Sunday, November 27, 2005
Most new laptops have slots for removal media storage devices such as CompactFlash cards, Microdrives, Secure Digital cards and Memory Sticks. They’re an easy way to transfer data to and from a desktop or gadgets like cameras, camcorders and PDAs, but they should not be used for permanent storage – CDs and DVDs are more suitable.
More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
If you’re using your laptop as desktop replacement, then a docking (dock or port replicator) can help you manage your peripherals such as a standard keyboard, mouse, monitor and printer. The docking station connects to all the peripherals, and the laptop connects to the docking station rather than the individual peripherals. The docking station also stays plugged in and powers your laptop so you conserve battery power.More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
Wireless networking gives you true portability, because you can access the Internet wherever there’s a signal – in your home or at a “Wi-Fi hotspot”, for example in a Wi-Fi enabled café.More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
To go online wirelessly, look out for new laptops that have Centrino – Intel's mobile processor technology with built-in Wi-Fi capability. These include new models of the Dell Latitude, Sony Vaio, Acer Aspire, Toshiba Tecra, IMB Thinkpad and Toshiba Portege. Alternatively, get a laptop with built-in Ethernet support, a PCMCIA network interface card and/or wireless support (the latest wireless standard is 802.11g; many laptops have the older 802.11b standard).
If none of this technology is built into your laptop, don’t worry. Go to eBay’s Laptop Accessories category, buy an Ethernet or Wi-Fi card and turn your laptop into a Wi-Fi computer.
For more information on wireless networking, visit eBay's Networking Buying Guide.
Some laptops support a short-range wireless technology called Bluetooth. If you have a Bluetooth-enabled PDA or mobile phone, you may want a laptop that can access your other gadgets wirelessly.More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
Many laptops come pre-loaded with a full operating system such as Windows XP and other software such as an internet browser (usually Microsoft Internet Explorer) and an email client such as Microsoft Outlook. Many laptops are sold pre-installed with trial versions of anti-virus software from major brands like McAfee or Symantec.More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
Most laptops use Lithium Ion batteries with a life of 2-5 hours, depending on the number of applications you’re running on your laptop. Most laptop batteries take around 75 minutes to recharge fully, so it’s worth buying a spare battery if you intend to be out and about with your laptop.More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
If you plan to do lots of presentation work, video editing or gaming on your laptop, invest in a good graphics card with 32MB or 64MB of dedicated memory.More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
Most laptops have a security slot, but not all of them come with a lock. Look for listings in eBay’s Laptops category that mention a cable lock, or buy one separately from the Laptop Accessories category.More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
You’ll find new laptop carrying cases and special laptop backpacks on eBay at bargain prices. Essential for carrying and protecting your laptop while on the move.More info: TigerDirect.com, Amazon
Here’s an overview of the important features that make up a laptop computer. If a listing doesn’t provide this information, click “Ask seller a question” to find out more.
A laptop’s processor, or Central Processing Unit (CPU), is its brain. The faster the processor, the better your laptop will perform. However there are a number of things to consider when looking at laptop processor speed:
Centrino: If you’re a regular Internet user who likes to be on the move, look out for “Centrino” in a laptop item listing. Centrino is Intel's mobile processor technology that allows you to use wireless networking, and it comes as standard on many new high-end laptops.
Performance vs battery: With a laptop, there’s a trade-off between performance and battery life. AMD and Intel make several processors typically found in laptops. Some optimise laptop battery life while others concentrate on performance. Mobile processors, with the word “mobile” or just the letter M in their names, are a good choice – for example Mobile Intel Pentium 4 or Athlon XP Mobile. These use less power and generate less heat than processors designed for desktops.
Unless you need a powerful desktop replacement, get a mobile processor to extend battery life and prevent overheating. Most users should start with a 2GHz Pentium 4-M, 1.7GHz Celeron-M or 2200+ Athlon XP Mobile and work their way up. Laptops featuring Intel’s wireless processor technology Centrino, such as the Dell Latitude, Sony Vaio X505, Toshiba Tecra A2, Acer Aspire, Dell D505 and IBM ThinkPad R40, provide the best balance of battery power and processor speed.
MHz and GHz: Processor speed (also called CPU frequency) is measured in MHz and GHz (gigahertz and megahertz; 1GHz equals 1,000 MHz). Processor speeds of 1.4GHz to 1.6GHz are fast enough for most laptop users. Popular laptops with processors around this speed include the Sony Vaio and Dell Latitude D600. However you will find many high-end “desktop replacement” laptops on eBay with processor speeds of 3GHz or more. Examples include the Fujitsu-Siemens LifeBook N6010, Dell Inspiron 6000 and HP Pavilion zd range.
Popular laptop processors:
Pentium-M: Battery-efficient but relatively fast, with speeds up to 2.1GHz. Part of Intel's Centrino technology with built-in wireless (Wi-Fi). Found in laptops including the IBM ThinkPad, Toshiba Qosmio and Dell Inspiron.
Celeron-M: Budget predecessor to Pentium-M, with speeds up to 1.5GHz and low battery usage. Ideal if you just want your laptop for email, internet access and word processing. Found in laptops including the Fujitsu-Siemens V2010 and Compaq Presario.
Celeron: Intel’s lowest-price processor with speeds up to 2.5GHz. More battery-draining than Celeron-M. Found in popular affordable laptops including Dell Latitude and Toshiba Satellite.
Pentium 4: Designed for desktops but good for laptop owners who love multimedia. Speeds up to 3.33GHz mean they get hot and drain the battery. Best for desktop replacements that you intend to leave plugged in. Found in laptops including the HP Pavilion zd series, Samsung P10, Acer Aspire and Sony Vaio.
Mobile AMD Athlon 64: Comparable to Pentium-M: fast, wireless-compatible and good for battery life. Found in Compaq Presario and Acer Ferrari series.
AMD Athlon 64: Fast and popular among computer gamers; usually found in desktop replacements. Drains the battery. Also found in Compaq Presario and Acer Ferrari series.
Note: On eBay you’ll find similar laptops containing different processors. For example the hugely popular Dell Latitude and Sony Vaio laptops are available on eBay with Pentium-M, Celeron-M or Pentium 4 processors. Make sure you know the processor type and speed before you bid.
Your computer’s operating system and all your files and documents are stored on the hard drive (also known as hard disk). You only need a 20GB to 40GB hard drive for basic word processing and a few digital photos, but for high-resolution images, video or your entire music collection you’ll need at least 80GB. Some laptops can work with hard drives up to 100GB and even 120GB; examples include the Dell Latitude, Toshiba Qosmio and Acer Aspire.
Most laptops on eBay have hard drives made by a handful of large companies including Samsung and IBM, though Fujitsu-Siemens make specialist laptop drives.
You can access your laptop’s hard drive and transfer data to and from it via various types of port (“bus”), including USB and the faster FireWire/IEEE 1394. You can use these ports to expand your hard drive capacity with an external hard drive.
Hard drives are now found in all sorts of gadgets as well as laptops. They’re in MP3 players, PDAs, digital cameras and personal video recorders (PVRs, like Sky+). Samsung and Nokia produced the first hard drive mobile phones.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is your computer’s short-term memory. The more RAM a desktop has, the more efficiently it runs. For example Windows XP requires at least 128MB RAM to run, though you’ll probably need 256MB. Most laptops come with a standard 256MB of RAM, but 512MB is better if you plan to use your laptop for digital video or downloading music. Check the laptop’s RAM capacity to see how much room you have for upgrades.
If you’re on a budget or just looking for a laptop word processor, models in the Toshiba Satellite and Compaq Armada series come with less than 64MB or RAM but are very budget-friendly. At the other end of the scale, gamers and video editors should invest in a laptop with 2GB RAM or more, such as a Dell Inspiron or Fujitsu-Siemens LifeBook.
Most laptops have LCD (liquid crystal display) screens that come in a range of sizes from 12- 17-inches, measured diagonally. The most common size is 15-inches, but if you’re planning to work on your laptop a lot or use it for video editing or gaming, look for a bigger screen size with a decent resolution of around 1024/768 pixels.
You may see the acronym TFT in a laptop listing along with screen size. This stands for “thin film transistor” (also called active matrix) and means the screen is designed to perform better in bright light and can produce clearer images – handy if you fancy working next to the window. TFT LCD screens, found on high-end laptops such as the Dell Inspiron 9300, give excellent displays for more money than standard screens.
Portability may be an important factor in choosing a laptop, but remember that lighter and smaller laptops tend to be less powerful. However, it can depend on what you pay. The most expensive laptops are small and light-weight but relatively powerful; the cheapest laptops are relatively heavy but not very powerful.
The cheapest laptops you’ll see on eBay weigh around 3kg (more than 6lb) – not ideal for carrying around, especially when you’ve added the weight of a case, spare battery, cables and external drives.
Not all heavy laptops are budget choices. Some desktop replacement laptops, such as Dell Inspiron 9200, Toshiba Qosmio G20-108, Toshiba Satellite P20-801 and Sony Vaio B100, have all the features you’d want from a full-sized desktop PC, and they tend to cost more than equivalent desktops. However they are too heavy for most people to carry around for very long. Fine for occasional trips, but not for very regular travellers.
Laptops described as “ultraportable” or “thin-and-light”, such as the light-weight Sony Vaio VGN-U750P, Averatec 4265, Apple PowerBook G4 and Toshiba’s Portege series, can be very powerful (and expensive) but are much easier to carry for long periods.
Ports allow you to connect external devices to your laptop – for example a large monitor, printer, scanner, digital camera or MP3 player. Many people who work on desktop replacements connect a standard keyboard and mouse to the laptop, because laptop keyboards can often be too small for comfort, and touch-sensitive mouse-substitute pads can be tricky to use.
Most new laptops have one or more high-speed USB 2.0 or Firewire/IEEE 1394 ports, but ensure that your laptop has enough ports of the right type for the devices you intend to plug in.
Drives and Burners
On old laptops you may only find a floppy disk drive – if that. Most recent laptops have more sophisticated fixed internal CD and DVD drives and burners that let you transfer huge amounts of data to and from CD-ROMs and DVDs. Here are some of the drives and burners you’ll find mentioned in laptop listing:
CD-ROM (read-only memory): Standard on most laptops, and is fine for installing software from CD or playing music CDs.
CD-RW (re-writeable): Read and also record data to CDs. Good if you want to “rip” songs from music CDs and create your own music compilation CDs.
DVD-ROM: This DVD drive reads DVDs as well as CDs, so you can watch movies on your laptop.
Combination drive: The most sophisticated DVD drive is the DVD+RW/+R with CD-RW, which lets you write data to DVDs as well.Very handy if you want to save lots of data on a DVD, which has seven times the capacity of a CD
Hot swap bay: These bays let you insert and remove a CD drive, DVD drive or combination drive. With hot-swap bays you can always upgrade to a different drive later, and you can sometimes use them to attach an extra battery.
Upgrading means replacing an older system with more recent hardware or software to bring the computer up to date. A laptop’s size makes it more difficult to upgrade than a desktop, but it’s easy once you know how, and you will find all the necessary hardware and software on eBay:
Extra RAM: You may want to buy a 1GB RAM stick to increase your computer’s memory. To run Windows XP Home, Microsoft recommends you have 128MB RAM, but it performs much better with 512MB RAM.
New hot swap drive: Make sure your laptop is suitable – check with the seller.
New Ethernet card: Some laptops have an Ethernet or modem card in the PCI or PCMCIA slot (inside the computer), but if you have an open card slot you can quickly add USB 2.0, Firewire, an Ethernet port or wireless (Wi-Fi).
When upgrading hardware such as RAM, make sure your laptop can be upgraded and that the hardware is compatible. Before you bid, check that the seller can include the laptop’s instruction manual.
Tip: We’ve put together a Computers & Networking Buying Guide Glossary to help you understand the terms that appear in eBay listings.
Always ensure that a supplier can offer some form of after-sales or technical support. When you buy your computer you will have some form of warranty with it. It is important to find out if it is an on-site warranty or not. If the warranty is not an on-site one, be aware that the computer will have to be returned to the dealer if it needs repair.
if you are buying a computer on the internet, you are unlikely to view the goods until they actually arrive. You must look for cover and assurances from the supplier from whom you decide to purchase so that if you are not content with the quality of the unit you receive, it can easily be returned without penalty.
There's a MASSIVE range in the quality of refurbished gear available for sale. Some dealers at the lower end of the scale do not really refurbish computers at all – obviously broken parts may be replaced but little more than that is done. If you receive a cheap laptops that is not even been properly cleaned, it is highly unlikely that it has been refurbished whatsoever – it is simply a used computer with software reloaded onto it’s hard drive, with little or no other inspection. Obviously the failure rate of units like these is much higher. In an industry with tightening margins, unfortunately many dealers now fill pressured to cut costs in the preparation of refurbished laprops and computers.
Common Issues with Refurbished computers / laptops
Chassis / cosmetic damage
Any crack (especially around the hinges), discoloration or other damage to any part of the cheap laptops body should have been corrected with a replacement part
Any component faults in a unit such as a faulty Hard Drive, mouse etc must be corrected. Hard Drive, floppy drive and CD Rom drive faults are the most common hardware problems discovered.
The TFT screen has a limited life span and is very expensive to replace. Faults to look for include damaged pixels (dots on screen – a few of these are not serious and should be ignored) and overall darkening of the screen or a screen that is slow to warm up. The latter is more serious and is probably lead to complete failure
Very poor battery life / battery not charging
The quality the batteries supplied with a laptop very massively. You should not expect a battery to be “as good as new” on your cheap laptops unless they are specifically described as such. A battery life of 30 minutes is good; in reality you will be using it with the PSU most of the time.
If this is not the result of an incorrect or damaged software installation (which is usually the case), it is probably caused by motherboard damage – always requiring a professional repair.
Do I really need the latest specs and features?
A great way of wasting a good deal of money is to convince yourself to buy a computer or laprop with a load of features that you really don’t require. This is a common sales technique – akin to the attraction of £2000 worth of free software with your unit, remember there is no such thing as free! Concentrate only on the features you want – not those you think you might need or will grow into in the future, you’ll get a lot more for your money if you follow this simple advice.
1) Is there clear information on how to contact them if you have a problem with your cheap laptops?
2) How did they respond to previous enquiries?
3) Is there clear information on the site about a money back or price match offer?
4) Is there any help on the site about your rights as a consumer when you buy?
5) Are contact methods clear and easy to use?
You can Find Refurbished laptops here:
Tiger Direct popular
Fujitsu Online Store
This site Recommends PriceRunner - Compare Prices Before You Shop!
Tags:refurbished laptop, laptop review
Saturday, November 26, 2005
New low-end laptops will save you hundreds of dollars and still provide all features most people really need for their basic computing needs. A discount laptop may be a better solution for someone who requires more computing power or desires higher-end model for less money.
The best minimum configuration of discount laptop computers are :
Processor: Intel® Celeron® M 360 (1.40 GHz/1MB Cache) / Pentium® M 720 (1.73 GHz/2MB Cache).
Mainboard: Intel Motherboard with DDR-RAM/DDR2-RAM support.
Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition.
Monitor: 4 inch XGA LCD Panel.
RAM: 256 DDR SDRAM (2 DIMM Sockets).
Hard Drive: 30/40GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive.
CD-ROM: 24X CD Burner.
Battery: 8-Cell NiMH Primary Battery (43WHr).
Others: Internal 56K Modem, Integrated Network Card, Integrated Graphics Card, FireWire Port.
There are lot of laptops specially configured for students which are known as student discount laptops, you can get these laptop computers in many online merchants. student discount laptop computer requires a low configured laptops , so they can get laptops for as low as 300$ to 500$.
The Laptop rates slashed down rapidly and soon all desktops will be replaced by Laptops. There are Plenty of resourses for getting cheap Laptops and Refurbished Laptops. Getting a laptop instead of a desktop would be a wiser decision today. You'll gain the mobility and portability of a laptop and still keep the speed, memory, disk space and accessories of a desktop.
|Dell C610 P3 1.2ghz|
14.1" , 256mb Ram 20GB, Cd-rom, Win2000 pro
|Toshiba Satellite L25-S119|
15",Intel Celeron M 370, 256 MB RAM, 60GB, CD-RW/DVD-ROM
|HP Pavilion dv1130us|
14.0" Entertainment PC,Intel Celeron M 360,512 MB RAM,60GB, DVD+/-RW/CD-RW Drive
|Toshiba Satellite M45X-S331 |
15.4" (Pentium M Processor 730,(Centrino),512 MB,80 GB, DVD SuperMulti
Want more Discount laptops ? check out these established online suppliers
Tiger Direct popular, Amazon Store*, Apple MacMall*, Alienware Systems , Fujitsu
This site Recommends PriceRunner - Compare Prices Before You Shop!
Tags:discount laptop, laptop
There are some great deals available when buying. However, buy the wrong unit from the wrong person and you could be opening a big can of worms. Bear these points in mind too if you are thinking about buying a second hand , privately owned unit from the classifieds section news paper.
A cheap price is important to most people but don’t underestimate the importance of consistent and high quality customer service when choosing a dealer from whom to buy your cheap laptops. The best way to judge the quality of the dealer is to shop around. You want to find suppliers that suit your needs, not fit in with their agenda. You also want to make sure that they provide value for money and are competitive with the rest of the market place, especially in comparison with other computers / laptops in the same category or range.
It's important to decide from the onset, which features you are really looking for, rather than trying to check every cheap laptops on the market to find out which is the best. If you have seen a particular model or manufacturer that you like, then this is probably a good place to start. You may have a technical friend who could advise you which model to buy – be careful though, their opinions or strong recommendations may not be necessarily be entirely unbiased - take them with a pinch of salt! Check the forums - you may be able to get some good advice from people that have owned the unit you are considering, or a similar model before.
You are really looking for an internet based dealer who offers the product you are looking for at a good price, with good service and after-sales assurances. Smaller companies are often more customer focused these days than big companies that just don’t have time for individual customer problems, often putting you though automated call routing procedures and then cutting you off or never calling you back - we've all been throuh this and have got quite sick of it now.
|Acer AS3003WLCi PC|
Mobile AMD Sempron™ processor, integrated optical drive, 40GB hard drive
|HP nx6110 PR124UA|
HP nx6110 Intel Celeron M 360J 1.4GHz / 802.11b-g Wireless / 15-inch XGA / 256MB DDR / 40GB HDD / CD-RW/DVD Combo/ Notebook PC
| Systemax Pursuit 4025|
Systemax Pursuit 4025 Intel Celeron 15-inch Built-To-Order Notebook PC
Pentium 4-M 1.8GHz / 14.1-inch XGA / 256MB DDR / 40GB HDD / DVD-ROM,Win XP Pro
Want more Cheap laptops ? check out these established online Dealers
Tiger Direct popular, Amazon Store*, Apple MacMall*, Alienware Systems , Fujitsu
This site Recommends PriceRunner - Compare Prices Before You Shop!
Tags:cheap laptop, laptop