This is the 8th of our 9 part series on how to choose your perfect computing device. This time, we look at the small additional features in a computing device that you might find useful throughout your poly life!

The additional features impact your experience with the computer. Here are some of the additional features you may want in your notebook.

1) Backlit Keyboard: Often overlooked, but it is nice to have a backlit keyboard so it is easier to type in the dark, especially in lecture halls. Of course, it makes your notebook more special looking as not many notebooks have this, expecially school notebooks that tend to look muted and dull

A backlit keyboard
A backlit keyboard

2) Well spaced keyboard: You may want to try out the keyboard of a notebook before buying. A well designed keyboard has spaces that are well-spaced (usually only found in 14-15” notebooks/ ultrabooks) and does not flex or feel mushy when tying.  In other words, a good keyboard is something with tactile response and firm feedback. HP DV6 tends to have good firm key feedback. The Acer Aspire V5 notebook (touchscreen) tends to have a mushy feel when typing. But this aspect tends to be an individual preference, so be sure to try out the sample notebooks.

hppdv6201212 (1)

3) Number Keypad: If you are a gamer, you may want a number keypad for additional functions. This are usually found in 15” models only though. But you may want to look around.

4) Connectivity: A good laptop should have a mic input, earphone inputs, and at least 3 USB ports. An Ethernet port would be great in case you want to connect a wired network cable (you would need this when configuring your notebook in SPICE). Be sure to get a notebook with at least a HDMI or Analogue VGA port so you can present PowerPoints in polytechnic (something done very often in some courses).hppdv6201204

5) HD and Antiglare screen : People who like to watch movies on youtube or play games would want a full HD screen. Most laptops tend to come in 1366 x 768 resolution, which is good, but NOT ENOUGH FOR FULL HD EXPERIENCE. Full HD resolution is 1980 x  1080. You may inquire with the seller or check for yourself by going to the desktop, right click, then select screen resolution. You would then see the screen resolution of the notebook

Nothing beats a full HD screen to watch movies
Nothing beats a full HD screen to watch movies

In addition, having a anti glare screen is excellent because you dont get glaring sun or light rays  reflecting into your eyes and distracting you while typing and doing work

6) Good built in speakers: For people who like to watch videos with friends together during breaks, having good built in speakers would be best. I tend to recommend HP DV6 series for this because some models have as much 4 speakers plus a subwoofer for good quality laptop audio. Lenovo tends to do reasonably  well also with their JBL speakers in certain models. Computers powered with Altec Lansing Speakers, Dolby audio or beats audio tend to be reasonably good in sound.

Good speakers are great when watching video with friends
Good speakers are great when watching video with friends

7) Touchscreen Display: Having a touchscreen display adds to the cool factor, and is useful with Windows 8. You can play touch games such as angry birds or cut the rope. In addition, some touchscreen display also allow you to write on it. Check with the seller for more information


8) Design: few would want a dull looking notebook. Which is why I recommend Buying a nicely designed notebook with good finishing and look. Stickers can never bring across the same professionalism from a well finished notebook, so if you want to look good, this is an aspect to look at.

Some examples of well-designed notebooks are shown below


main_59) Webcam (Updated): Hold up! Don’t forget this aspect of the laptop! You’ll want this when skyping with your new found friends (or maybe even your significant other?) 😉

Try to find a webcam that is HD ready at least, and try out the webcam to see if the sensor is able to capture your face properly. Most laptops have good webcam cameras installed, BUT not all of them. Cheap laptops can sometimes come with really bad cameras. Personally, i prefer Full HD or better webcams. You’ll look better on screen 😉