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First things first! Advice for a new computer – part 2

new laptop specs

Focus On Laptops

Previously, we discussed specs that could be applied to any computer – desktop or laptop. Now, we’ll look specifically at laptops.

Laptops are different. Mainly because they are so personal. Many of their features affect each person differently, rendering these decisions highly subjective.

As such, additional characteristics you need to consider are…

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Screen characteristics – size, brightness, color, sharpness
  • Keyboard
  • Battery
  • Warranty

 

Size

Face it, laptops are meant to be portable, and the bigger they get, the heavier they get and thus the less portable they become. But, the smaller the laptop, the less comfortable it is to use! So  you have design considerations in opposition. Ultimately, you are the only one who can know the “just right” balance between size/weight and ease of portability.
 

Weight

Although people are opting for laptops more and more as their primary computer (vice the traditional desktop), some people deliberately choose laptops for their portability. If you are going to be carrying your laptop much of the time, you’ll need a lighter laptop. But be advised, laptop manufacturers realize light weight is a premium and they price them accordingly – lighter means more expensive.
 

Screen

This means how bright is the monitor, how clear is it, how densely packed are the pixels and how good is its representation of colors. Again, often a subjective assessment determines if a given laptop is a “fit.”
 

Keyboard

You’re going to have this laptop for at least the next three years. You are going to be interacting closely with it much of the time. Your laptop keyboardhands will be in direct contact with the keyboard primarily. So, how do you like keyboards? Cushioned? Light and clicky? This is another subjective judgement you should consider. Also, observe the layout of the keyboard. Each manufacturer does it differently. Some keyboards come with custom keys for particular functions (wifi on/off, number pads to the side, volume controls, shortcuts to email or browsers, etc)
 

Battery

It is always better to have more capacity than less. Unfortunately, there is a price associated with increased performance. You’ll have to determine if an extended battery option is in your best interests or accept less performance in order to get a smaller lighter laptop.
 

Warranty

For laptops I recommend a 2-year warranty. Not 3-years (and I don’t recommend warranties for desktops). I recommend a warranty for 2 years because you need the computer to last *at least* two years. If your laptop dies at the three year mark (sigh), its a bad day, for sure – but you kinda got your usage out of that laptop. When you get a warranty, make *sure* it covers the screen! It can cost as much to replace the screen as it is to buy a replacement computer sometimes! And yes, they sell warranties that don’t cover the screen. :(
 

[next... other considerations]

Your turn! What do you have to say??