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Choosing the right laptop

Created date

July 27th, 2010

If you are in the market for a new computer, you may want to consider a laptop computer. A laptop computer is more portable you can take it with you virtually anywhere. Most laptops feature speedy dual core processors, a good amount of RAM (memory), and fast graphic processor. Choosing the right laptop is a game of balancing different available features, and really depends on how you want to use it. Many laptops (or netbooks) are designed primarily for basic word processing, surfing the Web, and checking e-mail. Some laptops have increased memory and graphics processing for watching high-definition movies and playing games. Here are some features to look for: RAM (more memory = more applications open at once) RAM (short for Random Access Memory) is most commonly referred to as computer memory. The more memory you have the more programs you can have open at one time and it won t slow you down. Look for laptops that have a minimum of 2GB (gigabyte) of RAM, but if you are watching HD movies or playing games, opt for a minimum of 4GB of RAM. Hard drive (storage) The bigger your hard drive, the more files you can store. Most laptops come with 250GB to 500GB; these sizes work for most people. If you plan on recording video footage from a video camera onto your laptop, or if you have a really large music collection, you may want to go with the larger hard drive sizes. Processor The processor (or CPU) is the brain of the computer, and the faster your processor, the faster your computer can do anything and everything. Look for computers that have dual core (sometimes called Core 2 Duo) processors, meaning they can handle double the processing power in one chip. Screen size Most laptops come in screen sizes ranging from 12 inches to 20 inches. Finding the right balance of portability and screen size is important, since a larger screen size usually means a heavier laptop. It also means an increase in price and drain on battery life. However, the larger screen size is essential for those who love to watch movies or play games. The most common screen sizes are 15 inches and 17 inches. My advice is to go to a local store and view the laptop screen in bright lighting conditions. Many screens have a glare on them that can be frustrating for some users. Battery life Battery life is important if you want to carry the laptop with you without having to worry about keeping it plugged in for charging. For some, battery life is not such a big deal because they keep their laptop in one place and plugged in. Look for battery life that can last at least six to eight hours. Many newer laptops offer increased battery performance at a lighter weight. Back-lit keyboard Back-lit keyboards are great because they allow you to see the keys much easier. Not all laptops offer this, but it s definitely a feature you want if you plan to take your laptop with you on travel. Now that you have a better understanding of what features to look for, let s explore some of the popular laptops on the market. Apple MacBook Pro The Macbook Pro is one of the hottest growing and most popular laptops due to its rugged design, fast processor, back-lit keyboard, and excellent graphics and battery life. The Macbook Pro is available in a 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch screen size. Unlike other PC laptops, which typically come with Windows 8 preloaded, the Apple Macbook and Macbook Pro operate the Apple OSX operating system. This operating system is different if you are used to Windows, but it s still easy to use and even easier to learn. Many people prefer it over Windows. ' If you have an Apple store nearby, you can even sign up for free training classes. Gateway NV791u $599 This laptop is comparable to a desktop computer in terms of performance and offers the CoreI3 processor (lowest end of the new Intel processor line). It displays widescreen video but is not a full 16:9 resolution HD video resolution. The buttons have a plastic feel, and it s not an ideal choice for gamers, nor does it offer a Blu-ray drive. But the large 17-inch screen is a good value for the money. Sony Vai VPCZ116GX/S (13 inch) $2300 This laptop is very thin, very light, very fast, and also features a back-lit keyboard. It has a sturdy but lightweight design, and high resolution screen. You can also press a switch to either improve graphics or preserve battery life. The graphic display is one of the best on the market and is great for those who play games or watch a lot of videos; however, ' battery life is only three hours. Asus Eee PC 1005PR $399 This is a netbook PC with high performance graphics and a ten-inch screen. It s a good laptop to watch video on because of its HD video accelerator chip, but it s not great for playing high-definition video games. If you are looking for something lightweight that can also handle HD video, this is one of the few netbooks available that can do video well. Toshiba Satellite E205 $999 This laptop is one of the first to offer Intel wireless display video streaming technology which allows you to stream video from your laptop to your television with the purchase of additional accessories. The processor is a corei5 mobile processor which makes it super fast, and it also features a back-lit keyboard.