Getting Acquainted with Notebook Computers

  • Processors and RAM – A 20 gigabyte hard drive and an Intel Pentium Mobile processor with 2.8 gigahertz of speed will handle the needs of most computer users quite well. Gamers will need at least 526 megabytes of RAM. If you will be opening large files or having several files open at once you might want to consider a full gig of RAM.
  • Screen size – A 13 inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768 should do the trick for most notebook computer users. Notebook users who are mainly interested in gaming or movie watching or professionals using graphics programs will probably want as large a screen as possible and may want to add a graphics card.
  • Weight – If you are on the go, constantly in and out of your vehicle or on and off a plane and always carrying your computer an ultra light notebook computer may be best for you. Ultra lights can be pricey and you may have to give up a few features or settle for a smaller screen. Standard laptops weighing in at four to five pounds are more moderately priced and can have larger screens and more options.
  • Ports, drives and bays – Portability and storage will all be enhanced by choosing a notebook computer with at least two ports. USB and Ethernet are pretty much essential. Expansion bays for CD-ROMS, DVDs and an extra battery should also be considered.
  • Keyboard – The keyboard on a notebook computer can be confusing, even downright annoying, for someone used to any of the standard desktop computer configurations. Most laptop keyboards will be smaller and have the mouse integrated into the center. Learning to operate a mouse with your index finger can be exasperating. Look into buying an external mouse as well.
  • Battery – Finding out your battery is dead when you’re in your seat on the airplane renders the most expensive notebook computer worthless. Investing in a good Lithium Ion battery is worth the extra cost. Don’t forget the more hardware and software you have up and running the shorter your battery’s life will be.

Finally, while online notebook computer shopping certainly takes some of the hassle out of buying, nothing beats a hands-on demonstration. Comparison shop a few models via the internet then test drive them at your local computer dealer. Rest the notebook computer on your lap after it has been running for at least twenty minutes. Is it comfortable or does it run hot? Type in the old standby “quick brown fox” sentence to see how the keyboard feels to your fingers. Look at the screen from a variety of angles. Open the software programs you use the most. Do they openly quickly and smoothly?