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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52 thoughts on “How to Buy a Laptop (Notebook, Portable Computer)”

  1. Pingback: Useful Habits
  2. i got an inspiron e1520 for 1200 at tiger, its pretty cool and powerful enough to my needs, because im a student and can handle some games too. The problem is Vista that does slow down games terribly.

  3. I think that buying a computer of any sort should be treated with care. After all, a computer should be considered a major purchase, with all of the decisions involved in the setup of the system. It also seems right to have made preparations ahead of time for the system that you are going to buy. You need to make sure that the peripherals that you currently have are going to work with the system and buy new ones that you need. Laptops especially should be treated with care, after all, they can be more valuable than a desktop, so those systems have special needs that need to be attended to. I think that this top 5 is very complete for a list describing the needs for a laptop computer. Being a laptop user myself, who uses it as a primary machine, I know what one needs to make a laptop work well for anybody, and this, for the post part, are the most important things.

  4. I recently (September) bought myself a wonderful new laptop. And it seem that I did every single one of these tips. I frequently use the integrated memory card reader.

  5. PS: I’m the Craig from the video! I’m also the guy who made the ”I’m hiding in Chris’s closet” vid! Keep up the good work Chris, and merry christmas.

  6. I recommend the Sony laptops they are very well built and very safe. The hardrive in my vaio that I had went bad so we had to replace, I got the laptop off of ebay. We went to the repair store and they said that they don’t get many sony laptops since they are well built, they also said they get mostly dell computers to repair. That is what she said. So I got a bigger hardrive in the laptop and now it works very well.

  7. I think that his top 5 is great. For people who are looking to replace there desktop with a laptop that a big help dor them. They should consider getting a stand because good airflow is important if you don’t want to be able to fry eggs on your lpatops. lol. Airflow is even important on desktops too.

    Great top 5 tips

  8. mouse i’m very very impressed with is Logitech V500 ($50-$90, discontinued). i use this for almost 3 years without any problem. the most reliable mouse on planet!!

    check this out, yesterday i have to do a surgery to my apple’s Mighty Mouse due to the little ball malfunction. clean it up and works again.
    then i realized that the V500 (logitech) is better since the ball (to scroll) is using touch/heat sensitive technology, therefore no oil/dirt deposit can clog the scroll ball (there’s no ball!! no entrance for dirt!!).

    the USB wireless pop inside the mouse and the mouse collapsed hiding the USB thingy.

    material made from aluminum!! take 2AAA batteries (lightweight!!).

    left and right hand.

    chris, check this mouse out… you’ll see what i mean. hopefully you can yell out to logitech so that they produce similar product like this.
    this is the only mouse that comparable if not better than apple’s Mighty Mouse. technology and design-wise.

  9. Well, I bought Acer Aspire PC for 417 Lats (that’s about 778 $), It doesn’t have bluetooth or built in webcam or any of extra input/output ports, but I’m happy! It runs smoothly, has no problem and does everything I need. Besides I got original Intel bag for it as a gift. So… the moral is: A good and suitable for you laptop hasn’t necessary to be expensive and stuffed with all the ports and extras there is. You won’t use them all anyway!

    At least that’s my opinion. đŸ™‚

  10. Chris these are awesome tip and I agree with them 100%. I am going to send these tips to a friend who just recently bought a laptop these tips will help him out a lot.

  11. Hey Chris I just got done reading your blog on buying a laptop and thought they were great tips. I just recently bought a notebook and wished that I saw these tips before buying my notebook. I will take consideration on the notebook care tips that you’ve listed especially the tip on getting a notebook stand. I am though getting second thoughts on the insurance tip just because I have had a poor service experience with my previous insured laptop.

  12. I bought a used laptop (Gateway mt 3705) and I don’t need to have a stand, it stays cool. These are great tips, and i followed most of the with out realizing it. SD card slots are sooo great when your on vacation and need to empty your Camera, but forgot the cord…

  13. Thanks a lot for the tips. i will definably be taking some of these tips into account when i go to get my laptop. Once again thanks a lot for the tips.

  14. Thank you for the post, Chris! Don’t forget good ol’ Newegg.com, nothing beats their fast delivery. I am currently looking for a good MacBook and Newegg is the only way to go.

  15. Thank you man, now i will know how to keep my stuff safe. Im thinking about getting an Alienware and you know those cost loads, with these tips i wont have to worry about having to get it repaired lol. Keep the How Toos coming man i love them. 5/5

  16. I bought two new laptops one that has webcam, media card reader, and mic built in, the other does not…I find the first one much easier to use, the 2nd one, I have to carry around extra periphals it is so annoying with the extra stuff not being built in.

  17. Laptop in present time getting lighter and slim but what they not know is that battery getting dangerous. There are more fire incident happened in laptops around 2004 till present because their didn’t care about because which less important.also more bundles let laptop much slower and speed . My advice buy a laptop which has more ram, longer battery life and check for review about laptop because what you know what disadvantage point before you buy a new laptop.

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  20. yah i need some advice i bought my laptop in 2006 and i had to send it for repair 3 times last year this year nothing has happen so far but when i on it this sound like an error come’s up and when i when to compaq that my laptop brand hp compaq with my warranty they said noting was worng with it now it is 512 ram i have not upgrade my ram and it is quite slow what do you think i should do buy anew laptop which is light cause’s my compaq hp presario burn my lap and overheat a lot and it’s heavy

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