Notebook Computer Buying Tips  

Posted by Laptop Tips

There are a lot of notebook computer buying guides designed to help an inexperienced user to buy the right notebook. Some of these guides are good, some of them are not. Here is a notebook buying guide I like because it’s written on people’s language and not designed to sell you anything. This guide explains the difference between a budget notebook, a mainstream notebook and a gaming notebook and what you should expect from your laptop.

From myself I would like to add some hardware related details you should think of before you buy a notebook computer.

Laptop AC Adapter.

Make sure to check the size of the AC adapter before you buy a laptop. Usually, you do not see the AC adapter before you buy the laptop and open the box at home. You’ll be very surprised to see that your AC adapter is half-size of your computer. I did this mistake when I bought Sony Vaio PCG-FRV26. The AC adapter wasn’t designed for a portable computer at all.

Volume Control.

If you like listen music a lot then you have to choose a laptop with some kind of a hardware sound volume control (sound volume buttons or sound volume wheel located on the laptop). I prefer a volume wheel like on most Toshiba laptops. The volume wheel gives you almost instant access to the sound level. If you do not have a hardware control, then the only way to change the sound volume is through the software settings; it takes some time.

Sound System.

This is again for music lovers. Make sure to find a laptop with a good sound system. In my opinion, Harman/Kardon system is one of the best. I have Harman/Kardon speakers on my HP Pavilion zv5430us and the sound is awesome. :) Sound on my Sony Vaio laptop sucks! :(

Laptop Memory Location.

The system board is one of the most important and most expensive parts of a notebook computer and you will get an advantage if you know what kind of the system board installed into the laptop. Some modern notebooks have memory integrated on the system board and offer only one extra memory slot to expand the memory size in the future. If onboard memory goes bad, you have to replace the entire system board. It’s OK if your laptop is still under warranty, but what if you have to pay cash for the repair? Also you cannot upgrade onboard memory. Other type of system boards do not have onboard memory, instead offer to you two memory slots on the system board. You will have to replace only the memory stick if it goes bad. System board with 2 memory slots usually can accept up to 2 GB of memory (1GB memory stick in each slot). So, if you plat to upgrade your laptop in the future, make sure that your laptop has both memory slots available for upgrade. Ask a sales person for details.

USB Port Location.

Check how USB ports are located on the laptop. If you plan to use USB devices like a wireless mouse, a flash drive or an external USB hard drive, then it would be nice to have couple USB ports on the side of your laptop not only on the back. Some laptops do not have USB ports on sides and to connect an USB device you have to turn the laptop.

Make sure that USB ports are not located too close to each other. Some older USB devices are big and when you plug it into one USB port, the second USB port becomes unusable.


If you are a network administrator or have a job related to networking, then probably you use Windows run box a lot. To access the run box in Windows you use a shortcut (Windowd Key + R button). On some keyboards the Windows Key is located in the lower left corner, so you can use one hand to start it. On some keyboards the Windows Key is located in the upper right corner and to start the run box you have to use both hands. Choose the right keyboard for you. For some people it’s not a problem at all, but what if you use this shortcut hundreds times a day?

Parallel Port.

Very often this option is overlooked. If you plan to connect a printer to your laptop via a parallel port then you have to find a laptop with this option. Many modern laptops are designed for modern USB printers and they do not have the parallel port at all.

Laptop Warranty.

If you think that notebook computers do not fail or they fail only during the first year of exploitation, think again. In my opinion, an extended 3or 4 years warranty is a must for any notebook computer. For example I’ll give you approximate prices for some Toshiba Satellite A75 laptop parts if you decide to repair it in Toshiba Repair Center.


Thank you for this post....

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