What to Look For In A Laptop Purchase

What to Look For In A Laptop Purchase

Range Govindan
Sep 14, 2010

If you don't own a laptop, you're probably going to be looking to get one at some point or the other. The problem is that there are so many different options and choices. What are the most important ones? Read on to find out more.

1. Best That You Can Reasonably Afford
The $500-1,000 market segment is filled with laptops. You can easily spend $800 and get a great machine. The trick is that you need to get something that will last you for a few years, if you don't want to upgrade every year or so. I've found that if I spend a little more for a better machine and specs, the laptop will last me a few more years.

2. Biggest Hard Drive Possible
One of the most important features of a laptop is the storage that you have available. While changing hard drives is possible, it can be a hassle if you haven't backed up your data regularly. So you should look at the biggest hard drive possible. SSD, or solid state drives, are faster and more robust, but still cost a pretty penny. For now, I'd stick with traditional hard drives.

3. Anti-Glare Screen
While the slick new screens are really great, they can be trouble to use outside, where there are a lot of reflections. Most manufacturers offer this upgrade for a small cost. For MacBooks, it costs $50.

4. Smaller Size and Weight
The bigger laptops are stunning, but overall, I've found that if something weighs more than 4-5 pounds, it's just not possible to lug them around everywhere. In fact, even a MacBook Pro 13" can be heavy to carry around if you haven't got a proper bag. 12-15-inch screens are big enough for most users. These smaller screens mean that the laptops weigh less.

5. Service Plan or Not?
I've never purchased a service plan and we have a MacBook Pro in our home, as well as other laptops. Are they worth it? I find that I prefer not to do so, but if this is a major concern, you should get one to get peace of mind. Some of the higher-end laptops definitely warrant such an expense, but the cheaper laptops don't.

[top image by Rocket Silence, Jared Schmidt via CC license, Peter Hellberg]

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