Colin’s IT, Security and Working Life blog

June 10, 2009

Laptop buying tips

Filed under: Uncategorized — chaplic @ 6:23 pm

I, like others like me, get the “you know about computers, I’m looking for a laptop” question. Here’s my tips

My laptop buying tips:

1) Are you going to be lugging it about every day? In which case, a 17” monster is not for you

2) Have a good go at the keyboard. Some laptops still have pretty crappy keyboards. All nipples/ touchpads are naff so buy a mouse too

3) Pick the laptop up by the corner, does it crack and groan? Not a good sign

4) Some laptops have ‘shiny screens’. This is a love or hate thing, you need to decide which

5) If you are going from one location to another with your lappy, a second power supply that you can leave there is handy. You can buy them cheap on ebay, if the odd electrical fire is OK with you.

6) Laptops are fragile and mobile, and if you own it long enough you WILL lose all your data. Think about how much data you have, how important it is to you and buy the backup solution at the same time. This could just be a USB pen drive.

7) If you are thinking about hardware warranty, I generally advise against – hard disks are the only things likely to fail (£100 to replace). If you damage your screen, it’s new laptop time. Unless you’re really unlucky, save the money of the warranty and put it towards a new lappy. You’ll be quids in.

8) Spec – Not all that important these days, but 2GB RAM minimum (No point in having over 3.5GB) . If you care for games, then firstly buy a PC instead but otherwise you want to make sure it’s got a proper graphics card and not ‘integrated graphics’. The smaller the laptop (Generally) the lower the performance, though bizarely longer battery life.

9) Manufacturers – Stick to the tier 1. Toshiba, Dell, Acer, Fujitsu, HP Compaq

10) “Free” laptops with a 3G subscription – They are not really free and at best cost neutral. I’ve done the maths.

11) Don’t pay the extra for msoffice/ works. OpenOffice is free, works with office documents and is genuinely as good to use/ better than office. That said, MS office is available at a decent price these days and better if you want familiarity and compatibility with the office.

12) Many come with a fingerprint reader. If your a klutz at typing passwords, these are nice

13) If you are going to be going 3G, you can get Dells with an inbuilt 3G card, not in shops though.

14) Get one of these lyrca zipup baggy things to encase your laptop in, then put it in a lappy bag. Not only can you just take the lycra bag with you sometimes, it keeps it clean/

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