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9 Basic Features You Should Consider Before Buying Your Next Laptop

Author: Ed Cordova

Laptops are the natural evolution in the ever changing world of the computer. The improvement of technology has allowed the computer to shrink from being as big as a house, to the size of book.

Their compactness, and portability makes the laptop particularly useful to the professional, the person on the go, and the student. However, laptops can get rather expensive so you should take care to choose a laptop with the right amount of features, but not so many that they needlessly inflate the price.

Here are 9 basic features that you should consider before you purchase your next laptop:

1. Weight and Size: When it comes to weight and size, you should consider that the bigger a laptop is, the heavier it is. A small enough size should be chosen, but not so small that it's uncomfortable. The smaller the laptop, the more awkward it will be to type on that tiny keyboard.

2. Display: The display, or screen is directly tied in to the size of the laptop. You should choose the biggest display possible. Also, a decision has to be made between Active, and Passive Matrix.

Active Matrix is more expensive, but is recommended since pictures come out sharper and moving images play out smoother. Passive Matrix is cheaper, but the picture quality is not as good.

3. Batteries: There are 3 main types of Batteries. They are Li, NiMH, NiCad. What those letters stand for is not important. All you need to know is to always choose Li since they are higher quality, and provide a longer life. However, they are slightly more expensive. If one is strapped for money, then NiMH is acceptable. They're slightly cheaper, but must be recharged every hour or so. Under no circumstances should NiCad be chosen. They're extremely low quality, and have no staying power.

4. Hard-Drive: Most laptops start with at least 4.3 gigabytes, or GB, of hard drive space. However, you can get more hard-drive space if you think you’ll need it.

5. CD-DVD Drive: To be honest, a laptop doesn’t really need either one. But at least one should be added since most software comes in CD form nowadays. If you choose a DVD-ROM drive, then a CD-ROM drive won't be needed since a DVD-ROM drive can read CD-ROMs.

6. RAM, or Random Access Memory: This is the Short Term Memory of you computer. How much does a laptop need? The simple answer is about 32 megabytes, or MB, of RAM, but 64 is highly recommended. This is due to the fact that laptops are difficult to upgrade. Because of this, you might as well get more then you’ll currently need, and look ahead.

7. The "brain" otherwise known as the CPU: The Central Processing Unit contains all the programs run on a computer. At least 233 MHz in processing speed for a laptop is suggested. There are many types of CPU's but just make sure the laptop you choose has one.

8. Modems: The modem allows you to access the Internet. This is important if the laptop will be used to surf the Web, and send email. There are two primary types of modems used with laptops. There’s the Internal modem, and the PC card-based modem. Internal modems are easier to hook up, and they’re becoming more and more common. PC card-based modems stick out of a computer. Their advantage is that they can be replaced if upgrades to a faster one are needed.

9. Ports: Ports are where the peripherals are applied, such as microphones, cameras, and extra memory. What type of ports do most laptops have? Currently, all laptops feature a serial, a parallel, an infrared, and a universal serial bus (USB) port. The reason why there’re so many different types of ports is because the peripheral equipment corresponds with different types of ports.

That's it. Those are the 9 basics that you should consider when purchasing your next laptop. Utilizing the above information, you’ll be able to make the most informed decisions when acquiring a laptop with suitable features that meet all your needs.

About the Author

Ed Cordova is a computer enthusiast whose passion for computers, be they desktops, or laptops, has lead him to create About Computers.

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