Laptop Buying Guide

This is intended as a guide to help you to choose a more suitable Laptop computer. In our experience there are always generally the same questions you should consider trying to answer, our staff in store will always help you to answer these questions but its always better to go prepared and armed with knowledge to make a better decision.

The common questions are:

  • What is this laptop for? - Is it for business or home use? 
  • Will my children be using it? 
  • Redundancy - How long will do I expect this laptop to last based on my needs? 
  • Will it be used for gaming? 
  • How mobile do I need it to be? 
  • Will I use it to surf the net?  


With the answers from these questions our specially trained staff can help you decide on the best laptop to suit your needs. We have taken the time to offer some information to help you to answer these questions.  

What is this laptop for? - Is it for business or home use?

Depending on the use you have in mid for this laptop will determine the processor and RAM you should choose. A Dual Core processor would allow you to run multiple programs simultaneously without slowing down. Simple web browsing or writing a word document are not very taxing on a machine but playing music in the background while editing a photo can be so this is where the Dual Core allows more to be done at once.

Tip: If this is for business use you may want to consider that the different license options for Microsoft office for business than for Home use. There are also finance options available for business that allow you to write some of the monthly cost of the laptop off against your tax payments at the end of the year.

Will my children be using it?

The Internet can be a source of information for kids. They can use it for school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games. With most schools nowadays been technology driven, computers will be a major part of your child’s life. But this also poses some hazards as you can imagine. We would strongly advise purchasing a parental suite with every laptop. You can set parental controls as well as being reassured that you are less likely to become a victim of fraud or viruses. Multiple user accounts with different levels of access can also be set up to control what your children can and cannot do to protect your valuable files. Our staff in store can advise you on how to do this before you take your new laptop home.

How long will do I expect this laptop to last?

  A lot of people who are starting to learn about computers will go for a less expensive laptop until they are more comfortable in using it. These machines are ideal for sending and receiving emails, writing word documents, and internet browsing but take into account what hobbies and interests you have in your normal life and how these usually migrate onto a laptop therefore expanding the tasks you will use it for. The one you choose now for internet browsing might not be fast enough for your newly discovered love and ability with photo editing software.

Tip: Make a list of your interests or even potentially what you hope to be able to do and choose a laptop based around this.

Will it be used for gaming?

Some games are quite easy for a laptop to manage. Basic platform games that require little more then a flash player and a small amount of Ram e.g. Solitaire or Farmville can be played on pretty much any laptop. Popular games such as The Sims, Football Manager, Call of Duty all require a graphics card and high amounts of Ram. This will generally be found on middle to higher level laptops.

Tip: Intel graphics are a lower level graphics option that does not have the ability to create complex 3D shapes or display shadows and high contrast images. ATI or NVIDIA are the names you should look out for if a graphics card is required.

When installing a game the disc will check your computer for compatibility and cancel the installation if it is not able to handle the graphics requirements for that particular software. If this is a potential use for your new laptop ask our sales advisor when you are in the store to point out the laptops with Graphics cards.

How mobile do I need it to be?

Here is where your battery and dimensions come into play. If you have your eye on an 18.5 inch HD Laptop that you want for games and movies then this does not really come into contention. On the other hand a nice 18.5” LED screen may look beautiful when sitting on a table displaying the latest movies but it’s not very practical and could be quite heavy to carry around if you need a machine that will be carried to college or work every day. There are a range of Netbooks and Ultra Portable Notebooks available also to suit you if heavy processing or graphics options are not required.

For mobility battery will be crucial. A lot of the newer middle to higher end models will come with a 6 cell battery which offers more power. If you want something with maybe a 4 or 5 hour battery then ask our trained staff for details.

Tip: Take into account when quoted a battery life that like your mobile phone the more functions you have running the less time your battery will last.

Another thing to consider is a protective bag or sleeve. Harvey Norman stock a huge range of these. A good solid bag can save your laptop from liquid damage, impact damage and general wear and tear such as scratches etc.

Will I use it to surf the net?

For most people the answer to this is yes! The advantages access to the world wide web can bring are near limitless. You can do research, download music and movies, share information with friends, check your bank balance, even have a look at a satellite view of your house. These things are very impressive but there is a flipside. We have all heard of internet fraud and hackers etc and there is only really one way to stop this and that is to protect your laptop with an internet security program.

Martin Wilmanski

Harvey Norman
Eastgate Business Park,
Little Island, Cork


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