Buying a laptop is very
much like buying a new car. It is something that laptop users look
forward to, but hate at the same time. For one thing, manufacturers are
consistently updating their machines to keep up with competitors and to
make what their customers tell them are needed improvements.
Unfortunately, what seems like a good idea to one person may be a
turn-off to another.
There are many popular laptop manufacturers in the market right now;
Dell, Lenovo, Hewlett Packard (HP), Acer, Compaq, Gateway, Sony, Toshiba
and Alienware are among the most commonly available. Each manufacturer
listed above offers several different models of laptops, some offer
complete families of machines sorted by the intended purpose.
If you are looking for a high-end business laptop that offers a
small-form case with a high-speed processor and large capacity hard
drive, you are certain to find a model from each manufacturer that will
meet your requirements. However, if you are looking for a portable media
center or a laptop that will be used for significant gaming you are
likely to find your options significantly reduced.
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself when you are
determining which laptop is the best option for you:
Are you loyal to a
specific manufacturer, and if so what has your experience been with
that company in the past?
applications will you need to run on your laptop, and what are the
system requirements of those packages?
Is size/weight a
significant consideration for you?
Do you do intensive
layout work which might entail a need for a specific size screen or
even a widescreen?
What type of warranty
would you like to have with your laptop?
Will you use a docking
station, or will you be moving your laptop to different locations on
a frequent basis?
How long do you intent
to keep your laptop? If the answer is two or more years, then you
will want to look at those options with the fastest available
processors and the highest possible amount of memory.
How much data will be
stored on the laptop, and what type of files are they? This makes a
difference if you intend to keep your entire digital music
collection on your hard drive, or to store entire movies. Also, if
you are planning to have 120GB worth of data files, you will not
want to buy a laptop that has an 80GB hard drive.
Do you do a lot of
graphics work, or do you play graphically intensive video games
(such as World of Warcraft) that will require a high end video card
with excellent resolution? There is a price premium associated with
this type of video card, so if you do not need it you may want to
opt for a lower-end card to reduce costs.
How much money are you
willing to spend?
If you have looked at the
questions above, you probably have a very good idea of what you actually
need in a laptop. The next thing that you should do is to check Consumer
Reports or another consumer review publication which will give you
insight into the performance of each model.
Talk to representatives from several retailers or manufacturers with
your list of questions handy. This will allow you to get quotes on
similar quality machines from several different sources.
Price Comparison on
the Major Laptop Brands
Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic,
Nec, IBM, Hp/Compaq, Gateway, Fujitsu, Acer and Dell
||Satellite – $800-$1,500
Tecra - $1,200 - $2,000
Qosmio – $2,500-$3,000
||Versa - $800-$1,200
|IBM / Lenovo:
||ThinkPad - $1,500-$3,000
|Hp / Compaq:
||HP Pavilion - $1,100-$1,400
Compaq Presario - $600-$1,000
||Gateway Notebook - $700-$1,400
||Lifebook - $1,100-$1,400
||Aspire - $800-$1,600
TravelMate - $1,600-$1,800