Many people feel overwhelmed by computer jargon when first looking at budget laptop options. We have put together a guide of these terms, and what they mean to you. It helps to understand the terms used when looking around the internet for your best budget laptop, so that you can make the best decisions about finding a laptop or netbook to suit you.
This is an overview for beginners or a refresher for those who haven’t looked at computing purchasing in a while. Further in depth analysis is provided via our website, please read below for our contact information.
Why Buy a Budget Laptop?
Portability, Energy Usage and Comparable Performance. Laptops take up less desk space, and you can carry them around to whatever location suits you, they use much less energy than a comparable desktop machine while offering similar speed for every day uses such as checking emails, watching movies and listening to music.
Common Budget Laptop Terms and what they mean to you
Processor (CPU) – the brain or engine of the computer. Generally it is best to but the fastest and newest processor within your budget. Intel and AMD are two common brands.
Memory (RAM) – the more RAM in your laptop, the more it can do at once. Check that the RAM on your potential laptop can be added to or upgraded. RAM comes in different types called DDR, DDR2, DDR3 with DDR3 being the fastest and most expensive. We recommend a minimum of 1GB RAM to start with for basic operations in a Windows environment, check that your laptop can be upgraded with more RAM before purchasing your laptop.
Hard Drive – information is stored on a Hard Drive within the computer. Laptops and notebooks usually have a minimum of 160GB; with very small net books starting at 4G RAM which can be supplemented by plugging in an external Hard Drive. Also, don’t forget to look at the speed of the hard drive, usually 5400rpm or 7200rpm. Buy the fastest you can afford within your budget.
Graphics (Video) Card – these come in two types – dedicated and integrated and process only video. If you are planning to play a lot of games, touch up hundreds of photos on a regular basis or other graphic intensive tasks, look for the fastest graphics card with at least 512MB RAM dedicated. For watching movies, and a few photo tasks, then the integrated graphics on even the most basic laptops will do just fine.
Disk Drives – reading and burning from DVDs, CDs and even blu-ray discs. If you do not need to do this often, external disk drives can also be plugged in to your laptop.
Screen – consider this factor carefully, if you will be using the laptop on a desk and not moving it, a 17″ screen laptop model is a worthwhile purchase. However, if you want a lightweight machine to take with you, a 10″ screen may be more suitable.
Weight – laptops range in weight from 2 pounds to 10 or 11 depending mostly on screen size of the laptop.
Battery Life – Check this carefully, if you need a laptop you can use all day, something with a 3 hour battery life will not suit you. However, secondary batteries can usually be purchased separately.
Speakers – most laptops have these built in to the casing, as well as the ability to plug in higher powered speakers, microphones and headphones.
Webcams – quite often built in to bezel at the top of the screen. If you plan to use VOIP applications such as Skype we recommend looking for a budget laptop with inbuilt webcam for convenience, although webcams can be purchased separately and plugged in to most laptops.
These are most of the terms you will see when looking at new budget laptops, which should help you to understand laptop buying jargon and what it means to you. Why not keep a copy of this information handy next time you are browsing for the best budget laptop for you!