We recently bought a laptop and I ran through the following check list before buying it. I hope it helps you with your next purchase. This assumes that you’ll be looking for a Windows machine – I know that isn’t all that safe an assumption to make. I happen to be a Windows and Office fan and love (yes, love) laptops running Windows.
First recommendation – if possible, go to a store to buy the laptop. Next, make sure you know what you’ll use it for. If you are using it for multimedia, a big screen helps. If you plan to travel a lot, lighter laptops help.
Once you know (roughly) what you want, I’d recommending checking the following –
1. Keyboard: Please try the keyboard. We’re going to spend a lot of time typing and a bad keyboard does more harm than good in the long term.
A backlit keyboard is a plus and helps if you have the habit of working late at night.
2. Trackpad: A decent trackpad helps. This is generally mitigated with a good mouse but still useful as we use the trackpad often.
3. Tech specifications should be okay: Almost all laptops will have decent RAM and processor. It is worth isolating your 3 preferred options and checking amongst your 3 options if one has significantly better specs.
4. HDMI + Projector slots. Needless to say, but small laptops often omit one or the other. Make sure you know what you’re getting into.
5. USB 3.0 slots. Good to have
6. SD card slot, sim card slot – Very good to have. Sim card slots help with internet connectivity wherever you travel as you can just get hold of a 3G sim card.
7. Windows + Office. The package makes life easier. We’ve had a good experience with Windows And, aside from Excel, PowerPoint, I’d also recommend Microsoft OneNote and Outlook.
8. Warranty. 90 days is definitely not enough. I would say 1 to 2 years is good. And if you have to pay a bit for an additional year of warranty, I’d recommend it.
9. Small things worth checking – good sound system and good inbuilt camera. Most laptops have these – so this is more of a quick check.
Once you have all these checked, I’d quickly run your favorite model by a Google search for reviews on CNET/similar websites. Check for –
10. Long term battery life
11. Tech support responsiveness and ease of finding places for repairs
Once you do all of this, I think you’re set. I hope I haven’t missed anything important out. If I have, do add to the list in the comments.
I hope it helps!