Buying Guide: Things to Look for When Buying a Laptop!

latop-buying-guideBy Haris Sheikh

Laptop is becoming a thing of office commodity than rather a necessity and it is one of the most important things for professionals who need to be connected with people around them. The good news is that the computer industry of Pakistan has grown exponentially and we have more products and computers especially laptops than ever before.

With a large variety of laptops in the market buying the right one can be a tiring and daunting task. Before you start-off you should know what exactly you be looking for to keep yourself on the right track. Ok so to start with, keep these three simple rules in mind when you head to the market

Three Simple Rules of Buying a Laptop under a Budget:

  1. Design is Not Always the King – Don’t let design and shinny surface distract you.
  2. Never Ask Too Much – Buy what you need and not what you want.
  3. Save Some Money to Buy Laptop Accessories – It is always wise to save some money on a laptop to buy accessories such as laptop bag, cooling pad and optical mouse.

Here is What Exactly You Should Be Looking for

Screen Size

It is crucial to have the right screen size of your laptop because you will of course look stupid closing-in to the screen of your laptop because you can’t read a thing. An 11.6-inch screen would be ideal for students because it is an average display size and you will get plenty of charge time for laptops with such screen sizes. You can also go for a 13-inch screen for better viewing, which is considered as a mid-size screen.

A 13-inch screen is not the best screen size for graphic designers, engineers or office professionals but it is a rather average size on which you can work all day comfortably. Go for a 15 or 17 inch screen if you have a good budget as these are mainstream sizes. A laptop with a 15-inch screen has an average weight and is ideal for people who usually carry it between office and home.

Processor

AMD and Intel are two major (or probably only options in Pakistan) processors manufacturing companies. Although AMD is popularly infamous for heating up PCs but it certainly has some advantages over Intel. You will find some laptops running on AMD processors but most new laptops in Pakistan come with Intel processors which leave us with it as the only option.

If you have a fair budget I recommend you buying a used laptop rather than a new one because most new laptops come with an Intel i3 or higher processor starts with a price tag of PKR.40,000 and above. You can still find some used laptops running on Intel core2duo processors but I suggest that you look for dual-core so that you can enjoy Microsoft Vista and new software updates.

Fortunately, there are still many people who aren’t ready to switch to i3 or higher processors and you can still find new notebooks and laptops running on Pentium and Celeron processors.

Samsung and Dell are two good brands to follow which manufacture new laptops running on Pentium or Pentium Atom probably 1.5-1.8GHz processors, and they usually have 320GB hard drives and 15-inch LED screen.

Features

Once you have narrowed down to a laptop that attracts you, look for its features such as add-ons like hard drive, battery time and keyboard. The storage space of 500GB is considered as standard hard drive storage size and it will keep you relieved for years before you run out of space.

A brand new laptop can easily give you battery time of up to 2-hours or more but a used laptop can give you up to 90-minutes of battery time or less. Replacing the battery of the laptop with a new one is also a good idea which will give a boost of backup to your laptop.

Next check the keyword and its simplicity. Some laptops have their English keywords aligned to left which is not a good thing especially for people who types a lot. Having a keyword not aligned in the center of the screen will cause you discomfort in typing as your right hand will bend to left – make sure it is aligned centered. Secondly, some small laptops don’t have a separate numeric keypad but rather top numeric keys alone.

Depending upon your typing habits, find a keyword that works best for you and size of your hand.

Add-ons

I love looking for add-ons because they really ease your work on laptop. A laptop should have a DVD-RW, at least three USB ports, HDMI outlet, 3.5mm audio outlet, a microphone, webcam and everything else you find in it.

But for older laptops and mini notebooks you won’t find a DVD-RW or a webcam because of their small size and low prize – depending upon your usage and preferences you can go for laptops with fewer features to fit your budget. Some free gifts also add some attraction to a product and things such as a free cooling pad and bag make a good deal.

Verdict

Keep aforementioned three simple rules in mind when you visit a laptop store and look for these features and specs. Buying a laptop is no rocket science but it does require some knowledge about computers and you should know what exactly you should be looking for.

Author is a freelancer, and the co-founder and managing editor of www.ZindagiMag.com – A complete online Pakistan lifestyle magazine where he discusses everything tech and what’s happening in Pakistan. Follow him at http://www.facebook.com/zindagimag to get latest updates.