Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Laptop Buying Guide

Most of us are confused when buying a laptop and we ask our friends, family and roam around a digital store to find what's best. The array of choices available out there makes us more confusing. After all investing around 40k rupees and not getting a good deal wouldn't be cool.

  1. Form factor

    Today most people are so involved in choosing the configuration that they miss out on the most important thing, yes the form factor. After all laptop is a device that you are gonna use a lot so first thing you should be comfortable with the design and the over all look and feel of the device. here are some of the factors to consider.
    • Convertible, Detachable

       A convertible as it says converts into a tablet or the form can be customized according to comfort. A detachable is one where the screen detaches from the lower part of the laptop body. If your budget is pretty high you can go with this stylish and separate from the crowd options which can give you special attention. The legacy of the convertibles started when Lenovo released the Yoga laptop back in 2012. From then onwards there are many options available with different companies. With the spreading use of WINDOWS 8 operating system by Microsoft these are becoming popular.

    • Ultrabook or Netbook or Laptop

      An Ultrabook with decent specs cost over 50k but are thin, portable and stylish. Performance doesn't differ much but you may have to sacrifice some ports. A Netbook is a low priced device with low specs aimed at people with basic tasks such as Browsing and Microsoft office. Now a days this category is merged into the laptop. A laptop is what lies between the netbook and ultrabook. In my opinion with processor advancement (Moore's law) even laptops are thinner now a days and you can invest the extra money in specs (Graphics) instead of going for an ultrabook.
    • Screen Size

      If you are going to carry the laptop around a lot and want to get rid of the weight a 14" laptop would be the best choice. However if you can compromise with the weight and want the laptop for movies and games a 15" would suit you. Anything less than 14" mostly comes in the category of Netbooks and Convertibles
  2. Specifications

    • Processor and graphics

      Called the heart and brain of the system and the most expensive part. Intel is ruling the processor market with the i-core generation processor with currently the 5th generation running. Most of the people are confused between INTEL and AMD. Though Intel out-stands AMD in terms of benchmarks( on paper ) both processors almost have the same output in action with AMD being the cheaper choice. Go for Intel i5 processors if you are looking to play some high end games and run heavy editing Software else Intel i3 would suffice. For hardcore gamers i7 is recommended if it suits your budget else go for i5 with graphics card. AMD A8 and A10 are decent processors which match the capability of Intel i5 and cost equal to Intel i3. Coming to Graphics Card Nvidia and Radeon both give good performance but Nvidia would be better. Again, it all depends on your budget, what fits take it.
    • RAM

      In simple language high RAM size means you would be able to multi-task better without any glitch. A 4 GB would be a decent choice and since these are upgradable there is no need to worry in most of the laptops you can always add extra if you need.
  3. Build Quality and durability

    • Material

      We all want a laptop that lasts years after all it is a one time investment. Some laptop survive small drops and have good built quality others are made up of mere plastic and look filmsy, we would all want a former one. Before buying do check the hinges whether they close and open smoothly. The material the laptop is made of.
    • Keyboard and Keypad
      An example of well laid keyboard and touchpad

      These two things you are gonna use a lot for typing, browsing and endless number of tasks, so be sure you are comfortable with it. What are you talking, do keyboards and keypads also have varieties? Yes they have, but I don't want to mention to make it more complicated.  Be sure the mouse pad has a good texture so that the fingers are firm on it and the buttons are separate from each other for better and accurate pressing. The keys on the keyboard should be neatly placed so that the keys targeted are only pressed. Be sure to try your hands on with some of the keyboards in a digital store. If you are a programmer be sure the function keys have direct access and are not operated be pressing in combination with some other key.
  4. Battery Life

    With the recent processor advancement most laptop have their battery life improved to upto 4 hours. An ultrabook lasts longer because of the way they are integrated. Extra screen size would require more battery.
  5. Other Considerations

    • USB and other ports
      from left to right  VGA, USB 3.0 , HDMI and SD card slot

      As I said laptops have started to get thinner so the obviously the fat ports are removed by most of the manufacturers. If you are a user who needs VGA port for connecting a projector or for a Dual Monitor setup, do check the availability of VGA before buying. Check for the availability of other ports based on your need like USB port(s), HDMI port, Ethernet port, SD card slot etc. Though port exchanges are available it costs a few extra bucks.
    • Heat

      Heat is not a problem now a days in laptops, but do check whether the laptop has proper vents for heat escape. AMD processor powered laptops generally emit more Heat than Intel powered laptops.
    • Webcam

      If you are going to do a lot of conferencing or chatting then make sure you go for a HD webcam for better picture quality online. After all you should look good online.
    • Warranty

      Most of them usually come with a 1 year warranty as it goes with any electronic product. Mostly the problems arise in the first year of buy itself. So extending the warranty, paying a decent amount of money would be waste, you can spend that on accessories.
So now you are prepared for buying a laptop that suits you best, will be comfortable and lasts long. Good luck with the buying process. If you have any queries or you are not able to decide or want a suggestion feel free to mention in the comments. You can also write to me aksytechie@hotmail.com.