Most laptop users can be classed as only using them on a casual or travelling basis. If so, it’s important not to spend too much on a machine and to get the model that’s right for you.
If you only use your laptop to surf the internet, check your emails and listen to music, you do not need to spend a fortune on a fantastic model. You can get a perfectly adequate model for well under £400 and prices continue to fall, so £300 would be a good benchmark.
If you are just using your laptop at home, the weight won’t matter too much. The only other thing to check is the memory, and 2GB should be more than enough if you are only carrying out one task at a time.
For those who use their laptops on the move, weight is very important. Unfortunately, as the model gets lighter, the price tends to increase. A comfortable weight should be no more than 2kg or it will feel like you are lugging it about. If this is still not as light as you would like then you may want to consider looking at netbooks but the full specification and pricing structures will change.
Battery life is also vital for those on the move. Most lightweight models offer battery life of up to five hours, which doesn’t seem very much. There are some models now claiming life of up to 12 hours but these don’t seem to be too reliable. A compromise may have to be made on screen size with many having screens of 13 inches but some are as small as 10, as well as disk drives which are often removed to make the machine lighter and smaller.
While buying a laptop can be confusing, keep the purpose in mind and focus on what you need, and don’t be sidetracked by aggressive sales people!