Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buy Quality, But Cheap Notebooks

    Bargain hunters may have little worry in locating cheap notebooks/laptops to buy. After all, there are everywhere - online and in brick-and-mortar computer stores.

    But the trick is finding notebooks that are not only low cost value but also good value and unlikely to bring on buyers' remorse later on.

    If you are one of those bargain hunters, recognize that purchasing a cheap laptop can be a frustrating experience. This is because by cutting your budget, you are reducing the likelihood of getting certain features that you may want in your laptop.

    And you may very well want those features later on. So right now, before you spend your hard-earned cash on that bargain notebook, get the information that you need to make a smart buying decision.

    We define cheap notebooks as those priced at $700 or under.

    In fact, depending on the features you get, such a notebook computer could be regarded as a bargain.

    Sure, you can get netbooks or mini laptops for $200-$400.

    But what we are talking about is full sized laptop computers that have large displays, standard keyboards and features, at prices that were not available a couple of years ago.

    See - this is the beauty of technological devices such as notebook PCs.

    Over time as their markets mature, their sales decline and retailers in an attempt to boost falling sales, drop prices. So even the most budget conscious consumer can get a good notebook for under $700.

    And don't think these bargain notebooks are necessarily ugly as sin either. For many manufactures, design is no longer a mere afterthought. They recognize the strong appeal consumers have for aesthetically pleasing notebooks.

    Even in some bargain notebook lines, more attention is being given to lid colors and decoration. Plus, many cheaper models are moving away from clunky designs to ones that look more streamlined.

    Cheap notebooks come in all display sizes; from 13 inch notebooks to those that have 17 inch screens.

    Look out for a comfortable keyboard too. Keyboards differ according to the brand but you should not go for anything smaller than full size.

    Even the lowest priced notebook computers come with multitouch gesture capabilities built into their touchpads, so that two fingers can be used to zoom, enlarge, or scroll.

    Some cheap notebooks come with many features but the key is to get value for money. We consider good value to be those laptops with at least 3 USB ports, audio ports and Ethernet.

    Almost every bargain laptop comes with a built-in DVD burner (unless it is an ultraportable laptop). Most bargain laptops have VGA and HDMI, so you have a choice of analog or digital video streaming connection respectively.

    If you don't give into an impulse purchase and do your research properly, you can buy a budget laptop with some really cool features. Wireless Display (WiDi) and WiMax wireless technologies from Intel come to mind.

    WiDi does a similar job to what HDMI does except that it does so without the use of a cable. However, for around a $100, you will need to purchase Netgear Push2TV receiver that tethers to your HDTV separately.

    The WiMax (otherwise known as 4G wireless) adapter would be built into the laptop. WiMax is like a WiFi connection but it covers a whole city.

    Arguably, choosing the right components is the most tricky part of finding your ideal budget notebook. The processor (or CPU), which is the brain of a notebook, will typically be less powerful as the price falls.

    Ideally, you'll want at least an Intel Core i3 CPU in your budget laptop. Lower than that, it is a mixture of low and lower priced processors. Celeron and Intel Pentium CPUs are not as fast as their Intel Core counterparts but at least they use energy efficiently.

    You may also find AMD Athlon and Phenom CPUs in cheap notebooks. They are better able to to handle any number of tasks thrown them, but they are not as energy efficient as Intel's processors.

    Bargain laptops will most likely possess 4GB of DDR3 memory or RAM. Since memory itself is so cheap these days you really want to have as much of it as possible.

    If you are not using graphics-intensive applications, getting a cheap laptop with integrated graphics will suffice. However, having discrete graphics is better especially if you are into 3D gaming. Discrete graphics though, uses more power so battery life will suffer.

    Speaking of the devil, you want your laptop batteries to have at least six cells. Battery life in laptops costing $700 or less is between 3 and 4 hours on average.


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