Notebook Buying Guide: How to Buy the Right Laptop

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MacBook AirFinding the right laptop is at once crucial and extremely difficult. Not everyone can be Daddy Warbucks, so chances are that a given consumer will only have one shot at finding the right machine every few years. It can be an agonizing decision, but thankfully NotebookReview has composed an extensive guide to help steer prospective notebook buyers in the right direction.

The first question that needs to be asked when in the market for a new notebook is simple: “Is this going to be my primary machine?” If it is, then size will matter more than usual. For those who answer “yes,” NBR says to opt for a 15.6-inch, mainstream-sized machine, maybe even opting for a 16- or 17-incher if it won’t be mobile at all. For those who answer “no,” a 13- or possibly 11-inch notebook may do just fine.

NBR breaks notebook use cases into three forms: internet and word processing, multimedia production and editing, and gaming. For the first of those, notebook specs or form factors hardly matter; even a puny netbook can handle Word, Google Docs, Firefox, and the like well enough.

For multimedia producers, buying a dedicated notebook for video and photo editing may be a mistake in the first place; NBR suggests that one should buy a desktop as their primary editing machine, with a laptop as a companion piece.

Sony Vaio SFinally, for gamers, shelling out thousands of dollars for a dedicated gaming notebook is pointless, especially when desktops can be had (or even built) for far cheaper while still providing better performance in the long term. For those gamers who have to do some gaming on the go, though, opting for at least a mid-range processor (think Intel Core i5 and up) and a good GPU (like one from Nvidia’s GeForce line) will provide solid performance for now.

These insights only scratch the surface of NBR’s complete guide. After giving a comprehensive look at the five core classes of laptops — netbooks, convertible laptops, thin-and-light laptops, Ultrabooks, and general mainstream notebooks — NBR hits virtually every major factor in one’s laptop buying decision. These include what type of processor to look for, what size RAM is best, what type and amount of storage space should be had, the right operating system, what GPU is appropriate, what screen display should be utilized, how to find a good warranty, and much more. Ultimately, the “right” laptop can only be found by the right person, so it’s going to depends on that particular buyer’s needs. But for those looking for some help along the way, head on over to NotebookReview’s complete How To guide for finding the right laptop and get informed.


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