When it comes to this question, I'd asked them whether they have a tight budget.
What is their preference?
Are they willing to pay more for performance boost?
And what will they plan to do with the laptop?
IBM ThinkPad with the design dated 10 years ago.
Nowadays you can get info about laptops easily, even off the net. The computer makers would attach the flyer in the newspaper to attract potential buyers. This method works well for them, as we in Malaysia, people doesn't trust internet purchasing that much, yet.
Some would prefer to walk into a showroom to look around though. Well, no matter how you decide to choose the laptop you want, the most important is it's worth all the money you pay, and it works well for a reasonable period of time.
There's a saying that a laptop that can "live" more than 3 years is consider good at it's durability, but at that time the laptop's specs may be obsolete already. It's true, and this does include desktop computers as well. For this reason, desktop computer has the upper hand as it's easy to customize and update the hardwares, as compared to laptops.
If you want to upgrade laptop, you've limited choices and you'd better get a new one because laptop hardwares are much expensive than the desktop counterparts. Minature things tend to be much costly compare to the bigger ones.... like a 2.5" HDD would cost more than a 3.5" one.
Other than that, you'll have to consider the specs of your laptop before you buy it.
For most gamers, the rule of thumb is get a better graphic card and a bigger RAM. Processor-wise, most of the models are capable to run almost anything.
The gamers' dream, Alienware laptop.
Home makers or casual users would run just fine with the standard specs, as they just need a decent computer to work out on some errands they'll need to run on the computer. Basically this category of laptop is the cheapest, some even cost less than MYR 2k.
Another frequently asked question would be the operating system. Many are still uncertain whether they should go for Windows Vista or remain in Windows XP.
I'd say go for Vista, as sooner or later XP eventually would be replaced by Vista. Of course, you may have a little hard time to adapt from XP to Vista, as some of the normal things/functions work differently in Vista than the XP.
I needed almost a month's time to tweak and customize the options and settings in Vista so that it'll suits my requirement well. For those who're not very used to computer stuffs, dont worry, this system wouldn't eat you up, or mess up your data, it's just that the logic behind the system is different, that's it.
So far for now, I'm happy with my Dell Inspiron 1420. Almost 10 months using it, haven't cause me any sort of problems yet, that's a good news. In fact, this machine does prove me wrong as I'm skeptical with Dell's laptop last time.
I'm a heavy user, so for it able to last until today, I'd say I'm happy running it.
I got it last year during the year end PC Fair. The deal is nice, as I'm having a budget of MYR 4k, but I got it for around MYR 2.9k, with the specs that I want.
My only dissatisfaction over this laptop would be the medicore sound quality and the design....
I'm an audiophile, initially this laptop's sound cant really satisfy my sense of hearing, until I installed SRS Audio Sandbox, which boost the sound quality a little better. Now I rely mostly on headphones to deliver better sound quality. I guess the sound card and the headphone does really matter affecting the sound quality.
Many people dislike Dell is because it looks cheap, and it's really cheap (I mean the cost) ! Dell laptop seems to be the most affordable ones for many people. As for other brands like Acer, HP, Compaq etc, their computer might be good but they can't really beat Dell's price.
Dell Studio 17 laptop, a better looking laptop Dell offered recently.
Talk about other brands, there're actually a few models which I'm looked into when I'm considering getting my laptop.
HP Pavilion series
I love the design, but I hate the pricetag for this one. It looks cool isn't it? With the sleek design... and I'm absolutely love it's built-in Altec Lansing speakers! Too bad the "cheapest" specs are below my expectation, and it exceeds my MYR 4k budget.
This is another similar HP Pavilion.
Sis CLY replaced her previous Toshiba laptop with this one after serving her for a solid 5 years.
Got the chance to play around with the laptop when she's back here, and I really like almost everything in it! We tried to compare the sound quality by playing the same song together, only to be defeated by her Altec Lansing speaker even when my SRS Sandbox thingy is turned on.
Anyway, just to let those who doesn't know this fact that, HP = Compaq. Both companies merged and they're now selling almost identical laptops. So no matter which brand you're choosing, you're choosing the same thing actually.
Japanese brands laptop like Toshiba, Fujitsu & NEC are good as well, but they're more expensive than the US counterparts.
Anyway, in a few years time I might be considering getting a Mac, if I got the money to get it.
Apple Mac laptops are getting more and more popular nowadays, especially with those professionals. MacBook is more for normal consumers but MacBook Pro is meant for those serious professionals and designers alike.
Although MacBook Pro is the best Mac around, but in terms of aesthetic I prefer MacBook to it though. Yes it is big, but it looks kinda dull compared to MacBook.
Besides, I don't think I'll need a high calibre laptop like the MacBook Pro as I'm not working on any sort of big projects and it's too pricey already. I may be wrong though, as things might changed in few years time.
I had the thought of owning laptops for different purposes. One may be for pure entertainment (listen music, gaming, chat), and another for more serious purposes for academic or work. Of course, it's not easy to maintain one, and now two?!? This can only be done if I got that much of money to spare.
Nowadays I'm reluctant to get money from parents, so I've to figure out ways to earn a few bucks in the meantime.
My last point of the day, do not ever get a Sony Vaio laptop! Any other brands would be good but Sony! It's a total rip-off as it's more expensive than other brands, and usability isn't that satisfactory either! It's not worth all the money to spend on it, besides, like many Sony products, it has the "time-bomb" that may cause the system breakdown for no apparent reason.
It's a trick telling you that it's time to get a newer Sony products! This usually happens after 1 or 2 years using it. Btw this "time-bomb" varies from products to products though.
I have a bad feeling on this particular model...