Help Me, LAPTOP: Should I Buy Now or Wait for Something Better?
A reader named German has written in, asking the age-old question of whether he should buy a new notebook now or wait for new technologies to emerge. This is a question we hear a lot in different forms, because with technology there’s always something new just around the corner.
I’m looking for a new laptop, and I don’t know if I should buy right now or a wait until the next year. I know that in the following months or next year Intel will release new a improved CPU and finally launch the USB 3.
What do you think?, because I want something that lasts 4 or 5 years with good speed, Blu-ray and other cool features.
The right time to buy a new notebook is whenever you need one. We’ve recently published an article on how to tell when it’s time to replace your old notebook with a new one.
You mentioned two technologies you’re looking forward to: USB 3.0 and newer Intel CPUs. You can actually get a notebook with USB 3.0 today, though there aren’t many, because Intel doesn’t yet build USB 3.0 support into its chipsets. However, if you buy a notebook with an ExpressCard/34 slot, you can get a USB 3.0 adapter that will allow you to connect USB 3.0 devices. The main notebooks today that we’ve seen with USB 3.0 built-in are from ASUS, the ASUS N61Jv-X2 for example. However, we wouldn’t choose a system on that basis nor would we wait around to see what faster CPUs are on the horizon. The Core i3 / i5 / i7 CPUs of today are really, really fast.
So it sounds like you want a high-performance media system with Blu-ray. On that basis, we recommend you get something with a large, high-res screen and with great speakers too. The Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q890 fits the bill perfectly, though it is rather heavy and expensive. We also love the 17-inch ASUS G73Jh, which is available with Blu-ray. Both of those notebooks have quad core Core i7 CPUs and 1920 x 1080 resolution screens, so they are going to remain near the top of the performance chain for a while.
However, if you want something that costs less than $1,000, go for the Samsung R780; it doesn’t have Blu-ray and it’s screen is only 1600 x 900 (not 1920 x 1080 like the others), but it offers excellent media playback at a reasonable price.
The bottom line is that you could wait forever to buy, because there’s always a better notebook coming and there’s no doubt that whatever you buy today — even a top of the line $2,000 system — will start looking outdated after 12 months when you compare it to the new notebooks of that time. Trying to chase the future is a losing proposition. Meet your needs today and let the future take care of itself.