(This Part 2 of a two-part article. Part One can be found here.)
Where to begin?
If you already own a laptop, would you consider buying the same brand again? That would be a logical place to start. Or, if you do not own a laptop, you may have friends, family of co-workers that do. Ask around and get their opinions. Go into a local electronics or computer store and see what they have to offer. This way, you get a hands-on feel of each brand. Check out the construction, features and included software that each one comes with. Note down the names and model number of the one(s) you like. Then go home and do some research.
There are two good sources for laptop research online: laptop review sites and laptop forums. One great review site I came across was Notebookreview.com. They have plenty of reviews on all the latest models. They will highlight the pros & cons of each model and give you benchmarking scores so you can see how that particular model compares to others in its class.
Laptop forums are excellent sources for feedback because of the real-world content they contain. Each manufacturer, like Lenovo, Dell, HP have their own support forums where one can ask questions and get assistance from other users and even from company reps as well. I was considering one particular model of Dell and in their own forum there was a comment from someone who said they have been a computer tech for 30 years and never had they seen a “piece of junk” (or words to that effect) like the model of Dell I was considering. Now that is just one person’s opinion, but it still gives one food for thought and so I continued research another model.
So go to the support sites for each manufacturer and look for a forum link. Then, do a search for the model you are looking for. You may find some great tips about getting/avoiding certain features when purchasing your model (if you are buying and customizing from an online retailer like Dell, for instance).
Hopefully, this two-part article has helped you in some way to be better informed when purchasing your next laptop or PC. Remember, laptops are not easily upgraded like desktop PCs, although adding more RAM and a larger hard drive to a laptop is not that daunting of a task these days. It is best, however, to get as much ‘bang for your buck’ initially so that the specs on your new purchase will be good for a few years down the road.