don’t know much about them. A little browsing and you’re sure to find all your specifications neatly packaged in one great notebook at the price you are comfortable with. You don’t have to customize, there’s one already out there for you. And you don’t have to stick to one brand to get the features you need. In fact, you’ll see that different brands have the same features. So choose the one with the best deal and SAVE. But do the homework – hindsight always has 20/20 vision!

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