Choosing a Laptop Computer Based on Hardware and Software Needs  

by David Arnold Livingston

Laptop computers are one of the most desirable techie gadgets. A laptop is a portable computer that could comfortably be used while on a person's lap - hence the name. It contains all the basic and necessary software (like Office System and Internet access) and hardware (like CD-Rom drive and Modem) features of an ordinary computer and still fits in an ordinary briefcase or backpack.

Advantages of Owning a Laptop

1. Portability.

Being portable, it can be brought along and used anywhere - school, work, vacation trips, unlike the ordinary desktop computer. This is especially handy to a person with a very hectic schedule and busy lifestyle. In this regard, a computer addict doesn't have to be a hermit anymore! He or she can go out under the glaring rays of the sun and still hold on to the best technological breakthrough product.

2. Convenience.

It is useful for the working person, for the student, for the hobbyist, and for a computer addict too. One can take notes in class, type and print assignments and reports, access the Internet and communicate with another person on the other side of the globe. Teachers and public relations officers can make use of the laptop to give a different dimension to their presentations. Some teachers also find students are more motivated when using a laptop.

3. Size and Weight.

The dormer and studio type apartment lessee would agree that a laptop would save them more space.

4. Image.

It cannot be denied that a laptop is cool. With its sleek shape and form, it can be very eye-catching. It also gives the statement that the owner is not outdated, that he or she is in keeping with the times, and finally, computer literate.

Laptops are not that expensive anymore, but this is not the kind of item a person would shop for every other week. Each and every laptop has its own demands, requirements and features. Features you may want to look for:

1. Size and weight. Laptops are portable, but their sizes and weight still vary. To be very portable, it must be small and lightweight. They usually weigh 5 pounds. If it will be used outdoors more often, the weight should not be more than 5 pounds.

The size of the screen is also important. The usual sizes are 12.1, 13.3 and 14.4 inches. Tiny screens, as small as 8 inches, are ideal for portability, but the demands of the eyes - to have a squint-free screen - should also be considered.

2. Sturdy. A laptop must be taken care of, but it would be more ideal to have a tough and sturdy one that will be able to withstand any accidental knock or minor bump. There are models available with shock-resistant hard drive mounts. It has to be durable enough if it will be taken outdoors often.

3. Internet connection. One has to be in touch with the rest of the online community. There are wireless connections offered already. To one with budget constraints, an ordinary 56Kbps modem would do to connect to the rest of the world.

4. USB port. This should also be carefully checked out so that the laptop can be used in many more ways. There should be at least one USB port if not more, for future expansion of adding other hardware. The USB port can be used for external keyboard and mouse, but it is most useful to create connection with digital cameras, external drives, and MP3 players.

5. Battery life. The battery life of the laptop must allow the user to use and enjoy it outdoors or in areas that do not offer power resources for the public. A reasonable battery life should not be lower than 5 hours. The battery life will determine the extent of freedom that can be enjoyed with the laptop.

There are 3 kinds of batteries available.

The Lithium-ion (Li+) is usually chosen. Li+ batteries have range that can offer the best quality.

Nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries are less expensive, although they do not excle in terms of battery life.

Nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries are the ones to stay away from. They require constant recharging.

6. Technical specifications. There should be enough RAM, storage space / hard drive and computing speed. The technical specifications would depend on the most probable purpose of the laptop to the owner. If the laptop would be used for playing 3D games, it is ideal to get at least a 256 RAM. If several music or video files will be stored, a larger hard drive should be considered, 40 gigabyte is ideal.

7. Price. Finally, the laptop should be reasonably priced. There are refurbished laptops available out there for those with strict budgets but there is a way to save money and still get the ideal laptop.

First, the purpose that the laptop will serve must be properly ascertained. This will avoid purchasing laptops with expensive features that would end up being unused. Don't buy 80 gigabyte of storage space if only 3 gigabytes will be used for documents.

Stick to your budget. There are many attractive add-ons in the computer shop like glow-in-the-dark mouse pads or wireless mouse. These may not be necessary and can add to the total cost.

Negotiate for add-on features. Lastly, it wouldn't hurt to try to negotiate for the price. 5% off can go a long way.

About the Author

David Arnold Livingston is a successful business owner
and likes to stay current with technology. He recommends the resource:
Laptop Unlimited

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