Guide to Buying a Laptop Computer

To ensure that the buyer gets the best laptop within budget, a search for a bargain laptop computer should begin with a list of required features.

Guide to Buying a Laptop Computer
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What To Look For
Purchasing a laptop computer requires a careful evaluation of each individual's needs, which can then be matched to the necessary group of specification that will fill those needs.

For example, a salesperson who routinely travels by air in coach class may require a laptop that is small, portable and fits comfortably on the tray table mounted on the seat in front of them. Conversely, another salesperson who regularly provides presentations to customers with their laptop will require a large, high-resolution screen for easy viewing.

Another variable could be the size of the laptop's keyboard. Many of the subnotebooks utilize a scaled-down keyboard that is difficult to use for people who are used to touch typing on a full-size keyboard or who regularly switch between a full-size keyboard on their desktop computer and their laptop.

Common Pitfalls
Ensure that the laptop you are considering fits your needs as opposed to basing the decision on looks. It is always better, assuming that the price differential is reasonable, to purchase a laptop that has more RAM memory rather than less, a larger hard drive than you think you can get by with, and a screen that is comfortable for you to read.
Where To Buy
Remember, there is no one right place to purchase your laptop. There is only the right place to your to purchase the laptop you require, not the one the computer salesperson makes the highest commission from.

Certainly, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Acer, ASUS and Sony all have a fantastic reputation, as do many other manufacturers not mentioned, but if they do not offer the combination of options and specifications that you need, find someone reliable who does.

Cost
Entry-level laptops are now available in the mid-$300 range, with the netbook class starting at well below $300 in some cases. A business-quality laptop, one equipped with a larger screen, multiple gigabytes of RAM and a sizable hard drive, will easily cost $700 and higher. And, if you need something at the top end of the market, expect to pay more than $2,000.

It should be mentioned that the prices quoted above are for Microsoft Windows and Linux-based laptops, Apple computers will add a premium above those prices.

Comparison Shopping
Once you have established exactly what you need, the Internet makes it easy for a quick price comparison, one without a salesperson's noise being introduced. For the sake of convenience, links to several laptop manufacturers' sites are provided below.
Accessories
In most cases, a good carrying case is a must for any laptop owner. If you travel, make sure you get one with a fair amount of padding and plenty of space for your accessories. A small, USB or wireless, laptop mouse is also recommended. While almost all laptops have WiFi built in, make sure you have an Ethernet cable packed away as well.
Insider Tips
If you are flexible as to when you will be purchasing, look to buying a laptop near the end of a manufacturer's fiscal quarter, especially if they have fallen short on their sales expectations. Almost without fail, the week between Christmas and New Years provides bargains that cannot be matched at any other time, but this may also be dependent on how strong the holiday shopping season performed.
Resources
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Size Matters: Finding a Portable Laptop
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How to Buy a Laptop
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Dell Laptops
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Acer Laptops
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HP Laptops