Perhaps no common computer product has as many variations, with as wide a performance range, as the modern laptop PC. From tiny netbooks to big and powerful desktop-replacement systems, the differences in pricing, features, and performance are staggering. Follow our comprehensive guide to make sure you get the laptop that's right for you.
Buying a new notebook can be tough because you have so many options to consider, and no shortage of reasons for purchasing one. Maybe you're about to head off to college and you need to take notes in class. Perhaps your current laptop labors when running today's applications, and it's time for an upgrade. Or maybe you're happy with your desktop PC, and you want a companion device for surfing the Web from your couch. Even if you know what you want to do, with so many laptop models available it can be hard to decide among them. The potential for confusion is enough to make you choose something that just looks cool or happens to be available on your warehouse store's shelf--but that approach can end in heartache.
In Video: How to Buy a Laptop
It's best to start by deciding which category of laptop you're most interested in. Laptops fall into four main categories: netbooks, ultraportables, all-purpose laptops, and desktop replacements. The laptop category that is right for you depends on the kind of user you are.
Once you have decided on a category of laptop, it's time to start considering the specs. To learn how to wade through all the product names and acronyms, check out "Laptop Buying Guide: Making Sense of the Specifications." And before you ask the store to run your credit card, read our advice in "Laptop Buying Guide: Shopping Tips."