What to Look for When Buying a Laptop
If you're in the market for the latest offerings in mobile computing, knowing what to look for when buying a laptop is as important as finding the best price. Buying a laptop that is inadequate for your needs is a bigger headache than getting the wrong kind of desktop computer because laptops are more expensive than equally-powered desktop machines. Most importantly, knowing what to look for in a laptop is all about knowing what your individual needs are.
- Know which type of laptop you need. Are you buying a laptop for your traveling business? To do social networking on the go? Or are you a gamer? Are you editing movies? This will determine whether you need a computer equivalent of a muscle car (a gaming machine) or a less expensive mid-range computer. In some cases you may find that a netbook is perfect for your needs. Basically, think of your laptop as a vehicle. How fast do you want it to go?
- Choose the right memory capacity. In all cases, the higher memory capacity your laptop has, the faster and cooler it will run, simply because it spends less time utilizing the hard drive. Most laptops do not come with all of the memory they can hold; you will most likely have to buy extra memory to bring it to its full potential. More memory will also conserve battery usage, again because of less stress on the hard drive.
- What kind of video card do you need? If you're a gamer or are in the digital video editing business and you see that a laptop features a video card using "shared memory," run, don't walk away from that particular product. However, if you are strictly a business user or are into social networking, this will be just fine for you.
- Hard drive capacity is important. Again, think of your laptop as a vehicle, in this case a truck. If you like to have a very large trunk or flatbed, choose a bigger hard drive. The beauty of computers, laptops included, is that they can be speedy like a Corvette while also carrying around a really large load of data, like a freight train. Hard drive space is more expensive on a laptop than a PC, but as you go higher in capacity, it isn't all that much more expensive. It pays to get a higher capacity if you can, in case you need it in the future.
- Wi-Fi connectivity is also important. You'll want to make sure your laptop has either 802.11G or 802.11N connectivity for the sake of maximizing your internet or network connection speed. This will decide how fast you can drive on the information superhighway. This will be important for just about everything, from downloading files to browsing the web, and especially teleconferencing and gaming.
- Consider what battery capacity you'll need. The primary function of a laptop is to be mobile. This means being able to run without being connected to a wall socket all the time. The larger the battery capacity, the longer you can run without plugging in. You will find that buying a laptop with a higher capacity to be considerably more expensive, but also that it is an invaluable advantage when you are unable to plug into a power supply.
- Do you need a built-in web cam? Some laptops come with a webcam built right into the monitor. While people involved in social networking and also teleconferencing may love this feature, others may not like the possibility of a webcam turning on and revealing their face to the online world, which could happen if your laptop gets infected by a virus or you fire up an improperly-configured instant messenger program. If your dream laptop happens to come with a webcam, then simply cover it up with black tape and the problem is solved.