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Choosing The Perfect Laptop For You

Nowadays, everyone has a laptop... and there are many good reasons why. Mobile computing can be highly convenient and will often allow performing certain tasks very effectively. Whether you're a student, working class, or just out on vacations, there's a good chance you've grown used to lugging your portable computer around. It's a sign of our times!

But... are you completely happy with your laptop? Do you know how to choose the perfect laptop for you? If not, this article will help you get some perspective on the different classes of laptops currently available on the market.

Before you start choosing, you need to decide on the intended usage.

Choosing the right laptop for you usually depends on the intended use. Laptops come in a wide range of sizes these days, and even when they look mostly the same, the performance of two machines that look similar can be wildly different.

Before you start looking at prices and looking for the best deal, you first need to decide what your use profile will be, so you can pick the right kind of machine. Some questions you may want to consider include:
  • Do you need as much battery autonomy as possible?
  • Will you be using resource-intensive software?
  • Should you pick a smaller, lighter model?
  • Are you planning to use the laptop as your main computer?

There are usually trade-offs between the small size, high performance, low cost and long battery life of portable computers. You can't usually get all these qualities from a single laptop.

In most cases you'll get no more than three of these four qualities from a machine, so you need to decide what's more important to you before thinking about what type of laptop you should look into. Let's review the most common options:

The different laptop styles; which is right for you?

Netbook (up to 11" screen): These tiny laptops have became extremely popular in the last few years, and rightfully so. They can be quite inexpensive, portable, practical, and boast impressive battery life. The downside is that they aren't the fastest machines around. As long as you stick to typing text and browsing the Internet, it will certainly do the trick though!

Notebook (12"-13" screen): These machines offer the best of portability, performance and battery life, but they tend to cost a bit more than laptops. If you need a machine that's light and very portable and you're up to some heavy duty computing, this is probably the right pick for you.

Laptop (14"-16" screen): This is the standard type of portable computer, which means it can also be the most balanced and cost-efficient choice for typical users. As a rule of thumb, a laptop in the same price range as a netbook will easily have twice the processing power. Conversely, it will usually weigh twice as much and offer maybe a third as much battery autonomy.

DTR Laptop (17"+ screen): When laptops are made this big, they aren't usually conceived to be carried around routinely. As suggested by the name, a DTR (desktop replacement) is a huge laptop with very powerful hardware that actually compares to a powerful desktop computer, performance-wise. Battery autonomy on these computers is often quite short, but as long as you have an electrical plug nearby it won't be a problem.

Concluding thoughts on picking the right laptop

There is no such thing as the universally perfect laptop. Whether a portable computer is right for you mostly depends on your specific needs.

If you'll be mostly using your computer to type text and you often work on the road, away from electrical plugs, a netbook may be perfect for you. Conversely, if you're a graphic designer then you'll just need a bigger screen, so a netbook just won't cut it. Also, do you feel that battery autonomy is an important feature for you? Maybe there's a chance you'll want to play some games occasionally on your laptop?

Depending on your own user profile, the concept of a "perfect laptop" will be quite different. This is why it's so important to decide what features are most important to you before you start looking at prices, otherwise you'll likely get confused and find it harder to make the right choice.

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