Buyer's Guide - Laptops, Netbooks or Tablet?

If you are thinking about buying a new laptop computer it can be difficult to know where to start. This short guide will help you pick your way through the various options available and ensure you get the right device for you.

10 April 2012 Buyer's Guides  General Q&A

If you are thinking about buying a new laptop computer it can be difficult to know where to start. This short guide will help you pick your way through the various options available and ensure you get the right computer for you.

Just like buying a car there is a bewildering range of options to choose from and perhaps the first one is to decide what kind of portable computer you want. This is an important decision otherwise you may end up with a computer that doesn't match your actual needs.

Laptop, Netbook or Tablet?

So first off, laptop, netbook or tablet or more importantly what is the difference between them?

A netbook is really nothing more than a very basic laptop. It is physically smaller and so weighes less and has a longer battery life because it uses a low power processor - they are also very cheap - typically half the price of a laptop. Netbooks are great for quick documents, checking E-mail etc. and easy to carry around however they are slow and uncomfortable to use for long periods of time without resorting to an external keyboard, mouse and display.

Laptops though more expensive offer much greater performance and may include a built-in optical drive and plenty of connectivity options as well as a bigger screen.

If your work involves dealing with several documents and applications at once and being able to quickly move between different items without being slowed, then you should consider a good quality laptop. However if you simply need to be able to do a few things for short periods of time then a Netbook is a sound investment.

Mac or PC?

This is a question we are asked a lot and it is easy to understand why. Apple Macs are lovely computers that are well constructed, reliable and much less prone to the security issues that Windows PCs have to endure. However, an Apple Mac is still a computer and if you think that buying an Apple Mac will lead to a trouble free life, think again.

PCs tend to be cheaper (because there is competition in the market place), Apple Macs are more expensive because they are only made by Apple. This also makes repairs more difficult and because we don't deal with as many Mac issues, problems will naturally take longer to resolve.

Our advice is that if you are a hardened PC user, the transition to Mac will be a difficult and expensive step both in terms of time and money. There are things that can be done to ease the transition but for those who just use a computer for E-mail, web surfing and general documents a Mac will be a good choice.

If you do decide to buy an Apple Mac we strongly recommend you buy the Care Packs that provide hardware support after the first year as we have noted, Apple Macs can sometimes be difficult and expensive to repair.

Microsoft Office?

One of the most common misconceptions is that your new computer will come with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel etc.). It may well come with a trial version but at some point the trial will come to an end and you will find either Office will no longer works or will it only work with a very limited range of features.

We also find many people buy the wrong version of Office when they buy their computer from a High Street or online store. Often they are sold the Home & Student edition of Office. Not only does this not include the E-mail software we recommend for Chambers use (Microsoft Outlook) but it is also not licensed for commercial use. This means if you use that version of Office for your work, you are breaking the terms of use.

So the advice is, before you buy your new PC, make sure you get the correct version of Microsoft Office.

How we can help?

Having decided what you need, the next matter is where to buy it from. We can provide very competitive pricing on almost all computer systems and accessories as we can buy directly from the distributors. We can also set the computer up for you, transfer everything across and make sure you are up and running within a few minutes.

Corrections or suggestions

Office for Mac

Microsoft Office for Mac Home & Business 2011

Office for PC

Microsoft Office Home & Business 2013

Office Subscription

Microsoft Office 365