here's my YA! laptop buying guide:
with any computer, you need to sit down and make a list of 3 things:
1. budget. by far, this will decide your choice more than any other factor.
2. uses: here, you have to be brutally honest. don't think about what you _could_ do, but what you _need_ it to do.
3. do the research, wait for sales, check different places, etc.
A few rules of thumb:
1. CPU: you definitely want at least a dual core chip. a single core chip has trouble even with XP, much less Vista, and a quad core chip will drain the battery faster.
2. OS: A few budget computers come with Linux or Leopard, try to avoid those unless you are relatively tech savvy, since you have to locate drivers individually in most cases. Vista uses more battery than XP, so if you have to choose, pick XP over Vista.
3. Weight: in general, the "best" laptops have 13" or 14" screens, because of the tradeoff between weight, convenience, and graphics. Bigger is not better in the laptop world. Avoid 17" screens unless it's going to be a desktop computer. If you plan on carrying it around at all, 5-6lbs is the maximum weight you should consider, and don't forget to include 1-2 pounds for accessories and the power supply. As a general rule, a 7 lb computer will end up 10 lbs in the case, a 5 lb computer will end up ~6.5-7lbs. 14" laptops usually weigh in at under 5 lbs. My coworkers have 4 lb macbooks, and they don't bring their computers to work anymore.
4. Memory: as a rule of thumb, you want 1 gig minimum for XP, 2 gig for Vista.
5. Battery: couple things you need to know here:
Type: Li-Ion is the industry standard now, because batteries without Li-ion explode from overcharging. It's rare now, but if you buy a used one or old one, make sure you check for that.
mAh: what this means is the storage capacity of the battery. 2000 mAh means a 3 cell battery, 4000 mAh means 6 cell, etc. As a general rule, the bigger the battery, the longer it lasts and the more it costs. Most netbooks come with 3 cell batteries and run 2-3 hours. A 15" laptop will run the same amount on a 6 cell battery. However, a 13-14" laptop will run around 5-7 hours on a 6 cell battery.
6. Return policy: I bought mine from Office Depot. They have a no-return policy (exchange only.) If you aren't sure you will like a particular laptop, my advice is to buy it from Walmart, that will do refunds within 14 days on laptops. My first purchase was an Acer Aspire One from walmart, and the battery was so pathetic, i returned it.
· 1 decade ago