Five Things to Check Before Buying a Laptop

Five Things to Make Sure of Before Buying a Laptop: Does its Hardware Match Up?

Before buying a laptop the most important thing to make sure of is that its hardware matches up to all that you intend to use it for. The most common issue here is the video card and video games. In order to effectively run video games you must have a brand name video card that has its own onboard memory rather than using an onboard or integrated video card. Look for brand names such as Nvidia or ATi that also have their own memory. This video card dedicated memory will often be listed next to their name such as ’512MB ATi Radeon Mobile’ meaning that the card itself has 512MB of memory.

Five Things to Make Sure of Before Buying a Laptop: Battery Life

The second important thing to look for in a laptop is that its battery life is long enough for your requirements. Generally, it is hard to come across a situation where you really need long battery life as most places have power adapters that can freely be used. However, for those that need battery life it is important to make sure the battery life lasts for a while, specifically if the laptop is a fairly powerful computer. Do not be surprised if you need to upgrade the battery in order for it to last as long as you wish.

Five Things to Make Sure of Before Buying a Laptop: Compatibility Issues

There are a plethora of potential compatibility issues that can arise with laptops and their operating systems. The primary issue is generally older software having difficulty running on newer operating systems. If your older software absolutely ‘must’ run, then you need to check into this at least by searching the Internet for others talking about compatibility issues. The secondary compatibility issue that will arise is more to do with changing operating systems. For instance, programs that run on a Windows operating system may not run on a Mac operating system. As such, if you must switch operating system companies then make sure the new operating system is compatible with all the software you use.

Another aspect of computability issues is whether the office software that comes bundled with the laptop can handle the files you need to use. Often, cheaper versions of office software are included with the laptop rather than more expensive versions with the features you will need. Keep in mind that many office packages do not come with excel, and thus cannot handle spreadsheets as well as work computers might and hence might require more money to upgrade.

Five Things to Make Sure of Before Buying a Laptop: Portability and Weight

One aspect of laptops that people often forget to check before purchase is whether or not they are a suitable weight and size for the need. Basically, you must decide on what you need your laptop for and then choose the physical build, or form factor. If it is largely your intention to take your laptop from one building to another, ala from home to the library, then a mainstream laptop build will suffice. If you intend to use it on the bus, or while standing up, then a smaller build such as a Netbook will probably be better. That said, do note that smaller generally means less powerful.

Five Things to Make Sure of Before Buying a Laptop: Networking Options

Most new laptops come with a wireless network card that will very quickly connect to a network at any university or café, but it is still important to check that it has networking features appropriate to your needs. It should also have an Ethernet port, for wired local area networks to connect to it. If you still use dial up and your last computer had an inbuilt modem, then you may wish for a laptop that has an in built dial up modem as well.

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