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Tips on Choosing the Perfect Laptop

by Tracy Hieb

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Laptop computer

Many factors go into choosing the perfect laptop. The task can seem a bit daunting, especially for those who may not really know a whole lot about computers. One of the first things you should consider is what types of activities you or the person you are shopping for wants to use the laptop for. This will give you an idea of what type of features you need. When you consider what you want the notebook computer to do, you can worry less about confusing numbers like processor speed or memory. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect laptop computer for any user.

What You Need to Know:

  1. Casual users. Most users fall into this group. They typically use the laptop to keep in touch with family and friends via email and social networking sites. They shop online, type an occasional document, watch streaming video, play casual games and use other similarly lightweight computer tasks. Laptop computers with features like integrated webcams and microphones for video chatting with relatives, DVD players and wireless Internet capability can help them get the most enjoyment from their systems.

  2. Business users. This is another large segment of laptop consumers. For the most part, business users want to focus on functionality and transportability. Users in this category use notebooks to create spreadsheets and presentations, write reports and email, take notes and access office applications. These tasks don't necessarily require powerful hardware, but each generation of office applications raises the bar for notebook computer requirements. Business laptop users rarely need extra frills that casual laptop users might like; however, wireless networking will probably be a high priority for business users. If you use your laptop for business, consider the weight of the notebook you will be carrying from home, to the office and to meetings. Another important notebook computer feature is battery life. Few things are worse than having your battery die at the wrong moment, so you may want to look for a laptop designed for low-power and high-efficiency.

  3. Student users. Student laptop requirements are a little more widespread. You'll want to blend between the casual laptop category and the business notebook computer category. You still don't need to be concerned much with hardware in the laptop. Students typically use their laptops to type essays, keep in touch with family and friends, listen to music and access the Internet. These activities don't need too much computing power, so if you're shopping for a student notebook, you should look for features that make using the notebook computer enjoyable. However, some of the features of business laptops may be important, too. You may want a lighter notebook for carrying around between classes. Wireless capability is a good option to have. Battery life could become very important for students as well.

A Few Things to Consider:

  1. If you are concerned about specific hardware on your notebook computer, look for higher amounts of RAM, a type of memory that helps increase processing speed on notebook computers. RAM allows your notebook computer to run multiple applications at the same time and not slow down. Memory requirements for computer programs change frequently. Look at the RAM requirements for programs you are likely to use on your laptop and make sure your notebook computer has the recommended amount of RAM.

  2. While it is true that technology is advancing at a remarkable pace, don't worry about being on the cutting edge of notebook computer technology. If you choose your laptop computer according to the tasks you want to use it for, you will be happy with any laptop you choose, even if it isn't the latest model.

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