Laptops have many specifications, which may prove confusing to the uneducated computer shopper. Among the most commonly considered specifications are processor speed, amount of RAM, hard drive space, options for expansion, and size of the laptop.
Processor speed is the raw power of the computer, how quickly it can work. RAM is its memory cache, which it can access quickly to keep data handy, vastly speeding up the overall function of the computer. The hard drive is the storage for all the computer's data, from pictures and videos to documents and music.
Other features that may be important include expansion options and laptop size. Laptops have a variety of expansion ports, from USB to eSATA and many more. Laptops also come in a variety of sizes, usually measured by screen size. Screens can range from about 10 inches diagonally to about 18 inches.
Memory and Speed Considerations
When buying a laptop computer, make sure it has a fast enough processor for your needs, but don't let yourself be talked into an upgrade unnecessarily. More important is a higher amount of RAM, which will allow you to open more programs at once without slowing the computer. Hard drive space is important, too, but most computer users will never use up the space on even the smallest of hard drives.
Ports and Size Considerations
If you plan on using USB peripherals, such as a printer, scanner, mouse or other USB devices, make sure it has plenty of USB ports. Any other less common ports you might need should be available, too. These could include data ports like eSATA and FireWire, video ports like VGA, DVI and HDMI or other ports for things like networking, audio or reading memory cards. Also ensure that the laptop is an appropriate size for your needs. Large laptops are burdensome to travel with, but provide a larger screen space for tasks.