Your Next Notebook: What To Look For

I’ve been through several notebooks, IBM Thinkpads and two from Gateway recently. When looking for a notebook computer I’ve found that some things are important and some things are not. The MOST important thing you need to consider is YOURSELF. What your needs are.
Do you travel all the time and want a notebook that is VERY small and light? Like 3lbs as opposed to 7 – 9lbs. Be careful. You don’t want to get one so small that you can’t type. Toshiba’s Libretto is way to small for many western fingers, but Asian fingers are often thin and can type better on its tiny keyboard.
Battery life. If you are often not near a power plug it can be VERY helpful to get a notebook that goes for 4, 6, 8 hours. The one that comes default with your notebook probably won’t do.
Of course, get lots of memory, hard disk space and built in wireless access.
The Washington Post writes Laptop screens can have their own quirks to consider. A larger screen may not show any more detail than a smaller display with the same resolution; it will just make the text and icons on the screen look bigger and slightly duller. Apple’s plus-sized 14-inch iBook is the prime example of this, with a screen that shows no more detail than the 12-inch LCD on its smaller sibling. (Note that a machine with a widescreen LCD will provide a better movie-watching experience and will likely fit better on the tray table of an airliner.)
Just as in desktops, it’s easy to buy too much processor in a laptop. For most uses, even the slowest processor available runs more than fast enough. Do not let yourself get spooked by the relatively low clock speeds of many laptop processors, because these no longer effectively measure performance. A Pentium M, for example, computes just as quickly as a Pentium 4 with a much higher gigahertz figure.