Published on:

21 August 2012


Rachael Adams

Things to consider when buying a new notebook

It must be several times a month we get a call to setup a new notebook that has been purchased by a valued customer, but temptation got to them and they purchased one from a retail shop that has no idea of their business needs.  This mistake means being left with a device that usually needs upgrades costing hundreds of dollars or in some cases requiring a complete replacement notebook.

The purpose of this article is to limit the wasted expenditure and educate you on your next purchase.

The starting point is to consider what the device is going to be used for, how often and how long.  For example: if the answer is for travelling, then a light notebook with a smaller screen is ideal and if it is your primary computer as well, then it will need a docking station.

Remember most home and small business model notebooks do NOT come with a docking ability.  A sales person may say they can sell you a “generic” USB docking station, but they come with their own challenges.

Below is a list of points to consider when choosing the right notebook.

  • Screen size and weight
    • 15” screens are usually the most affordable model
    • Screens smaller than 13” are hard to work from for any length of time
    • Under 2kg is good for travelling, over 3kg means you can skip the gym as the notebook is your workout
  • Battery life
    • Most modern notebooks are good, but check the figures.  Standard batteries can be as small as 3 cells, so look for 6 to 9 cell batteries.
  • Speed
    • While CPU is important, memory and disk speed is the key (application dependant of course).  A performance or busy user should look for 8GB+ of memory and a solid state hard disk drive (SSD).
  • Camera
    • Do you need one?
    • Does the quality matter?  If so, check out the megapixels
  • Ports and inbuilt features
    • Do you need a CD, DVD or Blu-ray?
    • Does it have sufficient ports for
      • Projector
      • Memory stick
      • Dual screen
      • HDMI
      • Memory card
  • Bluetooth (it’s a must have these days)!
  • Warranty (the forgotten item)
    • Is the warranty a return to base or onsite
      • Return to base can be painful, time consuming, and leave you without the notebook for weeks and in some cases the device returned without your data or settings.
    • How many years of warranty is included
    • Is the battery included in the warranty
    • Avoid store warranties and only get manufacturer backed ones
  • Do your business software applications have particular needs
    • Video card specifications
    • Memory and CPU capacity
    • Operating system
  • Windows version
    • DON’T buy the home edition unless the notebook is for home.  Even then it’s usually worthwhile purchasing the business edition in case the requirements change or the additional features are required in the future
  • Docking Station
    • If you plan to use the notebook regularly on a desk, then a docking station is a must
  • Also good to have
    • Backlit keyboard
    • Bluetooth travel mouse
    • Carry bag

Choosing the right notebook will not only save you money up front, but could increase productivity, save in future hardware costs and reduces downtime.

Before making your next purchase, check with TechPath.