How to Buy a Laptop (Notebook, Portable Computer)

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No matter which name you prefer to call it, let’s look at some ways to help you decide which one is right for you.

  • Get a laptop stand. Having the laptop on an angle and allowing air to move underneath will dramatically reduce the heat your laptop runs at! The stands can be expensive so a large book or piece of wood will do. I have a Targus port extender. It is a wedge shaped hub that has all kinds of connections and goes into my laptop via USB two. Its portable and handy as well as allowing my laptop run cooler by sitting under the back edge and raising the it up. Plus this is a better angle for typing.
  • Go for integration! Built in webcams and card readers are a god send! Chances are you won’t have loads of USB’s so the less external devices the better. This will be better for traveling, battery life and general desk clutter. Built in tv tuners can be great if you end up in a hotel room with decent tv reception. A laptop with bluetooth can be handy for syncing with a phone.
  • Get a good Laptop bag or case. If you have a mobility-based laptop, a good bag is essential. I have seen friends laptops die way before their time because they travel without sufficient protection for them. Often, the free case supplied won’t be up to the job.
  • Insure your laptop! I have nearly dropped mine a million times. They get moved around a lot, and the law of averages says sooner or later it will be dropped. Make it a less expensive mistake by having it covered. Also if you travel with it theft is a real threat!
  • Peripherals complete the package. Get decent headphones and a good mouse. Chances are, no matter how much you’ve spent on your laptop the speakers won’t be much good for watching films or listening to music. So, good quality headphones are a must. As for the mouse, track pads are great for keeping the laptop a “one price device”, but you’re going to want to use a mouse whenever its convenient, so a small travel mouse is a good idea.

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