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How to Buy a Laptop Computer

If you're looking for more portable computing power, this guide will help you get your geek on while shopping for the right notebook for your lifestyle.


  • Step 1: List wants and needs Take the time to identify your wants and needs to narrow down your search and clarify what you're looking for. Make a separate list for each to help keep stay on budget -- if the cost is too high, remove features from your want list to bring it down to a more practical price.
  • Step 2: Decide on size Decide on your screen size. A 14- or 15-inch screen is basic for laptops. A larger 17- or 19-inch screen can replace most desktop computers. A smaller 7- or 10-inch netbook is more travel friendly.
  • TIP: Smaller notebooks usually have smaller amounts of memory, and often lack the latest bells and whistles in exchange for portability.
  • Step 3: Consider screen resolution Consider a high or low resolution screen. Resolution, measured in pixels, determines what you can see and fit on the screen. A higher resolution offers clearer images but smaller default text size.
  • Step 4: Look at battery life Look at the battery life for each of your choices. The more powerful the computer, the quicker it will eat up a battery -- but while a weak laptop will stay on longer, it can leave you wanting more later on.
  • TIP: Consider investing in a larger replacement battery, especially if you're constantly on the move.
  • Step 5: Get a powerful processor A powerful CPU will speed up operations and allow you to do multiple tasks at one time. Anything above 2 gigahertz is appropriate for general usage.
  • Step 6: Go for a big hard drive Go for a hard drive that is at least 250 gigabytes, especially if you download of lot of music or movies.
  • Step 7: Shop around Shop around or go online to find the best deals. If you can wait, time your purchase around back to school or after Christmas to get the best bang for your buck.
  • FACT: In 2010, the MC-1 notebook claimed the title of world's smallest computer with a 4.8-inch screen and 4 gigabytes of memory.

You Will Need

  • Time
  • Patience
  • Basic computer knowledge

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