Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Which laptop should you buy

Many of you already have it, many of us don't and fancy to buy one. I am talking about Laptops. Laptops come in every size, specification and color. Yet you may be unable to find the right one. Adjusting your budget and need, you should be able to find the right machine. Lets focus on some important aspects, from my point of view.

Budget: Laptops are priced from as low as 300$. For a decent one, you should be ready to spend 700$-1700$.

Mobility vs Display size: Laptops having larger screens (15-17 inches) are called 'desktop replacements', which you will buy to literally replace your desktop computer. These laptops are good to watch movie, have moderate graphics card to play recent games, and obviously - a bit heavy to carry around. They also will have shorter battery life. As graduate students, I don't think these laptops are suitable for us. I think we should go for the more portable family of laptops which have 13-14.1" display size. They have more battery life and you can put one in your backpack without any strain.

All the other technical specification are more likely to be state-of-the art:
  • Processor is most likely to be Core 2 duo/Centrino mobile/AMD Turion
  • Minimum 2 GB RAM. The more the merrier. I would prefer 3 GB.
  • Graphics card will vary on your choice. I probably won't play the voraciously resource taking games anyway. So, a modest one is okay for me.
  • Hard disk should be 250 GB minimum. Probably it will be 5400 rpm cause 7200 rpm hard disks for laptop are still too expensive.
Having seen all these specification jargons, you may ask - which brand should I buy ? Again, it is your choice. I will prefer HP, Dell and Toshiba, for no particular reason. (That's the power of 'branding'! )

If you firmly believe you will be able to live without using Windows XP or Vista, the best option would be to buy a Mac. They look awesome and you can get one with as low as 1300$.

I probably will go for HP EliteBook (which is yet to hit the market) Or maybe, I will forget all these findings and buy something else.

Here are some links that may be useful:

Laptop buying guide from Notebookreview.com
If your prefer a Mac
A very good HP laptop in $930
Filter laptops according to your need at Cnet.com

In case you think otherwise, share your experience.


maq said...


Good to see your blog... I got it from Eamon's blog... I'll add yours one in mine asap....


Rafi said...

Result from more searches:

1. Dell Studio 15
2. HP pavillion dv6795
3. Wait till September to get the new Centrino 2 platform!

Mahmudul Hasan said...

dell Inspiron 1420n

Rafi said...

Ridwan, Inspiron 1420 is definitely the best bargain under $600, and it comes with linux support (as u said)

I don't know why, I am eschewed towards multimedia-centric laptops!

Maybe I will watch more movies than I would do programming :(

Rafi said...

Looking at the specifications, I do think you should have at least 2GB of RAM.

Mahmudul Hasan said...

Yeah, Everyone should.
Have you found any cheap laptop with Solid State Drive ? If found any let me know.

I am still worried about the Wifi/Model support in 1420n. The website says they don't support Modem in Linux. :( Very discouraging.

Rafi said...

The time has not yet come for the SSDs, I guess.
SSDs are way more expensive and not "cheap" as yet. As long as I remember,a 32 GB SSD is $250 more expensive than a 160 GB hard disk. You can search for Dell latitude D430, it comes with 32 GB SSD, but priced over $1300.

If an officially "Linux" supported laptop doesn't support modem, what would be the case for the "other" models!

Rafi said...

Dear Redu, this one is for you:

Extremely mobile
7.5 hrs battery life
Under USD 700
Only if you are happy with the 10" display.

ASUS Eee PC 100