Today's post is not about my laptop. But about your laptop, the one you intend buying.
A laptop is meant to make your life easy. And not add to your burdens. I will be listing all you need to consider about a laptop and in the order you should consider them, from high priority to low priority.
- Design. Trust me, the design of a laptop matters the most. I love everything about my old laptop, design-wise. It's by a company that's got hype: Sony. The physical design and finishing is so good I'm always proud to bring out the laptop. The keyboard is one of a kind; the best I have used on any computer/laptop. Even better than the one on my new laptop. Design ranks the highest when getting something as personal as a laptop. When I stare at the special shiny x-Brite screen of that Sony VAIO, I get inspiration and feel like working forever. It's that powerful.
- Local Warranty. I've seen the nightmares the lack of a local Apple store has caused people. You can't fix even the smallest fault, and you begin to think of sending the laptop to a friend in UK or US to help take it to an Apple store. And you'll get charged for it since you've got no valid warranty. Warranty matters a lot. And that's the reason I didn't buy another Sony VAIO but Samsung Activ book. When the charger of my Sony VAIO went bad, I couldn't get a replacement in the whole of Computer Village. Then when the motherboard got fried, I could even see a used Sony VAIO of same model to buy. I had to buy another model and transplant the working parts of mine into it. And that one looked like it had multiple accidents over the course of a miserable life. Like the previous owner wanted to ruin it. I felt like I lost a very dear pet. Local warranty matters a lot.
- CPU. Now we've got to the innards. Of all the specs a laptop has, only the CPU cannot be upgraded. You will need to buy another laptop or send it to the manufacturers to get the CPU upgraded. So if you see 2 laptops you love and one has a higher CPU than the other, please go for the one with the higher CPU. RAM can be upgraded, and cheaply. Hard disk can be upgraded. CPU cannot be upgraded.
- Battery life. Yeah, battery life. As a Nigerian, you shouldn't get a laptop that will constantly remind you of PHCN. Get one with at least 4hours juice. Even if you're sure of getting an extended life battery, the ones that stick out of laptops and is the most visible part of a laptop. It's doing the laptop design a disservice. And there are now laptops with 6, 8 and 11 hours battery life. Samsung Activ 9 Plus has got 11 hours battery life.
- RAM. Despite all I said about the RAM being upgrade-able, it still matters at the point of purchase. I'm a true geek, yet it wasn't until after 5 years that I upgraded by laptop's RAM. I've never meant someone who bought a new laptop at Mega Plaza VI and went straight to Computer Village to have the RAM upgraded. Some people even leave the sticky thin plastic film on the laptop screen and body. Nobody wants to start unscrewing a laptop he just bought. So inbuilt RAM matters. Get one with not less than 4GB RAM. Except you are buying a tablet.
- Hard Disk. Same argument applies to hard disk as I laid out for RAM. If you are the media heavy guy. You might skip the 128GB SSD laptops, if you don't always want to carry an external hard disk about. The SSD (Solid State Device) memory drives consume less power and are lightning fast; the reason must super slim ultra books have them. But if you have to always carry about an external disk for your personal and work files, what's the use of the slimness. There are other slim laptops that have 1,000GB hard disk and even cost less. But if you are like me. You don't have music or videos or a continent of files, you'll benefit more by going for the SSD ones. All my life, I have never exhausted a 160GB hard disk. My PC has only Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Free Download Manager and Google Chrome. All other software were pre-installed. And I seldom click on them. Oh, I installed Thunderbird recently, I couldn't afford the Microsoft Office and Business pack that comes with Outlook. I hear there's now an addendum in the book of life. You'll be asked, "Is the WinZip on your laptop paid for or pirated?" Only God knows who suggested it be included.
- Keyboard. Though this was intended to be under consideration 1 (Design), I have to single it out because it's got some unique features beyond just design. Have you seen laptops with Arabic keyboards? That's how I know people who were gifted a laptop. Because, I don't think anyone will go to the ATM, withdraw a big chunk of his hard-earned money and then go buy a laptop with a non-English keyboard. But there are the more subtle points of consideration. I do a lot of number crunching, so I made sure I got a laptop with a numpad. I'm so used to the numpad that I can type out numbers without looking at the keyboard. And very fast.
- Every other thing. Yeah, every other thing can now be considered. E.g. the number of USB ports, the position of the DVD drive and so on.