Home' LAPTOP Magazine : February 2012 Contents Laptop | February 2012
The more pixels you have, the more content you
can fit on-screen, andthe sharper it willlook.Most
notebooks come with 1366 x 768-pixel resolutions.
However, if you have the option to choose a laptop
with a higher pixel count—1440 x 900 or 1600 x
900—always choose the highest res you can get.
You’ll see more of your favorite web pages, multitask
better, and have a better movie-watching experi-
ence. Full HD panels (1920 x 1080) cost about $150
more than your typical display, but are worth the
splurge, especially on larger screens.
For the most part, a n integrated graphics chip
(one that shares system memory) will be fine for
basic tasks, including surfing the web, watching
video, and even playing some mainstream games.
But a discrete graphics processor from AMD or
Nvidia (which has dedicated video memory) will
provide better performance when it comes to the
most-demanding games. Plus, a good GPU can
accelerate video playback on sites such as Hulu,
as well as speed up video editing.
A couple of quick notes on graphics cards.
In general, 1GB of video memory will be fine for
mainstream games, but more-demandinggamers
will want 2GB of dedicated memory. If you like the
idea of your laptop switching between integrated
and discrete graphics to save battery life, Nvidia’s
technology (called Optimus) is superior to AMD’s
because it’s seamless.
Netbooks don’t have optical drives, and they’re also
disappearing from lightweight notebooks. That’s
because you can download most software and
download or stream video from the web. Unless
you burn discs or want to watch Blu-ray movies,
you don’t need one of these drives and can save
some weight by avoiding them. At this point, DVD
drives are a safety blanket.
5 Mac or Windows?
This is not an easy question to answer, especially if you’ve
never considered making the switch from Windows to Mac.
But this quick overview of each platform's strengths and weak-
nesses should help.
Apple’s MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros offer an easy-
to-use operating system in Mac OS X Lion. It offers iOS-like
features such as Launch Pad for your apps, superior multitouch
gestures, and Auto Save and Resume so you can pick up on
your work right where you left off. Macs also tend to outperform
similarly configured Windows machines, especially when it
comes to boot and resume times. While Windows PCs offer
more software choices, Apple makes it easier to find and install
programs with the Mac App Store.
MacBookAirs andMacBookPros also tend to outclass most
Windows machines when it comes to the sturdiness of their
industrial designs, the touchpad, and display quality. However,
Apple’s notebooks start at $999.
Windows 7 notebooks are generally more affordable and
offer a much wider range of design choices from more than a
dozen major vendors. Windows machines also have access to
a much bigger selection of software, especially when it comes
to games. Windows 7 is certainly easier to use than previous
versions of Windows, and includes convenient features such as
Snap (to view two open windows side by side). And if you care
about security, there are many Windows notebooks explicitly
designed to appeal to the business crowd.
6 How Much Battery Life Do You Need?
Even if you only plan to move your laptop from
the desk to the couch and the bed or from
your cubicle to the conference room,
battery life matters. Nobody wants
to be chained to a power outlet,
even if there’s a socket within
reach. If you’re buying a
15-inch notebook, look
for at least 4 hours of
Ifyou expect tobe
fairly mobile, shop
that offer more
than 5hours of
If given the
choice, pay extra for an extended battery; you
won’t regret it. Keep in mind that some notebooks (such as
the MacBook Air) feature sealed batteries that you can't easily
To determine a notebook’s expected battery life, read
third-party results from objective sources—L A PTOP notebook
reviews, for example—rather than taking the manufacturer's
word for it. Your actual battery life will vary depending on
your screen brightness and what tasks you perform (video
eats more juice than Web surfing).
7 Do You Trust the Brand Behind It?
Your laptopis onlyas good as the companythat standsbehind
it. Accurate and timely technical support is paramount, which
is why LAPTOP evaluates every major brand in our annual
Tech Support Showdown. This past year Apple came in first
place, followed by Dell, Samsu ng, and Lenovo.
Support is only part of what makes a notebook brand worth
your money. You also have to consider how the manufacturer
stacks up to the competition in terms of design, value and
selection, review performance, and other criteria. Apple,
Lenovo, and HP notched first, second, and third place, re-
Get more online
Top 10 Laptops now.
Links Archive January 2012 March 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page