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Buying a Laptop Tutorial

Laptops have come a long way from their early days. The majority were heavy and didn't come close to having the power of a desktop. But now since they are lightweight, support many features and fast processors, many people are opting for them over desktops. If you're interested in buying a laptop, screen size and battery life are key considerations. With any notebook (with the exception of netbooks), a decent viewable screen size starts at about 15 inches. Always make sure you check for long battery life. Some are reported as going for eight hours on a single charge. And like I just mentioned above, most support dual core processors, therefore, you won't miss out on speed and performance. This page offers some basic tips when buying a laptop. You should always consider your needs.

Basic internet surfing/checking email/word processing:
A netbook might be a good choice. Netbooks are popular and are designed for the basic user. They are lighter in weight, smaller (usually from 2 - 3 lbs. with screens from 7 to 10 in. and small keyboards, although now some have larger keyboards), and are generally under $500 - cheaper than the average notebook. If one is $500 or more, it's best to just buy a regular laptop. Keep in mind, however, that these are not powerful systems. They don't have DVD drives, Firewire, DVI, HDMI, or S-Video, the majority run Intel Atom CPUs with processor speeds between 1 and 2GHz, and support around 1 to 2 GB of memory.

However, looking at the positive aspects, netbooks provide wireless internet access, contain USB ports, integrated webcams, and nice screen resolution. And although they don't come with an optical drive, you can purchase an external DVD or CD drive. Like I mentioned above, some have larger keyboards, but if you purchase one and the keyboard is too small for your hands and you don't plan on taking your laptop outside the house, just use a standard-sized keyboard and connect it via one of the USB ports. Many models also support Hi-Definition audio.

Although not fancy, a netebook may be the perfect fit if all you ever want to do is perform simple tasks and you can't fit a regular laptop into your budget. It is also a good choice for students who may not be able to afford a regular laptop. The Acer Aspire One models, Lenovo, ASUS, Toshiba, and HP are some of the most popular brands.

Multimedia or Multitasking:
You need a regular notebook with power. Laptops for entertainment offer S-Video, DVI, HDMI, dual layer DVD writers, and most support Hi Definition audio. Storing a lot videos or pictures will require at least 200 or 250 GB of hard disk space. And like desktops, I suggest at least 2GB of memory. Some of the most popular laptops contain the Intel Centrino processor - the Sony VAIO line, Toshiba, and HP Pavilion are three that support it. Nevertheless, these and others also support AMD dual core (Athlon and Turion 64x2) other Intel CPUs. The more featured systems can have a price range from around $700 to $1000 or more, depending on the type of technology implemented. So be wise and go by your budget.

Hey, I didn't leave out you gamers!!! Some gaming laptops out there contain NVIDIA's latest graphics, 512MB or more graphics memory, four or more USB ports, HDMI, S-Video, 800MHZ or greater FSB speed, and up 1000 Mbps LAN. Some even support up to 8GB of RAM with a 64-bit operating system. These systems typically go for over $1000 but can be cheaper. Toshiba and Hewlett Packard have gaming laptops.


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