Welcome to the Laptops page, this is our guide to buying a laptop online in the UK, there are lots of different types of laptop available including widescreen, wireless, long battery life and many other types of laptop, they also come from lots of top brands such as Sony, Toshiba, Apple, Dell, Acer, HP, Compaq, Advent, Fujitsu, Medion, IBM, Samsung and many others.
A laptop computer is a computer that is small and portable, they are very thin and have a screen that folds onto the main computer base which has the keyboard located on top of it. The laptop computer is usually opened with a latch that is located at the front of the laptop, once this is released the screen can then be pushed back and will stand in the position you choose, giving you access to the keyboard and other controls. There are many manufacturers who sell laptops, these include Sony, Apple, Toshiba, Dell, HP, Acer, Compaq, Fujitsu, IBM, Advent, Medion, Samsung and many others.
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The great thing about laptops is that they are getting cheaper, you can find laptop computers that are almost as cheap as the desktop models. Owning a laptop is much cheaper than it used to be and most laptops are also as fast as the desktop computers and so a cheap laptop is the ideal choice for a home computer.
The most important things to look for when buying a laptop are how much memory it has, the speed of the processor, the size of the hard drive and the media it supports. The memory that computers use are measured in megabytes, the more memory a laptop has the more tasks it will be able to handle. Most laptops will have either 256 megabytes (MB), 512MB or 1 gigabyte of memory, 1 gigabyte is equal to 1024 megabytes so twice the amount of 512MB. If possible we recommend that you get a 512MB model or above, 256MB is quite low and can struggle with today’s demanding applications although most cheap models do come with 256MB so if price is an issue you may have to go with 256MB. 512MB can handle most applications easily and will result in a smoothly run laptop, anything over 512MB is generally for very demanding work loads.
So while the memory dictates the amount of work a laptop can handle at any one time, the processor speed dictates how fast the laptop will do those tasks. The processor (or CPU) speed is measured in Gigahertz and is usually stated like 2.4Ghz, the higher the number the faster the laptop will be. Some laptops do have slower CPU’s though so that the battery will last longer, fast processors need lots of power to run so you must consider this when buying a laptop, for example Centrino laptops are designed to save battery power and normally have slower CPU’s than other models.
The hard drive is the internal disc that stores all of the information inside of your laptop such as all your files, installed applications and the operating system (nearly always Windows XP). The size of the hard drive is measured in gigabytes and normally stated like 20GB, the higher the number the more space you will have. Today’s applications and games are getting bigger with lots now coming on DVD, this means that you need lots of room to store your files or you could run out so always try to get the large hard disc models as you will be glad you did in the future, large hard drives are also quite cheap these days so most models come with decent sized hard drives.
There are a few other things to look for when buying a laptop, the first would be the media that it supports, such as DVD or the CD-R CD’s which are copied on a computer, most laptops support all of these and also include a CD writer which enables you to copy information onto blank CD’s. If you like playing games then the graphics card is also important, graphics cards have dedicated memory on the actual graphics card and this is the important feature to look for, the more memory it has on the actual graphics card the better the graphics will be and the faster the games will run. The memory on a graphics card is measured in megabytes and is usually stated like 64MB, you can get 32MB, 64MB, 128MB and even higher although anything above 64MB is usually enough to run most games.
The vast majority of laptops come with Windows XP already installed, this is the operating system that runs the computer. Windows XP is by far the market leader (in fact it has almost no competition) because it is extremely advanced but also very easy to use, it has a nice interface and can run any software you choose, most laptops are designed to run Windows XP. Windows XP comes with lots of laptops including brands such as Sony, Samsung, Compaq, Advent, Compaq, Toshiba, Dell, Acer, HP, Apple, Fujitsu, IBM, Medion and lots of others.
Laptops have an internal battery which is rechargeable, if possible you can leave the laptop plugged into the mains so that it will not use up battery power, the battery will also charge while the power is plugged in. Having a battery means that you can take your laptop anywhere, while you have power in the battery it will work anywhere meaning you can take it outdoors, to work or to any other location.
Battery life is an important consideration when buying a laptop computer, a typical laptop battery may last around 2 hours but there are laptops that can last longer such as the Intel Centrino which is a technology which offers longer battery life, better stability and built-in wireless capability. The batteries in Centrino laptops last longer but are not quite as fast as desktop computers, this is to save recourses that would take up battery power. You are best off buying a Centrino laptop if you are on the move allot, the longer battery life will come in very handy and the built-in wireless connectivity will also be useful if you are near wireless hot spots or have access to other wireless networks.
Wireless connectivity is a great feature with laptops, they enable you to access wireless networks without having to have wires connected to your laptop, this means that if you have battery power you can use your laptop within the wireless network’s range with no wires at all so you can move around freely. Some laptops have wireless adaptors built-in and some have to have an extra wireless adaptor adding, most new models offer built-in wireless connections though and this is very useful as you don’t have to have a PC card or USB device attached to the laptop.
To use a wireless network at home you have to set up a wireless network, this will share all of your files and Internet access between all of the computers in your home. All you need is a wireless router, you plug your broadband Internet connection into the router along with any computers that are close by using ethernet wires and once set up the router will broadcast the network to any near by laptops with wireless adaptors. This has many advantages, you only need one broadband connection for all of your computers and you can transfer files easily, you can also do other cool things like play multi player games on the network. Routers are quite cheap these days and are quite easy to set up, you can buy a good router for around £50 although there are more expensive models.
So when buying a laptop there are allot of things to consider, you have to think about the amount of memory, the speed of processor and size of hard disc drive that it has. You also have to consider the brand, there are lots available including Sony, Compaq, Toshiba, Compaq, Apple, Samsung, Dell, Acer, HP, Fujitsu, Advent, Medion, IBM and many others. The good thing is that laptops are getting cheaper, you can easily find a cheap laptop and lots of the shops run cheap special offers, it is best to make sure that the laptop has all of the features you need though instead of just going for the cheapest special offer.
Another option is to buy a netbook as these are smaller and have less power but are much cheaper. See Acer and Asus netbooks for the best options.