What To Look For When Purchasing A Windows Laptop

Weight:

Weight is one of the most important aspects to look for when choosing laptops. That is due the fact that laptops are meant to be carried around and hence the lighter they are, the easier it is to carry them. Also, it is not comfortable to have an eight pound laptop on your lap for 2 hours. Generally, a good weight is one lower than 5 pounds. Most websites that offer the laptop will have the weight listed under “technical specifications.”

Viewing Angle:

The viewing angle is the angle at which one can look at the screen and still distinguish what is displayed. Having a good viewing angle is especially important for when multiple people are looking at the screen because some will have to look at an angle. The best way to determine if the viewing angle is adequate for your purposes is to visit a store that sells the chosen laptop and look at screen of the laptop from various angles. In general, the more expensive laptops ($800+) have better viewing angles.

Keyboard:

Keyboards, unlike track pads, cannot usually be bypassed in a practical fashion; hence it is crucial to choose a comfortable keyboard. A comfortable keyboard should have keys with the desired key-press pressure and an aspired key layout. Once again, the best way to determine if the keyboard is right for you is the visit a retailer and try typing a few sentences on it.

Processor (CPU):

The processor is one of the main components of a computer and thus it is very important to select one that suites your needs. Most users will want a processor that has at least 2 cores and a clock speed of at least 2.0 Ghz. However, some quad cores are clocked under 2.0 Ghz, but have a turbo boost function that allows them to have a significantly higher clock speed using only 2 cores. Also, it is preferred to have at least 4 megabytes of L3 cache as it provides and overall increase in performance. As a side note, quad cores drastically improve photo/video rendering performance. Gamers should look for quad core processors in order to stay up to date with the recent system intensive games such as Battlefield 3 and Skyrim.

Random Access Memory (RAM) :

RAM is another considerable component that should be optimized to satisfy personal needs. 4-8 gigabytes is sufficient for the casual laptop use that does not do a lot of photo/video rendering. However, those who plan on doing some intensive gaming and/or photo/video rendering should consider picking up 12 or even 16 gigabytes of RAM. The RAM frequency should be at least 1066 and preferably 1333 or greater.

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU):

Yet another vital component of laptops and computers in general is the GPU. The GPU handles the graphics of the system and relieves strain from the GPU during graphics intensive applications (with a dedicated GPU). However, many laptops offer GPUs that are built into the processor which can be quite powerful; especially the AMD A series. Motherboard integrated GPUs, on the other hand, are not very powerful and are only sufficient for casual computing. A dedicated graphics card is a worthy investment for anyone planning on doing some intensive gaming and/or photo/video rendering.

Hard Drive (HD)/ Solid State Drive (SSD):

Hard Drive and Solid state drives are the main storage medias in laptops and computers in general. Commonly, hard drives come in 2 speeds: 5400 rotations per minute (RPM) and 7200 RPM with the 7200 RPM one being significantly faster. SSDs, on the other hand, are a different. They are a lot faster than hard drives, but come at greater prices. Many high end laptops come with SSDs of 128 GB or more. Ultimately, it comes down to the greater storage capacity of hard drives against the greater reliability, faster speed, and lower boot times of the solid state drives.

Battery Life:

As with any other portable device, power is often limited in laptops (unless constantly plugged into charger). Some laptops can operate off of their battery for 3 hours, while others can operate for 8. It is vital to choose a laptop with the proper amount of battery life that suits your needs. Battery life is often listed on the manufacturer’s website and customer reviews.

Connectivity:

Connectivity is essentially the ports that a laptop has than can be used to connect the device to other devices. For example, displays, mice, USB drives, network adapters, media cards, and external speakers; just to name a few. It is a rather good idea to plan out what devices one plans to use in order to prevent having to purchase adapters or even return the laptop due to device incompatibility. The ports are listed on the manufacturer’s website as well as on the retailer’s website.

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