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Considerations when buying a laptop computer.

27/04/17

Considerations when buying a laptop computer.

Permalink 08:48:00 pm by Eugene Gardner, Categories: General, Articles
  1. Operating system. Windows is so common that others may not be given sufficient thought. Apples OSX is good but unless you are used to it some familiarisation training time should be allowed for, and the implied cost is much more than Windows. Chrome is fine at the cheaper end of the market where most things can be done over the internet. Linux comes in many distributions and being open source is free, but some relearning will probably be required.
  2. The screen. Bigger is better but the larger the screen the more weight and higher the cost. A low resolution (under 1920 x 1080) gives less desktop space and on a big screen translates to low pixel density and poor quality images. Aim for a brightness no less than 300cd/m and contrast ratio better than 700 (the blackest black is 700 times as dark as the brightest whites). Matte finish is usually better than gloss unless reflections will never be a problem for you.
  3. Power. Where possible mains trumps battery but if portability is your goal then it?s worth paying extra to get an easily replaceable battery ? they all deteriorate with age, and being able to whip out a replacement can be handy. Although remember the weight penalty. Pay little heed to the watt or milliamp hour ratings as different computers drain at different rates.
  4. Storage. Even in the most modest system these days solid state drives are almost a necessity; the only caveat is where two drive bays are available and huge storage space is needed. On a Chrome computer 120GB is generous but if data is to be held locally then double that may be the minimum to tolerate. And for volatile memory a.k.a. RAM 4GB will do but 8GB is better. 16GB is a waste under normal circumstances.
  5. Peripherals. Check that you have sufficient connections: Bluetooth for a wireless mouse, HDMI for any multimedia perhaps, sufficient USB (at least one blue version 3 socket), a card reader for your camera?s SD card, Wi-Fi at 11.802ac standard, RJ45 internet socket.
  6. Processor. Probably the largest effect on cost but unless you run multiple concurrent or compute heavy programs you can get away with something modest. But the graphics will probably be incorporated so don?t hit the bottom of the bargain basement ? unlike most other components this can?t be upgraded later.
  7. The supplier. Much greater flexibility of component choice comes with a custom built system and there?s no price premium usually. Off?the-shelf models typically lose 10% of available horse power to the bundled in programs that manufacturers add on. Note that second user computers are perhaps 60% of the cost of an equivalent new and both come with a 12 month warranty usually.

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