Purchasing a laptop, or for that matter, any electronic equipment is becoming quite difficult day by day, as many newer models with upgraded features are flooding the stores. However, the best method of deciding on the most suitable model of your choice is to prepare and consider a laptop buying checklist. This is a good way to compare what you need, what you can get, and at what price. No matter how many models and functionalities are available, you will certainly be able to decide on a suitable model.
There are many categories of laptops classified according to the usability, such as desktop replacement, gaming, business notebook computers, ultra-portable, netbooks, budget computers, and student laptops. You need to choose a class that is most appropriate for you; such as for gaming, a gaming model would be suitable, and for portability, ultra-portable or student laptops would be better choices.
Type of Processor
The processor determines how fast the computer will carry out its functions. Here again, you need to consider what you are going to use the laptop for. You can choose from various types such as Intel (Pentium, Core 2 Duo, etc.) and AMD (Athlon, A-Series). With Intel, it would be better if you get a 4th generation Core. And if you are buying one specifically for gaming, make sure you get the latest Core i7 processor.
Please consider the speed of the processor. You can go in for one with a 1.8 GHz for home use, or you can opt for one with 3.2 GHz for hard-core gaming. Note that more powerful the processor, less will be the battery life of the laptop.
This depends heavily on personal use. If all you are going to use your laptop for movies, music, and gaming, you would need at least around 320 to 500 GB space. If you just want it for college projects or home use, you can choose a model having 120 to 160 GB hard drive. You can always use an external hard drive if you want to extend the memory capacity. If you can afford it, go in for an SSD (Solid State Drive), which provides two times the read/write speed than the others.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is where the presently processed data is temporarily stored. For a general-purpose laptop, a RAM of about 1 GB is more than sufficient. However, if you are considering the latest processor and a hard drive with substantial data storage capacity, it is suggested to get a laptop with the RAM capacity of 2 to 4 GB. Those who want to use their laptop for video editing, photography, or gaming use can even consider a RAM of 8 GB for best performance.
The screen size is directly related to the portability and the size of the laptop. Smaller the screen size, smaller will be the laptop size, and vice versa. You have a multitude of options in this regard, like 11-12 inches, 13-14 inches, 15 inches, and 17-18 inches. Those who are into photography or video editing can consider a bigger screen. A gamer would also love to play games on a widescreen of a bigger size. The standard screen size for home users is 14 to 16 inches. Just remember that for screen size, you will have to compromise on the portability.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Testing your purchase in this aspect is child’s play. Check all the keys for proper functionality and easy usage. Check if you can zoom in and out, is the touchpad smooth, etc.
Graphics and Sound Card
A graphics card is a small inbuilt chip that handles all the videos and high-definition gaming graphics. In most high-end laptops, it comes as a standard feature. To get the best gaming performance, you can use advanced graphic cards such as NVIDIA or ATI. You do have the feature of connecting two or more of such video resolution cards using the SLI configuration. In addition to the graphics card, you can even consider a laptop with an audio card, in case you are a music and gaming enthusiast.
This is an important feature to consider, especially if you are a movie buff or a gaming enthusiast. The common resolution is something like 1366 X 768 pixels. However, you can go in for various other options like 1920 X 1080 or 1600 X 900. Always prefer the highest resolution for clarity and quality.
It would be best if you choose a laptop that has a long battery life. As mentioned before, a powerful processor would mean a lesser battery life, so make a sensible and compromised selection. Make sure to have at least 6 hours of battery life.
For professionals who require heavy typing, a separate keyboard can be used as an accessory. For connectivity, you will have to make sure that your machine has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionalities. Also, attachments like inbuilt webcam, AGP slots, VGA output, hard drive and optical bays, card reader, etc., are important things to be considered.
After referring to this checklist, you might have narrowed down your choices from the wide range of laptop computer models available in the computer store.