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Advice on choosing a laptop


Great if you get it right

Can be expensive if you get it wrong

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Manufacturer Support



Memory / capacityPoor

Range of Extra FeaturesPoor


Instruction manualSatisfactory

Ease of useSatisfactory

Value For MoneyPoor

172 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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helpful by (1%):
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  2. Calypte

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These days it appears that much of the world is going portable, and as part of that, manufacturers are constantly developing their technologies and releasing more and more powerful and advanced laptop computers onto the market. With such a wide ranging diversity of laptops available to buy it is important to make certain considerations to ensure your portable life meets up to your expectations.

Ultimately everything you consider comes down to ensuring that the laptop is fit for purpose. There is not much point spending thousands on an all-singing, all-dancing laptop, upon which you will only use half of its functions and never utilize its full power. In the same way, for example if you were a graphic designer, it is pointless buying the cheapest laptop in the shop if it clearly isn’t up to handling massive image files or detailed image manipulations.

Firstly you should consider exactly what you will be using the laptop for. If you will be editing large video clips, you will clearly need a higher specification than if you only want a laptop for checking email or surfing the internet.

Second consideration should be aimed at determining where it is to be used. If the laptop is to be used whilst travelling frequently, you may decide that you want to look at purchasing something a little lighter than average, bearing in mind that a reduction in weight may carry an increase in cost. If it is to remain stationary on a desk, then weight doesn’t become such an issue.

Thirdly, take a more detailed look at those specifications. Do you really need 4GB of RAM? Could you settle for a 300GB hard drive instead of the 1TB option on that laptop you have your eye on? You may think its necessary to have plenty of hard drive space, but unless you are a photographer, videographer or such, you are highly unlikely to use even a portion of that expensive hard drive capacity. Similarly, don’t opt for something too small if you know you have a large music collection.

The fourth thing that should be considered is software requirements. Do you really need that laptop that comes pre-installed with all the applications under the sun? Are you going to use them? If not, you are probably paying a premium on the price for having these applications and they will just be eating into your hard drive space and memory usage. One important piece of software to consider is anti-virus. Most laptops these days come pre-installed with some kind of free trial or a year’s subscription to one of the major antivirus software packages. But do you need this? Can you make do with a free one? Perhaps you have been using a certain piece of antivirus software for years and are reluctant to change. All important considerations when considering purchasing a new laptop. On the same subject, there are vast differences between netbooks and laptops. Most netbooks do not come with a built in CD-ROM drive, so have you planned how you would install all that software that you have sitting on your shelf?

Finally, you should consider battery life. Where a laptop is to be situated on a desk all the time this isn’t such an issue as the laptop can remain on its charger. But when working on the move you need to be confident that you won’t suffer any downtime as a result of a lack of power. Again this goes back to considering how you are going to use the laptop. If you know you will be spending large amounts of time on the move, it would be prudent to consider the purchase of an additional battery.

So to sum up, there are many considerations to be taken into account when deciding upon a laptop purchase. For some, cheap and cheerful will be adequate whereas for others a low specification machine may just not cut the mustard. All things considered I return to my point about making sure the laptop is fit for purpose. This really is the most important consideration to make about any purchase.
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Comments about this review »

doriee.jay 02.01.2012 22:01

great review

Calypte 08.11.2011 17:05

Good advice! I'm still trying to make up my mind what brands are worth looking at/paying for!!

JasonJRogers 08.11.2011 14:09

Well Reviewed!

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Review Ratings »

This review of Member Advice on Choosing a Laptop has been rated:

"exceptional" by (1%):

  1. JAVER1967
  2. pinky50

"very helpful" by (98%):

  1. lights84
  2. gizmogizmo
  3. kimwright

and 173 other members

"helpful" by (1%):

  1. wigglylittleworm
  2. Calypte

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.