• Price and quality.
  • Weight is very important if you travel.
  • ... battery ... quality, duration & charge time ... ... fan, heat dissipation, ventilation, ability to stay cool ... ... RAM ... ... disk space ... ... overall size & weight ... ... operating system & software applications ...
  • The best thing is that it meets your needs, first and foremost. After that, I would suggest the following: Max out on the RAM. Most computers come with just enough to run the operating system and a few other programs at once. Afterwards they get SLOW or freeze up. So whatever the max is that your laptop will take, get it. Largest hard drive available. Within reason. It seems that no matter what you get, you ALWAYS out grow it. But you notice that I said "within reason". This is because most of what you will put on your computers that eats up storage space are files, not programs themselves. Word files, Excel files, music files, videos, etc. You can get USB powered portable hard drives CHEAP at places like Best Buy. The largest USB powered HD on the market now is a 500 GB drive and you can get them for about 150 dollars. Less on sale. And smaller ones can be purchased for less than a hundred dollars. So, you need a HD on your laptop that is plenty big enough for you to store plenty of large files and work with them...but a portable HD will meet your needs beyond that much more economically. Latest PROVEN operating system. By proven, I generally mean that the latest operating system has been on the market for at least a year, maybe more, so that most of the bugs associated with it have been worked out. CD/DVD drive: Gotta have the ability to burn both in today's day and age. Check out Blueray, too. Give yourself the maximum versitility in playing DVD's. Your laptop is also your entertainment system when you travel. WiFi built in already. I've had two laptops I got with XP Home Edition. I think I'll go with the Professional Edition on the next operating system...I want ALL of the Microsoft Office stuff. Portability: I'm talking size here. It's got to be small enough to be convenient to carry. But it's also got to be big enough to work on. For me, this means those little bitty laptops that are only 10 inches wide or so are too small. And those with the wide screen (17 inches??) are a little too big for me to travel comfortably with. So the standard sized laptop screen suits me just fine. Pick what YOU want. If you travel a lot, consider getting the best battery available. Also, most manufacturers make an auxiliary battery that you can install in the place of your CD/DVD drive. Simply remove the CD/DVD drive and insert the auxiliary battery. This will typically double your operating time when you have no AC power available. Beyond that, it's budget concerns. Get something nice that will suit your needs, consider the extended warrantees as well, and don't kill your budget. Save up and shop around.

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