1. Be aware of the warranty
One of the most overlooked issues when buying a laptop is the warranty. In the excitement of the new toy you don't even care about this. However, when the laptop has a problem this can be a real headache.
Make sure that you get informed if the warranty for your equipment is good enough. Check with friends that had to use the customer services if the company is efficient. Finally, check if you need to buy an additional coverage package.
2. Choose a processor that is adequate but not too expensive
Processors are the engine of your laptop. If you get a fast one, you can run a lot of applications faster. That is why processor is such an important factor in choosing a laptop.
These days, however, speed is not the only indicator of capacity for a processor. Some processors are more efficient, even at lower speeds. Higher speeds also mean higher temperatures, which can be difficult to manage in a small laptop -- they can literally burn under the heat.
Many processor nowadays are dual, which means that they have a copy of itself available for similar work. This is great because different programs can use different processors, and therefore can run faster as a result. Dual cores are the ones with such capability, and quad-cores (with four processors) are coming to the market.
3. Find a laptop with enough room for growth
Laptops are different from desktop computers mainly in that it is difficult to expand its capacity. If your hard disk, for example, gets full after a few months, it is difficult to replace it with a bigger one. Especially if you find out that this is not allowed by the company.
You should always plan to buy a laptop that has features that allow it to grow without major headaches. For example, extra slots for memory extension, several ports for communication with external devices, replaceable drives, etc. This will certainly pay off when you need to improve your laptop in the future.
4. Do not be cheap with memory: you always need more
Memory is like money: you always need more. The general law of programming is that each program is made to use ALL memory available at any given time. And companies spend their time creating software that tries to eat even more memory, such as Windows Vista, Java programs, etc.
The good thing is that memory is cheap these days. So, make a good investment and buy enough memory to satisfy the hunger of your preferred applications.
5. Hark disk is essential
One feature that can make or kill your laptop is the hard disk. It is difficult to replace hard disks, and if your is too small it won't fit all the information you need.
Prefer hard disks with generous sizes, even if you have to pay a little more. It is good investment, because it will save you a lot of trouble when you try to install the new multi-Giga software or when you try to store the record you made of your children.