Electronics & Home Appliances

Laptop buyers FAQ

In today’s technologically advanced world, on-the-go computing has become an essential part of everyday life. This is even more important in Sri Lanka, where many people rely on internet connectivity and reliable computers to make a living. Unfortunately, purchasing a laptop is rarely a straightforward issue, and there are many variables to consider. The machine that works well for one person won’t necessarily meet the needs of another. Therefore, it’s important to take all of the potential factors into account when selecting your laptop computer. Here is an informative guide that can help you get started.

Types of Laptops

There are several types of laptops to choose from. There is the standard variety that is rather thick and bulky, but this is mainly seen in older models. Notebook-type computers are becoming increasingly popular and make up a significant portion of what you see on the current market. These are typically under two inches thick and are much lighter than their older counterparts. Then there are the netbook computers, which are even thinner and are meant for less intensive use. Tablet computers, while not technically laptops, are also taking portable computing by storm. Their light weight, thin form factor and wide range of capabilities make them a favorable option for many people.

Processing Speed

Processing speed is the first thing you should consider when shopping for a laptop. Desktop computers can have a processor (CPU) that runs in excess of 4GHz and may feature as many as eight cores, which effectively multiplies the speed by the number of cores. However, laptop computers are significantly more limited in this area. The average laptop has a processing speed of about 2GHz and typically features a maximum of two cores (dual-core processor). That said, if you want to spend the money, high-end laptops can have processors that are on par with those found in desktop machines. In most cases, the processors used in laptops are the same as those used in smartphones. The higher your laptop’s processing speed and number of cores, the better it will be able to handle CPU-intensive tasks like programming, running games and handling multiple open applications.


A computer’s memory, or RAM, also factors into its speed and ability to handle intensive tasks. On average, most laptops today come with around 1GB of memory. However, tablet computers and some high-end laptops can feature anywhere between 8GB and 32GB of RAM. Although this is an important consideration, it shouldn’t necessarily make or break your decision. In many cases, it is possible to purchase and install additional memory. If RAM is important to you, what you should really pay attention to is the maximum amount that it can handle. Some max out at 2GB, while others may max out at 8GB or more. The more memory your laptop has, the more you will be able to do with it. This is especially important if you wish to run modern video games, watch movies or use photo editing software.

Hard Drive Capacity

If you want to be able to save lots of photos, music and movies on your laptop, then hard drive capacity will be an important factor for you. For those file types, the number of files you can store will depend on the resolution, song or movie length and sound quality. Per gigabyte (GB) of storage space, you can save approximately 1000 photos, 150 to 250 songs, or one hour of standard quality video. That’s not all you should consider, though. You also want to ensure that there is plenty of leftover space for programs, games, device drivers and operating system updates, which can vary widely in file size. Laptops can come with hard drives that range between 60GB up to one terabyte (1024 GB). Like memory, these can be upgraded as needed, but have no maximum supported capacity.

Size and Weight

Of course, you’ll also want to think about the size and weight of your laptop and how it fits into your usage needs and habits. The biggest factor here is screen size. A bigger screen provides better resolution and visibility, but it makes the machine larger and heavier. If you’re interested in using it for gaming and movies, this will be more of a benefit than a burden. However, if you plan to use it for lighter applications, the added bulk can be cumbersome during transportation, and it may even be difficult to keep on your lap.

Operating System

Operating system preferences may also impact your decision, but this is much more flexible since you can install your own if you dislike the one your computer came with. Most laptops come with Windows pre-installed, but some others may come with a Macintosh or Linux operating system.


For most buyers, price will be the factor that wins out in the end. There are a variety of cheap laptops that will perform most functions adequately, but if you’re willing to spend a little more, you may receive a dramatic increase in performance. Where you buy your laptop will also affect the price. Although many people prefer to have a new one, there are many places where you can find used laptops for sale, such as www.ikman.lk. Often times, the best low price laptop will be the one that you purchase from a second-hand source. Just be sure to ask the seller about any potential deal-breaking problems such as repeated overheating or hardware failures. All of these things may indicate that sensors and circuitry inside of the machine are not functioning properly.


A computer is useless if it’s not reliable, and this is something that can require a bit of research. Not all laptops are created equal, so it’s strongly recommended that you read online for laptop reviews. Some brands, particularly the budget ones, are not known for their dependability and quality. However, even in brands that are known for quality, reliability can vary significantly between different models. If reviews from other buyers show a high rate of issues with crashes, overheating, hardware failures, battery issues or screen problems with a particular brand or model, steer clear.

Battery Life

Finally, battery life is another factor to think about, and your decision should depend on how you plan to use your laptop. Will you mainly be using it while it’s plugged into an outlet? If so, then a long battery life isn’t as critical. Do you plan to mostly use your computer while you’re away from a main power source? In this case, you should choose the machine with the best available battery life. Furthermore, keep in mind that they way you use the laptop will affect how long the battery lasts. Tasks like playing music, games and movies will rapidly deplete the battery, requiring more frequent recharging. On the other hand, reading text files, writing emails and browsing the web don’t require as much power, so you’ll get more use out of each charge.

With so many options available to you, shopping for a good laptop can seem like a tedious chore. However, you can make the process a lot easier by taking the time to consider what you want out of your computer. Generally, the more performance you want out of it, the better the specifications will need to be, and the more you can expect to pay.

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