Choosing the best laptop for you

Guest post by Daisy Ridley

The best laptops are the laptop computers you see every day. When choosing a computer your best laptop computers are the 14 – 16-inch models. The best laptops for many uses are the standard size you see most often. Before mini laptop computers gained popularity, about 75% of the laptop computers shipped were 5 to 8 pound, 14 to 16 inch diagonal notebook computers. Thinner 11 and 13-inch computers are being pushed by Intel and many manufacturers now, and tablets (at least ipads) are gaining market share, but these 14 to 16 inch computers are still the middle of the mainstream.

They come in a variety of styles and equipment levels and to find your best laptop, you need to make a decision about both of these factors. We will start out looking at the different equipment levels that are around.

The netbook craze led to the introduction of AMD processors that are better than the Intel Atom processors, particularly with their integrated graphics. While these AMD processors were primarily aimed at the 12 inch and under market, some have made their way into 14 inch and larger laptops. I’m going to break this type of computer into subsets. On the report of LaptopJudge, the computers with these AMD C and E series chips are in the first of these subsets.

The best prices are on Low Entry Level laptops– These computers may come with hardware that really isn’t being produced anymore. That doesn’t mean that they can’t do what you want them to do, though. You don’t buy a new car because they don’t sell something that is identical to the one you have any more, do you? These laptops sometimes are better equipped than the newer models.

Barebones don’t mean bad to me. — What I call a bare-bones laptop isn’t what you might think. It isn’t the bottom of the line inexpensive notebook computer you might imagine. It is a solid performing machine that should give you three to five years of good performance doing what you’re doing now, and most of the things you’ll probably want to do over those five years with just a battery replacement. If you go to the Dell or Hewlitt-Packard website, it’s generally not their cheapest model. Usually, there is a significant upgrade to the memory, processor and hard drive. It is designed to keep up with the bloat in files and programming for at least a few years. For many people, these are the best laptops.

Entry Level laptops are the best laptop for most people who really need a laptop.–What I’m calling Entry Level is the minimum laptop I’d choose for myself. The processor, memory, and graphics card are upgraded. The audio and display might be upgraded also, but those are cost/portability/benefits choices that are up to the user/buyer.

The best quality laptop is what I call an Upper-End laptop.–You hit a point, just above my entry-level notebook computer where the cost of the upgrades exceeds the immediate performance gains for most people. If you have special needs, you may have to go here. In the work area by special needs, I mean high-end statistical work or graphical applications. If you can do it in Microsoft Office, you don’t need to go here. Your other special needs might be in the entertainment area. It is false economy to buy this kind of laptop computer thinking it will increase the useful life of the machine. The way things have been going, you can buy a bare bones or entry-level notebook now, and another one two years from now that will probably be faster than this upper-end machine for less than the upper-end laptop computer currently costs. Some makers label these machines as gaming laptops.

A 17″ computer notebook is heavier but easier to see. 17-inch laptops are distinguished by the larger display. They come in the same groups as their 14 and 15 (and 16) inch counterparts. You will pay a premium for the larger screen. If you are ready to do that, go for the entry-level laptop. With the larger screen, you want good graphics. The processor, memory and graphics card all will affect what you see. When you move to the upper-end laptops, the manufacturers start calling them desktop replacements or gaming laptops.

You still need to remember that no matter what you buy, the chip manufacturers and the computer manufacturers will tell you it is obsolete in 3 to 5 years maximum. They can’t sell you a new laptop computer if you have a perfectly functional one already.

Remember, I’m doing this on a seven-year-old desktop. I followed the strategy I recommended against above. I overbought. It’s a desktop though. Everything in it is user upgradeable. Even the best laptops won’t be. I hope this article will help you to get the best laptop. If you like this article,  Take a look at my other article – why you should use a laptop lap desk.

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