Laptops: Essential features, often overlooked

There are a multitude of laptops around, from a seemingly increasing number of manufacturers, yet it’s not always obvious why one laptop should stand out from another. In this post I’d like to take a look at a few key components in a laptop and discuss why they are so important to us. There are a couple of laptops around that are a great example of manufacturers using innovative technology to improve the end experience for the consumer, whilst battling to carve out a competitive edge over their rivals. I’ll be looking at these devices as well, to see why I feel they are worth consideration the next time you are looking to upgrade.

When making a laptop purchase, most individuals and even large organisations will tend to stick with a brand that they are familiar with, as this will provide an element of security and comfort when it comes to making what will likely be a substantial investment. Whilst I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from this practice, I would encourage prospective buyers to take a more objective look at laptops and the best way to do this can be to look at key components.

If you’re looking for a laptop then it’s more than likely that the option to be mobile is a key criteria for you.  So consider how regularly that may be.  In most offices that use laptops, the majority of the time the laptop is plugged into the mains.  This means that battery life may not be as crucial as it might first appear, so paying extra for extended battery life for several laptops may not be necessary.  If you or your employees are simply taking their laptop from a bustling open plan office to a quieter side room to get some work done, or even taking the laptop home from work to finish off a presentation, then the weight of the laptop may be an altogether more important feature. Perhaps a SSD is therefore more vital than an 8 hour battery life? Something to consider.

Samsung RV511

Another element that can be over looked is the quality of the keyboard.  It’s obvious to say but this is the part of the laptop that you will come into direct contact with the most, so therefore the type of keyboard and overall mechanical ease of use shouldn’t be taken for granted.  There can be a great deal of variance from one laptop to the next, so doing your research finding a range with excellent mechanical features and usability is a must.

The next essential and perhaps most underappreciated laptop component is the screen.  Again, this is something which could almost go without saying if it wasn’t for the fact that it is so often overlooked.  Every day experiences such as using the laptop by a window on a bright day can really sort average screens from the best.  The introduction of LED backlit displays is becoming more common, but for the most part will still only be found on the laptops that are closer to the top of the range.  These displays are vivid and bright which, when combined with the proper aspect ratio (16:9 on a 15.6” screen for example) can ensure that you or your staff can use the laptop in a wider range of conditions without suffering from eye strain or from a sore neck from having to peer closer at the screen.  I find it amazing how a high quality screen can make people’s working life so much easier, but it really does make a difference.

It would be remiss of me to exclude one of the most talked about factors when it comes to computing, and that is processing power.  In this area, it is arguably fair to say that Intel have been dominant. Their range of new chipsets can be found in almost all the top of the range laptops.  In most instances it would be wise to opt for the i5 or i7 but of course this will be completely down to how your laptop is being used.  If it’s not processor intensive then perhaps an i3 will do the job sufficiently.  Ensuring that your team members who need the extra processing power are equipped with the faster laptops will be a big step towards a more efficient (and happy) office.

Sony Vaio E Series

To round this off I felt it would be useful to spotlight a couple of laptops that have a lot of the key features mentioned.  The Samsung Notebook RV511 is ergonomically designed for comfort, with a bright backlit display and a light yet durable case.  This type of form is ideal for being on the go and also features a choice of processors.  It has a tick in all the key boxes, so is definitely one to consider.

The Sony VAIO E series 15 is a direct competitor to the Samsung.  It matched up in a very similar way, with the Sony VAIO having a full HD display, a choice of processors and a lightweight design.

So, I hope that’s of some use.  I’ll be adding to this range of blog posts as further technology is made available.  As always, if you have a request for specific reviews or blog post, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

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