Laptop Special: Getting That Perfect Laptop

DQI Bureau
New Update

When Ramesh Ramanathan decided to buy a notebook, he was totally confused

which one to buy and moreover he does not understand the fancy processor code

names like Merom, Taylor or Yonah. He checked the nearby retailer and was too

carried away by rosy sales talk and bought a machine the sales man recommended.

But only after months of using it, Ramanathan realized that he had lots of

better options for the same price and was not satisfied with his notebook. Many

consumers go through this ordeal, mainly because of the ever-changing technology

landscape in IT where obsolescence happens almost every quarter.


Notebook buying has become very tricky mainly because of the plethora of

processors from chip companies like Intel and AMD. Unlike a desktop, a

notebook's hallmark is mobility. So mobility is the starting point in any

notebook buying decision. When one looks at mobility, three things are to be

factored in-battery life, connectivity options and weight. Quips R Manikandan,

general manager, sales and marketing (IT division), LG Electronics India,

“With the advent of Wi-Fi connectivity, mobility has became an important

parameter in notebooks. Mobility is best defined by thinness, lightness, design,

extended battery back up and enhanced connectivity. While thinness and lightness

are a personal choice, battery back up enables longer usability when one is


For the enterprise user, the most important value a notebook should offer is

high productivity. Built-in security, high-end processor and memory, battery

life, wireless connectivity, versatile mobility features and low cost of

ownership are absolutely essential in an enterprise user's notebook. Other

factors such as weight and screen size are subjective. On the other hand, a home

user should identify high-end graphics, processor, memory, disk capacity, combo

drives and reliability as key buying factors when purchasing a notebook.

The home user must be able to access high entertainment features and have a

worry-free computing experience. Reflecting on this, Manish Gupta, GM,

Notebooks, Lenovo India says, “Features that one can look forward to in a

notebook are combo multimedia, integrated TV-tuner cards and enhanced wireless

connectivity. We are addressing each of these attributes in our ThinkPad range

and Lenovo 3000 consumer notebook range.”


Notebooks: Top 5

Buying Tips

Before you buy, look for:

1 Configuration/Technology

If you are an entry-level

user, it is strongly recommended you go in for an Intel Pentium M

Processor, with 1.70 GHZ. Mid-end users have to decide between Core Duo,

Core 2 Duo and AMD Turion 64X2. Prices range from Rs 50k to Rs 65K. All

these processors offer excellent wireless features and made for mobility.

If you are looking at affordable prices and 64 bit dual core technology,

as of now AMD 64 x 2 is the best bet, and it's available at Rs 50K. In

terms of graphical capabilities, make sure the notebook supports good

graphics and be able to run apps smoothly. If you are not too much into

gaming, basic multimedia capabilities will do.

2 Battery


The battery back up of mid-end notebooks range from 2.5 to 4 hours.

With wireless, most notebooks can churn around 2.5 hours and with screen

brightness dimmed to half will further boost battery back up. By default

the primary battery is 6-cell Lithium Ion, but if your mobility

requirements are high, one can always go for a 9-cell option at an

additional cost and at least 5 hours back up.

3 Display

The in thing today is widescreen that has many advantages like better

viewing angle and optimal visual experience. Screen sizes of compact

notebooks are usually 12.1” and for mid-end notebooks it is usually

14.1” or 15.4”. For desktop replacement, 17” notebooks are becoming

a popular option.

4 Data


On the security front, the latest and the best notebooks are equipped

with enhanced features such as TPM (trusted platform module), finger print

reader and HDD security. The Fingerprint Module is a biometric reader,

which uses a person's fingerprint to ensure security. This ensures not

only efficient security but also ease of use; one can also lock the

files/folders etc. to protect from unauthorized access.

5 Weight

and Build Quality

Mid-end notebooks usually weighs 2.5 kgs and upwards and if you are

looking at a truly portable notebook, a sub 1.5kg machine is the right

choice. But true ultra portability comes with a price. An important factor

is also to look at performance, some notebooks sacrifice performance for a

thin and light form factor. The build quality of the notebook is also

important; it should have that rugged feel and should come out with HDD

protection system that can cushion the HDD from bumps and vibrations.

Notebook Categories

There are four major categories of notebooks-budget or entry level,

mid-end (which has most of enterprise class features), high-end and ultra

portables. The budget notebook typically starts at sub Rs 30K. For instance, the

Sahara L1 notebook costs just about Rs 28K and comes with a Celeron 1.4 GHz

processor. A Pentium M based machine will cost around Rs 40K and budget Core

Duo's Rs 50K. The biggest catch in most of the budget notebooks is that it

does not come with Windows XP. The mid-end notebooks, which start at Rs 50K and

go upward to Rs 70K, is more aimed at the enterprise user. The processors can

range from Intel Core Solo, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo and AMD Turion 64x2. The

differentiating factor here is it comes pre-loaded with Windows XP and other

security features like TPM (trusted platform module), finger print reader etc.

Meanwhile, a high-end notebook can be categorized as a workhorse, which

churns out huge data intensive apps and multi-tasking. These machines sport

higher versions of processors in terms of clock speeds and have minimum 1GB of

RAM. They also have features like DVD writers and extended battery life. These

machines are for power users and are seen as a desktop replacement.

With all

categories of notebook and wide range of technology options available, the

user whether home or enterprise, has to go for a notebook that addresses

most of the expectations

The ultra portable category is purely based on demanding mobility, from

weight, features and form factor perspective. Any notebook that weighs more than

1.5 kgs and has a screen size of more than 12.1” is not considered as ultra

portable. Mostly, ultra portable arrives at good battery life and small form by

using ultra low voltage (ULV) version of processors, which consumes less power.

The ultra portable segment is a niche market and prices can go up to Rs 1.5 lakh.

Before buying an ultra portable, the buyer should look at all the necessary

features of a high end notebook and ascertain that for a small form, performance

has not be sacrificed.

With all categories of notebook and wide range of technology options

available, the user whether home or enterprise, has to understand the

requirement and go for a notebook that addresses most of the expectations. The

bigger market out there is for budget and mid-end notebooks, which command a

bigger market share. Given that, the buyer should always look at more features

and a competitive pricing. According to industry analysts, anybody planning to

buy a notebook should look at different models and do a comparative analysis and

pick the best one that suits the requirements.

Shrikanth G