Macbook-Air-Lead - CopyWhat to look for in a laptop..

A laptop is perhaps the second most important computing device in your arsenal after the smartphone – it’s likely the workhorse that keeps you fed, and what’s more, it’s your mobile workstation. It makes sense to put your winnings into this if you’re on the move. Here are a few pointers to keep you abreast of recent trends, what to expect and what to avoid…

battery-life-haswell

1) Day-Long Battery Life
Intel’s new 4’th gen cores are just making into Macbook Airs boasting 12 hours of battery life – According to a benchmark test by Anandtech on an i7 Haswell core – these achieve 15-60% more battery life than the previous generation. You might have to wait until the end of the year for these Haswell cores to roll out in the budget range of laptops.

2) If you want the very best RIGHT NOW – buy a 13-inch Macbook Air
If you’ve got the cash to splurge on the very best – look at Macbook Air – the former has a Retina Display and runs on 3rd gen cores, so it’s due for an update.  The huge glass trackpad and backlit keyboard are leagues ahead in terms of spit and polish. Other manufacturers offer clones running Windows 8, try to add a slightly faster CPU or more RAM or storage, but they’re grasping at straws.

3) Reliability Ratings?

Apple > Dell > Asus > HP according to this poll.

4) Get one with an SSD on it
Store all your data in an external hard drive, if you have to the speed bump is worth the small storage size on the SSD. They also use less power than a hard drive and are less damage prone, adding to the ruggedness of your laptop.

5) 13-inch seems to be about ideal
You might want to go for a larger or smaller configuration, depending on your use-case scenario – if you’re a developer or someone who’s looking at a workstation configuration 15-inch laptops make sense. But you’ll have to carry that extra burden everywhere you go. So choose wisely.

6) Sleekness costs more, and is less upgradable
You have to pay more for aluminum unibody ultrabook designs that are now all the rage these days. Ultrabooks seem less upgradable and serviceable than traditional ThinkPad style laptops.

7) Skip the GPU on the laptop unless you really need it
The laptop is a shitty gaming machine – discrete GPUs generate a lot more heat and put a lot more stress on the battery. If you don’t really need a graphics processor in your workflow, don’t opt for one. A GPU belongs inside a desktop PC.

8) Don’t buy a second-hand laptop
It’s really not worth it unless it’s a really, really good deal price-wise. Laptops depreciate horribly, and age pretty badly too. A laptop with a 15-minute battery running on a Pentium M? That’s probably worth its weight in pizza at best, any laptop that’s older than a couple of years will will be a burdensome purchase. See if you can get the battery serviced, and run a few diagnostics to see how many recharge cycles the battery has been through before you buy one.

9) Check the repairability ratings

If you’re looking at a laptop as a long term workhorse – say something that will tide you over 5-7 years,  it makes sense to get one that’s both repairable and upgradable.

 

Get those non-retina Macbook Pros while you can. While they won’t sport the same stellar battery life as the new 4’th generation cores – they are a lot more serviceable. The new 2013 edition Macbook Pros have a repairability score of 1/10.

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