Choose the Right Size
Before you decide anything else, you need to figure out just how portable you need your laptop to be. Laptops are usually categorized by their display sizes:

  1. 11 to 12 inches
  2. 13 to 14 inches
  3. 15 inches
  4. 17 to 18 inches

Check That Keyboard and Touchpad
Good keyboard can help you complete your work that much faster, while an uncomfortable typing surface can slow you down and even cause injury.

  1. Keep an eye on key size and placement
  2. Look carefully at key shape and surface material
  3. Pay attention to the palm rest

Know Your Specs
What you need really depends on what you plan to do with your laptop.Here are the main components you should check

  1. CPU
  2. RAM
  3. Hard Drive
  4. Flash Cache
  5. Solid State Drives (SSDs)
  6. Display
  7. Touch Screen
  8. Graphics Chip
  9. DVD/Blu-ray Drives

Think about battery life
If you’re buying a 15-inch notebook, look for at least 4 hours of endurance. Those who plan to be fairly mobile should shop for notebooks that offer more than 5 hours of battery life, with 6-plus hours being ideal.

The Brand Matters
Your laptop is only as good as the company that stands behind it. Accurate and timely technical support is paramount, which is why LAPTOP evaluates every major brand in our annual Tech Support Showdown. This past year Sony came in first place, followed by Apple and Samsung.

Support is only part of what makes a notebook brand worth your money. You also have to consider how the manufacturer stacks up to the competition in terms of design, value and selection, review performance, and other criteria. In our 2013 Best and Worst Laptop Brands report, Apple placed first, followed by Lenovo and ASUS.