Although a laptop purchase isn’t a very long term investment, it’s still a hefty one. Here are some things to consider:
First, let’s assume you have already chosen your OS and you know how much power and hard drive space you need. Remember, many people have good intentions about “upgrading later,” but never do. You should also keep in mind that, unlike desktops, you’re fairly locked-in with internal storage and completely stuck with your graphics processor.
Size, it matters. You’re going to need to seriously decide how big you want your laptop to be. Is it going to be a desk machine, rarely leaving one spot, or, do you want to be on the go? If you end up carrying around a 9lb. beast all the time, you’re going to hate it. Make comparisons, too. A pound can make a big difference, at the same time, the footprint for a 15in laptop versus a 14in laptop may be the same.
These are Intel’s 2nd generation of Core-i. They came out last March, so you may still find first generation Core-i’s on the cheap. So, when you’re doing your price comparisons, be sure to keep this in mind. Sandy Bridge cores run about 5-10% faster, while at the same time, run cooler and use less battery power. If you’re looking at a machine without dedicated GFX, Sandy Bridge performs better as an integrated solution, too. If it’s just about dollars and cents, this doesn’t matter, but if you want the most for your money, be sure to keep this in mind.
If you have the money, get it. They are faster, have lower latency, silent, and have no moving parts. That’s an unbeatable combination. Unfortunately, a Solid State Drive will push your price point up.
How valuable is screen real estate to you? Figure out a good balance, and stick to it! If you don’t have enough screen space, you’ll find yourself frustrated all the time. You need to think about how you’re going to be using it. If you’re going to surf the web and write blog posts, you may not need much, but if you’re going to do graphic work, you need room for your image and all of those toolbars. Keep resolution in mind, too. A 15in display can give you more screen real estate than a 17in display by way of resolution. Remember, you can’t upgrade your screen. If you plan on doing graphic or video work, take the RGB LED back-lighting plunge. RGB LED back-lighting is going to give you a purer white and richer colours, especially with your green and blues.
They’re not just for cool people, anymore. Less dust, less fluff, less crumbs, less breakage. They are more comfortable, and your 2-year old can’t pop them off as well (true story). Plus, many times they are back-lit, which is great for low-lighting situations.
Apple owns the market on this. They are sturdy. HP has since released a “look-a-like,” but it isn’t just about looks. Plastic can be tough, too. If you can get your hands on it, do it. If you found a machine you like online, try to find it at a local store, so you can really get a feel for it. Why? You will drop your laptop. It’s a fact. It may be in your bag, it may be in your car, it may be out of your chair, but you will drop it, and you want it to hold-up!
Get it. The chances of using any kind of external storage for your laptop is fairly high, so if you end up with an external drive (or device), you certainly won’t mind 3.2 Gigabits per second versus the 400MB per second that USB 2.0 runs at.
When you’re looking for a laptop, what are the top things you consider?