- Questions to ask yourself
- Desktop PC or notebook?
- How important is mobility?
- What will I be using the notebook for?
- How much do I need to spend?
- Specialised portable computers?
- Ultraportable notebooks
- Tablet PCs
- Palm/hand top computers
- Ruggedised portables
- Processor and chipset
- Intel versus AMD
- Intel notebook processors
- AMD mobile processors
- Other key components
- Questions to ask the retailer
How much do I need to spend?
How much you need to spend depends on what you will be using your notebook for. If you only want to access your e-mail, browse the Web and do word processing, then you can get away with spending between $1200 and $2000 for a new machine (even less if you get an older and/or second-hand model).
If you are a medium-level user, using your notebook to play games or to work with multimedia applications, then you will want to spend more on a powerful processor and graphics controller, more storage space, and a bigger screen. For this type of use, you'll be looking at around the $2000-$3000 and up price-range.
Remember that the more features your notebook has, the more expensive it will be. If you opt for a DVD-re-writer drive instead of DVD-ROM, want increased hard drive capacity (say, over 80GB), a screen size more than the standard 15in, the latest wireless capabilities and a more powerful processor, then the price of your notebook will increase accordingly. The trick is to figure out which configuration you will need.
Buying a notebook with the latest processor or graphics controller is not necessary if you will only be using it for word processing and Web browsing, and have no plans to extend your usage.
Most users will fall in the $1500-$2500 category, with only high-end corporate users, content-creators and avid-gamers looking at spending over $3000.