Most computer users today recognize there is value to portable computing. Notebook sales have far exceeded desktop computers for some time now. Partly because the price has come way down on the carry-your-computer-with-you models and partly because most notebooks can match or at least come close to the power of their big brothers. The question is what kind should you buy if you are a “typical” church or school worker? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Stick with name brands like Dell, Lenovo, HP and Apple. While all the others might be less expensive, there is a reason for that. If you can, try and look for “business class” machines as they come with a longer warranty and support/parts are easier to get.
2. If you can afford it, get a Solid State Drive (SSD). These make all the difference in the world for boot up time and the speed at which an application opens. Worth every penny in my opinion in productivity gains. They are smaller in size, but that leads me to my next tip…
3. Don’t supersize your hard drive. While you can get big disks these days, storage for mobile users is really in the cloud. This affords you peace of mind that your files are not tempting fate by being under your arm or in your bag waiting for a disaster (theft, drop, etc.). Larger disks aren’t necessary and by going with a Solid State Drive you will get better battery life.
4. Smaller is better. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need a 17 inch monitor. It adds weight and cost. Purchase an LCD monitor for your office/desk and hook up the laptop to it for those times. Smaller notebooks travel well. I have a 17 inch and a 13 inch, and my preferred traveling companion is, of course, the smaller. I can actually open it on a plane as well.
5. Make sure it has a built in camera. Even though you don’t think you need it now (for Video Conferencing, etc), in the future that will be the norm for communications.
6. Don’t buy built in Cellular Wifi cards like Verizon and ATT offer. Either get a USB version or consider something like Verizon’s MiFI. This allows you to connect multiple devices to the internet at once and through the synod’s relationship with Verizon it can cost as little at $30/month. Worth it if you are on the road a lot and need access to those cloud-based documents we talked about in #3 above.
Those are the biggies, but there are many other considerations of course. Notebooks are great productivity tools, so make a selection you can live with and then get to work … for the Lord.