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Thursday, February 16, 2017

GADGET SPECIAL...... CHOOSING THE RIGHT LAPTOP

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LAPTOP


SIZE IS THE BIGGEST DECISION


Whatever size laptop screen you choose, you're stuck with it.Travellers will want lightweight 12 to 14-inch designs but there will always be trade offs: things are smaller on the screen, the keyboard might be smaller or battery life and performance will likely take a hit. If you don't plan to move it around much, the 15.6-inch mainstream size is always available. If you want a powerful machine for graphicsvideo editing, the powerful machines are typically 15.6-inch or 17-inch sizes. Lost some storage space? Many laptops have some bloatware: trial software, games, Antivirus and so on.First step is to uninstall these apps to recover that precious space


NEW FANGLED DESIGNS


Laptops can now be contortionists! Some have displays that twist all the way around. Some have displays that swivel. The idea is that you have multiple modes you can use them in. In others, you can even remove the display and make it into a tablet. These can be useful but typically command a premium compared to conventional styles.


WHERE DID THE PORTS GO?


Old laptops had the space to include several ports like S-video, VGA, Firewire, multiple audio jacks, multiple USB ports and so on. Now that laptops are so much smaller, you mostly get a few USB ports, HDMI and a card reader.Some ultrathin designs have even fewer USB ports and collapsible Ethernet ports. The latest trend is to ditch Ethernet and video out entirely and go for USB type C ports (which will be universal and multipurpose)


OPTICAL DRIVES & HARD DRIVES MAY SOON BE EXTINCT


Optical drives are bulky, so they've been done away with in most cases.You'll still find 15.6-inch laptops with optical drives if you need one.Another change in high-end machines is the shift to flash based storage (SSDs) as compared to hard drives (HDDs). Flash storage is more expensive but can be much smaller, lighter and offers better speed.


TO TOUCH THE SCREEN OR NOT


A touchscreen does have a number of benefits for some despite the fact that it tends to get grimy. Especially for digital natives who are more used to touch, it will be easier to scroll through webpages, large folders, photos and long documents. Windows 10 interface is optimized for touch and you also download many touch-optimized apps. If you've old school and prefer the keyboard and mouse, you'll save money by ditching the touchscreen. Not to mention that the lid will be thinner and the whole machine may be lighter. If you're picking up a budget laptop (sub `30,000), make sure to check if it comes preloaded with genuine Windows -if there is no mention of Windows at all, chances are that it has DOS or Linux


WEIGHT VS BATTERY LIFE CONSIDERATIONS


A few years ago, it was common for laptops to be bulky (1-inch +), to weigh over 3kg and have a battery life of 2 to 3 hours. As components became more efficient and battery performance and density improved, thinner and lighter laptops are now common and inexpensive.A battery life of 5 to 6 hours is fairly common now but if you want to do the full workday without plugging in, you need 8 to 10 hours of battery life, for which you still have to pay a premium.


THE GRAPHICS CARD PERFORMANCE BOOST


There are laptops with integrated graphics chips, ones with discrete graphics cards and some which have switchable graphics (to auto switch between internal and discrete graphics). For regular use of documents, web, multimedia and basic games, integrated graphics are going to do just fine. If your main purpose is gaming or professional graphicsvideo editing, then you should get a notebook with dedicated graphics card. Switchable graphics will conserve power if you're only doing basic use.


PLANNING TO DITCH THE OPERATING SYSTEM TO SAVE A BIT?


In our price sensitive market, it's still possible to buy laptops without an operating system because you can save a few thousands, Now, if you plan to use it with Linux or other open-source alternatives, that's fine. But if you want Windows, ditching it upfront can cost you more in the long run (lost data in case of a crash, compromised security because of no updates or downtime caused by malicious software). It's also a lot cheaper to buy a laptop bundled with an operating system rather than buying a standalone operating system later.


ET9FEB17 

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