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What Laptop Should I Buy?

What laptop should I buy is a common question for all age groups.  Technology has advanced so far that every smart phone or tablet and even some toys are computing devices.

When deciding what laptop to buy, just think about

1. How much am I willing to spend?

2. What do I want it to do for me?

3. Do I prefer a small size or a bit bigger with more computing horse power?

4. If gifting, who is it for and what do they like to do on their computing devices?

5. Will I be taking it with me to places like school or work or Starbucks?


Let’s look at these areas of what Laptop or Tablet should I buy questions.

1. How much am I willing to spend?

$250 – $2800  ($650 is a sweet spot for value to performance on Windows laptops and about $1,300 for a Apple laptop)

Generally on laptops, I recommend getting the latest Intel technology if it is in your budget.  This is not the speed like 2.5, it is Intel’s latest technology that is that it is made on tiny tiny spacing between the gold traces inside the chip.  Like right now Intel is just rolling out .23 micron technology so this is the latest and greatest with the best power to heat ratio resulting in longer battery life, lower heat and any other cool stuff they put inside the microprocessor to make it work better.

Intel offers a whole range of processors for laptops ranging from about $32 factory cost up to about $750 factory cost each.  My Macbook pro I am typing on has a .48 micron chip 2.5GHz speed processor and cost $335 each factory cost when I bought the laptop.  Since it was a higher end and latest technology process processor it is still a sweet spot for CPU speed for Intel.

I generally recommend for a person that wants a Windows Laptop and can afford about $650 they consider the HP laptops in that price range.  This will be powerful enough to build large Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations and play videos.
If you would like a really nice Windows Laptop, I highly recommend this HP ENVY DV6-7214nr Windows 8 Notebook PC with a third generation Intel i7 Central Processing Unit (CPU), it is very fast, and has a dedicated graphics processor instead of a shared one, and to top it all off, it has the awesome radiance infinity display from HP.  This display makes a huge difference to me since I love super clear high quality displays and have a 14″ radiance infinity display in my HP ENVY 14 windows laptop (I have the old model of this one).
For the person that wants a Apple laptop, I recommend the Macbook Pro 13″ for great value to performance benefits.

In all cases, I think it is important that you like the way the Laptop or Tablet looks and feels.  Spend as much as you can afford to get what you want or need and you will generally be happier in the long run.

For some people a $400 HP laptop will delight them especially if it is their first computer or that is all the budget allows.

For others that just want to do email, social media, take class notes and watch videos, a tablet may be the best solution.  I personally like Apple iPads the best and this is what I got my Mom who had never done email before and she loves it.

2. What do I want a laptop or tablet to do for me?

Just about any Laptop or Tablet will work fine for email, social media and surfing the internet for information and taking notes for class.
About the most demanding application on laptops is making videos and the more you spend in general will get you more power to process video rendering faster.

3. Do I prefer a small size or a bit bigger with more computing horse power?

Laptops and Tablets come in all sizes from purse size  and 2.5 pounds or less to 17″ and 6 pounds.
If you will be carrying it around weight is important and the more you carry it the more important it is.
I like 13″ as it is big enough to do spreadsheets yet small enough to take with me.  This is my main computer.  In my office I hook it up to a 25″ monitor with dedicated keyboard and mouse. (It acts like a desktop)

4. If gifting, who is it for and what do they like to do on their computing devices?

Most young people like Apple products but they are very expensive.  If you can afford it a Macbook Pro is really awesome and about $1300.   For a awesome low cost computer the Samsung Chromebook is really nice looking and works for $250 but will have limited computing power to process photoshop image manipulation or making fancy videos.  Apple iPads are well loved and for around $329 or $499 they always bring a huge smile to the receiver.

5. Will I be taking it with me to places like school or work or Starbucks?

Portability is key for most Laptops and Tablets.  Some people like to go really small like a Apple Macbook Air because it is great on a plane.  My son uses a iPad for all his class notes in college.  My brother in law uses a 15″ HP Laptop and takes it to Starbucks often.  I think 15″ is a bit too big to be super portable and prefer a 14″ or  13″ or a Tablet for simple tasks.

Another thing I like to check out on Laptops and Tablets before I buy them is the LCD screen.  Is it bright enough to see outside, is it high enough resolution that videos look good on it and text is easy to read.  How does the screen look if you are not looking directly at it?  Some LCD screens have great viewing angle others not so much.  Bright is really helpful.

If you plan to store a lot of pictures and videos be sure to get a bigger hard drive like 500 GB or more instead of 300GB.
If you plan to have a lot of stuff going at the same time get more memory like 8GB instead of 4GB.
If you plan to play movies on your laptop and send it to your TV, then consider getting a HDMI port on the laptop.  For the Apple iPad you can send videos to your TV if you have a Apple TV device.
If you plan to carry it around with you get a smaller size like 13″.
If it is for your grandmother I suggest a iPad.
If it is for a child, I suggest a iPad.
If it is for a teenager that is responsible, I suggest a Apple Macbook (super expensive but very cool) or a HP Laptop in your price range.
If it is for your wife or husband – probably a new updated model of what they are currently using will work great unless they complain about it being too slow – then upgrade to a higher model.

Recommended Choices:
(Please Note Prices Change Often and sometimes just for a few hours, check today’s prices and click buy if it is on sale)

Amazon Kindle Fire HD – Good
Apple iPad – Wonderful
Android Tablet – Good alternative

Apple MacBook Pro 13″ – Super Awesome Laptop – Best price
Apple Macbook Pro 13″ with Retina display –  Totally Awesome computer – Latest Technology Laptop, super light weight and extra long battery life – highly recommended if the budget can afford it.
Samsung Chrome book – Very cool for only $250
HP entry level laptop – Works great for everyday activities – not as fancy or powerful as higher model but works fine
HP Mid high Envy 4 Ultrabook  – Lightweight – Great work horse – Latest technology Laptop Computer..
HP Envy Spectre – High end HP Laptop – Has great feel, looks, performance and some have a high end LCD screen. Latest Technology Laptop Computer
Sony Vaio Ultrabook – Great Screen, nice looks, a bit more expensive but has the nice screen.
Lenova Laptops – Good quality and reliability

The price of laptops changes often so to get the best deal Check out the current top selling laptop pricing

I have my eye on a Apple MacBook Pro MD212LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display
If you have any questions about laptops or tablets after you have checked out a few of the ones listed above, just send me a tweet or leave a comment below.  Which one do you want?

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Clay Franklin December 6, 2012, 3:33 am

    Great to see you here. If you leave a comment now about what you would like me to write about or review next, I’ll get right on it.
    Also note that after 3 approved comments, your comment link with your keyword becomes do follow.

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