Thursday, May 5, 2016

Laptop Buying Guide

How to navigate a range of increasingly complete?

The laptop prices falling as their performance improves. Less bulky than traditional desktop PCs, so they are attracting more and more consumers in the context of family use.

From the outside, all laptops are similar. But looking more closely, one realizes quickly that performance and equipment vary greatly from model to model. Screen size, storage space, processor, graphics card, connections ... The settings are many and must be consistent with each other to the machine configuration is optimal.

That said, the choice of a computer must first be guided by its needs. For office use (word processing, spreadsheets, Internet browsing ...), any device is now the case. Early Prices start around 300 or 400 euros for machines with integrated DVD burner drive (usually dual layer) and equipped with a Wi-Fi module to connect to wireless broadband internet. With a hard drive of 320 GB or they can store photos, videos, or manage a music library.

For more activities memory intensive , such as video editing, photo editing, it is necessary to provide a large storage space. With a powerful graphics card, preferably with a dedicated memory and not "shared" (in this case, the card requests a part of the RAM available to the computer as a whole), you can also run 3D games . Furthermore, a high performance graphics should be combined with a good processor, able to quickly bring him information to process. For this type of powerful computer, allow a minimum of 800 euros.

Good connectivity
Besides its intrinsic performance, connectors available on the computer is also an important element to take into account. The device must be fitted with at least three USB (2.0 or better 3.0: flow rates are ten times faster). A video output is also necessary to connect the computer to an external display . HDMI, which also transmits sound, is now required, and to replace the VGA (analog) and DVI (or DVI-I, which transmits the video signal into analog and digital DVI-D is that the transmit only in digital). You can connect to a pc screen. An IEEE1394 (also called FireWire or i-Link) is useful for repatriating video from a DV camera, but it is scarce. Finally, TV output allows viewing the screen content on a TV . Note that a new connector, the USB C , begins to appear. Its versatility allows to believe that it will eventually replace all other ports on a PC.

If the computer is also used to store pictures or download music on a Walkman, a memory card reader compatible with that of the camera or MP3 player is welcome. Some computers come with either a Bluetooth wireless link that enables them to communicate with certain devices ( mobile phones or Bluetooth speakers , for example).

Comfort: the finger and the eye
Finally, several factors also play on user comfort. The screen , first of all, important. The 16/10 format more suitable for watching DVDs, tends to generalize. The size of the screen is essential (a 15-inch diagonal is necessary for comfort), as the ergonomics of the keyboard and cursor navigation system. Especially, in case of frequent travel, the computer must be light and enjoy a good battery life (over 2 hours). For frequent travelers, manufacturers have even designed for ultraportable computers

It remains to check the "perk". Some computers are sold with a mouse or a bag, but their quality is variable and that luxury is becoming scarcer as manufacturers' margins decline. Others have a more complete or longer warranty. Finally, even if the related sale is prohibited in France, all computers come with pre-installed software. Most offer Internet security software with a short-term license (usually between 30 and 60 days). Some include an office suite full version, but sometimes old (Star Office, Issendis, etc.) or a trial version (30 days) of Microsoft Office.

After buying

To improve the performance of a notebook after purchase, it is often possible to add RAM , accessible from the keyboard or via a hatch on the underside of the unit. Sometimes there is a free memory slot to accept an additional memory module, option to check at the time of purchase. Otherwise, it is necessary to replace an existing memory module with a more powerful. It is not possible, however, to replace the video card or motherboard. To increase storage capacity, the purchase of an external hard drive is the most simple solution, and it is also advisable to carry personal data backups.

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