Click Here to Visit our Sponsor
Some guidelines that I and a few others follow when it comes to buying a notebook.
Authored by Erick, October, 2002
- You are the FINAL judge!
Notebooks are sort of like underwear... very personal. Just because one
"fits" someone else, may not mean it will fit you. You can read all the
reviews and look at all the websites (like mine), but when it comes down to
it... only you can tell if it is right for you. So... what does that mean?
Well, when you narrow it down to price and features, try it out to see how
it is. Go to the local computer store and play with one, check out the
keyboard, location of the drives and ports and how the screen looks. What
if the one you want isn't carried at a local store? Then make sure the
vendor has a money-back guarantee (Law #5), this way you can order it,
check it out and if you don't like it... return it and just end up paying
the cost of shipping. Don't feel bad about doing that, it's your hard-earned
money (not to mention a lot of it). Notebooks are not as interchangeable
like desktop machines, you can't change the keyboard, pointing device or
screen later on if it doesn't suit you, you have to be sure that what you
have is what you will be happy with for the next 2 or 3 years.
- You have to buy sometime, now or later, but when you decide, do it!
I know everyone is afraid of obsolescence, but no matter what, mobile
technology will always move. Whether you wait for the higher speed P4s
or the new ATi Radeon 9000, there will always be a new notebook on the horizon,
which takes me to...
- Buy what you need now and if you can afford it, what you may need in
Some people get caught up on trying to get the newest thing or making sure
that their notebook has the ability to "expand" in the future. As I said
above, there will always be something new so just get what you can use and
more importantly what you can afford. And if you got the extra cash, try to
go for something with the newer technologies so that your machine will last
that much longer, but don't get too greedy. Integrated WiFi may sound good,
but do you really need it? Especially with new wireless standards in the
future, you could probably just settle with a WiFi PC-Card so you can
upgrade later. And remember, your notebook WILL be obsolete one day,
so don't expect too much out of it in the future, just get the most out of
it that you can in the present.
- ALWAYS get the extended warranty!
I can't stress this enough... if you plan to keep your notebook longer than
a year, then you should make sure your warranty lasts longer than that.
Again, these are not desktops, you just can't run down to CompUSA or the
computer show and get a new video card and pop it in, these things are
better left to the people who built them, and extended warranties nowadays
run only about $100 to $300 -- well worth it. Otherwise, you may find
yourself stuck with a nice looking paperweight.
- When you do buy, make sure the vendor has a money-back guarantee.
This is a corollary to Law #1. You have to see how it works first and give
yourself some type of parachute.
- I highly recommend buying brand-name only
I say this all over my site but since I've started writing
this site, I've seen many smaller notebook companies go out of business. I
used to think that you could get away with saving a little money and going
with a non-brand name. But after all the e-mails I've received from owners
who no longer have a company to provide support for their notebook, I've
realized that you would be better off spending a little more and getting a
brand name. Or if you really need to save money you can still buy brand name
by getting one off an auction or buying an older or refurbished model (like
- This is the oldest law: You get what you pay for.
If the deal is too good to be true, then it is exactly that. Use your
resources, just by the fact that you are reading this means you are not
someone to be fooled easily. Research the product and post questions in the
comp.sys.laptops newsgroup. And...
at the very least, if you use Law #5 (money-back guarantee), you can bail
out and get back your retirement fund. At $1500 to $3000 a pop, you should
have some way to protect yourself.
- Last but not least: Always use Law #1
Great accessory for on the go or at your desk!
Nice mini USB optical mouse
I use their CoolPad all the time
Dell Centrino/Pentium-M Notebook
Click to buy!
New Dell Inspiron 8500 - Widescreen Notebook
Click to buy!