Buying your first laptop

July 24, 2010

At TechyBack, we often get asked about what laptop people should go for.

What make? What model? How much should they spend?

Whilst buying a laptop is similar in principle to buying a normal desktop PC, there is one fairly important distinction to make immediately, and that is that whatever technology is in the laptop you purchase, ultimately, thats what you’re gonna be stuck with until you decide to go for a new on again.

Unlike desktop PC’s, laptops (and notebooks and netbooks) are extremely limited in upgrade possibilities later. Whatever you buy today, is really as good as you’ll have until you buy a whole new model later.

You can in most cases upgrade or replace the existing Memory (RAM) or replace the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) with a larger one, or in some more high end laptops, add a second internal HDD, but that is usually as far as you can go.

So the first point that I recommend to anyone buying a laptop is to really decide a budget and let that guide your decision. Brand new netbooks start from as little as £150 and although they are typically slower than their notebook and laptop brothers, they are perfect for very occassional light users. Normal notebooks and laptops more or less typically start around £250+ and can go higher than £2000 (thats a LOT of laptop!!).

Its hard to decide any particular manufacturer as being the ‘best’ to go for in this age of ‘Cheaper/Faster’ because all manufacturers have been forced to cut costs in order to remain competitive and so, of course, overall quality can suffer. Even more prestigeous brands like the Sony Vaio have begun developing more lower market versions of their brand.

When choosing a laptop be sure to compare different brands and specs. Even small differences can make big price differences, but this does not neccessarily mean good value, so definitely take your time before committing to a purchase. 

With many laptops from different manufacturers suffering from massive system failure not long out of warranty, it is worth considering extended warranty, but only if you intend to keep the laptop a few years! Generally, I never worry about these extended warranty promotions, but when it comes to games consoles and laptops, I do make the exception!

So to recap:

  1. Decide a budget and get as much ‘bang for your buck’ as you can. Dont be afraid to shop around, it can mean more money in your pocket or a faster system!
  2. Compare different brands and watch out for the small differences in spec that can make the big difference in the price.
  3. Consider extended warranty only if you imagine the laptop getting a lot of use and that you’ll be keeping it for a few years!

If you need any further advice or help, dont be afraid to get in touch via our Contact link! 🙂

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