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Laptop Shopping Guide

From HP, Dell and Sony to Toshiba, LG and Acer, there are tons of laptop models and styles on the market to choose from. Unfortunately, finding the right laptop for your budget and needs can be a rather difficult task.

With so many questions to ask - Do I want an ultra portable laptop that is easy to carry on business trips or to and from class? Is there a particular style, design or color I want? What price range do I want to stay in? - many people find themselves in a bit of a pickle, wondering what exactly it is that they need. Fortunately, Dealio is here to give you a comprehensive break down of on the different types, features and price points so you can make an educated decision before you purchase your next laptop.

Types of Laptop Computers

(1) Home User & General Purpose

Home and general purpose laptops appeal to people who are searching for a portable computer that has the same similar features as their desktop computer, but without all the bells and whistles of a more advanced device. If you don't want to edit video, record TV, or play advanced games that require high-end processors, choose a baseline home user laptop computer. Home user and general purpose laptops are the most popular category, and the most affordable when it comes to price.

(a) Price

The lowest price computer laptops in this category average around $1,100, while the more expensive models can cost upwards of $2,000.

(b) Weight

Most general purpose laptops weigh around 4 pounds, while larger models can weigh as much as 7 pounds.

(c) Processor & Processor Speed

Try to find a laptop computer with a Pentium M processor or AMD Athlon Turion processor. Make sure the process speed is 2 GHz and up.

(d) Memory

The lowest price computer laptops in this category should have at least 300 MB of RAM. If your budget allows, try to find a model with at least 500 MB of RAM.

(e) Hard Drive

If you plan to use your laptop to store images and play videos, you should make sure the model has at least a 60 BG hard drive. If storing images and playing videos is not important, you'll only need a 20 GB hard drive.

(f) Screen Size

On the cheaper end, most of these types of laptops usually have a 12-inch screen, while the higher end models can have screens that are up to 16-inches.

(g) Ports

Most of today's lowest price computer laptops have at least three USB ports to connect devices like scanners and printers to your machine. If you are looking for a laptop that can accept digital camera, camcorder, or MP3 player inputs, consider a laptop with a media card reader.

(2) Gaming

If you're a serial computer gamer, you.ll want to make sure that you purchase a laptop with faster processor speeds and ample memory in order to power the high-end graphics that PC video games are capable of.

(a) Price

The lowest price computer laptops in this category are around $2,500, while the more expensive models can cost upwards of $3,500.

(b) Weight

Laptops in this category weigh an average of 7 pounds, which is heavier than other types of laptop computers due to their larger screen size.

(c) Processor & Processor Speed

Try to find a laptop computer with a Pentium 4 or Mobile Athlon 64 processor. Make sure the process speed is 2.5 GHz to 3 GHz and up.

(d) Memory

The lowest price computer laptops in this category should have at least 500 MB of RAM. If your budget allows, try to find a model that has 1 GB of RAM.

(e) Hard Drive

If you plan to use your laptop to store images and play videos, you should make sure the model has at least 80 BG hard drive.

(f) Screen Size

Most laptop computers in this category usually have 14-inch screens. However, if your budget allows for it, we recommend that you choose a laptop with a 15-inch screen or a 17-inch screen for better viewing potential.

(g) Ports

Most of today's lowest price computer laptops have at least four USB ports to connect devices like joysticks, headphones, and speakers.

(3) Business & Work

If you are constantly traveling for work, a business laptop will allow you to perform all the necessary tasks from the road, including connecting to the Internet through a wireless connection or working on important projects with programs like Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint. Business laptops are also powerful enough to download and play your favorite music and DVDs. Best of all, business laptops tend to be more compact than other models, making them easy to store and carry on trips.

(a) Price

The most affordable laptops in this category cost an average of $1,400, while the more expensive models can cost upwards of $2,500.

(b) Weight

The lowest price computer laptops in this category weigh around 5 pounds, while larger models can weigh as much as 7 pounds.

(c) Processor & Processor Speed

Try to find a laptop computer with a Pentium M processor or AMD Sempron processor. Make sure the process speed is 2 GHz to 2.5 GHz for normal use. If you plan to have many programs running simultaneously, make sure the process speed is 2.5 GHz or higher.

(d) Memory

The best price laptop computers in this category should have at least 300 MB of RAM. If your budget allows, try to find a model with at least 500 MB of RAM.

(e) Hard Drive

If you plan to use your laptop to store images and play videos, you should make sure the model has at least a 60 BG hard drive. If storing images and playing videos is not important, you'll want to choose a model with at least a 40 GB hard drive.

(f) Screen Size

The lowest price computer laptops in this category will have 14-inch screens, although you can purchase models with larger screens. Keep in mind, however, that increasing the screen size also increases the weight of your device.

(g) Ports

Most of today's laptops will have at least two USB ports to connect devices like scanners and printers to your machine. They should also include a VGA port for projectors. If you are looking for a laptop that can accept digital camera, camcorder, or MP3 player inputs, consider a laptop that also has a media card reader.