How to pick a laptop

These days laptops are becoming more and more popular, and it is becoming an increasingly complex task to find a laptop that suits your needs.  If you’re on the hunt for a new notebook, the best thing you can do is identify what you need from a laptop and pick one that gives you just what you want, ensuring you don’t miss anything important or pay for features you don’t need.  Unfortunately, it can be tough for novice users to know exactly what they need from their laptop if they don’t even know what’s out there.  By following just these two simple steps, you’ll be able to narrow the whole arduous process into something manageable whether you’re a laptop expert or not.

First, understand the categories.  Laptops are broken down into several categories.  Netbooks or mini-notebooks are inexpensive, lightweight, and portable but they are primarily designed only for light uses like basic e-mail, basic internet, and typing.  Ultraportables, or thin & lights, are larger than netbooks but in most cases just as light and more powerful.  You can use these notebooks for most tasks, but they can become expensive depending on the features you want in them.  Standard laptops can handle average tasks but usually aren’t good for high end uses that a gaming latop provides.  They tend to be medium sized and are generally cheaper than everything but a netbook.  Gaming Laptops are both feature packed and expensive, but they make up for these deficiencies by offering the largest screens and best overall power.

Second, think of your primary task.  When most people are asked what they need out of a laptop, they respond with some variant of “I just need it to work”.  But your life will be much easier if you just decide what one thing you’re buying the laptop for more than anything else.  Are you buying one because you’ve always wanted to blog from a coffeeshop?  Then make sure you get something portable, either a netbook or an ultraportable, and be willing to shell out for style points so you can show off.  Are you looking for something just to go online and check your mail?  Then make sure you get something inexpensive, either a netbook if you can handle the small screen or a standard if you can’t.  Or did you want to play new games and watch HD videos?  That’s more in line with a gaming laptop.  As you can see, understanding the categories is like understanding what primary task each genre of laptop is designed for.  Simply match up your own with the category, and you’ve already narrowed your search down tremendously.

As for the details, feel free to experiment.  Most vendor websites, from Toshiba laptops to Dell laptops to Lenovo laptops and others, are informative and offer great customizability.  Each vendor will have a series of similarly labeled laptops devoted to a single category, and since you already know yours you’ll know which to pick.  Then by going through the process of choosing amongst all the available features a few times, you’ll gain an understanding of what choices you can make and what they’re worth.  When all is said and done, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision and know you’re getting your money’s worth.

Here are a couple places you can visit to help you in the quest for that “perfect laptop”:

http://laptoplogic.com/laptop-finder/

http://laptoplogic.com/dell-laptops/

http://laptoplogic.com/hp-laptops/

http://laptoplogic.com/toshiba-laptops/

Comments are open, and if you have questions, feel free to ask them. I will be more than happy to help you.

This article has 2 comments

  1. andy 01/13/2009, 2:59 pm:

    Why didn’t you look at mac laptops?

    • Taylor Marek 01/22/2009, 5:30 pm:

      At the time, I didn’t get a mac. I would gladly review a mac if I had the chance though.

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