Features to Pay Attention to When Laptop Hunting

December 19th, 2012


Do you know what to look for when you are purchasing a new laptop? A writer for the New York Times, Sam Grobart, recently wrote an article that gives some tips. Some of the suggestions he gives may surprise you. Most laptops will be used to watch movies, surf the web, email people, and use general office programs. If this sounds like you, or the one you may be buying for over the holidays, then the most significant features to pay attention to are screen size, memory, and weight.

Weight matters

Let’s focus on weight. The advantage of a laptop is that it is portable. Laptops, though, won’t feel so portable if they weigh more than six pounds. Laptops that break that six-pound line can stress your shoulder when you’re toting it in your backpack or duffel. It shouldn’t be too hard for smart shoppers to find laptops that weigh less than six pounds. Some weigh just two-and-a-half pounds.

Screen size

For those who will be watching a lot of videos or movies, a good screen size to aim for is one that measures 13 inches diagonally. This is the perfect size to watch movies and it is small enough to carry around in most bags.

Memory And Storage

RAM, or random access memory, matters with regards to laptops. Grobart advises that consumers purchase laptops that include at least 4 gigabytes of RAM. Laptops that have below that simply move too slowly. You'll experience those annoying delays between hitting a key and something happening on your screen. Don’t be concerned about going above 4 gigabytes, though. Typical laptop users will never need more than those 4 gigabytes.

There are certain factors that shouldn’t concern laptop users too much. One is the processor. Grobart writes that all processors used today are fine for laptops. He also proposes that buyers not be over-concerned about battery life, either. That’s because a laptop’s battery life will vary depending on how you’re using your machine. Always bring a power cable with you and plug in. That makes battery life an especially unimportant factor.

Storage was previously a hot point, but as streaming services and cloud computing have risen in popularity, the amount of storage on your computer has become less of an issue. Music can be streamed from Spotify, Rhapsody and other services. Documents and other files can live on Google Docs. Photos can be uploaded to iCloud or SmugMug or Flickr. TV shows and movies can be streamed from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

Read on for some other considerations...Is there anyone in particular you're considering a laptop for this season?