By Stefanie Hahn
So my laptop is on its way out. I am now spending more time fixing it than I am actually working on it. For someone who uses her laptop like a third arm, this is very disturbing. What’s a girl to do? Research, read and then buy! Or at least that is my plan.
I get asked by agents ALL of the time, “I want/need a new laptop! What should I buy?” Well, I can’t tell you exactly what to buy, but I do have a few personal guidelines.
First of all, I would buy a PC. I know Apple is sexy. I know they are less prone to viruses. I know all the cool kids have them. I would still buy a PC. My MLS just (as in last week) became compatible with Firefox. We also use a ton of programs and applications that do not play well without Internet Explorer. And yes, I know, you can run a side-by-side set-up that will allow you to run any programs that will not work with Apple, but it doesn’t seem worth it to me. Bonus: Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system is said to be comparable to Apple’s Snow Leopard.
Next, I would research: go to http://shopper.cnet.com/ and see what is rated the best and why. Read the reviews. CNET will give you a CNET editor rating and an average user rating on most products. I also like to research and read the information on PC Magazine – http://www.pcmag.com/reviews. Finally, check out Biz Rate at: http://www.bizrate.com/computers-software/ for more information. Biz Rate’s tagline is “search compare conquer.” What’s not to love about that company line?!
Now, pay attention. Let’s talk parts and specs and such…
Most of the parts inside your shiny new laptop are the same parts in every other shiny new laptop out there, so don’t focus entirely on brand. Instead, consider getting the best processor for your money. The newest processors on the market from Intel are the i3, i5 and i7. The i5 and i7 also have something called Turbo Boost that is supposed to sense when more processing power is needed and give you that extra boost and, conversely, turn off when you don’t need a ton of processing juice. You should have at least 2 gigabytes of system memory, but go for 4GB if you can swing it. Windows Vista (Microsoft’s operating system prior to Windows 7) needed 1 gig just to run, if that gives you any perspective. Right now, Windows 7 is hot. Buy the laptop with Windows 7 and a 64 bit vs. 32 bit architecture. Trust me on this one. Hard drives are cheap, too. I wouldn’t buy anything less than 320 gigabytes but don’t over-buy here.
Finally, once you have done your homework, go ahead take the plunge! All of the sites I gave you for reviews will also show you where you can get the best price for your chosen laptop. So this week, I will dump my busted laptop and dive in with my eyes open, trusting my homework and not the yellow sale sticker and salesman at the store.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Willow Grove, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.