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Laptops - a buyers' guide

laptopWhen it comes to cheap deals and offers on laptops here in the UK then there are plenty of options to choose from before you decide to buy. With prices keener than ever and a range of models to suit every kind of budget then going online in 2012 with a cheap laptop is now very achievable. What's more, you can find the exact model you're after, all within the space of a few stress-free mouse clicks.

The humble laptop used to be seen as something of an extravagance, that was owned predominantly used by well to do business professionals or people who had more money than sense. However, in recent years, prices for laptops have tumbled so while it is still possible to buy a premium portable computer, there are also plenty of cheap laptops to compare too.

And it's the area of comparison that is one of the most important aspects of buying the best laptop for your needs. After all, with so many different models out there in the electronics marketplace, finding out which laptop is going to be right for your needs can be a little tricky. While a basic cheap laptop might seem like it fits the bill, you may require something that's a little more powerful and laptop computers differ hugely in terms of technical specification.

 

Buying a laptop

The are generally two reasons for buying a laptop, with the main one being getting a portable computing solution for the very first time. Meanwhile, many of us might have had a laptop for a while and now need to update, in which case the usual route is to lookout for a laptop sale if you're after deals and offers at the best prices. Some of the best laptop deals can save you hundreds of pounds, so it's well worth taking the time on your product comparison.

Another crucial thing to do while you compare the different deals and offers is to have a read of the laptop reviews that you can easily find online. Chances are, you may well have a specific model or range of laptops that you're interested in, or perhaps a set budget limit, which therefore means you have to keep within certain prices. No matter what kind of laptop you're hoping to get, it's those real time consumer reviews that can also help to give you a better indication of the models to go for and also the ones to avoid.

However, thanks to the power of modern technology and a very competitive marketplace, you'll generally find that most laptop computers are well worth considering, even those that are essentially cheap and cheerful and don't have much in the way of bells and whistles. Remember though that what laptop specification you choose needs to be up to what you want to do with the device, so make sure you carefully compare features and functionality.

The different laptops

When it comes to the aforementioned features and functionality from the many different laptop deals out there then this can be a tricky area if you're not too well versed in computers and technology. However, laptops uk-wide generally have a core selection of features, such as the hard disk, random access memory and other hardware along with software, much of which can come bundled with most laptop computers. What you get included in your own laptop deal can vary wildly from offer to offer, but you should get a decent package with the right research.

And don't forget that if you want to carry out graphics intensive operations and play complex games, both locally and online, you'll need to keep an extra eye out on the specification of the laptops that you're interested in. Nevertheless, pick the right model and you'll have a real portable computing powerhouse at your disposal, one that will allow you to stay productive and enjoy your leisure time on the move, as well as accessing the Internet, checking your emails and carrying out social networking chores.

There are plenty of different manufacturers who produce laptops now, both the cheap variants and also the high-end premium models. Lookout for brands including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sony and Toshiba, but there are also other non-branded laptops that might also do the trick. Of course, being a laptop, you'll want to check how much it weighs, while the battery life is always a main consideration to look for as well. Some laptop models fare batter than others, which is why the comparison and review-reading process is well worth exploring.

Laptop options

If you're after an entry-level or student laptop then there are plenty at this end of the buying spectrum and they are usually cheaper than the premium models out there. A laptop or netbook like this is perfectly adequate for most basic computing tasks, although they're often lighter on the technical specification front. So check carefully and compare hard disk sizes, the amount of RAM you'll get and also think about day to day usage issues like how good the screen resolution is.

If you think basic laptops might not give you the computing power you need, then try comparing the different deals and offers on desktop replacement laptops instead. These computing solutions are better suited to people who need to have everything they'd normally use on a home or office computer, but installed and usable on a portable machine. You'll generally get a higher specification that will enable you to carry out processor and graphics hungry tasks such as multi-tasking and graphics or photo editing.

It's also possible to search for laptops that have been designed with specific users in mind, such as family laptops, or business laptops, both of which can be similar but actually have a specification tailored to suit those individuals. For example, a family laptop might have software aimed at popular home-based tasks such as using the Internet and checking emails plus social networking and the like along with an emphasis on storing and sharing family photos too. Then again, you may be a business person who wants something like a small laptop, netbook or ultrabook instead, with the latter two computers being more compact variations on the laptop theme. These will often have more streamlined hardware specifications, with little in the way of frills such as DVD or other optical drives, and maybe fewer connectivity ports too.

Laptop specifications

Whatever the laptop you're comparing, there are a few common denominators that make the buying process the same, or at least very similar. So be sure to check the sort of battery life you can get and remember more graphics intensive features will use more battery. Look for the screen size too, which might be important to you if you need that extra screen real estate to get work done or edit your family photos. Hardware specifications should be the best you can get for the prices you're looking at, so the bigger the hard disk and RAM allowance the better.

Similarly, see if you can compare laptop models that come with all of the functionality you'll need, so keep an eye our for wireless or Wi-Fi connectivity, or perhaps mobile broadband as a built-in or add-on that can make even a cheap laptop even better value. Some laptops come free as part of mobile broadband packages too, which is another area that's worth comparing. Also think about the operating system that you're most interested in, because there are a few, including Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and the less well known but dependable Linux among others.

Of course, you can't start comparing laptops these days without also seeing the many different tablet devices that are coming onto the market. Again, these are similar to laptops, netbooks and ultrabooks, but are often smaller and work in a slightly different way. Nevertheless, you may want to carry out a comparison of these too before you buy something from the best laptops selection that you've put together.

Best laptop deals

laptopIf the prices of the laptops you're looking at is the main consideration then you should be able to find some great deals and offers without too much hassle. However, if you have more flexibility on the budget front then you'll probably find an even greater laptop selection to choose from as you carry out your comparison. Computer technology moves along very swiftly indeed, so bear in mind that many older laptops or those that have had newer counterparts released, will often be much cheaper.

Depending on what you want to do with your new machine, then one of these cheap laptops could do the job perfectly well. Then again, you may need a bang up to date laptop model that boasts a much more powerful technical specification. Either way, if you spend some time on a careful comparison beforehand then you can rest assured that there will be a laptop model out there just for you, and probably at exactly the right price too.