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Conumer Buyer GuideShould I buy a Desktop or Laptop ?

Laptop computer Consumer Buying Guide

There are a lot of advantages to a notebook computer, but there are also advantages to a desktop computer. This guide will help you decide which suits you better. If it is a notebook, it will help you make sense of all the different models and features available in the market.

Desktop or Notebook?

The first, and probably most important decision is whether you need a portable computer that you can take with you wherever you need it.

Laptop notebook computer buying guide If portability is important to you, a notebook computer is really the only answer. If you don't need a portable, the decision can be a little more difficult.

If you are comparing a notebook and a desktop computer, you will typically find the desktop is going to be less expensive and have more features. Desktops will often have more memory, faster processors, better graphics cards and more room to upgrade later. If you won't be moving around with your computer and you have the space available for a desktop computer, you'll get more value for your money.

If either portability or space savings are important, or you think they might be in the future, read onů

Three Types of Notebook Computers

1. Desktop Replacement
2. Sub-Notebook
3. Ultra-Portable.

Desktop replacements are the most powerful with bigger screens, faster processors, more memory and more bells and whistles. They are the heaviest of the three types of notebooks, generally ranging from 6 to 8 pounds.

A desktop replacement is the best choice if you are doing something that needs a fast processor and lots of memory, such as video editing, digital image editing or playing the latest games.

Desktop replacements are also great if you are only using the notebook in one location and want the space savings you get compared to a desktop computer. With a notebook, you can always close it and slide it off to the side of your desk when you need the space.

Sub-Notebooks are smaller models that may not be quite as fast or have as much memory. Their weight generally ranges from 4 to 5 pounds. They save weight by using smaller screens and removing some of the features from the notebook.

Sub-notebooks often don't have the CD, DVD drives or the floppy drive built-in. These drives are usually included in a "docking station" which is a base into which the notebook plugs. With the base, the notebook can be used much the same as a desktop replacement. When you are on the go, you take the notebook out of the base and it is much lighter and very portable.

Ultra-Portable notebooks are much smaller and lighter, generally 2 to 3 pounds. They are t ruly ultra-portable. They will slip into your briefcase or backpack and are very easy to move around. The weight savings on these models is again through smaller screens and fewer built-in features. These models usually don't have a docking station and things like a CD or DVD drive or a floppy drive are often separate, external pieces that need to be plugged into the notebook. Their keyboard is often a little smaller than normal, so if you do a lot of typing, this can also be an important thing to consider.

What to Look For

For the most part, notebook computers have the same features as any other computer. This includes the speed of the processor, amount of memory, and type of CD/DVD drive. There are many things that are unique to notebooks as well such as the size of the screen, weight, and docking options.

The first thing to consider is what kinds of things for which you will be using your computer . If you are going to be typing documents, surfing the internet, or keeping track of your finances, you don't need the latest, cutting edge model.

If you want to edit pictures from your digital camera, create and edit movies, or play the latest games, you will want to look at one of the higher-end models with a faster processor, more memory and a CD- or DVD-Writer.

Weight is another important factor. 7 or 8 pounds doesn't sound like much, but if you are carrying it around all day it can get pretty heavy.

If you will be using your notebook at your desk a lot of the time but will need to take it with you, you should look for a model that has a "docking" option available.

With a Docking Station or Port Replicator, you can leave things like your printer, mouse, and scanner plugged in to it and just plug your notebook in and out of the dock. This way you don't have to constantly plug and unplug all the cables from your notebook.

Another option that is becoming very popular for notebook computers is wireless networking.

If you have a high-speed internet connection, this is a great way to access it. With a wireless connection you can be connected to the internet and still be free to move around with your notebook. If you have other computers, this will also let you share files and printers between them. Some of the newer notebooks are starting to come with wireless built-in, but it can be added to almost all models.

Accessories You Might Need

There are lots of accessories for notebook computers that will make your experience better. A carrying case is a must-have option if you move around at all with your notebook. There are many sizes and styles to choose from, from small folio-style cases to rolling suitcases. All these cases have extra protection again bumps and bruises. You will want to protect your i nvestment in your notebook computer with a good carrying case.

Power options are also important. Battery life can range from under 2 hours to 5 hours or more, depending on the model. If you are on the go with your notebook and won't have access to power for extended periods, extra batteries are important. You can also get extra power adapters, so you could have one at home and one at the office for example. Auto / plane adapters are also available that will let you use or charge your notebook from a standard auto power plug.

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