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Buying Tips - Finding the right fit

25-March-2010 - Over the last month we had to buy a new cell-phone, attempted to buy a new digicam, hunted for a new 7-seater van, and learned about air-conditioning units in preparation for the coming summer season… it was exhausting. Given all the choices available and all the new technology available we felt completely lost. Oh boy, we had to re-learn new terms related to each item like: Phone(querty vs classic), digicam (three-fourth vs compact, 3D vs Digital), new car (blue technology?), aircon(inverter type?) and list goes on… I have to add that I never imagined buying running shoes would be so complicated and imbued with technology including concepts of high-arch vs. low-arch, road sole vs. off-road sole, and more…

Just like cell phones, digcams, automobile, air-cons and even simple running shoes, choosing a laptop notebook is no a walk in the park these days because of all the technological developments like Intel’s Sandy-bridge, AMD’s Fusion, USB 3.0 vs E-Sata, 1080p vs 780p… From basic netbooks to multimedia notebooks to high-end gaming laptops, the consumer is spoilt with choices today and while the intention is to make the consumer have a wider choice, it often ends up just more confusing. We remember a statement we quoted sometime 2006 which remain applicable to this time:

"Choosing a laptop is not simple, with the multitude of choices of brand, model, size, features, and now even colors. A laptop is as personal as a computer can get. It’s not just a piece of hardware sitting on your home or office desk. A laptop tends to be part of your daily life. It’s like your wallet, watch or mobile phone. Your laptop should be characteristic of who you are–an extension of your personality..."

Our intention had always been to share our many years of experience as laptop users and make it easier for the consumer to make the right decision. In our search for information about our own purchase requirements, we found that the most helpful websites are those that state the Pros and Cons in black-and-white then describe the opinion in detail. If you are finding yourself in the same situation as we did, we hope to be the source of credible information for your laptop purchase… midlife crisis or not.<click here> LoL!

For the reason stated above, we are adopting the same pros-and-cons format form this day onwards. To help the consumer make a decision, (1)we will narrow down laptop models offered to those that we ourselves are willing to use. From there we will (2)post the pros and cons of each model then (3)explain why each point was stated. Finally we will (4)post screen shots and benchmarks to allow the consumer to compare the reviewed model to other models we are offering for sale or even against other models which we do not offer.

If there is any better way we can assist your purchase decision, please do not hesitate to send us an email at inquiry@cooltoyzph.com

Happy Hunting!

The most frequently Asked Question - What do you look for in a laptop?

As Reply we share to site visitors our own own 10point checklist to evaluate if we will offer a specific model.

2. Aesthetics - even if it becomes outdated it will remain beautiful.
3. GPU - determines performance on graphic intensive applications/Can not be upgraded
4. Chipset - controls the CPU
5. CPU - efficiency dependent on the Chipset
6. LCD Quality - can not be upgraded either. Some are more defined than others.
7. Ports - You can not add an HDMI when you need it
8. Battery life - can be upgraded at a cost.
9. RAM - easily upgradeable
10. HDD - easily upgradeable

For the details we have posted our opinion below

Quotable Post from extracool: "Always naman na may darating na mas better version...thats technology at work...pero the fact na ikaw ang nakagamit ng very frist release or version is an achievement already dahil ikaw nakakagamit na samantalang yung iba ay nangangarap pa lang...heehehe...

They may get the newer and better version, pero they had to wait a while naman.

The first thing you need to before deciding what to purchase is to put yourself in the right attitude ...the one that acknowledges that no matter what you BUY TODAY, there is going to be bigger / better / fancier model tomorrow, and for Less Money.

Laptop technology is changing so fast new innovations are coming on stream as you read this article... Laptop or notebook computer technology is advancing at a blistering speed - Ferrari Fast! So fast that by the time you purchase your new laptop, it's probably already obsolete or out of date. For Intel alone, their roadmap shows new processors/systems every 6-months! A sobering thought considering the hefty prices you have to pay for a high-end laptop.

That is just the way it is with Technology-based products and unless you have an endless supply of money staying on the leading - or bleeding - edge of computer technology can quickly drain your bank account.

The HEALTHIEST approach when shopping for a computer is to choose a model that will meet your needs NOW and for the next 18-Months Most laptops are offered with 12months warranty and being able to use it for 18months already means that you have recovered the laptop cost.

Remember A computer is not an investment - It is an Expense.
Buy it and don't look back!

To help you make the right choice we are offering the short article below regarding find the right fit. - 26Jan07

Taken from a post by Angelo Racoma - "Choosing a laptop is not simple, with the multitude of choices of brand, model, size, features, and now even colors. A laptop is as personal as a computer can get. It’s not just a piece of hardware sitting on your home or office desk. A laptop tends to be part of your daily life. It’s like your wallet, watch or mobile phone. Your laptop should be characteristic of who you are–an extension of your personality..." <click here>

If you determine what you really need; finding a laptop you will be happy with will be much easier.
It would be ideal to find a friend, officemate or a schoolmate who owns a laptop and
importantly have the same applications as you.

(Remember not everyone uses the laptop in the same way).
Also, it would be best to find a laptop user that has been with the laptop for
at least 6-months as the really good laptops show their value after 6-months.
Some models have low price and great specs but the plastics crack and fade easily...
in this scenario only time shows the true worth
Talk it over with the owner of the laptop and determine if what you
"expect" is what is the "reality"

Answering questions 1 to 5, make it easier to find the right fit for your needs.
How can you search the items in CoolTOYZ based on need?

a. Search by Budget / Price<click here>
b. Search by Processor Type – on search type the keywords related to the processor you want.
• Keywords - Core2, Duo, Centrino, Pentium, AMD, Turion
c. Search by Screen Size – on search type the keywords
• Keywords. 12”, 14”, 15",17" Wide, WXGA, WSXGA, WUXGA
d. Search by Video Card – on search type the video you desire ex. Nvidia or ATI
e. Search by Brand – on search type the brand you want ex. Dell
f. Search by Operating System – on the search type the OS needed. ex. Pro or XP

As fellow laptop users we think we are the only website that provides a short write up
about each model offered for sale. We hope the write up can explain the features
of each laptop as we have experienced it and how these can be of benefit to you.
In our opinion, without a write up where is the personal endorsement of the unit by the seller?
Is the buyer made fully aware of the features and advantages of the model?

If we do not post a review of the item we just become like any computer store and
not a place for Fellow enthusiasts. For us, part of the joy is when we get a new model to read
as many existing reviews as possible and quote findings that we agree with.
Sometimes, if no review is available we write our own review to share with the site visitors.

However the reality is nothing beat Hands on testing and experience and we invite you to visit us at the shop.

How to make the trip to the shop worthwhile:
1. Select Three(3) Laptops from the website that fits your needs and the budget
2. Visit the store
3. Sit Down and compare the laptops side-by-side. Nothing like actual comparison.
4. Check if the Display meets expectations
• check for any dead pixels
• Not all displays are made equally. Others are brighter, other our yellowish.
• Check the curves on the letters... A good display will be rounded and not jagged.

5. Check if Audio is Acceptable.
Not all speakers are equal, some barely produce audio

6. Check Build Quality or Construction:
Check for flex on the display... a bad sign.
• Check how the lid will close and gap between the keyboard and the display
• Check the exhaust port and the placement of the ports

7. FEEL:
how does the keyboard respond when you type?
• Is the trackpoint/touchpad comfortable?
• Is the palmrest sufficient to actually rest your palms while you type?

8. Check Battery Life
click on the battery icon at the taskbar (Lower corner right side)

*** these points you can not see with specs alone but have to experience first hand. ***

9. Determine bundled package
• does it come with a Bag, recovery cds, Is the OS pre-loaded and ready to use?

10. Determine Warranty: (Often it is written on the item card)
• Warranty is a relationship and not a statement.
• what is covered by warranty? Can you ask for software assistance?
• do you talk to the shop for assistance or do they throw you to the distributor?
• is it local warranty or international warranty?

11. Aesthetics:
In this guide we generally concentrated on “needs” and budget to narrow down the choice.
But there is on other aspect that maybe most important.
You must fall in love with the design.
With technology there will always be a better, faster and cheaper machine tomorrow.
A beautiful laptop will always be beautiful in your eyes and a pleasure to use.
What is beautiful is a personal preference…

12. Take a Deep Breath and decide.

Hope this guide helps.


Understanding some important computer terms will be of great assistance in selecting the best configuration of a laptop for your needs.
We present below a short description of important terms but it is best to "google" and do your own research.

TERMS DEFINED: an Informed Buyer is a SMART Buyer

LAPTOP - A one-piece computer whose physical characteristics include a lid that houses its display and which when closed, protects an integrated keyboard that's mounted atop the main chassis. That chassis incorporates the motherboard, auxiliary electronics, & a Hard Drive.

CACHE - A critical factor affecting speed. It is a special type of memory used by the processor to store RECENTLY used instructions.

L1 cache, is a piece of high-speed SRAM used to store information that a processor is soon likely to request again mostly associated with the OS

L2 cache is larger than the L1 cache, but is also made of higher speed SRAM. L2 stores larger amount of recently used information than L1 cache. If the processor CAN find the info. in the L1 and L2 cache, it saves itself a trip to the slower system memory(RAM), stepping up performance.
note: you can always increase RAM but never increase CACHE... something to ponder

CLOCK SPEED - Speed that the processor itself operates at. The clock speed is measured in Hertz.

BUS SPEED(FSB) - Speed at which the processor communicates with various components of the system / The rate at which data can flow.

Random Access Memory(RAM) - The Computer's Dynamic storage area where the OS, application, & data files are stored while the computer is in use and before the information is stored on the Hard Disk. The Higher the RAM the more information it can store making the system run faster because the Hard drive is the slowest component.

Understanding these major laptop terms will help you decide what laptop you will need. Basically, new technologies have made laptops smaller, faster and more powerful; but in the end these major terms are the basis of newer technologies...

Extended Glossary:

• Processor: The computer’s “brain.” Processors are gauged by how fast they can access and interpret information, and this speed is measured in either megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz).
- Megahertz (MHz): This is a measurement of processor speed. One gigahertz is equal to one million hertz.
- Gigahertz (GHz): This is a measurement of processor speed. One gigahertz is equal to one billion hertz.
- Bus: Refers to the path data travels on through a computer. Different computer models can have different bus speeds.

• Memory: Also referred to as RAM, or Random Access Memory. This is where the computer temporarily holds the data it needs to perform various functions. The more RAM a computer has, the less often it has to read information off of a disk.
• RAM (Random Access Memory): The amount of RAM in your computer determines how much data your computer can handle at once. If a computer only has a small amount of RAM, the processor must work harder to shuffle data around, which results in slower performance. There are two basic types of RAM:
- SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory): This is the traditional, less expensive type of RAM. It is still commonly found on low and mid-range models.
- DDR (Double Data Rate): This newer technology is faster than SDRAM, but also more expensive.

• Hard drive: Also called a hard disk. This is where the computer permanently stores information, including the operating system and other software. This size of a hard drive is usually expressed in gigabytes (GB).
- Megabyte (MB): This is a measurement of hard drive capacity. One megabyte is equal to about one million bytes.
- Gigabyte (GB): This is a measurement of hard drive capacity. One gigabyte is equal to about one billion bytes.

• LCD (Liquid Crystal Display): This is a type of monitor that has a flat screen as opposed to a more traditional curved glass tube screen. LCD monitors are thin and lightweight and have little to no glare.
• Resolution: The number of pixels per square inch displayed by a monitor. Most monitors support many different resolutions. The higher the resolution, the sharper the picture displayed.

• Optical Drive:
- CD-R (Compact Disk Recordable): This is a CD that can be recorded or “burned” only once.
- CD-ROM (Compact Disk Read Only Memory): A CD that stores information a computer can read but not alter. A CD can hold less information than a DVD but is also less expensive.
- CD-RW (Compact Disk Re-Writable): This is a CD that can be recorded and re-recorded many times.
- DVD-ROM (Digital Video Disk Read Only Memory): A DVD that stores information a computer can read but not alter. A DVD can hold more information than a CD.
- DVD-RW (Digital Video Disk Re-Writable): This is a DVD that can store computer information that can be recorded and re-recorded many times. A DVD can hold more information than a CD.

• Ethernet: A common method of connecting computers to a Local Area Network or LAN. Most computers today have ethernet capability.
• Modem (MOdulator/DEModulator): This is a device that allows a computer to connect to the Internet.

• USB (Universal Serial Bus): This is a common way for external components such as a keyboard, mouse and printer to connect to a computer. Unlike older SCSI technology, USB devices can be added to and removed without having to reboot the computer.

• Software: A general term for computer programs.