Choosing the Right Equipment - Laptops - Geek Guru
 

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Choosing the Right Equipment – Laptops

 

This week we’ll be explaining some of the newest features available on various devices and how you can choose the best device for your needs and budget.

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One of the services we pride ourselves on at Geek Guru is our IT equipment advice. We like to keep ourselves up to date with current technological developments so that we can help out our clients when it comes to choosing a new device.
Purchasing IT is something of a minefield if you are not completely sure of what you want or what certain technologies are. You could end up purchasing something that is not powerful enough for your needs, or you could end up spending way too much on super advanced tech that’s not really necessary. This is where we come in. We’ll help you to pick something that’s right for your budget and your needs, and explain its features to you in a way you’ll understand. With that in mind, we thought we’d share some information about a few of the things that should be taken into account when purchasing a new laptop.

  • Size and Weight

Probably the most important consideration to be made when purchasing a laptop is what the device will be used for. Is it intended to be a lightweight, ultra-portable device? Is it to be a desktop replacement? What kind of tasks will it need to perform? Screens range from 11” to 17.5”, and the larger the screen size, the larger heavier the device will be. Ultrabook-style laptops are the thinnest and lightest, and tend to have 11” or 13” screens; regular everyday laptops are around 15” and desktop replacements around 17” or 17.5”.

  • Durability

Where will the new device be used? If it will be moved around while in use or used outside frequently, you may need a device designed to be weatherproof, rugged and shock resistant. A machine designed to be moved around a lot will need to be thin and light, but also should have no parts that are easily breakable and decent battery life. A desktop replacement needs to have components designed for long term use and adequate cooling for the high temperatures that can be produced if the computer needs to perform long term processor intensive tasks.

  • SSD

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. These kinds of hard drive are much faster than normal disk based hard drives because they have no moving parts, whereas a normal hard drive still has a spinning disk and a reading head, and takes time (albeit fractions of a second) to read the data. Using a solid state drive means there is no disk spin time and data stored on the drive can be accessed much faster.
There are two different ways that an SSD can be incorporated into a laptop. The first is as an SSD Cache. This is a small SSD drive (around 32GB) that is used in conjunction with a regular hard drive. They often use some form of software to determine the most regularly used files on a computer, and then store these dynamically on the SSD. This can reduce the time it takes to open regularly used software, or complete other regular tasks. Since SSD technology is still quite expensive, having a hybrid drive that works in this way can also cut down the cost for end users by using a small capacity SSD to speed up a regular disk based hard drive. This technology is present in many mid-range laptops on the market, and can speed up machines for everyday use.
The second way that an SSD can be used is by using a large capacity SSD to completely replace the normal hard drive. This provides very fast access to everything that’s stored on the drive, and is ideal for people who regularly use complex software applications or regularly access large files. SSDs are also less susceptible to physical shock and run more quietly than normal hard drives, but are more expensive to purchase.

  • DVD Drive

When purchasing a laptop, it’s important to think about what it’ll be used for. One major space saving approach used by many laptop manufacturers now is to avoid including a DVD drive, since use of removable media like DVDs is declining rapidly as a greater proportion of people gain access to broadband internet. People have started to back up their files online using cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox, and stream movies and television shows using services like Netflix, meaning that removable media such as DVDs are becoming less and less popular especially on laptops, where USB flash drives and memory cards can serve the same purpose. Choosing to go without a DVD drive can save space and weight, which are important factors when picking a laptop.

  • Bluetooth

In our opinion, a largely underestimated technology, Bluetooth capability in a laptop opens up the possibilities of connecting to a wide range of wireless peripherals, including other Bluetooth-capable devices like tablets and smartphones, or wireless communication headsets. Bluetooth comes as standard on many laptops, but it is worth checking out, as it can be very useful for connecting devices together or transferring data directly between devices, no matter what operating system they’re running (for example, the seamless, wireless transfer of files from an Android smartphone to a Windows laptop.)

  • Warranty or Insurance

Another important thing is to make sure the manufacturer is reputable and has a good warranty service should the machine break down. For example, at Geek Guru, we often recommend Lenovo to our customers as their build quality is generally consistent and their warranty is usually very good. Other IT suppliers may have differing opinions, but most will agree that if you buy a cheap, obscurely branded laptop, you often get what you pay for in terms of quality and service.
If you wish to cover your laptop for accidental damage, you can also purchase separate insurance or an extended warranty for it, usually from the manufacturer or retailer.

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If you want any further information or advice on choosing a laptop, or you’d just like to chat to us about anything else IT-related, give us a call, and we’ll do the best we can to help.

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at info@geek-guru.co.uk

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Posted on by Emily
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