|NEW! - Six months ago, I purchased my first laptop for $480 at Office Depot: the HP Pavilion dv4. As a bargain shopper, I was primarily looking for an inexpensive model that offered sufficient speed and memory for regular, but light, use. The Pavilion dv4 has a 2 GHz AMD Athlon II dual-core processor and 4GB RAM. Read - Review of the HP DV4|
***(Please note, this information below hasn't been updated since 2005, however the archived material here provides a fascinating insight into how laptops have improved in technology and specifications over the last decade. 5 years ago Centrino and Pentium 4 processors, and Windows XP were all the rage, whereas today we have quad core processors and 64 bit technology and Vista and Windows 7.)***
If you're looking for laptop reviews you've come to right place. Are you interested in buying an old, new, cheap, expensive or refurbished laptop computer? If so you'll find a number of reviews here to help you make an informed choice.
When you eventually decide you need to buy a notebook the choice can sometimes be bewildering. Many places on the web offer laptop ratings but how can you trust these sites are unbiased? - including this one :) The safest way to judge a laptop's performance is to read up all you can about it. You'll want to learn about the machine's specifications - it's hard drive capacity, the speed of it's processor, whether it has a dvd player etc.
Consider the points below when buying a notebook:
Memory is a very important factor in guaranteeing smooth performance so 128MB of memory should be your minimum requirement when looking at a cheap laptop. 256MB is better for more demanding computer tasks. In many instances you can upgrade a laptop's memory but not all notebooks have upgrade slots so always best to check first.
The processor will determine your notebook's performance. If you just want your laptop to perform basic computer tasks such as checking email, and browsing the web then an Intel Pentium II processor found in cheap laptops like the Dell Latitude CPi should be sufficient. More expensive desktop replacement models like the Toshiba satellite A25 S307 come with Intel Pentium 4 processors which are a lot faster. Centrino notebooks utilise the Pentium M CPU which offers great performance that doesn't drain your battery, but of course these machines are usually more expensive. The Pentium M should be faster than mobile Pentium 4 processors, using a lot less power. Sony says that a 1.3 Ghz Centrino Pentium M will outperform a 2 GHz mobile Pentium 4, ensuring that laptops with this technology punch well above their weight.
Ideally the keyboard should have a spacious lay out, a cramped keyboard will likely be conducive to more typing errors in your work.
If you're using your laptop for very basic tasks then 6GB is more than enough for your needs. However if you are choosing a desktop replacement you may want to aim for a machine with as much as 60GB. In some instances laptop hard drive's can be upgraded
The standard for most notebooks is the lightweight lithium ion battery. Centrino laptops have efficient processors that get more out of your battery life.
Playing the latest games isn't a cheap notebook's forte. To stand any chance of playing the latest releases smoothly you'll need a laptop with 3D accelerated graphics. If you'll be using your laptop for home and office applications then you won't need this.
The size of the screen depends on the size of the notebook. A 15 inch screen is ideal for watching movies and typing on your laptop. However if you are looking at buying a lighter more portable notebook that's convenient to carry, then these come with smaller screens. The Sony Vaio TR2A comes with a screen only 10.6 inches wide, to some users that's more than adequate, to others it may be difficult to work with.
CD ROM and/or DVD Drive
You don't always get a CD-Rom drive or CD writer as standard. Sometimes they are optional extras that need to be attached externally. Cheap laptops will likely have a CD Rom drive but will probably not come fitted with a DVD drive. If you want one of these you'll have to look at a more expensive machine.
You usually get what you pay for. A cheap laptop suited to word processing and checking email with a pentium II processor and 6GB hard drive can be obtained for well under $500. These discount models can often be upgraded using laptop parts A machine with a faster processor and 30GB hard drive can usually be purchased for under $800. For a higher performance desktop replacement with a pentium 4 processor, or a light and mobile centrino laptop you are looking at $1000 and above. It all depends on your computing requirements and the size of your pocket :)
We hope you'll find the information here and the laptop reviews below helpful. We wish you the best of luck on your notebook hunt!
REVIEWS ABOUT COMPAQ LAPTOPS
Compaq 731US - Compaq 2100US - Compaq Evo N200 - Compaq Presario 2135US
Compaq Armada E500 - Compaq Armada M700
REVIEWS ABOUT DELL LAPTOPS
Dell Latitude CPi - Dell Latitude D600 - Dell CPX
REVIEWS ABOUT FUJITSU LAPTOPS
Fujitsu C2200 - Fujitsu Lifebook P5010
REVIEWS ABOUT IBM LAPTOPS
IBM A31 - IBM Thinkpad R32 - IBM R40
IBM Thinkpad X30 - IBM Thinkpad 570 - IBM Thinkpad T22
REVIEWS ABOUT PANASONIC TOUGHBOOKS
Panasonic Toughbook CF-18
REVIEWS ABOUT SONY LAPTOPS
Sony Vaio - Sony Vaio FRV27 - Sony Vaio TR2A - Sony Vaio V505DX
Sony Vaio Z1VA
REVIEWS ABOUT TOSHIBA LAPTOPS
Toshiba P10 S429 - Toshiba satellite A25 S307 - Toshiba portege 3500
After you've established what you want from a machine and have read some of the reviews available here, you have the option of referring to the man or woman on the street for a 2nd opinion. There are places where you can read the thoughts of actual purchasers who have shelled out their hard earned dollars, pounds or yen.
We recommend epinions.com as a great place to find honest laptop reviews from actual purchasers.
Did you know that some amazing deals can be found for reconditioned models? Learn more about refurbished laptops