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Laptop Outlet Home > What Kind of User Am I?

What Kind of User Am I? 

Home User

This is the most common user.  Home might be misleading, as it implies the word “house.”  Home users are those whose laptops remain mostly in one place, and don’t normally move from one place to another.  Laptops are becoming more and more popular for home use as they are often much more inexpensive than traditional desktop computers.  Wireless technology has also made it easier for home users to move around while meeting the many needs of a busy schedule.

For home users, look for a midsize laptop, or larger if you are looking to replace your standard desktop with a laptop.  If you vary between being a Home User and a Traveler (see below), you might want to go with a laptop with a screen size between 14” – 15.5” (or anything nearing those specifications).


    Home User Basic Features:

-                        Look for a laptop with the Intel Core i5, Core i3, or Core 2 Duo processor.  AMD Phenom II and Turion II processors also work for home use.  It is not worth purchasing a laptop with a single core unless the home user is a basic user, or your budget is very tight.

-                        2GB of RAM is pretty standard for home use; 4 GB will make things run better, and is recommended, but not required.  Get away from having only 1GB of RAM unless you are still running operating systems like Windows XP, or older.

-                        A 160GB – 320GB hard drive will meet most home user needs.  More space can only benefit you, but only if the price is right.  Increased space will allow you to store more digital pictures, music, video, and documents.

-                        A 14.1” – 15.6” screen will do you well if you also use your laptop outside of the home.  If the laptop is the main computer of the home, go with a larger screen: around 17”. 

-                        A DVD burner usually comes standard with most laptops.  Be sure your laptop has one.  This can help with making home movies, school projects, and a host of other presentations.  Blu-Ray drives are also available, but make sure the drive doesn’t cost more than a Blu-Ray player would.

-                        Go with Windows 7 as your operating system.  Some refurbished laptops will come with Windows Vista and Windows XP.  If those are your preference, then stick with them.  However, for current performance needs, you may want to ask about upgrading to Windows 7, if it does not come standard with the laptop.


Student User

As a student, you really look at the value of a laptop purchase.  Schoolwork today almost exclusively utilizes computers in some way.  With the rising costs of tuition, school books, and maintaining a social life, you want the most bang for your buck.

With this said, you shouldn’t get trapped into buying a cheaper laptop that will under perform to your needs.  Most students use their laptops throughout their entire academic career, so you’re going to want a laptop that is going to perform for the long haul.

As a student, you are the most mobile of users.  Go with something light and durable.


    Student User Basic Features:

-                        Look for a laptop with the Intel Core i7, Core i5, or Core i3 – all depending on your budget.  Core i7 will offer you the best performance, but i5 isn’t too far behind. AMDs Turion II or Phenom II are also pretty comparable to the Intel Core i line.

-                        Most laptops run Windows Vista or Windows 7 these days, so go with 4GB of RAM.  If you are on a budget, 2GB is the bare minimum, and you may need to upgrade in the long run, so keep that in mind.

-                        A 160GB – 320GB hard drive is a good start for students, but you may want to go up to 500 GB.  As a student, you store more music and pictures, so it might be better to invest in a larger hard drive that will see you into the future.

-                        A 14.1” laptop or smaller is going to be ideal for you if you’re going to carry it around campus all day. A 15.4” laptop is going to be ok for you if your laptop is less mobile, or if you want a bigger screen. Check the weight of the laptop, as bigger screens are getting lighter these days.

-                        DVD burners are standard on most laptops.  Blu-Ray is also an option you might want to consider as it can also play HD DVDs if you want your laptop to also be a portable movie player.

-                        Windows 7 (any edition) is perfect for you as a student.  It provides the power you need for school and social projects.


Travel User

You spend most of your time on the road.  Some things you should take into consideration are size and weight – especially if your travel is done mostly by airplane.  This usually means that you will want something that isn’t too big, and also not heavy; however this might mean that you will need to sacrifice some performance capabilities and features.  The good thing is that ultra-portable laptops (those that weigh less and usually have smaller screens) offer better performance options than ever before.

Ultra-portable laptops use LVMPs (Lower Voltage Mobile Processors), which allows for longer battery life.  Because they are light, these laptops won’t burden you when carrying them around.

Some downsides to ultra-portable laptops are that you may find the small screen may be awkward, slower performance might cause more stress when dealing with a deadline, and the smaller keyboard might get in the way of your quick hands when typing.

If a small screen would annoy you too much, or the smaller keyboard just won’t meet your needs, try going for a 14.1” screen, or even search for lighter 15.4” displays as a good compromise.

Look for laptops that are thin, and that won’t burden you with a heavy weight.  If don’t do heavy traveling, or if you just can’t be bothered by the compromises that ultra-portable offer, don’t worry.  In today’s laptop market, there are many options you can choose from to keep you happy and meet your needs.


    Travel User Basic Features:

-                        Look for a laptop with the Intel Core i7, Core i5, or Core i3 – all depending on your budget.  Core i7 will offer you the best performance, but i5 isn’t too far behind. AMDs Turion II or Phenom II are also pretty comparable to the Intel Core i line.  Intel Core 2 Duo offers great performance and battery life. It's worth noting, laptops with the absolute best battery life often come with slower processors including special lower voltage mobile processors. Don't let this deter you though, low voltage modern processors are plenty fast for the average traveler.

-                        Most laptops run Windows Vista or Windows 7 these days, so go with 4GB of RAM.  If you are worried about weight, 2GB is sufficient.  4GB will offer you better performance, and the price difference won’t break your bank.

-                        Depending on your needs, and how much you actually store on the laptop, a 160 GB hard drive is where you should start.  Going any bigger is up to you – as you know your needs.

-                        Anything bigger than a 14.1” screen is going to seem a little big to you, as with traveling, size really counts.  Smaller is going to be lighter, and will give you better battery life.  If you go with a 15.4” screen (or comparable size), make sure that it meets your travel needs, especially when considering the laptop as part of your luggage.

-                        Ultra-portable laptops usually will not offer a built-in optical drive.  They do, however, offer the option of having an external optical drive.  When choosing an external optical drive, go with at least a DVD-RW drive.

-                        Windows 7 Home Premium edition will serve most or your needs as a traveler; however, you may want to go with Windows 7 Professional as it was designed for business travelers/users in mind.


Business Professional User

You demand the utmost is productivity, which means you need power.  One thing you will want to consider is balancing that power with those features that will also provide you comfort, ergonomics, and stress release.

Look for a laptop that provides you the greatest performance, can handle all of your applications, but is also portable when you have to be on the move.


    Business Professional User Basic Features:

-                        Look for a laptop with the Intel Core i7 or Core i5 processor.  You might be tempted to go with and older Core 2 Duo, as you might be price conscious, but the upgraded Core i series will give you better performance for about the same price.

-                        Go with 4GB of RAM as you don’t want to worry about performance issues if your laptop is taxed during a crunch.  Save yourself a headache, and valuable time, by going straight with 4GB. 

-                        Start with a 160GB hard drive.  Business application can demand a lot of your laptop, so you may even want to go with a bigger hard drive.

-                        Do not choose a laptop with a screen smaller than 14.1” – especially considering your travel needs.  A bigger screen (15.4” or comparable) will provide you with better viewing, and now comes in even lighter models, so you won’t have to worry about weight issues.

-                        Your business demands that you be up-to-date on everything.  Make sure your laptop has the latest wireless networking standards already built-in.  Wireless N is the newest standard and it offers longer range and faster data rates over previous standards. Standards include 802.11 a/b/g/n, and all are backwards compatible with each other. And if your line of work demands Internet access anywhere, you may want to consider getting a laptop with wireless Internet 3G or 4G built-in.  The less attractive option is to purchase an add-on 3G/4G card if the laptop doesn't offer built-in options.

-                        You will want a laptop with at least a DVD-RW drive already built-in.  Ultra-portable laptops offer the option to have the drive externally attached, but this can be a hassle.  A built in DVD burner is also a great option when considering file sharing, presentation, and back up needs.

-                        Windows 7 Professional will meet all of your needs; however, Windows 7 Ultimate Edition will meet all of the power business user’s needs.



Gaming/Multimedia User

You demand powerful graphics cards, the fastest processors, large hard drive space, the most RAM, and screens that project the most beautiful of graphics.

For you, anything less than a desktop replacement laptop would be a travesty.  These laptops provide the greatest performance, enhanced graphics, and excellent portability.  Be aware, though, these are also the most expensive laptops on the market.  Be ready to pay more money for increased performance, multimedia display, gorgeous graphics, and increased size.


    Gamer/Multimedia Basic Features:

-                        You want Advanced NVIDIA or ATI graphics cards with at least 512MB of dedicated memory.  For premium gaming, go with a dual NVDIA SLI graphics card.

-                        Intel Core i7 is your best option currently.

-                        4GB of RAM is minimum for your needs, but the greater the RAM, the greater your gaming or multimedia experience.

-                        Larger and faster hard drives will give you the best playing and multimedia experience. Minimum, go for a 320GB hard drive with at least 7200RPM.  For the ultimate experience, look for laptops that have Solid State Drives already equipped in the laptop. 

-                        Gaming laptops usually come with a 15.4” (or comparable) screen. 17” or larger is a must for premium gaming.

-            Battery life usually isn’t an issue for gamers, as you are mostly stationary when playing.

-            Dual-layer DVD burners or Blu-Ray drives are great for gamers and multimedia users.

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