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Some Tips To Consider When Buying A Laptop

Oct 17, 2007
Many lap top computers are far more powerful than even high end desk top computers were just a few years ago. So let's take a look at some tips you'll want to be aware of when you go to buy a lap top computer.

As the capacities, power, size and lower cost of laptops continues to improve, laptop computers continue to represent increasing value for the dollar. But there are some important things to be aware of when considering a laptop. This article will focus on some of the primary issues.

The first decision to consider when purchasing a laptop is whether you need or want a Windows, Apple or Linux operating system.

Because the windows operating system has become so pervasive the majority will stick by with a Windows operating system. Windows XP Pro should be minimum and their new VISTA operating system if you can afford it. Keep in mind, if you are going to be dependent on friends and family to help you in getting used to using your new laptop computer, most of them will not have knowledge of the VISTA Operating system until even as late as 2010.

Those who have used Apple in the past, and are more familiar with Apple will have far more limited options, but are probably best off sticking with Apple.

Linux users will need to analyze compatibility issues on Linux forums online.

Again, if you are new to computing, and know you will be dependent on friends, family or even business associates for assistance as you get up to speed on using your computer, they are far more likely to be able to help you if you have a Windows Operating System on your laptop than a Mac or Linux operating system. Not that one operating system is necessarily any better than the other, but windows is known best by most computer users.

Assuming you know what operating system you are looking for, the next step is to set a budget, and determine whether you want a new or used machine. Used laptops represent a good value for machines in the $600 - $700 range and below. However they come with zero warranty. There are some excellent deals that can be found on "Refurbished" laptop computers, but you need to buy them locally, find out what the warranty and support conditions are and whether or not you can pay a little extra to increase the warranty and support period.

If you don't think you need all the bells and whistles of a brand new system, buying a used system through a seller at EBay or from a laptop refurbishing company can make a lot of sense economically. When scouring EBay, look for the Power Sellers who sell many used laptops, and make sure their customer satisfaction and return policies are solid.
Don't be tempted to buy systems without enough processing power just because they are cheap. Now days, anything below a Pentium 3 processor is best avoided, as Pentium 3 machines can already be found relatively inexpensively used or refurbished.

Once you have set your budget, determine the minimum memory capacity for your needs. Here I am referring to RAM or Random Access Memory. I would highly recommend setting 512 MegaBytes as your minimum memory capacity. If you are intending to do high end graphic presentations or video presentations 1024 MegaBytes should be your minimum. Stripping memory out of a computer is a common way to sell them at lower prices. But memory is often the weak link in personal computer systems, bringing the performance of the machine down significantly. Lots of memory is the great equalizer in computers, and many people fail to realize that a lower end laptop with lots of memory will often outperform a higher end one without the memory.

Once you have you memory needs and budget set, you can start to compare models for weight, ergonomics, and most importantly, screen size. Finding a size and weight that is acceptable to you is important, but finding the correct screen size should be your primary consideration.

Many people are excited by the larger screened laptops, but fail to fully appreciate the impact of resolutions. Most laptops come with a set with an ideal resolution, and switching to a higher or lower resolution can distort text. Some laptops with large 17 inch screens are set at very high screen resolution, making them difficult to read for long periods of time without some eye strain. Some of the inexpensive laptops with 15 inch screens can also be difficult to read and with on than laptops with larger screens. 1024x768 should be an acceptable screen resolution for most laptop monitors. Avoiding larger screens that require higher resolutions above 1024X768 can save a lot of money, and deliver a machine that is just as easy to work on and read from.

Finally, there are networking considerations. By now, it does not make a lot of sense to purchase any laptop without WiFi wireless networking capabilities. Most new laptops will come with this standard, but with older and used laptops it is an item you need to verify. With the constant increase in wireless accessibility, a laptop without this capability will become obsolete within a few years.
About the Author
Dwayne Garrett is the author of several eBooks and popular software applications, he also offers an affordable IT Resource Guide that will help you to make sense of Information Technology and your business. Visit:
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