Laptop buying guide - How to choose the best laptops

Are you looking for a laptop with great features yet don't want to burn your pocket? Read this guide to learn how to choose the cheap and yet the best performance giving laptops, ultrabooks and notebooks.

Recently when my HP dv6000 gave up on me, I was under complete shock. The laptop was one of the best at the time I bought it (Apple and Sony prices were sky high) and had whole lot of features and looks which can kill. The laptop cost me Rs 60000 and had external graphics card, a large 17 inch screen, great multimedia facilities including a multimedia remote control and lots of other features which tempted me to buy the laptop at the first sight. After three years of use however the same product which cost me a leg and an arm was not worth even Rs 5000, a price the computer shop owner quoted when I went to repair my laptop.

As we all know, we learn from mistakes and this was my chance for learning. Henceforth, I learnt some valuable points which I want to put here.

Tips to buy a laptop-

1. Never go for the top model- Although the features and looks will tempt you but never go for a top model laptop. Laptops have a shorter shell live than say a desktop computer because of various reasons someone can avoid to an extent but not totally neglect it.

2. Buy a desktop computer too- What I would recommend here is that you assemble a desktop computer with the best features in the market. As desktops are bound to last for long time and would give better performance than an equally specked laptop, hence it makes more sense if you invest in a desktop too rather than on a laptop. Add the best graphics cards and spend the whole day or whole month playing CS or any other game and nothing will happen to your desktop.

3. Avoid extra graphics card in a laptop- Although any computer dealer will tell you that laptops nowadays come with good extra graphics card unlike the old models which were doomed to fail, nevertheless avoid any hassles with the graphics card. The problem here is graphics card tend to give out more heat and hence have the maximum chance of burning out as compared to any other component in your laptop. Also, once burned prepare to shell out 10,000 bucks (INR) for the graphics card and the hardest part here is that you cannot bypass the graphics card to start the computer.

4. Laptop is not for multimedia or playing 3d games- Use the desktop for these purposes and leave the laptop for emergency work and occasional time pass. If you watch movies all day or are a serious gamer- buy the desktop now!

Now that I have shared some tips based on the experience, let me go further with my hunt for the best laptop at the cheapest price. There are lots of laptops which are available at Rs 20000 and are quite sufficient for net surfing and normal work. Does that mean you must buy these Centrino or cheap AMD processor based laptops? I would say no!

First reason is that they look horrible. They are nothing but plastic containers with some processors thrown into them. Secondly, these so called cheap laptops are usually made by cheap companies- companies one must totally avoid. Thirdly, no matter what your uses are, for instance let's say you need the laptop only for net surfing. Now how would you like if it takes five minutes just to open the Internet browser? In my opinion, just forget about laptops at Rs 20000 and shell out extra five thousand.

I had fixed a price of Rs 25,000 for the laptop I am going to buy and was not ready to compromise on following points-

1. Looks of the laptop- What's the use of buying a laptop if you are ashamed of taking it out in front of you friends? My laptop has to look great even amongst Vaio and Macbooks.

2. Laptop speed- I type fast, I use all the shortcuts for accessing programs, I don't like waiting. The laptop must understand these things.

First thing I checked on the laptops processors available in this price range-

1. Core i3 first generation laptops- Asus, Acer
2. Dual Core 2nd generation laptops- Samsung, Compaq, Lenovo
3. Core i3 2nd generation laptops- Wipro

Unlike desktops where the company hardly matters, laptop quality depends heavily on quality. Also once having a laptop will ensure rounds to the service centers. Hence it is best to avoid low quality companies. Wipro is out.

Acer and Asus can be somewhat compared with Lenovo and Compaq hence these laptops were still on the list. Now the biggest question arose- First generation i3 or Second generation dual core?

Initially I decided core i3 first generation will be a better bet than dual core 2nd generation. The Asus laptop was severely criticized for the sound quality and some other problems. The Acer 5733 on the other hand looked good, accompanied with good features and cost only Rs 24000 (please mind here that all the laptops I am mentioning here come with DOS operating system as a measure to keep cost low.)

However, I had some delivery problems with the online shop and hence decided to go to the showroom and chose the laptop myself. Contrary to my initial thought, second generation dual core was much better than a first generation core i3 and hence I changed my mind to buy a second generation dual core.

The choices were- Samsung, Compaq and Lenovo.

Compaq had the worse plastic look of these three and was quite bulky. Also, most of my friends always had problems with Compaq. Rejected.

Samsung looked a bit metal finish but nevertheless looked quite cheap. Also some issues have been arose with the Samsung laptops which were introduced first in other parts of the world before coming to India and hence rejected.

Lenovo had quite many models and one model which struck to the eye, to the brain and to the heart was the Lenove Essentials G580 model. Mind you that this is the latest series from Lenovo and has some of the best features which were totally absent in the rest of the laptop models. I bought the laptop from Emall which has a tie up with Lenovo and hence bought the laptop when it was hardly available anywhere else. The laptop costs Rs 24990 and is quite a steal along with the various freebies which includes a Lenovo backpack. Some unique feature about this laptop absent in other laptops of the same range are-

1. Looks- It has the looks of an ultrabook- Although not slim but as stylish. the laptop has a glossy finish and you can double up the laptop as a mirror in case you don't have one.

2. It is future proof- It comes with USB 3.0 which is quite fast as compared to its old counterpart 2.0.

3. Island keyboard- Typing on this keyboard is one of the best experiences ever. Infact this post has already exceeded 1000 words and I don't feel like stopping at all!

4. Dolby digital sound and one of the best speakers I have ever seen in a laptop.

I have reviewed the laptop thoroughly in another article and if you want to check it then you can do it here- Review of Lenovo G580 .

The final decision is always yours and individual preference may differ. For instance a graphic designer who is always outdoors or someone who likes to play counter strike while in the garden feeling the breeze, then its no harm. You can get the latest Ivy Bridge core i7 laptops with 1GB graphics card and everything under that tech sun.


Author: ronak pandya14 Aug 2012 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 1

as per my experience,users must see what they need,if any mechanical engg using autocad and high level software they will choose laptop with high level graphic card,its just example,
well your article is nice but as i mention above users have to check that they will get what they need..


Guest Author: sudheer kamireddi20 Aug 2012

This is the best laptop when you fix up the price as 25000.
Before buying a laptop, the first and foremost qusetion is what you do with it??

If browsing,movies, songs...... (what most of the people do) you dont even have to look at the specifications.. except screen size..,

For other things like aftereffects, autocad... you definetely need to refine your specs..

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