Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tips for buying Laptop

From the time you decide to buy a laptop to the time you actually get it in hand, there are a thousand thoughts that cross your mind. Over the last few years, a whole new generation of Notebooks has hit the market. The technological advances made by these notebooks are so much that an average user finds it scary even to understand the techno jargon let alone make up his mind. So is there an ultimate formula for choosing the right laptop, definitely not. Question of which is the best laptop that’s suits you is something that only you can answer. Once you figure out what you need from your machine depending on your usage, the choice of laptop would automatically appear before you.

Then what I am doing here writing this article? Obviously I am not trying to provide any sort of guidance, rather these are some of the thoughts I personally have based on my experiences with the new age notebooks.

Most of the buyers I have seen give so much importance on brand. But which brand is better ? If I say Sony, there would be hundreds who would argue for Dell. It is one of those questions which will never have an agreeable answer. Each person would answer it depending on his/her experience.

So I would prefer to keep my answer deceptively simple: Choose a well known brand that you believe in. Probably only point you need to keep in mind choosing a brand is the post sale services. If you are a frequent traveler, it would be always advisable to stick to a global brand to be on the safer side. Of course it goes without saying that you need to keep an eye on your budget when going for higher brands.

With first hurdle of brand crossed, palpable focus should be on the features. I would personally prefer to give priority on features in following order.

1. Intel Vs AMD.
I am not huge fan of AMD Processors and would be any day, recommend the Intel based processors. This is true despite fact the AMD processors being much cheaper and consequently bring down the laptop cost when compared to its Intel rivals. The sole reason for my loyalty to Intel is due to the fact the Intel chips consume less power when compared to AMD leading to more battery life and less overheating issues.

2. RAM, L2 Cache, Bus Speed
Have a good eye on this before you choose your machine especially RAM. The higher this number is, the better it is for you. Similarly L2 Cache and Bus Speed also hold high priority as these parameters would largely affect your performance.

3. Graphic Chipset.
One common mistake that should be avoided is overlooking this important factor. Quite often consumers are happy with the Integrated Shared memory rather than having a dedicated Graphics card and end up having their CPU power eaten when running a movie.

I am not asking everyone to go for a high end graphics card. A average user could well settle for a entry level graphics card while a graphics developer for whom 3D Max and Maya forms bread and butter should definitely opt for a higher end graphics card NVedia or any other competitor.

4. HDD Capacity.
Keep your eyes closed on this one. No matter what the size of HDD is, you will always run short. Remember this rule and don’t even bother about whether to buy a 100Gigs or 200 Gigs laptop.

5. Operating System Support.
Another key feature you need to look at is the support for different operating system. Sometime, your desired OS will not be the default one accompanying the OS, in that case make sure the platform you desire to work is supported by the Laptop. Also ensure that the drivers are readily available.

6. Screen Size.
If you are a traveler, the common sense smaller the screen, the better you are with portability.Personally, I find 15” laptops quite a hindrance when I move around or even to use it while sitting in a comfortable sofa. If you are a developer or a person who uses laptop quite often better stick to 14” widescreens laptops, but in case you are a multimedia designer you could well be comfortable with the 15” or 17” machines.

7. Wireless , Bluetooth Capability.
In this fast moving world, you just can’t afford to too far away from the internet. Whether you are in a Hotel or Airport, you would prefer to be connected to the internet. Support for wireless connectivity becomes more important under such situations.

8. Extra USB , network ports.
Gone are the days you would be happy with 2 USB ports. More ports you have, more equipped you are. This holds true in case of network ports.

9. Data Security.
If you are a person for data security holds primary importance, you should opt for higher end models. This of course would come with higher price tags.

Despite all this, always remember the Golden Rule : Read review on the model before you buy it.