1) What is your budget?
2) What size notebook would you prefer?
a. Netbook; 10” screen or less
b. Ultraportable; 11" - 12” screen
c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen
3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. Click here for Screen resolution information.
13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?
Build Quality and Design
14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
15) When are you buying this laptop?
16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?
18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?
Please state any additional features you need. It's also helpful if you can indicate how experienced you are with computers. If you're a novice and don't know much, that's alright. Everyone's a novice at some point.
Glossary and Explanations
Glossy vs. Matte Screen
Matte screens have an anti-reflective coating. Glossy screens generally offer more contrast and colors are more vivid. They do however produce more glare. Some people like them, others do not. The glare problem is most acute in well lit environments, like an office. Glossy screens tend to be better for multimedia uses like viewing DVDs or photos. If you are unfamiliar with the screen types, we would highly recommend you check some of each type out before you buy. The screen is one of the more important parts on a notebook. You don't want to get stuck with something you don't like.
SSD (Solid State Drive)
A solid state drive is a flash based storage device which uses non-volatile NAND memory chips instead of the traditional mechanical rotating disk and reading head. This newer technology drives perform much faster since they dont need spin up. Think of it as using your RAM as your hard drive. It consumes less power since there are no mechanical moving parts, this in turn also gives SSD's the advantage of running cooler. They are also impervious from damage by vibration, shock and magnetism.
The downsides compared to a traditional HD is it lacks storage capacity and the cost is much higher per GB.
If you are unsure of what to purchase, we would highly recommend you check some notebook screens before you buy to see what you like. You may also wish to take a look at the notebook screen guide for more information.
Netbook resolution: WSVGA
Actual resolutions: 1024x600 and 1024x576
Offered on Netbooks 10" and smaller
Netbook standard resolution. This is the lowest resolution available, and is designed to easily read text and icons on smaller-sized netbook screens. However, this leads to a somewhat “crowded” display that can generally only handle one visible window at a time. Typically not available on larger machines.
Standard Resolutions: WXGA, HD, 720p
Actual resolutions: 1280x800 and 1366x768
Offered on larger Netbooks and Notebooks up to 16"
Lower resolution screens offer big text and icons that are easy to read. Less stuff fits on the screen, which translates into more scrolling. Multiple windows can be worked with, though they may have to overlap some.
Midrange Resolutions: WXGA+, HD+, 900p
Actual resolutions: 1440x900 and 1600x900
Offered on all Notebooks. Keep in mind text will be very small on a 12" WXGA+ notebook.
A set of in-between resolution options that are found on some machines. Considered base resolution on 17" inch and higher laptops. Text and icons are smaller than standard resolution screens, and more windows fit onto the screen. These resolutions are very good for working with multiple windows side-by-side, without having to overlap them.
Maximum Resolutions: WSXGA+, WUXGA, FHD, 1080p
Actual resolutions: 1680x1050, 1920x1200 and 1920x1080
Offered on Notebook 15" and larger
On these screens text and icons will be very small. Text can often be hard to read, though some do like it. A very large number of windows fit on the screen, and there will be little need to overlap any of them. Max resolution screens are good for applications that require high detail (CAD, graphics editing, etc.)
Typical Definitions of Refurbished Notebooks
Refurbished notebooks often come at significantly lower prices and are generally covered by warranties by Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Lenovo generally has a universal 1 year warranty, while Dell has standard 3 on their business lines and 1 on consumer laptops (all extendable). HP offers a choice of 1 or 3 years. Other stores like Tiger Direct only offer 90 days. These laptops are in conditions ranging from being never powered on to scratch and dent (but still fully operational).
Laptops that may or may not have been powered on.
Laptops that may or may not have the security seal of the box broken.
Laptops that may or may not have been used.
Laptops that may or may not have minimal cosmetic "scratches".
Laptops that where ordered and never delivered.
Laptops that where place on order but never shipped.
Laptops that where ordered but then canceled and never shipped.
Laptop is new and sealed in box.
Laptop has never been turned on.
Security seal is not broken.
Laptop is in mint condition.
Scratch & Dent:
Laptop has been turned on.
Laptop has been used before.
Security seal is broken.
Laptop may have noticeable cosmetic dents.
Laptop was fully restored to manufacturing state.