Laptop Categories: How To Choose The Right One?
The modern laptop is now the most versatile computer product you can find. Depending on what you need, you can choose from the smallest netbooks or the powerful desktop-replacement laptops. Each laptop has distinct features, pricing and of course different performance. If you want to know the right laptop to suit your need, your pocket and your personality, here’s a comprehensive guide for you.
Shopping for a new laptop can be a difficult job. With so many kinds of laptops available in the market, you will definitely have a headache on finding the right one for you. There are many things to consider before buying one like the purpose of use: Do you need a netbook to take notes in your class or perhaps a laptop that will act as a companion for your desktop PC? Knowing where to use your device is only one step because with so many laptop models available in the market, it is really a tough decision. And sometimes due to confusion, you’ll end up buying the wrong one.
To begin with your laptop quest, it is necessary to choose one from the four laptop classifications. The following categories are all-purpose laptops, ultraportable laptops, netbooks and desktop-replacement laptops. Choose one depending on the purpose of use.
After selecting a category of laptop, consider the specifications. It is important to check laptop buying tips to know about product names and classifications. Before going to your preferred stores, read guides available through your internet.
Netbook is a really good choice if you intend to use it as a companion for your PC, for school purposes or easy web access wherever you are. This type of laptop is really small, measuring 6 to 10 inches. It is also light and weighs only 3 pounds or less. This kind of laptop usually costs around $300 to $400. A perfect device when you want a laptop with you all day.
However, if you are looking for a laptop for general use, this is not the right one. Netbooks have limited RAM, processing power and screen resolutions and will make spreadsheet and photo editing a hard job. Because of the small screen, there are some internet sites, flash games and other applications that cannot be viewed well. However, most netbooks can work up to 6 hours or even more. It will be great companion when travelling.
Most netbooks has Intel Atom processor and runs Windows OS. They have long battery life but are not fast laptops unlike those with Pentium Dual-Core, Core 2 Duo or Core i5 typically found on ultraportables, all-purpose and desktop-replacement laptops. Another limitation is the 1GB RAM and there are very few netbooks with 2GB memory. I therefore conclude that netbooks have slow performance level.
Netbook is ideal for internet browsing or simple web processing, but if you will use it to watch videos, edit photos or run several applications at the same time, the device will fail you. Most netbooks also run Intel integrated graphic processor which is not meant for playing 3D games. And even though there some with nVidia Ion chipset, which handles graphics and video better, netbooks still cannot give a good gaming experience because of low RAM and low-power Atom CPU. However, there is an alternative option if you want to watch a lot of videos in your netbook. You can avail Intel’s graphics processing unit with a Broadcom decoder chip which will improve the quality and speed of the videos.
Another flaw of netbook is that they don’t have optical disc drives, meaning you can only watch DVDs or burn a disc with the help from external USB DVD drives.
Ultraportable laptops are more advanced than netbooks but these are also slim and lightweight. These laptops can be a bit heavier than netbooks but this added weight means a more powerful processing unit, higher ram and some also have bigger screens. For those who want an easy carry device that can offer PC experience with fewer limitations, then ultraportable is the right choice. Ultraportables are super thin laptops weighing 3 to 4.5 pounds and with varying screen sizes, from 11 to 14 inches. Battery can last 4 to 6 hours of use. Most ultraportable laptops sell at $600 to $800, but there are super thin machines with larger screens that cost around $1000.
An Ultraportable laptop has more processing power compare to netbooks. Most of them have Intel or AMD dual core processors which are the same one used in all-purpose laptops. Although they are not as powerful as notebooks, they are much better than laptops with Atom processors. Ultraportables are often built with 2GB to 4GB of RAM. This kind of laptop can operate multiple applications at the same time and therefore is a lot better than netbooks.
Most ultraportables also have integrated graphic chips for better video streaming but not for latest games and video editing. Still, these laptops can run some 3D games and can speed-up video loadings. Ultraportables with nVidia or ATI graphic processing units are great finds.
Ultraportables already have optical disc drives, so this is meant for people who want to watch DVDs or for those who often use their laptop to burn files. When buying laptop, check carefully because there are some who omit the feature for weights sake, but most models still incorporate them unlike netbooks which voided optical drives entirely.
As the name implies, these models are for all-purpose. These are large laptops and are powerful to do all computer tasks. Yet, they are still portable and can be carried around. All-purpose laptops present more options than the other categories. There are rugged laptops that offer the needed protection from the harsh environment; convertible laptops that can turn into tablets; laptops for gaming purposes, stylish laptops, and more.
All-purpose laptops have 14 to 16 inches screen and have different weights, but most ranges from 5 to 8 pounds. Most are dual-core and some have quad-core CPUs. Expect no lower than 4GB of RAM or as high 8GB for this laptop category.
Prices differ, but there are models as low as $400. Those who like a sleeker and more stylish body for their laptop or a better processor, should ready their pockets with $1500 or more. Optical disc drive is a standard feature and you can also choose to have Blu-ray disc drives.
You can have the best all-purpose laptop depending on how much you are ready to splurge. 3D game fanatics can choose to have the most powerful mobile GPUs. If you want to connect your laptop to HDTV, you can avail one with Blu-ray disc drive and an HDMI output. You can even have a 1TB of external hard drive. There are also touch screen models. There are different features and options you can add in your laptop. Almost everything you want can be customized in it. There are manufacturers who offer pre-packaged laptops, but companies such as Fujitsu, HP, Dell and Lenovo gives the user the power to customize their laptop, so it can definitely suit your needs.
The downside of larger screens and powerful processors is the low battery life. All-purpose laptops usually last 2 to 5 hours, depending on how you use it. Of course, playing games and Wi-Fi use will drain the battery faster.
Desktop-replacement laptops, also termed power laptops are for people who need high-performing machines with large screen but still want a portable device that can be moved in different places. Screen measures 16 inches, and there are also bigger models with 18.4-inch screens. Most have high screen resolutions which are excellent for photo or video editing. Typically, these laptops can not fit a regular bag and is a burden to carry around because most desktop-replacement laptops weigh 8 to 12 pounds. These are what you call “luggable laptops”, portable but needs a luggage to carry around.
Processors are usually dual core or quad-core chips and can match desktop computers performance. ATI or nVidia graphic processing units are typical to found in these laptops. Almost all games can be played and it has minimum of 4GB RAM. 500 GB storage or more is also common to find. Some even have 1TB of hard drive.
However, these are pricey laptops. Cheap versions may be sold at $1000 or less, but most fully loaded desktop-replacement laptops costs $2000 or more. The battery life is only 2 hours or less if it is used for heavier tasks so it is necessary to work near an outlet. Even though these are portable laptops, placing it on your lap is not ideal because the CPU and GPU become hot over time so better place it on a flat surface when using.
This kind of laptop is mainly for two types of users: For Gamers who requires powerful CPU and GPU to play the latest game; And for professionals such as photographers, engineers, video editors who needs powerful devices to do their work.