How-To Buy a Laptop

By: Jr Lang
This simple laptop buying guide is a user friendly "how-to" for thoseof you, who like me, cannot stand techie jargon because let's face itlife is just too short!!

A laptop, also known as a notebook issimply a portable computer that runs on a battery and can be usedanywhere without being stuck to a plug.

KEY FEATURES TO LOOK AT WHEN BUYING A LAPTOP

Processor:
The processor of a laptop determines how fast a computer is and the speed is given in GHz.
Best: Intel Core 2 Duo processor
TheIntel Core 2 Duo is one of the best in processors. Provides superiorperformance at half the cost of other similar types as well as a greatbattery life.
1.73 GHz processor is more than sufficient for everyday work like word processing, spreadsheets, email and internet surfing.

Memory (RAM):
RAM refers to the amount of programs you can run on your laptopswithout running into slow downs and causing your laptop to drag. 512MBRAM is the optimal amount of memory and the best option for gaming and3-D graphics.
Tip: The RAM the laptop supports tells you the most memory you will be able to upgrade to.

Hard drive:
40-80GB hard drive is more than sufficient unless you plan to generate massamounts of music or data files or you want to install more than onesuite like Microsoft Office.

All-in-one design: Unless you really need a lightweight laptop, choose one with an internal bay for the optical drive. Simply put this drive lets you to swap in other devices, such as an extra hard drive or a second battery.

Warranty:
A laptop with a warranty can save money down the road.
TIP:If the laptop you wish to purchase comes with a warranty check to seeif they cover shipping charges in the event you need to send it in forrepair. There are also warranties that cover an in-home repair.

Screen size:
When you buy a laptopand you don't want to sacrifice viewing comfort in order to gainportability. The screen size dimension of laptops is measureddiagonally across the screen. A screen larger than 14 inches is best toavoid strain on the eyes. Larger screens or wide screens result inheavier laptops and are more bulky but do provide a more comfortableexperience whether you're surfing the net or watching movies.

Screen Viewing:
An anti-glare feature is very beneficial when you don't want to have part of your screen invisible due to a light source. Outside-readable screensare made to use in very bright light (outside) and are very costly.Wide Screen viewing angle is important if you don't like decreasedvisibility when you move your head to the side.

Weight:
A5 pound plus laptop is best. Ultra light laptops, below 4 pounds havecramped keyboards, less speed and memory, usually no CD or DVD driveand smaller screens. If you buy an ultra-light laptop, its performancemay be so compromised that after all of the accessories you carry withit are added up (a CD drive, a larger battery, a better keyboard,etc...) it may weigh as much as a regular 5 or 6 lb laptop.

Battery:
Watt-hours determine the life of a battery.Lithium batteries use cells to determine life, more cells equals morelife. Usually a laptop needs a new battery every 1 to 5 years.
The way you determine battery consumption depends on how you use the laptop.
Most battery ratings are given for a computer running minimal processes which does not include Internet usage, graphics, power-save mode etc.
TIP: If you want more more freedom from the outlet buy a notebook that has a modular bay which is capable of holding a supplementary power pack.

Wireless:
Whenbuying a laptop Wireless Internet Capability is necessary if you'd liketo surf the net without being tied to a wire. One of the best thingsabout laptops is that you could surf the net anywhere and WI-FIprovides just that. Wireless cards are easily installed into mostlaptops.

Keyboard:
The keyboard should be full size or it will take some time to adjust.
TIP: Look for the % of full size when looking at the keyboard features of a laptop.

Mouse Options:
Option 1: is a touch screen, which is controlled with finger movements on a pad.
Option 2:is a knob feature that lets you control the mouse by moving the fingerin only one spot. This feature is harder to adjust and unless you havea preference get the touch panel.
Option 3 - Best: get both a touch screen and knob on your laptop.
TIP: You can always hook up a standard mouse to your laptop.

Ports:
Simply put a port is a specialized outlet on the back of a computer to which a plug or cable connects.
The more ports you have the more variety you will have.
At least one USB (multipurpose, very useful port) and at least one VGA (video connection to external monitor/ projector) are very important.
Ethernet Port for wired Internet connection.
Headphone and microphone ports.

Other ports include:
FireWire port for iPod connections.
S-video port for video output.
Printer port.
PC card slots (card bus), which provide a large variety of functions. You can usually buy a PC card to replace any type of port.

Audio:
MediaCenters have higher quality speakers built-in. Laptops that save weightand space will have small speakers which gives just an OK sound quality.

Video/Graphics:
Thisis important for playing and editing movies and is crucial for 3Dgaming. Dedicated memory usually comes with a graphics card (ATIRadeon, GeForce, etc...) and has its own memory in MB which includes32MB, 64MB, and 128MB.
TIP: If video/gaming is important to you pick the highest one you can afford.
TIP:To get an idea of what memory you might need you can refer to the backof your games or media software CD-case or manual to see the "systemrequirements" for the video memory requirements.

Virus Security: Viruses and spyware are just as dangerous on a laptop as a desktop computer. Good anti-virus and spyware software is essential to the health of your computer and data.

Laptop Security:Since laptops are portable and mobileFeature Articles, security is important to protectyour laptop and data from theft. A variety of methods are availableincluding cables and biometric fingerprint readers.

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