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Five Tips For Buying a Laptop Computer - Page 2 of 3
Posted: July 12, 2005
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: N/A
Source: Tech Tips
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Connectivity (continued):

Firewire may not be as popular as USB, and as such, it doesn't show up at all on many computer systems, regardless of whether they are desktops or laptops. Having this connection may not be necessary for everyone, but for those who want it, keep in mind that its inclusion on any particular laptop is not a given.

Bluetooth is another type of connectivity you may want in a laptop, but its popularity has yet to really catch up to its hype. More and more consumer electronics devices are starting feature Bluetooth technology, but for general computer applications, it may be more trouble than it is worth.

This Toshiba Satellite features a solid assortment of connections with three USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire port, integrated wireless and wired networking, and even a modem.

Power Management:

If you are going to use a laptop as it was intended, away from your desk, you're going to want it to provide as much battery life as possible. The first step is to shop around for a unit that offers the best battery life possible, and then seek out independent reviews to verify this performance. A good laptop should be able to run for four hours or more on a full charge, and as the technology advances, finding units that can double this time isn't unrealistic.

The operating system on most laptops will allow for the hardware to be configured to utilize the battery as efficiently as possible. It is just up to the user to navigate their way to these tabs and set things like the display to turn off, hard drives to power down, or even the processor to slow down when it isn't needed to run full speed. Not all processors can provide this speed throttling, but finding a system with a Mobile Pentium/Celeron or Centrino processor may be your best bet to ensure this capability.

Another way to ensure extended life away from a power outlet is to just add a second battery. Although you can obviously carry a charged spare in your bag, some laptops allow for two batteries to be installed at once, with one generally replacing the optical disk drive.

Size / Weight:

All laptop computers are not created equal, and the size and weight of the various models reflect that. Some may weigh more than others due to the quantity of components included, but it may also be due to the quality of the components. Larger displays, multiple hard drives, and other integrated components will all contribute to the weight of a laptop. The largest single source of weight in a laptop may be the battery, and systems with two batteries as described above, should be expected to be much heavier.

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