When you go to buy a laptop, you have to face a lot of jargon. Lots of things sound good, when the average user probably don’t need them. Instead of falling for the salesman’s pitch, here’s a quick guide to know what you actually should look for and what you should skip.
Note: This guide is for a standard laptop. If you have specific needs, you might require one of these features. But for 90% of the buying public, this advice is worth sticking to.
Touchscreens: If your laptop is a 2-in-1 with a detachable screen like the Transformer Book (read our review) or a full-flip notebook like the Lenovo Yoga Pro (read our review), then a touchscreen makes sense. If it’s a standard laptop, then forget about touchscreens. You’ll never end up using it. Instead, a notebook computer that doesn’t raise its price for a touchscreen will instead give you better internals, like more RAM or a better hard drive.
eMMC or Limited Solid Storage: Some laptops come with a limited amount of flash memory storage, usually around 8GB to 32GB. Don’t go in for any of those. The idea of those is that Windows will run faster on flash memory than a standard hard drive. While that makes sense and it works fine initially, 32GB of memory is too little for Windows and the programs you will install. Either get a 64GB solid state drive, or just get a regular HDD with 500GB or more.
Optical Drive: When was the last time you used a CD or DVD? We have moved into the age of pen drives and cloud storage, so there is almost no reason for your laptop to have an optical drive. But the bigger reason? An optical drive takes up valuable physical space, which can otherwise be used to either make the device lighter or add more battery life.
If a laptop you are looking for doesn’t have a DVD writer, don’t worry. You don’t need it. If you are worried about that what-if scenario where you absolutely need it, along with your laptop, pick up an external DVD writer for around Rs. 1,500.
Express Card Slot: It’s surprising how many laptops come with this, considering the number of people who don’t even know what it is! In layman’s terms, the expresscard is a connection technology much like USB—it’s a way of connecting a card to your PC which transfers files. Have you ever used an Express Card? Do you know what it looks like? If you answered no, just don’t go for a laptop which has this thing. You’ll never use it, it only bulks up your laptop.
Bundled Software for Windows: When you walk into a store to buy a laptop, the salesman tells you about how one of the models comes with three months of Norton anti-virus or a one-month trial of Adobe Photoshop, and so on. Ignore that. Really. Those trial software are bait to make you spend money on the program when you don’t need to. If there is some program that is worth the money for you, like Microsoft Office, then know that it is not included as part of the deal; you will almost definitely have to buy it separately. As for anti-virus software, going for a free anti-virus like AVG or Avira is just as good as buying an unnecessary McAfee program.