How to choose a Notebook?

1. Should I choose a notebook or desktop?
A desktop generally gives you better performance, more features and flexible expandability, but it is not portable. If you travel regularly and take your computer with you, than a notebook is definitely a better choice.

Many people prefer notebooks because they are portable and more convenient; they can use the same notebook in the office or at home. A notebook takes up very little desk space and is easy to stow away when you do not need it.

2. What is the difference between a laptop and a notebook?
The terms laptop and notebook are used interchangeably, it is only a matter of preference.
The latest models of notebooks now carry a lot more functions and features. They are lighter and more stylish.

3. What is your advice on buying a notebook?
Before you go about searching for the perfect notebook, there are some considerations to think about. Ask yourself what sort of tasks that you need to do the most on your notebook. Do you need it for home use or for business? Will you use it on your lap while traveling?  We have prepared a short checklist to help you make your purchase decision.

I need the notebook for:

  • read email sent to the office
  • play computer or online games
  • chat with friends
  • download and play music files
  • burn CDs and DVDs
  • edit photos and videos
  • watch movies
  • prepare Word documents in both Chinese and English
  • prepare multimedia presentations
  • develop web content
  • sync data with other mobile devices.

Bring your answers to a computer shop, the shop assistance can quickly recommend the notebooks with the processors, memory, storage space, hard drives, software, accessories to meet your requirements.

The other important question is, how much are you prepared to spend. This certainly will help you narrow down the selection.

4. What kind of operating system do you need?
You must determine the operating system that you need to operate your notebook. Today most computers come with Microsoft Window XP. You need to decide which version of Windows will suit you best. If you just need to log-on to the Internet for email, Windows XP Home will work for you. For the office environment, it is best to choose Windows XP Professional.

5. Where to get additional information on notebooks?
Internet is the best place to get reviews on notebook performance written by experts and the users. Lifestyle and computer magazines regularly feature reviews on the latest models of computers. From time to time, the magazines produced by the consumer bodies from around the world will carry special features on testing performance. You should also read the results of customer surveys regarding customer satisfaction with notebooks and the after-sales service provided by the leading brands.

6. What other accessories would you recommend?
If you want to use the notebook as a desktop, you may want to buy a docking station. You may want to consider using an external flash memory device for sharing files externally. If the notebook that you are purchasing belongs to the company you work for, you may consider purchasing an external memory drive to store your own personal files including family photos.

7. What other built-in functions are available?
Get a notebook with a DVD-ROM drive if you would like to watch movies while traveling. Choose a notebook that comes with two or more USB 2.0 ports, they are useful for connecting peripherals such as printer, mouse, external memory device, digital music player, and more.

If your office has already installed a wireless network, you should also consider buying a notebook with internal wireless card to free you from carrying the necessary cables with you for network connection.

8. Does size of the screen matter?
If you use the notebook just for checking email while you are traveling and doing some basic Word processing, than you can choose a notebook with a smaller screen size. If you are spending a lot of time on using the notebook in place of your regular desktop you should go for a bigger screen size to ease eyestrains.

If you will use the notebook to do some detailed work, e.g. prepare PowerPoint or multimedia files, then you should consider a notebook with a larger screen.

Liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens on notebooks range from 8.9 to 17 inches diagonally. If your budget would allow, choose a screen that is larger than 12.1 to prevent eyestrains. Currently, the average screen size is 14.1 inch wide-screen.

Screen resolution is of equal importance as well.  Screen resolution is based on pixels count --- the more the pixels, the sharper the images on screen.  Generally, the screen resolution of 15 inches LCD is 1024 x 768.

9. How about weight?
Weight also means burden. Think about how far you will have to carry the computer and the peripherals from your home to office everyday. If you take your notebook home after work, you probably should consider an ultra-portable which comes with external CD- or DVD-ROM and USB floppy drives to save weight. Choose a notebook that feels sturdy and will enhance your mobility.

10. Do I need a spare battery?
Most notebooks come with a lithium-ion battery. If you like to work while riding on the train or bus, or prefer to stopover at a café to read and answer your email, you should consider carrying a spare battery with you for just in case.

New batteries can last on average up to three hours. However, you should be aware that batteries degenerate over time, and you will need a replacement after couple of years. If you notice that your battery does not last as long as it used to be, it is probably the time to buy a new one.

11. What sort of software do I need?
Your notebook may come with some bundled software.  Before you decide what kind of software that you will need, think about the tasks that you will do on your notebook. If you need to process document, you should order Microsoft Office.

For security concern, you should also consider to order and install anti-virus, anti-spyware, or anti-spam software. If available, you should consider bundled security features such as fingerprint recognition sensor to prevent unauthorized access.

If you are not sure about which software to buy, about 90% of the software has free downloads for trial. If you are satisfied, you can renew before the free trial has expired.

12. What sort of additional features should I consider?
If you have a Bluetooth enabled PDA or mobile phone you may consider buying a Bluetooth compatible notebook for quick and easy synchronization. If your office or home has a wireless network, you may want to install WiFi.

13. Which works better, touch pad or mouse?
Almost all notebooks have a touch pad to enhance mobility. Some people are just as happy to use the touch pad instead of a mouse. If you find it difficult using the touch pad, you can always plug in a mouse to an external USB port.

14. How big should the hard drive be ?
If you are using your notebook for basic Word processing or accounting spread sheets, a 60GB hard drive should be sufficient. However, if you use your notebook to prepare multimedia presentations loaded with graphics and music clips, than go for the biggest hard drive you can find.

15. What sort of security features do you recommend?
It is highly recommended to install anti-theft devices on your computer such as fingerprint sensor. Accessories such as security locks or cables are the most economic tools to protect your notebook from theft.

The above FAQs are intended for general reference only. You should always compare the functions and specifications of individual notebooks before purchasing.

More questions about choosing a notebook, send your questions via email to :
You can also talk to an expert at Sunlite over the phone, please dial (852) 3101-9988 during office hours.

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