Need a New Laptop: Important Features

What really matters when you’re buying a new laptop? New York Times writer Sam Grobart suggests that it’s not processor speed or a laptop’s graphics card that counts. Instead, typical laptop buyers – those who want to search the Internet, watch movies, send e-mail messages, and write reports on their machines – look at more down-to-earth measures of a laptop’s worth. Specifically, Grobart recommends that consumers look at such mundane factors as a laptop’s weight, screen size, and memory.

Weight matters

Let’s focus on weight. The main benefit of a laptop is that it is portable. Laptops, though, won’t feel so portable if they weigh more than six pounds. Laptops that break that six-pound line can stress your shoulder when you’re toting it in your backpack or duffel. It should not be too hard for smart shoppers to find laptops that weigh less than six pounds. Some weigh just two-and-a-half pounds.

Screen size

If one of the primary activities you need a laptop for is to watch movies a good standard is to look for a screen that measures 13 inches diagonally or more. A thirteen inch screen is the perfect size in Grobart’s opinion, as it is big enough to watch movies but it still fits in most bags.


RAM, or random access memory, matters in relation to laptops. Grobart recommends that consumers purchase laptops that come with at least 4 gigabytes of RAM. Laptops that have lower than that simply move too slowly. You’ll experience those annoying delays between hitting a key and something happening on your screen. Don’t be concerned about going above 4 gigabytes, though. Typical laptop users won’t ever need more than those 4 gigabytes. There are certain factors that shouldn’t concern laptop users. One is the processor. Grobart writes that all processors used today are fine for laptops. He also proposes that buyers not worry about battery life, either. That’s because a laptop’s battery life will vary depending on how you’re using your machine. Always bring a power cable with you and plug in. That makes battery life a particularly unimportant factor.


Posted on: 12.19.12