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Before You Buy: What Do You Need in a Laptop?

1 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Buying a Laptop and Accessories

Before you buy a new laptop computer, you should decide on what you really need and then get a laptop that comes closest to your requirements. Laptops vary in terms of processor speed, screen size, battery life, and total weight.

When choosing features, remember that there is no benefit to going to extremes for features that you will not use or that bring problems with them. Also keep in mind that whatever you buy today will immediately be outdated.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is fast good enough or do I need super-duper turbocharged faster than fast? The latest and greatest microprocessors are marvelously zippy, but most laptop users may never tax them to the fullest; word processors and web browsers work just fine with a CPU a step or two below the fastest processors on the market.

  • Do I need a super-sized screen or will a more standard screen suffice? A big screen looks great and is easier to read, but the laptop will be larger, heavier, and a few hundred dollars more expensive.

  • How many hours of battery life do I really need? If the longest time you anticipate being between wall outlets is two hours, don’t pay for a larger-capacity battery. More power adds weight and cost.

  • Am I willing to pay a big premium to get less, or can I handle an extra pound in my traveling case? When it comes to size and weight, less costs more.

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The Essentials of Buying a Laptop and Accessories

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