Need to get a new Windows laptop?
Here are some things to consider …
TINY: netbook size is light to carry and will fit on most airline seat trays, but hard to see and work on for long hours. Most displays are 11″ to 13″ and the keyboard layout is cramped.
BIG: 17″ displays are the easiest to read and best to show stuff to clients when you can’t use a projector – but they are heavy and bulky to lug around
MEDIUM: 15″ displays are a compromise on all fronts. Easier to read than a netbook, lighter than a 17″ device. Will fit on many airline seat trays, but not all.
Battery life: Do you work a lot from battery – during flights or in impromptu locations like coffee shops where power is hard to get to? The bigger the battery, the longer the working session.
Video: Do you watch or present a lot of videos? If so, the Intel I5 or higher chip is the way to go. It has powerful, on-board video processing. If you just use video occasionally, save the money and go with AMD or Intel I3. The I3 gives better battery life than AMD, but often costs a bit more.
KEYBOARD: Keyboard layout is the one thing that’s so personal. That’s why it’s worth trying a laptop out at a store before buying it. Placement of the Enter, Home, End. Page Up and Page Down, cursor arrows and the Delete keys are critical and often placed in different locations. Make sure they are where you expect and won’t drive you crazy if you use them a lot.
If you have a tablet, you probably won’t benefit from a netbook. I do have an iPad and an Acer netbook and often carry them both on trips. I ended up buying a 17″ HP, though when clients needed to see my screens. The netbook and iPad were just too small to present videos and powerpoints. So if you have a tablet already get least a 15″ laptop. Get a 17″ laptop if you need visibility more than portability.
Brands I’ve had good success with are: Acer, Lenovo, Gateway and HP.*
Just some words of advice from the trenches.
* I’m not employed by any of these firms, nor have I received any compensation for their endorsement.