Finding the Right Laptop – Not as Easy as Clicking a Button

21 October 2010

You might think that finding the right laptop would be as simple as clicking a button on Amazon, but in fact, if you want to get the most performance, quality, and function from your machine – then you need to do a lot more than that.

Buying the right laptop
The first thing to do is sit down and make a list of the things you intend to use your machine for. While it would at first seem to be a simple task, when you actually take the time to think about it, what you soon come to realize is that you use your computer for a whole lot more than you think.

Here are just a few things that most people list off the top of their head: checking and sending email, reading the news, writing, keeping track of bills and accounts, watching videos, and playing games. Sounds pretty good right? But the truth is that even the most casual user actually uses their portable computer for more than that. Editing photos, making videos, doing research, writing up papers, managing social networks, setting up spreadsheets, keeping up with friends, shopping online, listening to music, syncing PDAs, smart phones, and mp3 players, chatting, and reading e-books.

When you add in the additional functions, the whole process becomes more complex. Does your processor speed support the type of web browsing you are likely to do? Will you be using a lot of specialized apps? Is there any conflict between your apps and any proprietary software that comes pre-installed? How do e-books look on the screen. Does the monitor screen easily smudge or scratch? Will your new machine support your phone for syncing?

It’s more than just the decision to click a button and get a new machine. If you do so, you might get lucky, but more likely you will have some unpleasant surprises in store. How can you prepare? Easy.

First of all make that list of everything you use your laptop, netbook, or iPad for. A good suggestion is to keep track of every different use for a week or more. Next, read the reviews from trusted sites that specialize in laptops (like this one), finally, take the time to go out and do some shopping in person. Get to know the feel and capabilities of the different brands like Sony, Acer, Toshiba, HP, or Dell and figure out which one works the best for you. Next, compare your list of needs with the machines you like. Does it fit?

Next, read a minimum of three quality reviews of the machine you are considering buying. You will learn the ups and the downs during this process. And finally, start your shopping process. Check the websites of the manufacturers first and then start to look at places like Amazon, Ebay, Play and other discount sites.

When you get your new laptop, you will still have some surprises. There’s no way to avoid them all. But if you follow this advice, you will at least avoid the worst ones.

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