– IT Column –
PHOTO by Ryan Brooks for The Current 2014 ©

By Tiffanee Arthur, Staff Writer for The Current

The right laptop is crucial to any computer user. It can be used for a college student’s educational success, for a gamer or for a business. There are tons of factors to look for when buying a laptop and it can get confusing when searching for one. This list will ease some of those worries when shopping for the right laptop.

1. Usage. When buying a laptop, you want to analyze your usage scenario. For what are you using the laptop? Is it to use Powerpoint, to take notes, to watch HD videos, or to play games and chat with friends? These are the things that should be taken into consideration as you make your decision. Affordability comes into play when thinking about your usage. Of course a computer with a HD and Blu-ray player will be more expensive than the one without. Keep that in mind when choosing a laptop.

2. Battery life. Battery life is one of the important factors in choosing a laptop. You want your laptop to last as long as it can. Since laptops are mobile and students are constantly moving around, there is a chance that outlets are not always available for a quick charge. The slimmer model laptop usually does not have the option to manually take out the battery and replace it on your own. You most likely have to send the laptop in to get a replacement battery.

3. Size and weight. Laptops vary in sizes. The larger the laptop, the more it kills the mobility. Light weight laptops usually are more expensive because they do away with features such as disk drive but have a longer battery life. Though large computers are heavier, they have more features, but a lower percentage of battery life.

4. Processor and graphics. The processor of a computer determines how efficient programs run. Windows computers run on Intel processor, while Mac Book Air runs on ultra low processors. Quad-core processor delivers a powerful performance, and they can run a 1080p program like photo-shop. When picking a laptop it is best to ask what processor a laptop uses. Your purpose for it determines what processor and overall laptop you should buy. Graphic processors (GPU) is important when viewing video in HD or running video games. Many laptops use graphics that are already included in the system. They usually require less power, but can display 1080p.

5. Storage and memory. There several ways to store data nowadays. You have cloud base storage, SD cards and HDD, but what about the random access memory (RAM)? Every software running on a computer stores data in the RAM to function. The more RAM, the better. Picking a laptop with a lot of storage space is ideal for extra data, it enables the laptop to run smoothly.

6. Ports and expandability. Some computer users maybe familiar with a USB port. But what about a HDMI port to connect the laptop to the TV or SD slot for downloading photos from your camera to your laptop? Will you need a built-in Wi-Fi connection or a Ethernet port for the internet? If you are planning to keep the laptop for years, learning to expand the laptop life spans is important, this includes adding more memory, updating the GPU, and more. This is especially helpful for expensive laptops.

7. Security features. Personal information is usually kept on a computer. There is always a risk that the information will be stolen. Laptop mobility runs the risk for any one to steal a laptop sitting on the table. Some laptops comes with fingerprint scanners that requires the user to do a scan before the computer logs in. There are also security cables that can bolt a laptop to a table. This will prevent a person from picking it up, or accidentally bumping into it and knocking it down. Laptop security can help you protect your computer, but never assume that it is safe. Being careful and mindful of your laptop is the best way to protect it.

These are just some of the things that you should consider when purchasing a laptop. Depending on what you are using the laptop for will ultimately determine your final decision. Whether or not it is to use for school, work or games, there is something for everyone.

© The Current 2014