For Seniors: Laptop Buying Decisions — Extras to Consider - dummies

For Seniors: Laptop Buying Decisions — Extras to Consider

By Nancy C. Muir

There are many variables to consider when buying a laptop, and accessories you might wish to purchase. Variables you should consider include the type of processor, amount of memory and hard disk space, and other factors. Extras you might buy include a laptop case or an external drive, amongst other things.

You can buy a prepackaged laptop, or put together a customized laptop that meets your exact specifications. Companies such as Dell and Gateway offer customized laptops. When you buy a customized laptop, you pick and choose various features, and the provider builds the system for you.


Laptop variables to consider

Regardless of whether you purchase a prepackaged laptop or customize your own, there are many variables you should consider.

  • Type and speed of processor

  • Amount of RAM and hard drive capacity

  • Installed software, such as a productivity suite like Microsoft Office or Microsoft Works, or a premium version of an operating system

  • More sophisticated graphics or sound cards

  • Peripherals such as a printer or the addition of a wireless mouse

  • Larger or higher-end monitor

  • Wireless capability

  • Warranty and technical support

Laptop accessories to consider

In addition to these variables, there are several types of accessories you might want to add to your final purchase.

  • A laptop case will help you carry the laptop around and also protect it from damage. Some cases are soft-sided, some are hard-sided, and most provide space to store a cable or DVDs for your next road trip.

  • A fingerprint reader comes built in to some laptops. These keep intruders from accessing your computer contents. A fingerprint reader authorizes access via your very unique fingerprint. You can also buy external fingerprint readers.

  • You can buy laptop locks, which connect to your laptop. You can wrap the lock around a desk leg or chair arm (like a bicycle lock). This provides a measure of protection if you have to leave your laptop unattended for a few minutes in a public place.

  • External CD/DVD drives are helpful if you buy a smaller laptop (netbook) that has no such drive built in. These drives are useful for installing software programs or playing audio or video content.

  • Flash drives are small storage devices that you slot into a USB drive on your laptop. Some flash drives have such a large storage capacity that you can use them as a second hard drive for storing files, and they offer the convenience of being easily moved from one computer to another.