Today you can buy a laptop almost everywhere online and offline. Before deciding which one want to buy it’s always recommended to head to a local electronics store, even if you are planning to buy online. It’s great to compare statistics and specifications on a website, but without actually seeing different models and display sizes live it’s hard to pick a notebook that fits your needs in a perfect way.
Once you have an idea what kind of laptop you want to purchase, checking several review websites and comparison websites is a smart idea. Prices can vary a lot. Always make sure to compare the exact same models since most manufacturers offer a huge range of rather similar versions with different hard drive sizes, different memory and different operating systems. Pay close attention to all details, sometimes an offer may only be cheaper than another because the installed operating system is a free Linux instead of Windows 7 or similar.
There are many possible places to buy a laptop, my favourite one is Amazon. The reason why is pretty simple: They offer free shipping on almost all electronics, the customer service is great and if there are any problems with your laptop they’ll be handled in a professional and customer friendly way. Even better, you can also buy a prolonged warranty or additional insurance fast and easily by just adding it to your shopping cart, a service not many others offer. In addition, Amazon is always offering a competitive price, not always the lowest, but a low one and you know you bought from a company that cares for their customers, even after the actual purchase.
Where can I buy affordable quality laptop batteries?
Getting replacement parts, especially batteries, can be a rather expensive adventure if you are relying on original manufacturer parts. Like toner or ink, the original manufacturer batteries are often really costly, but there are clever alternatives as well. There are manufacturers specialized in building replacement parts with the same specifications as the original ones but at a much lower price.
Many manufacturers claim third-party parts or batteries wouldn’t offer the same stability or performance as the original ones, but these claims are often only made to ensure that people buy overpriced original parts. Many reviews and long-term usage studies of leading electronics magazines show that todays third-party batteries are comparable to original parts in quality, lifetime and performance.
If you are buying a battery from a third-party manufacturer, you can simply enter the original part serial number of name on a website like Laptops for Less and then lookup the corresponding third-party model. Especially Laptops for Less offers a great quality at very low prices. Having a replacement battery is always handy, especially if you are travelling a lot. Charging can take hours and while you are away from home you may not always find a place to recharge your original batteries, so having a set of pre-charged replacement batteries is a measure to avoid embarrassing situations, like e.g. your laptop shutting down in the middle of an important business presentation, while watching a good movies or being in the middle of a world of warcraft raid or similar.
Do I need a laptop?
Laptops are very popular today and available in a multitude of configurations and designs. While many people use them for mobile computing, mobile gaming or simply surfing the web and checking emails, for some buyers it only serves as a replacement for a desktop pc.
Using a laptop instead of a desktop saves quite a lot of space but comes with some disadvantages you should consider before purchasing a notebook. The keyboard and touchpad of a laptop are made for mobile use and do not offer the comfort of an ergonomic full size desktop keyword, so especially if you are typing longer texts you will miss this added comfort of a desktop keyword. The most important difference is the price: A good laptop can easily cost about double the price of a high-end desktop pc, since components for laptops need to be smaller, slimmer, produce less heat, which makes them more expensive than regular full-sized hardware.
So, before buying a laptop as a desktop replacement you should ask yourself if the saved space is worth the additional cost. A laptop certainly looks stylish and everybody seems to have one today, but sometimes a regular desktop is the smarter and more cost efficient solution, especially if you are planning to use the computer for many years and want to replace components from time to time to keep up with the technological developments.
If you are travelling a lot want to work outside, a laptop is a must have and can be the ideal companion for your needs. Make sure to buy a notebook with a good battery and avoid high performance laptops. A high-end graphics card and processor use a lot of energy, especially gaming laptops often don’t last longer than an hour or two if running in full performance mode before the battery is empty and needs to be recharged. Mobility always comes at a price, so be smart and get a real business laptop for working outside or while travelling.
The different types of laptops
There is a variety of laptops, from small netbooks or tablet PCs to high performance gaming laptops, each with its special advantages and usage profiles:
Netbooks are smaller than regular laptops, offer a little less performance, but are perfect for extended mobile use. They are very light and have a long battery life. Perfect in school, college or on a long business trip if you don’t need or run any graphics or cpu intensive applications. Maximum mobility at a low price.
2. Tablet PCs
If you are using a notebook mainly for entertainment and informational purposes, getting a tablet if the perfect solution. They offer a big display, will play music and videos and allow you to surf the web, write emails and use a huge variety of applications often called apps. Not suited for business use or typing a college essay, but perfect for if you want a device that’s pretty much like a smart phone, but with a much larger display.
3. Business Laptops
Business laptops are designed for mobility, good performance and durability. They often have large hard drives, a mid to upper range CPU, come with a lot of memory and are equipped with a high quality keyword. Perfect for all office applications. Real business laptops can be expensive since they use high quality components and come in a very durable case that’s made for the advanced requirements of business users. Often security solutions like automatic backups, encryption and file recovery are included to ensure maximum safety of your valuable business data. The Apple Macbook series is great as a business notebook for example.
4. Everyday Laptops
Average laptops aren’t designed for the longest battery life or the highest performance, but as a space saving alternative for desktop PCs. They aren’t made from ultra light components or include any fancy high-end hardware you won’t need for everyday usage, so they are affordable and a great solution for families and home users.
5. Gaming Laptops
Gaming laptops are designed for the enhanced performance requirements of modern 3D games. They are equipped with fast graphics chipsets, the latest CPUs, a lot of memory and high quality displays to ensure the best possible gaming experience. A pretty well-known and popular sample is the republic of gamers series from Asus. The only disadvantage of these high-end notebooks is their limited battery life. If you are using a gamer laptop in full performance mode, the battery probably won’t last more than two hours maximum, so getting replacement batteries and pre-charging them for extended mobile gaming sessions is certainly a smart idea.
The best laptop deals last year
Looking for the best value for money and maybe a laptop as a christmas gift for yourself or a loved one? Here are our personal top 3 recommendations for the winter:
This model from Toshiba’s C655D series is a typical family laptop, easy to use and equipped with everything needed for students, the family or a small home based business. It comes with a E-450 1.65Ghz processor from AMD which creates minimal heat. The 15.6-inch true type LED display is very bright, great colors, minimum reflections with a 1366×768 resolution. 3 GB memory, fast 320GB SATA hard drive and a long battery life of almost 6 hours. Windows Home Premium 64-bit is also already included. Seen on Amazon for less than $350! A great deal if you want a simple laptop from a leading brand, high quality without a high price.
The newest Macbook Pro is probably one of the best or the best Macbook ever. 13-inch, fast Intel i5 2.4Ghz dual core processor, 4GB memory, 500GB hard drive (750GB available, too), stunning LED display with 1280×800 native resolution, built-in 8x CD/DVD drive, FaceTime HD camera, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, Firewire 800, card reader, 7 hour battery life and last but not least the popular Mac OS X v10.7 Lion. A real beauty with a lot of power. Certainly not a discount notebook, but there are deals and offers for little more than $1000. There are laptops and the are Macbooks and this one is almost a must have if you are remotely interested in the quality, comfort and power of Apple products. I won’t have to mention: The design is simply awesome!
Probably the biggest surprise in this Top 3, but the G570 is a true performance laptop at a very low price. Powered by a i5 processor from Intel with 2.4Ghz, 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 750GB SATA hard drive. Includes a CD/DVD reader/writer, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, webcam, stereo speakers, the whole package. As you probably recognized, the specs are very similar to the Macbook Pro presented above, but you’ll get it for about $500 at Amazon!
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is pre-installed. A fantastic deal for a laptop with some real power, Intel HD 3000 graphics and all features you can expect from a decent 15.6-inch machine. Nice, unobtrusive design, 1366×768 LED display, you won’t find a comparable laptop at a lower price!
Make sure to order your favourite laptop a few weeks before christmas, shipping may take a few days and some really popular models like those presented above may be out of stock soon.
The best laptop deals this year
What’s new? A lot, especially since a new generation of laptops will dominate the market this year, the ultrabooks. In contrast to netbooks, these aren’t lower performance mini laptops. They are very thin and light, but offer all the performance you expect from a good everyday laptop.
One of the most popular ultrabooks is the Acer S3, it’s 13.1-Inch CineCrystal LED display offer awesome image quality at a 1366×768 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. Half an inch slim and only 3 pounds in weight, very elegant silver design. It looks a bit like a Macbook, but only costs a fraction. At the moment the best deals on Amazon are about $799. Try to find it cheaper elsewhere, you won’t!
What’s inside? A new generation 1.6Ghz Core i5-2467M (UM67) processor from Intel, Intel HD Graphics 3000 with dedicated 128MB memory, a lightning fast 20GB solid state disk for Windows and an additional 320GB SATA drive for data and other software. See Windows start in less than 15 seconds, only 6 seconds from sleep mode, !
Still not convinced? Let’s have a look what else the Acer S3 offers:
- Wi-fi according to the 802.11b/g/n standards
- Bluetooth 4.0+HS
- HD Webcam with 1280 x 1024 resolution and 1.3MP
- Two 3DSonic stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theater v4 support for decent sound
- 2x USB 2.0, 1X HDMI with HDCP support (connect your ultrabook to your TV!)
- 2 in 1 card reader
- Up to 6 hours of battery life with one charge
Even better, Amazon doesn’t only offer the best price, the Acer S3 also qualifies for free shipping and a trial version of Microsoft Office Starter 2010 and The McAfee Internet Security Suite are included as well. If you hurry you can even profit from a special promotion and get free 1 day shipping.
Are laptops good for gaming?
Although there are gaming laptops, which are pretty expensive compared to regular business laptops, they are still not the perfect platform for avid gamers. Why? Screensize is often limited and even the fastest graphics card for laptops barely reaches the performance of comparable desktop versions. Ever tried to play a shooter with a touchpad? Mobile gaming is a huge trend, but regular games you buy in a store or online don’t seem to be the perfect solution.
A real alternative we prefer is browser games. Some may complain that they are inferior, don’t offer the depth of a “real” game or look like computer games from the late 90s, but there is one thing for sure: They are free, they are fun and meant for actual mobile gaming. When I’m sitting in a plane or at the beach, I don’t want any complicated shooter, I don’t want to wear a headset or use a mouse, so these games are a perfect solution.
Finding them isn’t hard, there are loads of sites offering flash games in all niches, one we like a lot is the german Flash-Games.de. Although the language is a bit hard to understand, it’s pretty much self explaining and doesn’t have all the annoying pop ups and layer ads you are used to from the majority of free gaming websites. Clean navigation, a good selection of games, all you need for some quick fun in the lunch break or while travelling.
As long as laptops meant for 3D games are heavy, lack the battery power, overall performance and get hotter than the average toaster, those browser games are the perfect solution for mobile entertainment. Try it, you won’t be disappointed, even if you have a cheap laptop like the one below (personally own it, X55U-EH11, about $350 at the moment)
Is the Toshiba Portege R835 a good business laptop?
Next to the very popular Apple MacBooks, Toshiba launched a Windows based business laptop from the Portege series that quickly became a bestseller on many major electronics shopping sites, the Toshiba Portege R835-P56x with the official serial number PT324U-008003.
This business and multimedia notebook is equipped with the latest in notebook technology, including a very bright 13.3-Inch LED display with a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, using HD TruBrite technology; the 2.30 GHz Intel Core i5-2410M “Sandy Bridge” dual-core processor; all placed in a very durable crafted magnesium alloy casing with a honeycomb reinforcement. The keyboard is even spill resistant.
More features include:
- 640 GB SATA hard drive with 5400 rpm
- 4 GB of DDR3 1333 Mhz RAM which is expandable up to 16 GB
- Intel HD Graphics with 64 MB up to 1696 MB shared memory
- 8x DVD drive which supports label printing and double layer
- Wireless-N Wi-Fi networking capabilities
- One USB 3.0 port for extremely fast data transfer
- Two USB 2.0 ports with 1 eSATA/USB combo port included
- HDMI audio/video output for high definition entertainment
The Toshiba Portege R835 comes with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium and will offer you the best working experience with Office Tools and multimedia applications.
The best deal at the moment is offered by Amazon with a price of below $800 including free shipping and optional 24-month financing. Grab it now while stock and this discount lasts!
What is a Chromebook?
Silently, but steadily a new generation of netbooks entered the market, called “Chromebooks” because they are running a light and secure Google Chrome operating system. They are based on a Linux Kernel with integrated Chrome Browser and a media player. Pretty much like you are used from Apple and their AppStore, you won’t install programs the regular way but use Web Apps from the Google Chrome Web Store.
The advantages of this new generation, including the Acer AC700-1099, are a operating system launch time of below 10 seconds, very good security and automatic updates which ensure you Chromebook is always up to date with the latest software and security fixes.
A Chromebook isn’t a classic laptop with all the features and flexibility you are used to, but more a very fast and easy to handle web surfing and multimedia machine for users without much computer knowledge or technological background. This is an advantage as well as a disadvantage, you sacrifice flexibility for usability.
The price of the Acer AC700-1099 is very attractive, the Wi-Fi version only costs about $350 on Amazon, the 3G version Acer AC700-1529 costs about $70 more. Which one is the best choice depends on if you have Wi-Fi hotspots or your home network nearby or if you prefer maximum mobility with 3G.
The other specs are the same for both models:
- 11.6-Inch LED HD display with native 1366 x 768 resolution
- Intel 1.66 GHz Atom N570 Processor
- 2GB DDR3 Memory
- 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
- 1.3 Megapixel HD Webcam
- 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Two USB 2.0 Ports, one HDMI port
If you want to use your mobile computer mostly for surfing and entertainment, the Chromebook Acer AC700 is a perfect choice. No headaches about updates and the fastest OS you have ever seen. It’s pretty much like an iPad with a real keyboard and real monitor, not really a laptop, but with the comfort of a netbook.
What the difference between a laptop and a notebook?
None, laptop is the older term and more common the US while laptops are often referred to as notebooks in europe.