What type of Laptop or Notebook should you buy?

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This is a buying guide only - we are not trying to sell you a laptop!
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Laptop or Notebook Buying Tips

A common way to categorise notebooks is by the screen size and this is also a useful way to help you decide which type of laptop you wish to buy.
Types of Notebooks
Ultraportable Notebooks
These laptops are the smallest, thinnest and lightest laptop options that are currently available and are designed for those users who are constantly on the move carrying these laptops around with them and thus use the machine unplugged.  The screen of an ultraportable laptop is 11 or 12 inches and they are usually around 18mm thick.  The average battery life for these laptops is usually four hours.  As ultraportables have standard processes they can be used for multitasking such as browsing several tabs or windows on the Web.  A really good advantage of ultraportables is that most do not have a built in battery so you can carry with you a second spare fully charged battery to swap around when you need to.  The downside to ultraportables is the cramped keyboard and rather small screen.
Ultra books
Ultra books have a 13 inch display and if purchasing a new ultra book they are usually less than 18mm thick.  The extra inch or so in size mean they are more user friendly than ultraportable notebooks.   These laptops suit users who intend to work a full day on their notebook and also need to transport it several times or more a week.  Ultra books are small enough for you to be able to use them on your lap if there is no surface available when travelling.  Some ultra books have a built in battery, battery life is usually around 3 hours.  Also you need to consider when purchasing one of these super light laptops whether you need a DVD drive as some of the ultra books do not have them.
The screen size of midsize notebooks are 13.3, 14, 15 or 16 inches.  Whilst due to their size they are less portable than ultraportable laptops and ultra books they make up for it as by having a greater capacity CPU, hard drive and ram (a choice between 4GB or 8GB).  You can also purchase a midsize laptop with a DVD drive and graphic options.  Midsize notebooks also have removable batteries allowing you to carry a spare battery should the battery you are using run down and need replacement.  Typical battery life of a midsize laptop is close to 4 hours.  In general these notebooks are chosen by users who only infrequently travel with their machine.
A Desktop Replacement
Desktop replacement laptops have a 17 inch or larger display. Desktop replacement notebooks have greater processing power so they enable high-end games and the ability to work both efficiently and quickly.  This size of thee laptops is not designed for portability but are an alternative to a home based traditional PC.  Desktop notebooks are also a good choice if you are a gamer or a professional working in video production or graphic arts.  The downside of desktop replacement notebooks, besides their size and weight is that the battery life for desktop replacements is usually only two hours making them again a less portable option.
This is a relatively new laptop option.  Hybrids are notebooks that double as tables.  They can have a screen that turns into a slat by bending back 360 degrees.  They can also have keyboards that are detachable or slide-out.  Overall hybrids are not yet as good user experience as dedicated tablets, however if you are looking for the option of sometimes using your laptop in slate mode this is an choice you may decide is best for you.
Price of Notebooks
$400 to $600 Price Range
If your budget is low, you can still purchase a usable notebook.  Within a low budget range you should be able to buy a machine with at least 4 gigabyte of ram, possibly 8GB and with a 500 gigabyte hard disk.  At the lower end of the market price range you should still be able to obtain a notebook with an AMD A8 or Intel Cor i5 CPU.  What you will lose out on with cheaper laptops is low-res screen, reduced battery life and most of these machines have a fairly cheap plastic chassis.  If you do your research you can find a touch screen within this price bracket.
$600 to $800 Price Range
The advantages of spending a few hundred more include an improved screen resolution and better cache.  Other features that you may obtain within this price range are backlit keyboards and improved audio.
Price range of $800 and above
Once you start spending this sort of money you will be getting a laptop that is more portable as it will have both longer battery life and be slimmer and lighter.  At this price point your notebook will be more powerful having a faster processor, more ram and greater hard disk space. The screen resolution will also be superior and there may even be discrete graphics.
Top of the Range
At the very top of the range you will be spending up to $3,000 for your notebook.
Warranty and Support
We have looked at types of laptops and their pros and cons.  We have also provided you with information on what you are likely to obtain for different price points.  However when choosing a notebook there is one more very important factor, warranty and support.
You may be aware that most notebooks are now all comprised of parts which are manufactures from only a few different sources.  So when it comes to the components within your notebook there really isn’t much difference.  So then you need to consider what level of warranty and support you will get with your new machine – as this does differ and could possibly save you a great deal of money.
Different brands offer different levels of support and length of warranty, once you have decided on how much you want to spend and what notebook is best for you, you then need to research which brand is optimal in terms of support and warranty.
Most laptops these days are constructed with parts manufactured from only a few different sources. So while there is not much difference in the hardware components in your notebook you should take into account the technical support and the warranty that comes with your machine.  Different brands offer different levels of support and warranty and this also changes all the time. So once you have decided on the type of machine and the amount you are willing to spend, then research in-depth to determine the brand that is going to give you the best deal in terms of support and warranty.
These are some of the questions that you need to find the answer to:-
How good is the support that is provided (or not), is support available 24 hours a day 7 days a week?
What options do you have in terms of support, can you contact support by phone, email or do they offer an on-line chat?
How long is the warranty provided with the notebook?
Does the warranty cover both software and hardware?
Will the repair technician come to you home and fix your notebook on the spot?
If your notebook fails and you have to send it away for repairs under warranty, how long are you going to be without your machine?
Importantly, if the repair is going to take some days or weeks does the manufacturer provide you with a loan machine in the meantime?
When repairing your notebook will they backup all your files and data?  Most don’t and we have many customers coming to us with notebooks that won’t boot and we do the data recovery for them before it is sent to the service centre so as to ensure that their data is not lost during the repair process. At Affordable Computer Repairs and Service we can help you with your decision regarding purchasing a new notebook, we provide this service free of charge, you can call us on 07 3397 1215.
Please remember us too if you have a need for repairs or service to your notebook as we provide expert repairs at an affordable price. 
We at Affordable Computer Repairs and Service are located at 48 Octantis Street in Coorparoo, 4km south of Brisbane City.  Our business hours are 8am to 6pm Monday through to Saturday.

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