Not all laptops are created equal
Buying a new laptop is a very personal choice. There is a lot of thought that needs to go into something you plan to carry with you all the time. This is more than a device, it says something to you and about you. If you plan to use it for work, for play, for whatever, it needs to fit your life.A laptop is a tool, it helps you accomplish something. So you need the right tool for the job. You need to ask yourself a few questions. What do you need it to do? What size is comfortable for you? What kind of operating system, the software that powers the laptop, will meet your needs? And most or least important, how does it look? The last one is the most subjective, you might not think you care, but deep down we all do. If the tool is ugly you won’t use it and you will have wasted your time and money.
Where to start with your search? You could walk in cold to a store like Best Buy or Office Depot and just look at what they have on the shelf. This could work, but I don’t think this would be the best place to start. It might give you an idea of how the laptop looks in real space but not what it might be capable of. I would recommend the trip to the store being your last step.
I feel one of you best strategies is to put together a checklist on what you want the laptop to do. Let’s list the questions I asked earlier:
If you need a laptop for work. the most important stats for you are going to be Operating System and RAM.
Where will you use the laptop? If it is mostly at home, then battery life will not matter as much since you will probably always be near an outlet. If you plan to use the laptop on the road, meaning coffee shops, hotels, worksites, etc. Then battery life is going to be a major factor in your choices.
What size screen do you need? 17-inch screens are great and give you a lot of room to work. I would usually only recommend this class of laptop if you will mostly use the computer sitting at a desk. This size tends to be heavier and also more expensive. They are not a really portable weight either. 17-inch screens are great if you are doing graphics or large spreadsheets since the available screen size allows you to see more of your work with needing to scroll horizontally.
Which Operating System should you choose? This is the one question that will get you about 100 different answers, all depending on who you ask. I will try to take an objective look at the major offerings. Keep in mind, the operating system is what allows your laptop to do things. It is the layer between the software (programs/apps) and the hardware.
What will the laptop be made out of? There are a couple of options now, plastic and aluminum. Plastic is usually cheaper and can be found in a spectrum of colors. No more are we stuck buying a gray or black laptop, which is fine if that’s what you want. The are a few finishes in the plastic also, from matte (not shiny) to a piano finish (very shiny) this really comes down to what you like. As far as the aluminum laptops go, the metal is more durable and less prone to scratching or chipping if your laptop suffers the occasional drop. Apple laptops all come in a solid aluminum case that is machined from one piece of aluminum. Some Windows and ChromeOS laptops are starting to show up in aluminum now also. The laptop I use, the Acer Chromebook 14 comes in two pieces of aluminum, it can be had in silver or gold colors. Honestly, this all comes down to what you like.
Once you answer these questions, the final one is to figure out how much you can spend. The best bet you can make is to figure out your top price and look for a laptop that meets your needs as close to that price as possible. A special note, once you buy your laptop, stop shopping for them. It never fails that the week after you buy one, a bigger, better, faster model will come out.
A good laptop should last several years before you need to replace it with something newer and better.
What things would you recommend to be added to the checklist, what are stories of buying a laptop do you have? Leave your comments below. Also be sure to subscribe to the blog so you can be notified when new content is added!