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Why are you buying that laptop?

By Prince Osuagwu

The 21st work environment has made computer ‘a must’ for everybody. However, some also buy laptops to be counted among the 21st century complaints.  In Nigeria, particularly, a lot of people buy laptops, mostly the tablet genres, just for status symbol.

But, for what ever reasons to buy a computer, be it to make PowerPoint presentations, take notes and do other simple business tasks or watching HD movies, playing video games and video chatting with friends, there are common factors to consider

Battery Life

For those on the go, whose laptops are going to be in constant use, battery life is perhaps the most crucial consideration when picking a laptop. This is quite contrary to that of desktop which most probably will sit on your desk day in, night out.

Laptop computing is all about mobility, and battery life is quite as critical.

However, laptop makers always claim battery life times that do not practically follow, in reality because the numbers they convey often refer to light usage with a dimmed screen. This means that there is always the possibility of up to 1 to 2 hours less than claimed, particularly while browsing the Web and running multiple applications. There may be even less when using the laptop for playing games or other tasks that taxes the computer.

Size and weight

It has been widely accepted that this is a mobile world. So to pick a laptop one needs to pay attention to the size and weight. Heavy laptops kill mobility. In 2011, computer processor maker, Intel, debuted with ultrabook category of laptops which were also launched in Nigeria. The systems focus more on lightweight, usually weighing about 1.3 kilograms with ultra low voltage CPUs. Ultrabooks do away with disc drives and focus on portability, long battery life.


Although these laptops aren’t powerful enough for some users, they demonstrate a trend towards lightweight notebooks that are extremely portable.

They are manageable to carry between home and the office every day

Storage and memory

All laptops, traditionally, store data on spinning physical discs called hard drives, but faster solid state drives that use silicon-based memory are becoming more affordable and more prevalent in mobile computers. Because solid state drives don’t rely on moving parts, they’re more reliable in computers that tend to get bumped and jostled around.

However, storage space may not be a big concern for users now, as cloud storage is gaining more ground. So for those who store most of their data in the cloud and don’t plan to load a computer up with gigabytes of music and video, storage and memory are less a headache. Besides, every piece of software running on a computer and the operating system itself, store data in RAM to function. The more RAM you have, the better. But you must remember to upgrade this component when possible.

Screen and Resolution

There are three common screen sizes in the notebook industry: 13 inches, 15 inches and 17 inches. The smallest in this group of laptops obviously prioritize portability, and often forgo DVD drives to make their bodies thinner and lighter. The mid-size category has a bit more range: Some heavier systems operate as desktop replacements, while others are light enough to still be easily portable while offering large screens.

The largest category of laptops are, well, pretty huge. They always offer high resolution displays and powerful hardware, but can easily weigh up to 4.5 kilo. For those who love to watch movies on their laptops, 15-inch and especially 17-inch laptops are large enough to be decent TV/computer monitor substitutes for watching video, particularly on the go.

Processor and Graphics

For professional graphic artistes this feature is important. A computer’s processor determines how efficiently it can run programs, multi-task and basically do everything expected of modern computers. Processors get faster and more efficient every year.

Most Windows-based computers run on Intel’s processors; smaller ultraportables, such as Apple’s thin MacBook Air, run on ultra low voltage processors that draw less power than some of Apple’s other chips. Quad-core chips deliver more powerful performance, but even dual-core processors are up to the task of playing  video and running system-intensive programs like Photoshop.

The graphics processor, or GPU, is important when it comes to playing HD video and running games. Many laptops use integrated graphics rather than dedicated graphics chips.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.