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Laptop Buying Guide Chapters

1. What to Consider Before Purchasing a Laptop

2. Recommended Laptop Features

3. Video Memory and Screen Resolution

4. Notebook CPU Speed Index Chart

5. Hints on Buying a Laptop

6. Best Selling Laptops and Notebooks

7. Notebook Reviews and Links



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Laptop Buying Guide - page 5

Laptop Buying Hints

Listed below are hints to remember when shopping for a laptop or notebook.

Try before you buy - If at all possible, try out the laptop before you purchase it. Why? Because if you don't like the keyboard, mouse, screen, or performance, you shouldn't buy it in the first place.
There is very little you can do about these things when you are traveling with the laptop.
So, it is very important that you are comfortable with the feel and performance of the computer.
I encourage you to shop around and try as many laptops as you can. A laptop is a personal thing, and just because your friend or a reviewer likes a certain one, doesn't mean you will.

Less is More - Unless you are a serious traveler, don't buy a high-end laptop. Why? Because when you are paying double the price of a comparable desktop, newer features will cost you. You would be better off buying an older laptop that meets your mobility needs, and sinking the bulk of your money into a desktop.

Desktop Replacement? - No way! Laptops are inferior to desktop computers in all features except portability.
For example, let's look at the game playing potential of laptops. Odds are that even if you can play new games when you buy a laptop, within a year or so you will want to sell it so you can buy something faster to play the newest games. (For more discussion about game playing and laptops, see our examples on Laptop Buying Guide, page - 1 of this article.)

Store Return Policy - Beware! Make triply sure that you can return the laptop for a refund if you don't like it (better stores allow returns of laptops up to 30 days after purchase for a full refund). Many stores have special rules on returning laptops - make sure you know them before you buy..

Warranties - Make sure you understand the laptop's warranty and how it will be repaired if it breaks. Remember that small and new companies' warranties are almost worthless as they may not be in business tomorrow.

Additional Maintenance Contracts - I never buy additional maintenance contracts on electrical items. I always figured that if the thing broke it was probably time to get a new one anyway.

However, laptops may be the one exception. The more you move them, the greater the chance something will break. If it is important to you that your laptop is always working, you might want to buy the maintenance contract.

The total life of your laptop is three years, by then, it will no longer run new software of any kind efficiently and will sell for $500 or less.

Final Advice

The brand of the laptop is the most important thing. This determines the quality of the computer, warranty, and parts availability. My main brand suggestions are Dell, Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, or HP. If you buy a laptop from one of these companies it should be a good product.

It would help if you try some laptops out to determine which features you like. Screen size and clarity, keyboard feel, pointing device, and weight, are all decision factors when buying a laptop.

Once you know what you want, shopping online is a good way to save some money from competive pricing.

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