You have decided to buy a laptop, but you don’t really know how to go about it.
I am repeatedly asked how to buy a laptop. Sometimes it’s for a student, other times for an adult who just wants the freedom to walk around the house while calculating.
So I have come up with a short procedure to follow that will serve as a guide to getting the right product for the right use.
Step 1: Determine who is going to use it. Not just the individual, but is that person old or young (does he still need reading glasses)? Computer skills or illiterate (PC or MAC)? A person who takes care of his equipment or a carefree person?
I once had a blind customer looking for a laptop. At the time, Toshiba had the best name in the business, theaaronstrong.com. We called a techie guy who worked for an association for the blind who were also visually impaired.
He told us that the blind can be a little tougher on things, for obvious reasons, and Toshiba laptops don’t hold up as well. He recommended other brands instead.
Experience has also shown me that students who don’t have to buy their own laptops also tend to be harder on things. Make sure they have a well padded case and use it.
The answers obtained in step 1 will carry over to the rest of the 5 steps, as you will see.
Step 2: How long does this person need? Is it a college student and you the parent want this to last for the entire 4 year program (hope they finish in 4 years!) ?. If so, you want enough performance and warranty to last that long.
On the other hand, you might be buying for someone with a lot of money who loves the latest and greatest. (Is there a doctor in the house?) In that case, put the money in the power and the toys, not a long warranty.
If it’s for an election worker, the laptop probably isn’t needed for more than a year or so, two at most. Configure it accordingly.
Step 3: Determine the ergonomics. This is pretty much the only use I have for big box stores. Stroll the aisles and try out the various pointing devices and keyboards. Decide if you want a widescreen or standard screen format (the standard is getting harder and harder to find).
Do you like the glossy screen or will the glare be a big deal where you’re likely to use it the most? Maybe you prefer the matte finish. Glossy looks a bit sharper for movies and the Windows Vista Aero interface, and to see if someone is sneaking up behind you. But if you have an office with lots of windows or fluorescent lights, matte may be better for you.
If you often use the laptop outdoors, you might want to try some laptops – from friends or colleagues – in that environment. It’s no fun if you can’t read the screen.
Taille et poids. Doit-il être compact ou léger? Certaines très belles unités pèsent moins de 4 livres mais ont un clavier et un écran suffisamment grands pour être tout à fait utilisables.
Un ordinateur portable typique de haute puissance fonctionnera autour de 6,5 livres. Mais un ordinateur portable avec un écran géant de 17 pouces fait pencher la balance à près de 10 livres!
Étape 4: De quel type d’assistance aurez-vous besoin pour cela? Êtes-vous du genre à ne pas être à l’aise de parler au personnel de soutien en Inde, et préférez-vous marcher jusqu’à un comptoir avec un être humain vivant (même s’il n’est pas intéressé)?
Ou êtes-vous suffisamment autonome pour gérer vous-même des choses simples, peut-être même sortir un tournevis et commencer à soulever le clavier si vous y êtes invité?
Buy a laptop from a vendor who will provide you with the type of support you need.
Step 5: Do you have budget constraints? If so, you might want to refer to my article on “How To Buy A Laptop – 7 Areas To Cut Costs”. If not, you can skip straight to my laptop buying guide and see exactly what type of system I recommend for the best price / buying performance.