How To Choose a Laptop for BeginnersJuly 29th, 2009 by James | This article was viewed 16,120 times.
With the market flooded with varieties of laptops, buying your notebook (laptop) without sufficient knowledge of the world of Information Technology can never be a pleasant experience.
You know what you are going to do with your laptop, but knowing what your laptop is capable of is what needs to be answered. Thus this article “How To Choose a Laptop for Beginners” is prepared.
When a sales assistant tells you that you should buy “your perfect notebook”, be extra cautious. “Your perfect notebook” would translate into expensive specifications that sometimes you don’t exactly need. And in the world of ever-changing technology, the perfect notebook would become the perfect pile of trash in 4 years.
So to ensure that you get a laptop that suits your needs, here are a few things to take note of.
What You Want To Do With Your Laptop?
Different notebook usage requires different notebook specifications which will determine your budget. Word processing (writing, surfing, checking email) requires a lot less technology compared to graphic processing (graphic design, video editing, gaming and so on).
A famous question many beginners will ask is, “Do I need good specs to watch movies?” My answer will be, “it depends”. If you are going to watch HD (High Definition, 1080p for example) movies, get a laptop with at least a decent graphic card.
Learn The Information Technology Language
It would not hurt to learn a few words of the language computer geeks speak. In fact, it is very crucial to learn the language of a subject (in this case, computer subject) before you have anything to do with it.
Understanding words like processor, memory (aka RAM), harddisk (SATA or PATA), graphic cards, HDMI/RJ45/USB ports, operating system (Windows, Linux or MAC OS), optical device and a lot more allows you to understand more about the laptop you are going to buy.
The most important thing is to ask questions, be it to a sales assistant or the customer service through phone.
Go google up all the above terms yourself. There is plenty of information on the internet which I wouldn’t stuff you with.
With pretty things being one of the most important factors when buying a product, I am sure how your laptop looks counts when you are buying your laptop. Outlook does matter to an extent that it should not be first priority when choosing a laptop.
Notebook portability is inversely proportional to the size of your notebook, meaning if you want more portability, you will have to have smaller notebook (10 – 12 inch screen). Small notebook translates to lousier specs, smaller screen, smaller keyboard, more expensive specs and so on.
Suitable for office, lecture, presentation and word processing use.
Large notebooks (17 inch screen) are not particularly helpful also since they are usually very pricey and are extremely heavy to carry around. You can’t even travel 200 meters without breaking a sweat with a 17 inch screen notebook on your back (during summer of course). The good thing about large notebooks is they have attractive specs.
Suitable for almost everything except for portability.
Medium sized notebooks (14 to 16 inch) will have the best of both worlds. You have specs, portability with a large keyboard and your compromise is too small to be noticeable.
Suitable for everything depending on usage.
Battery life can sometimes be a very important factor when choosing your laptop or vice versa if power ports are all around you.
If there is a lack of power ports at your work place or you like to use your laptop while you are traveling (in planes or trains), battery life is extremely crucial to you. Otherwise, you can forget about it since most laptop guarantees you at least 2 hours (1 hour+ when the battery loses its life).
Warranty and Support
All notebook manufacturers offer warranty and support for their notebooks, but they come in various forms. Some expect you to return the laptop to the factory when it is faulty (which takes weeks/months to repair) and some get their technicians to change the faulty parts the next business day.
It is our responsibility to discover which company offers the most beneficial after-sales support and for the above example, it is the latter type of after-sales support that we want.
Lastly your budget, one of the most important factors that determines which notebook you will get. After deciding what you want, set your budget and try not to go beyond the money you are willing to spend.
After deciding everything above, you have to know what sort of specifications your future laptop should have.
Do you need a faster processing speed at a ridiculously price increase? Do you need that 500 GB of storage? Conventional SATA harddisk or wallet damaging Solid State Harddisk? Do you need 8GB of RAM while you can’t even finish using 2GB?
First Impression Is Important
When buying from a computer shop, your first thing you felt when you touch the notebook must be an excellent one. If something does not feel right, find the problem then decide if you can live with that or not. In case you can’t find out the problem, pick others.
When buying online, it is always advisable to visit some computer store to check the notebook out first.
Also, do note that keyboard varies in sizes and brands of notebooks. A smaller notebook would have a smaller and much cramped keyboard which does not suit people with large fingers.
Different brand of notebooks would also have different keyboard placements. Of course the alphabets are in the same place, but some keys like Spacebar, Shift, Ctrl, Enter, Backspace, Delete, Home, Insert, End keys are placed differently.
It is totally up to you whether to adapt to it or choose others.
From this point onwards you can discredit my opinion if they do not make sense or sound wrong to you.
I am an all-rounder person, I play games, twiddle with graphic design, do some crazy engineering calculations and surf with 20 tabs open most of the time. I travel with my notebook only when I am forced to.
The ideal (ideal, not perfect) notebook for me would have
- 15.6 or 16 inch Full HD Display
- Any processor speed (processing speed is really something overrated for me)
- 320GB of harddisk space is more than enough (NO SSD for the time being)
- 2GB or 4GB of Memory depending on budget (6GB maximum)
- Any best Radeon or NVIDIA Geforce available
- The best support & warranty available (this is one of my highest priority)
Of course, wireless LAN card, Bluetooth and all those little things a notebook should have must be included.
I would get a 12 inch notebook (any specifications) for presentation and jotting down notes during lectures if I have extra money to spend.
To top that up I would also get a gaming desktop if the day I turn into a gaming freak arrives. I would not by any means go for a 17 inch notebook because I personally think that is just a marketing gimmick. A 17 inch notebook defeats the purpose of laptops. Laptops are meant to be portable and I don’t see how a heavy 17 inch notebook is portable. I might as well go to the gym if that is the case. 16 inch is the maximum I would go.
I’d like to conclude the article with my 2 cents regarding support and warranty. To be honest, I can’t really be bothered with the high-end specifications if I am not guaranteed with an excellent after-sale service. Pretty laptop and high-end specs count to nothing if they are not replaced (longest) in a week when spoilt.
That is all for this article, I sincerely hope you learned something from it. Happy shopping for laptops!
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