In recent times, laptops have become just as powerful as desktop computers, with the added benefit of portability. With so many laptop options available - not to mention extras, features and upgrades to boot - how do you find the best laptop for your needs? This guide will help you understand a few important considerations.
The Laptop, Notebook, Netbook - getting a grip on the types
Overall, there are four types of laptops available on the market, with various hybrids and in-betweens. The features, benefits and drawbacks of each of these types vary, so your choice in style will depend on what you plan to use your laptop for.
Netbooks - these are usually lightweight with a screen size of less than 10 inches. Because of their compact nature, Netbooks are great for travelling or toting around town. Getting such a compact machine means that you will be making some sacrifices on performance and features, such as a CD-Rom drive and it'll likely come installed with an older operating system, such as Windows XP, as their smaller processors won't be able to handle the demands of the latest operating systems. If you're just planning to use your laptop for internet surfing, email and basic word processing - these are great handy little machines with a comparatively smaller price tag.
Thin and Light Notebooks - these machines are thin and sleek, similar to netbooks, but usually boast a larger screen and better performance to their smaller sized counterparts. They also tend to be a bit more expensive but will generally come with disk drive and the latest operating system. The MacBook Air and Dell Adamo XPS are two popular models in this category.
Gaming Laptops - these are for people who are looking for some serious computing power. Forget Pacman and Pong, today's games demand intense processing to handle the complex graphics of the latest video games. These machines are also preferred by graphics designers, videographers, music producers and other professions that require intense graphical capabilities. These laptops usually have the most features and also boast extra-large screens, with processing chips that are just as, if not, more powerful than a desktop computer. On the negative side, gaming laptops are often heavier, a bit more expensive, and not as portable.
Mainstream Laptops - These laptops are for the generalist, striking a good balance between portability and functionality. Average screen size on these machines measure about 13 inches and they are powerful enough for a wide variety of tasks. While they may lack many of the extra graphical capabilities of gaming machines, they're generally a good investment for those who are looking for replacement for a standard desktop computer.
Can you afford a new machine? Laptops, not surprisingly, can be quite expensive and many are hesitant to shell out some big bucks for a computer, since they seem to be constantly upgraded and relaunched. What many people aren't aware of is that there are other options outside of purchasing your laptop outright. For example, it is usually possible to lease or rent a laptop. Laptop rental can be a great way to get a laptop at an affordable price. Why not rent a laptop to see if a particular type is right for you?