Updated 25 May, 2013, 6:56 pm IST
Buying Guide: How to Choose a Notebook
| by Rossi Fernandes
Notebooks have evolved from being computers for businessmen to mainstream computing machines. There are those who continue using notebooks on the move, while some others use notebooks as their everyday computers. In the midst of all the upgrades and updates being made by notebook manufacturers, marketing jargons and competition between brands, the consumer is left confused as to which notebook to buy. There are quite literally hundreds of models you can find in the market today. By the end of this guide, we hope to leave you with a clear picture of what a good notebook ought to have.
Choosing the correct type of notebook
Like we mentioned earlier, each person has different needs from the technology he or she buys. The needs differ from person to person and it’s important to choose a notebook that fits your needs. It’s important to set budgets for the purchase accordingly, as well. For example, don’t expect to find a high-end gaming notebook for anything less than 80,000 or so and don’t expect a Rs. 40,000 notebook to play high-end games.
Plenty of notebook types to choose from
The cheapest of notebooks in the market start from around the Rs. 23,000 range. Netbooks start at prices closer to Rs. 13,000. Broadly, there are four segments of notebooks that most people look at. Most people spend between Rs. 23,000 and Rs. 40,000 on a notebook. Many of these users are going to use these notebooks as their primary computer at home and maybe at work. These notebooks won't offer excellent performance for gaming and content generation purposes, but they will do just fine for desktop applications. Although cheap, they cover most of the needs that majority of the people have.
The slightly more power hungry user will want more performance than these notebooks can offer. While the feature set of costlier notebooks doesn’t change a whole lot, notebooks priced above Rs. 40,000 have faster processors and even entry-level discrete graphics solutions. Screen sizes also drop at this point. While most mainstream notebooks that we talked about earlier have 14 and 15-inch screens, notebooks above Rs. 50,000 or so can be found with smaller 13-inch screens.
Compact and portable, but might not offer excellent performance
Gaming notebooks are more expensive and way more powerful than the cheaper notebooks that we’ve been talking about. Prices of gaming notebooks start roughly from Rs. 80,000 and go on well over a lakh. These notebooks come with powerful graphics solutions and have large screens, as well. They offer poor battery life in comparison and carrying them around is a pain. On the other hand, there are ultraportable notebooks that are designed for people who travel a lot. They aren’t as powerful as the gaming notebooks but will offer way better performance than netbooks.
The processor is one of the key components of a notebook. An entry-level Intel Core i3 i380M might be sufficient for most purposes, but when you start using more CPU intensive software and multitask with a number of browser windows open, CPU performance is essential and a faster processor can come handy. Majority of all the notebooks sold around the world come with Intel’s processors, so although AMD too has solutions in the market, you’re more likely to come across a wider range of Intel processor-based notebooks. A decent speed Core i5 such as the 480M processor is a good start. Also look for one of the newer Sandy Bridge processors from Intel.
HDMI connectivity is handy when at home you want to connect a notebook to an external display.
HDMI connectivity is handy if you own a LCD or Plasma display
Most notebooks these days that come with an HDMI port are also capable of playing full HD content smoothly. You can watch movies on your TV or use it as a primary display and use the notebook like a desktop PC. Simply connect a USB keyboard and mouse, disable the notebook display and you’re good to go.
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