how to buy a laptop
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Laptop Buying Guide

Thinking about buying a laptop for yourself or someone in your family? It can be tough to find the laptop that has the functionality, style and value you're looking for. Fortunately, this simple buying guide can help you narrow down your decision based on the needs and personalities of the ones who'll be using it.

Laptops for the Gadget Guru:

To this person, a laptop's design is almost as important as its performance, so consider a sleek, brushed aluminum laptop that's light as a feather (less than 3 lbs.) and probably thinner than a magazine.

Laptops for the College Student:

The college student needs a small, lightweight laptop that can be carried to class every day in a backpack. And this laptop needs to offer exceptional battery life for in-class note-taking and long nights in the library. For this user, consider a "Netbook" with epic battery life.

Laptops for the Gamer:

For the gamer, the most important aspect in any laptop will be the graphics component. Avoid integrated graphics in favor of a dedicated graphics chip. Gamers typically don't care about battery life, portability and weight, so a big and heavy 17-inch notebook would probably work well.

Laptops for the Business User:

Is your recipient all work and no play? Go for a no-nonsense laptop with a comfortable keyboard, professional corporate appearance and a screen with an anti-reflective coating.

Laptops for the Browser:

This person lives almost entirely in an Internet browser for email, social networking and general browsing. For this person, a standard 15-inch notebook with its slightly larger screen and full-size keyboard will be more than adequate.

Laptops for the Chief Memory Officer:

The CMO in the family snaps the photos, runs the video camera and dutifully uploads the pics and generates DVD or Blu-ray discs for everyone to watch. For this individual, look for a laptop with a powerful quad-core CPU, a DVD or Blu-ray burner, a large 17-inch glossy screen and plenty of storage (think 750GB or more).

Before you hit the stores, learn more about laptop lingo.

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