10 things to watch out for when ...
Weight: Laptops are in two categories, ultralite and regular. Ultralites are lighter and thinner but have limited built-in features. Regular laptops have features such as a large, bright screen; long-life battery; CD-ROM and floppy-disk drive.
CPU: Central processing unit determines the laptop's speed, measured in megahertz. Speeds range from 300MHz up to 800MHz or more. 400MHz is usually sufficient.
Batteries: They are either lithium ion or nickel metal hydride. Lithium ones are lightweight with longer life but more costly. If you expect to run your notebook off the battery a lot, then lithium is worthwhile.
Tech support: Do not settle for less than a 30-day return policy and check it carefully for bundled software. Some will not let you return the software once it has been opened. Warranties are one year for parts and tech support.
Overheating: Long usage hours on the laptop might create overheating, reducing its lifespan. Use a pad underneath and tilt the laptop to allow ventilation.
Hard Disk: This is where the operating system, software programs, and all information is stored. It is measured in gigabytes (GB) from 1.6 GB to 15 GB or more.
Test run: Make sure its weight, size, feel and power are right for your needs. Try out the keyboard and pointing device to ensure comfort.
Screen: The liquid crystal display (LCD) is important as you must consider the size, type and resolution.
Pointing device: Every manufacturer has its own variation but usually there are three types: stick, pad or trackball. Try the keyboard and pointing device together to ensure they are comfortable. Pads usually have separate buttons or require a finger tap. For some, trackballs feel the most natural but it is usually a personal choice.
Needs: Last but not the least, buy only what you need, when you need it. Technology advances rapidly and there will always be something better.