Buying a laptop is a big commitment. Before you jump into a long-term laptop relationship, make sure you do your research. Lifehacker helps you narrow down the field and choose the right laptop by pointing out a number of things you should look for. For example:
Heat Production: Laptops can get very hot, especially if you’re using them (improperly) on your lap. This is going to be something you can only really read in reviews, but keep an eye out for laptops that overheat even when they’re used properly on a desk. Make sure that the laptop has rubber feet on the bottom that gives heat room to escape when set on a flat surface, and that it has good fan placement and airflow to keep everything running at a safe temperature.
USB and Other Ports
When it comes to the ports in your laptop, you’re going to be much more limited than on a desktop, so it’s important you know what you’re getting. How many USB ports do you want? Does the model you’re looking at have the much-improved USB 3.0? Does it have an SD card slot for your camera’s photos? What about Ethernet for when your Wi-Fi goes down, or a VGA, DVI, or HDMI port for connecting an external monitor? This kind of stuff can fluctuate a lot from laptop to laptop, and the smaller your laptop, the fewer ports it’s going to have (ultrabooks are particularly low on ports, since they’re so thin). You can always get a USB hub if you need more ports at home, or a USB SD card reader for your photos, but just know that the more ports you actually have on the computer, the more convenient it’s going to be.
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