If you ever get a laptop, you may never go back to a clunky home computer. Many people decide to buy a laptop computer because it offers flexibility and portability. Laptop computers were once top choices for those who do light computer work such as word processing, surfing the Internet, and accounting and to help manage bills and home organization. However, now more than ever, people are buying laptops as their main computer. Students appreciate the extreme portability and business people like laptops for the same reason. There are many features available now on laptops that used to be available only on top-line PC computers. When choosing a laptop that is right for you, consider the following before spending your hard-earned dollars.
Laptop computers are the perfect choice for those wanting to work from anywhere whether it is in a plane, a car or in meetings. Maybe you are someone who works from home and would like to take your computer throughout your house. Or, perhaps you are a student and wish to carry your laptop to class for taking notes. This type of computer can also be suitable if you are looking to replace an older desktop computer and require more processing power and memory.
The first thing you will probably consider when buying a new laptop is the price. Although, it is important to remember that with computers, price is not everything. When you buy a laptop, you want it to last. That sometimes means that you will want to purchase the newest, top of the line model. Unlike home computers, it is possible to purchase a laptop that will last for several years before becoming a “dinosaur”. However, if you are worried about what you spend, basic laptops with minimal memory can be purchased much less than a laptop with complex programs and very high speed and memory. Before you buy, you will want to consider what you will use the computer for. Will it be a primary household computer or will it manage your business? Will it be the computer the kids will use when completing school assignments? If you are looking for a computer to help do basic computer functions such as word processing and Internet access, you may not need to spend the extra money for added memory. However, if you need it to run a small business, you might need one with all the bells and whistles.
Next, you will want to consider the physical size of the laptop. If you need to travel with your laptop on a regular basis, you will want to look into the more compact versions. These are often called “ultraportable”. These smaller versions of the laptop often weigh less than 3-1/2 pounds. A heavier laptop might be too cumbersome when traveling with other luggage. Some of the larger laptop versions can weight up to ten pounds or more. If you are primarily using your laptop at home, moving it only occasionally, then you may not need to buy an ultraportable.
Also, if you travel frequently with your laptop, look into laptops equipped for wireless fidelity or Wi-Fi. Most laptops now come with Wi-Fi capabilities. This is fast becoming the way to access the Internet. This is usually crucial for people who travel often and need access to the Internet. Even if you do not travel, the ability to carry your laptop outside, or to another room and still be able connect to the Internet with no wires is a dream! This also is a good choice for those needing a longer Internet access time. These computers can stay on between four and six hours on one charge. If you buy a laptop and it does not have Wi-Fi capabilities, most of the time your Internet provider can help you fit your laptop with a drive that will give you Wi-Fi access.
The next thing to look for in a laptop is the processing speed. More expensive computers will have faster speed. There is a wide range of different processor names. A Pentium 4 processor is common on older versions of the laptop. While it is powerful, the battery will only last about two hours before requiring recharge. The Pentium 4-M is a little less powerful, but the hold a charge longer and are less heavy than some of their counterparts. An Intel Pentium M will run slower than a Pentium 4, but cost less and often does just as well. Both the Celeron and the Celeron M are made by Intel and are cost effective. These however, will be much slower than the Pentium chips. For top of the line speed, you should check into the Athlon 64 made by AMD. These are very fast, but also more expensive than other chips.
Another thing to look for when choosing a laptop is the port. The Universal Serial Bus or USB for short are used for the mouse, digital cameras, and the printer. The FireWire is used for digital video and external high-speed hard drive. It is recommend that a laptop should have both built in. Older laptops may not have both of these, so it is highly recommended to look into this when buying a new laptop. The USB 2.0 is faster than the older 1.1. It is not recommended to get a parallel port for laptops, as this can cost more and add unnecessary bulk to the computer. Another added connector that can be added to a laptop is an Ethernet and a video output connector used for projectors. However, if you do not plan to use your laptop for those purposes, then you may not need those features.
When looking at RAM (random access memory), it is recommended to get at least 256 megabytes. If you spend a lot of time on the laptop, choose 512 megabytes of RAM. If you plan to store a large amount of video, music or photos, you should opt for a larger amount of RAM. For gaming purposes, try a video card with at least 32 MB of RAM. The general rule with memory is that the more RAM the computer has, the better off you are. With most people now storing large amounts of pictures and videos on their computer, you will not go wrong spending the extra money on the RAM.
When buying a new laptop, the CD and DVD drives are also an important part of choosing a laptop. Most of the readers are built in. These are used for installing software, playing music, and to read multimedia projects. Laptops with DVD players can play movies and create CDs. If this is something you need for your computer, it is better to buy it already installed. It can be installed afterwards, but if you already know you will need these features, spend the extra money.
Choosing a new laptop can be confusing, however, it can be made easier if you know what you need. Most people will choose to spend the extra money to get a laptop with all the necessary options than to get a cheaper version. Laptops do last longer than most home PCs, so you can look at a laptop as investment.