With laptops, tablets and portable computers potentially costing 1 lakh rupees or more, it is critical to understand your requirements well before buying. The hundreds of laptop configurations from brands including Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft make purchasing confusing.
Five key questions to answer before parting with your hard-earned money:
- What is your budget?
- What operating system will you use?
- What will you use the laptop for?
- How important is portability?
- How critical are reliability and durability?
1. What is your budget?
Budget is a major factor when buying a laptop. The amount you are prepared to spend can reduce your options substantially. If funds are limited (and they are for most people), determining your budget should be the first thing you do.
2. What will you use your laptop for?
The features required vary dramatically depending on a laptop’s intended use. If you only want a machine for Facebook, the internet and email, a budget device with a low end processor and integrated video card would suffice. You could even consider buying a tablet. However, if you will edit movies or play the latest video games consider a desktop replacement with powerful, high speed multi-core processors, hard drives and video cards.
3. What operating system will you use?
There are three major operating systems: Windows, OS and Linux. Windows is the most common operating system and usually the default software for non-Apple laptops. OS is the system found in Apple devices (such as MacBooks and iPads) while Linux is the most customisable operating system. If you have a low budget then Linux and Windows based laptops are cheaper than the comparable Apple product. However, many people like Apple’s form, function and software enough to pay a premium. Experienced computer users should consider Linux’s flexibility and customisation options.
4. How important is portability?
Notebooks and laptops vary substantially in size and weight. If you will carry your laptop to work or school every day or take it on holidays then consider sacrificing either performance or cost for a light weight model. There are many mini laptops, tablets and ultrabooks designed with portability in mind.
5. How critical are reliability and durability?
Will your device be used in outdoor or rugged areas? Will your laptop be used for important business? Will it contain critical information? Answering these questions will assist in deciding whether to pay extra for a rugged device such as a Panasonic Toughbook or for a business-oriented device such as a Dell Latitude or a Lenovo ThinkPad. Do be warned that rugged and business laptops cost substantially more than equivalent consumer models. In return, such devices usually have higher quality parts, more security features and better after sales service and support.
After answering these five questions you will have greater knowledge of what portable computing device you require. Now you can visit the online computer stores and traditional shops with more certainty and confidence.