Today's laptop computers offer more processing power, disk space and portable functionality than ever before. Many different styles and formats are available, from full-sized laptop computers to compact notebooks and tablet PCs. To determine which product is right for you, think through your requirements in terms of size and weight, storage space, media capabilities and networking.
Of course, price is always a factor, too. Generally speaking, PC-style laptops that rely on the Windows operating system or a similar alternative are more affordable than Mac-branded Apple laptops. However, many Mac users swear their machines are more reliable, longer-lasting and less prone to crashes and viruses than PCs.
If you're looking for a computer you're primarily going to use at home but still want to be able to bring with you occasionally, a full-sized machine may make more sense, depending on how you intend to use it. If you need something smaller and more compact, notebook PCs (also called "netbooks") offer an excellent alternative, but they do sacrifice a little in processing speed, memory and power. While you can pack more storage space into a smaller computer than ever before, media files are more data-rich and larger than ever before, too.
Your computer's processor is, perhaps, the single most important factor in how your new laptop will perform (and how long it will continue to perform like it did when it was new). If you can afford it, choosing a machine with a high-end processor is always a good idea. Remember that upgrades are more affordable than ever, too, so you can always add more memory later if you need it. While most laptops have built-in wireless Internet receivers nowadays, you should always check to ensure this technology is included with your unit.
If you're on a limited budget, there's good news for you: laptops have come down in price in recent years, in terms of what you get for the money you pay. If you only need a simple machine with Internet connectivity, word processing and simple file sharing capabilities, you can get a new or refurbished machine for only a few hundred dollars.