A Guide to Buying Laptops

Whether you’re at the coffee shop, board room or home office, there’s a good chance you’ll see people with laptops. Laptops have advanced so radically in the last 10 years that they can function as your only computer. The trouble is, it seems like there’s no end to all the different laptops available. Luckily, when trying to compare and purchase laptops, you only need to consider three factors (and ignore one) to get the laptop you need.

1. The performance. There are two hardware components that influence the performance of any laptop. The first is the processor. The processor serves as the engine of the computer, and the faster your processor can work, the easier applications can perform. The other hardware component is call Random Access Memory or RAM. This is not your file storage memory. Imagine if you were working in a kitchen that had two burners – you could only cook two things on the stove at once, but if you had six or eight stove top burners, you could cook a whole feast in no time. This is sort of what RAM does for you, the more you have, the more different and intensive tasks you can perform at the same time. Typically, the processor and RAM is what you’re paying for.

2. The size. It used to be that laptops were bulky. heavy and ugly, 15 pounds for a 7 inch screen. With the advances in screen technology and the shrinking of internal computer parts, you can now get laptops with up to a 20 inch screen and other laptops as small as 2 pounds. My advice is to consider your planned usage. If you think you’ll do a lot of traveling, the two pound computer might be preferred over a 17 inch screen.

3. The operating system (OS). The two most popular for laptops or any computers of course are Mac and Windows. A third option is Linux, but it really is only for computer hobbyists. Truthfully, the difference between Mac OS and Windows is small and decreasing everyday. When one comes out with a new feature, the other typically will copy that new feature in an update. Perhaps you’re more comfortable with Windows as it is still the more used OS in the United States. But increases in compatibility between the two means that you’ll rarely miss out by having one over the other.

One thing you can ignore is the hard drive space. This is the storage space you have for files, movies and music. Chances are, the laptops released now have much more storage space than you’ll need. However, if that’s not true, external hard drives are becoming faster, smaller in size, larger in storage space and cheaper. Do not pay extra for storage space in a new laptop.

Searching through all the different laptops can be intimidating or overwhelming. It can be difficult to understand the different options and to know exactly what you’re looking for. If you concentrate on these three factors (performance, size and operating system), you’ll find the laptop that you need.

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