2012 Laptop Buying Guide for Christmas

With Christmas fast-approaching many people will be considering buying a laptop for their loved one.  There are so many on the market though, so how do you make sure you choose the right one, and figure out the best choice?  Laptops have many different variants and features including performance, screen quality, portability, and software – if you need help choosing then read my short guide below to choosing the best laptop for Christmas.

Laptop for Christmas
Laptop for Christmas

Overview


The laptop has now overtaken the traditional heavy desktop and there are huge arrays of notebooks that are available to purchase.  Generally speaking though there is a standard set of sizes.  The portable laptop category tends to include those with screens of 15 inches or more in width which will weigh more than 2 kg.  Then the ultra-portables which have screen resolutions of 11 to 14 inches and are very thin and very light.  You can either buy smaller than that nowadays.  These are called netbooks and will be less than 10 inches in width, can be very economical whilst still powerful to help with every day computing requirements.   To summarize, there really is something for everyone. 

What the Terminology Means


When choosing a laptop you might get confused by all of the different and confusing acronyms.  In truth though, there are only really a few which you should pay attention to.  Here’s an overview of the ones to look out for and what they mean.

CPU (Processor) - The processor is in essence the brains of the computer. It calculates and powers all the tools that you will be using such as games, image editing tools, and all the software packages.  Some of the better processors are the Intel Celeron and AMD Sempron brands.  These will suit someone who will be using the laptop for basic everyday tasks.  If you want to run games and do image editing tasks (in other words, those processes which involve a lot of computing power) then look to choose from the more up to date and powerful Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 or the AMD Athlon or Turion – this will give you a quicker laptop. 

HDD (Hard Disk Drive) - The hard disk drive is the place where all of your files get stored and saved from programs and software to your documents and photographs.  I would always recommend that you purchase as much as you can afford and should never look for anything less than 320 GB just to be future-proofed.

Memory - Memory is the middle man between the CPU and HDD.  It is basically the server between two.  If you are running Windows 7 then don’t go less than 2 GB but I highly recommended you try to buy a laoptop with 3 GB or more of memory. The current modern standards in 2012 tend to range between 3 and 4 GB.

GPU (Graphics Chip) - The graphics chip (GPU) directly affects the fluidity of the game, the level of graphical detail too – for example this can really affect how well games appear on your laptop as well as high resolution photography. It also helps to support the decoding of high definition videos.  The two best graphic card brands to look for when buying a laptop are NVIDIA and AMD – these ones tend to be the best and most stable.

Screen & Resolution - The diagonal dimensions of the screen will tend to vary anywhere between 7 and 20 inches. The larger the screen, the larger and potentially heavier and bigger the laptop.  However, a larger screen will make playing a games a much better experience as well as viewing images and video – so this one really is down to the personal preference of how large a laptop you want to buy.

Some of the Best Laptops for 2012
So now you know a little bit more about laptops, which ones do I recommend for 2012?  Here’s my shortlist which you can pick from.

Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition - This Dell laptop has impressive power for the money and is very good for those that want to play computer games.  It also comes with Full HD video capability, a high contrast screen resolution, plus audio quality that sets it apart from the competition. 

Apple MacBook Pro – This Apple looks good and has a 15 inch screen with Retina controls.  It’s a high quality and high performance device which has a superb graphics card – although the battery life is only for around 7 hours which is a bit of a let-down. Mac lovers should not be disappointed though. 

Dell XPS 15 – Released in 2012, this is another Dell which has a great design which could almost be Apple Mac like.  Comes with a decent processor speed, works well for games and office tasks and generally offers superb value for money.

Samsung NP300E7A – The NP300E7A is not the most powerful laptop featured on this list, but it does have one of the best screens.  At 17.3 inches it’s one of the largest on the list, so would suit someone who would mainly use it on a desktop as it’s not really that portable in truth.  Still a great deal though.
That concludes my list of essential laptops that you can consider when buying for Christmas this year.  There really should be something for everyone there so I hope this list has helped you make your choices!

Many of the laptops above can be purchased from Best Buy – Coupon Chili feature a range of promotional codes for this retailer so if you want to save some money this year make sure you visit:
Most of these laptops have promotional prices currently on them.

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