Steps and Tips to Buying The Perfect Laptop

1) Screen Type

Sure, those glossy screens look lovely when you see them in the ads or in the store, but will you like it when you are tired and the light behind is reflecting right into your eyes and driving you nuts? Glossy screens do have certain advantages while watching movies and playing games, so you need to weigh what you’re likely to be doing most on the laptop. Also, if you’re the type who works on sensitive financial or business data while on a long haul flight, these screens will be easily visible to your neighbor. Think about what you are going to be using your laptop for, before you decide to buy the glossy screen.

2) BuildQuality

All laptops, or almost all, are the same inside in terms of the processor and the RAM or the hard drive used. Owever, all laptops are not created equally in terms of the build quality. Does the casing feel cheap? Does it flex and bend when you left the laptop by one corner. Do the laches feel like they are going to breaks in a few months> Are the hinges creaking, and will they hold the screen at the correct angle after six months> Many of these questions can only be answered by people who’ve actually used the machines for a few months, so hunt around on online forums and ask questions. is a good place to get started.

3) Ergonomics

This is another oft ignored, but extremely important point. Ergonomics is the study of optimizing the interface between human beings, and the designed objects and environments they interact with. This basically means that the objects you use to interact with. This baxically means that the objects you use to interact with the laptop-the keyboard and touchpad-should be designed to cut down on fatigue and make it easy touse the machine. The keyboard is the more important of the two, since most people use laptops to type documents. There is a big difference between a top of the line laptop keyboard, u\such as the ones on the famed ThinkPad series, and the one used on a budget laptop. The feel of a keyboard can influence typing a few hundred words on each laptop you’re considering before you put down the money.

4) Sound

Ah, the bugbear of most laptops. Sound quality has traditionally been ignored, simply because most laptops don’t have good sound, to put it politely. This is changing somewhat these days though, what more manufactures advertising Dolby sound, in build sub-woffer, 5.1 surround and so on. Some of these actually sound quite good, but take these claims with a pinch of salt, bring along your favorite music CD, and actually listen to a complete song or two. If the store complains, take your buseness elsewhere-after all, you’re oing to be sspending tens of thousands ofrupees, and you have the right to know what you’re getting.

5) Features

The laptop feature set is expanding a lot, and that’s a good thing. You now a lot, and that’s a good thing. You now have laptops with optical sound outputs, HDMI ports, multi-function card readers, and even TV Tuners built in. some laptops come with little remote controls that slot into the side and can be used to control the media functions. Others have specialized boot partitions that can quickly load up movies and songs. These features can be useful sometimes, so take a close loot at the extra features while you’re doing your research.

6) Battery

The battery is the heart and soul of a laptop, even more so then the processor. When your battery dies, the fastest processor comes to a screeching halt. Battery life can range from as low as 75 minutes to a high of 245 minutes, in the same price bracket, as we found out in this month’s laptop shootout. So two laptops that are mostly identical in terms of the features and price, differ so much in terms of the battery life. This is another factor that you can find out by visiting websites, or by looking at the milliampere-hour(mAH) rating of the battery. The more the mAh, the better. Also, the more cells (six-cell, eight-cell), the better.

7) Next Gen Connectivity

The new wireless standard-draft-N-is becoming commonplace, but most laptops sould in India don’t offer this by default. It does not make sense to buy a laptop without draft-N support, since in about six months time, any wireless access point you bye will have draft-N support. It’s much faster than the older B/G standard, and with high-definiton video streaming looming on the horizon, it’s not a good idea to be saddled with last-gen technology. Wireless Wide area Networks haven’t started in India yet, but these are slated to begin soon.

8) Accessories

Besides the laptop itself, what else do you get for your money? Some companies are generous enough to give you a laptop baf, a set of really good in-ear headphones, a mouse pad, and all the DVDs you need to restore your machine. Others are more parsimonious and only give the bag. Ohters are worse yet, and give you nothing but the laptop and (if you’re lucky) a system restore DVD. A half-decent laptop bag costs at least Rs 1, 500, so if you’re getting a good one free, you’re saving a substantial amount of money.

9) Software Bundle

Yes, the OS is included, but what about an anti-virus with a license for one year? Or a software to burn DVDs? Or perhaps a media player that can handle all the formats? Some machines come with truly excellent software, that can download all the drivers you need, backup and restore your data, and even keep track of the health of the hard drve. On the other hand, some companies fill up the laptop with a lot of silly software that serves no useful purpose and only slows down that OS. Ask for a is of pre-installed software, and then check online to see if it’s actually useful, or just filling space.

10) Service and Support

When your laptop gets spoilt, service and support vaults to the top of this list. We would all like our expensive machines to be fixed ASAP, and for free, but that’s not always true. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to ascertain the quality of a manufacturers after sales support, and going online doesn’t help much. The old-fashioned way of asking your friends and co-workers is still the way to go. Also. Read the consumer columns in some of the national newspapers-they often have people complaining about poor support.

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