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Best Laptops, Computers 2011

Laptops, desktop computers.

HP Compaq 6730b

The 15.4-inch screen, diagonally measured, offers ample size for long periods of usage without undue eye fatigue. The anti-glare finish that is incorporated into the display makes it very usable under varying lighting conditions and, for the most part, eliminates the glare that is common to most laptop computers under bright lights. Thereís an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 processor at the heart of the computer running at 2.40 GHz clock speed with a 3MB L2 cache and 1066 MHz front side bus speed. While thatís likely adequate for most business users, there are four upgrades available up to an Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 running at 2.80 GHz, a 6 MB L2 cache and the same 1066 MHz front side bus speed.

Going hand in hand with the processor to define the computerís performance is the memory. The 6730b comes standard with 2 GB of DDR2 RAM which is upgradeable to 8 MB. A 320 GB hard drive is included in the package price. That can be increased to 500 GB for a reasonable price or reduced to 160 GB for those who prefer to economize a bit.

Connectivity is among the HP Compaq 6730bís strong points. The computer comes ready for wireless networking with built in Wi-Fi supporting the 802.11a/b/g and n standards. Additionally, wireless broadband can be included from AT & T, Sprint or Verizon Wireless. Use of this service requires activation of wireless broadband service from the selected carrier. Recognizing that wireless internet connections arenít always available, this computer is outfitted with a 56K dial-up modem for yet another means of staying in touch.

A fingerprint reader can be added to the device as can a smart card reader.

The HP Compaq 6730b comes equipped with a CD/DVD reader/burner including LightScribe disc labeling which allows you to burn labels onto the created discs. A second 250 GB hard drive can be substituted for the CD/DVD drive. Also optional is an integrated VGA webcam.

Connectivity to Bluetooth wireless devices is available with the HP Compaq 6730b but thereís a rather odd relationship between this option and the available warranty. If you want Bluetooth, you have to opt for the three year warranty. Without Bluetooth, only the one year warranty is available.

Up to about six hours of battery life can be expected from the 6-cell, 55WHr battery but that depends in great measure whatís being done with the computer. As always, using features like Bluetooth and wireless broadband will quickly reduce the time that you can operate without plugging into an AC outlet.

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional is the standard operating system for this computer. For those who prefer, it can be downgraded to Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Summary:
The HP Compaq 6730b is a genuine workhorse for mobile professionals. It strikes a nice balance between performance and size. The base computer is a strong performer but upgrades can add to the price quickly. HPís website does a nice job of instantly calculating the effect that various options have on the end price.






Top 10 laptop features to consider before buying

Here are 10 things to look for in your next laptop.

#1: Operating system
Most PCs come preloaded with Microsoftís consumer operating system. In 2011 it is Windows 7. When purchasing a laptop PC, be sure it comes preloaded with the Microsoft operating system that will meet all your computing requirements.

#2: CPU
Laptop models advertised at attractive price points often donít have potent CPUs. When selecting a portable computer, buy a model with a CPU tailored to the rigors of mobile computing. Fail to do so, and you could end up with a PC that takes seven to eight minutes to fully boot into Windows, provides minimal battery life, and canít reasonably power the applications you use. Intelís new Core 2 Duo CPUs perform exceptionally well. In addition to packing considerable processing power, these chips use less energy (resulting in improved battery life) and generate less heat than previous Pentium CPUs. Laptops featuring these chips (2.0 GHz and higher) should meet most usersí computing needs for the next three or four years.

#3: RAM
Many Windows laptops are marketed as having 1 GB of RAM. While 1 GB of RAM works well for Windows XP installations, it typically isnít enough to enable a Vista or Windows 7 system to work smoothly. Any users planning to run multiple applications simultaneously on a Windows 7 laptop should consider loading the notebook with 2 GB of RAM.

While most users donít think of themselves as power users, 2 GB of RAM should be the norm for individuals planning to maintain multiple Office application windows while surfing the Internet and checking e-mail. Anyone planning to edit digital photographs or play more advanced games should also upgrade to 2 GB of RAM.

#4: Video card
Video performance is notoriously shortchanged on laptop computers. This is especially true for $500 notebooks frequently featured on the front covers of electronics and office supply store circulars. Windows 7 operating systems, in particular, require potent video cards to maximize the systemís many new features (including its resource-demanding Aero interface, translucent menus, and Flip 3D technologies).

#5: Ports
Many users assume that any modern laptop computer has numerous USB ports, as well as VGA, HDMI, serial, and parallel ports. Those same users may learn a painful lesson; increasingly, in another effort at managing costs, laptop manufacturers are reducing the number of ports found on their PCs. Budget notebook computers often ship with only a pair of USB ports, with no serial, parallel, or HDMI ports and only a single VGA port (if a video port is even included). When purchasing a laptop, review the modelís technical specifications and make sure that the chassis includes the ports you require. While most PCs now include integrated wired NICs, they donít always have PC Card slots, so thatís an additional factor to consider before purchasing a new unit.

Look for the following ports on any new laptop you are considering. You will want to have a VGA output for connection to a TV or external monitor, a RJ-45 port for internet hookup, a RJ-11 port for dial-up, an earphone jack for headphones or external stereo speakers or amp, USB ports for external devices like thumb drives or mouse.



1. Stereo speakers left & right   8. Smart Card Reader
2. Stereo headphone/line out   9. Kensington Lock slot
3. Stereo microphone input     10. RJ-11/modem port
4. Display screen release latch 11. RJ-45/Ethernet port
5. Power connector AC           12. VGA/external monitor connector
6. (2) USB 2.0 ports               13. S-Video TV out
7. 1394a port.

#6: Screen size
Carefully review your monitor needs before ordering a new notebook. You may think that a 17-inch widescreen display is just what you need. Ultimately, that may prove to be too big. Think about how youíll be using the laptop. If the computer will truly be used most often on the road, placing the notebook in a protective case, lugging it onto a cramped airplane, removing it for baggage inspectors, carrying it into a meeting room, and transporting it wherever else you go is made exponentially more difficult for each inch of display size beyond 12 inches. Models with 12-inch displays are much easier to carry through doorways, into tight airline seats, and in coffee shops. Theyíre also much lighter. If your laptop will see only occasional travel, a larger model may be just what you need. But if not, consider purchasing a 12-inch model. You can always mate it to a 22-inch widescreen on your desk. Just be sure the laptop offers the correct ports to do so, as described in item #5.

#7: Integrated wireless
There should almost be a rule that any laptop sold today include an integrated 802.11g wireless (WiFi) adapter. Make sure that the laptop youíre considering includes the WiFi technology you use. For many, that will soon mean that the laptop includes integrated 802.11n compatibility. Read specifications closely to verify that the model youíre buying provides the wireless connectivity you require.

#8: Integrated Bluetooth
Integrated Bluetooth technology used to be a luxury in laptops. Most users associate Bluetooth now with the wireless hands-free headsets used with cellular telephones, but Bluetooth is also growing in importance when it comes to connecting handheld devices to laptops. Bluetooth technology enables synchronizing cell phone contacts, e-mail, calendars, and tasks lists wirelessly with a laptop. The same Bluetooth technology can also be used to add a wireless mouse to a notebook.

#9: Track pad
Most every laptop now comes equipped with a track pad mouse and corresponding click buttons. Some models include a simple track pad, while others include a track pad and an integrated pointer (usually nestled between the G and H keys). These so-called pencil-eraser pointers have long been popular, gracing everything from older Toshiba models to newer ThinkPads. The ďpencil-eraserĒ pointer is the favorite of many mobile users. Itís not important to choose a laptop computer that includes a sophisticated track pad and pencil-eraser pointer. Just make sure you select a notebook PC that features the pointing device you prefer. Some models permit scrolling pages when two fingers are used versus scrolling within the currently displayed page when a single finger is used (such as with Apple laptops). Other laptops feature track pads that contain two separate tracking areas, such as are found on Compaq Presarios, for scrolling entire pages versus the contents of those pages. Review the model youíre preparing to buy to confirm you find its track pad agreeable. Even if you plan to use an external mouse, there are times when youíll be without it and the track pad is all youíll have.

#10: Battery life
Battery life is a critical consideration but not a deal breaker. When purchasing a laptop, if the only battery option doesnít provide the lifespan you require, you can always buy a second battery. Many users, however, donít want the hassle that comes with carrying multiple batteries. In such cases, upgrade laptop orders to include 12-cell batteries (if available) instead of a standard six- or nine-cell battery. Bigger batteries almost always last longer, which is usually a key factor for mobile professionals traveling by air.

Summary
Laptops, increasingly, are decreasing in price. But a cheap laptop isnít necessarily a good laptop. Ensure that the laptop you buy meets your computing needs by carefully considering these 10 factors before making a purchase.

APPLE iPad





Apple iPad

The iPad is a tablet computer designed for audio and video media including books, photos, movies, music and web content. It runs applications from the Apple online store. It has a built-in rechargeable battery and can use Wi-Fi or 3G for internet data delivery. The display is 9.7 in. diagonal LED backlit 1024 X 768 pixels. The iPad 2 has two cameras. iPad 2 was announced in March 2011. Processor is the 1GHz Apple A5. Made in China and costs around $600 to $800. YouTube, calendar, contacts, email and other iPod and iPhone apps are available.

 




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