Check it twice: Buying the perfect laptop for that special someone

(ARA) - With the holidays fast approaching, it is time to start thinking of practical gift ideas in this tough economy. As the wireless revolution continues to dominate our personal and professional lives, a laptop or netbook is a hot gift for those close to you this holiday season. Netbooks were even included in Amazon's list of top holiday gifts last season and their popularity is only growing.

Laptops and netbooks are not just for college students anymore. They make the perfect gift for the busy person who is always on the go. But how do you know which laptop or netbook is best suited for your loved one? With so many options available, it is important to know the different features of each computer, as well as how the owner will be using it.

"There is a wide variety of laptops and netbooks available today. Purchasing a new laptop can be daunting and overwhelming, especially when it is a holiday gift. Creating a list of 'must haves' is a good way to start your search," says Mark Grace, vice president of consumer business of Absolute Software, a company specializing in computer theft recovery, data protection and IT asset management. "Security is one aspect that is too often overlooked and, with the size of laptops decreasing, that new laptop will be a prime target for thieves."

Absolute Software has developed a list of basic questions to help make choosing a laptop or netbook an easy part of your holiday shopping:

* How will the laptop be used? Laptops are becoming more than just the family computer and are being used for movies, photos, gaming and music. So before purchasing a laptop, figure out what it will be used for most to determine what features it should include.

* What is your budget? The economy is affecting each and every one of us so now, more than ever, it is necessary that you get the most bang for your buck. So before shopping, identify how much you want to spend and what features you can skimp on to stay within your budget.

* Is security software included? This is an important part of any laptop and will give you peace of mind during the hectic holidays and beyond. Software like Computrace LoJack for Laptops by Absolute Software is an easy and inexpensive way to help recover stolen laptops or netbooks, and protect the data stored on them.

* How durable is the laptop or netbook? To truly get your money's worth on the purchase of a new laptop or netbook, it needs to last. It is crucial that your new equipment can hold up in a variety of conditions. It should have a long battery life and an exterior tough enough to handle being carted about.

* How much will you be storing on this new device? When purchasing a laptop, think about how much information will be kept on the laptop versus an external hard drive. If the owner is planning to store larger items such as videos or digital photos, choose a laptop with a larger hard drive.

* What accessories will you need? An extra battery for longer use, a discreet laptop bag or an extra power cord could come in handy and will ensure your gift is ready to be used and enjoyed right out of the box.

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Courtesy of ARAcontent

Caption 1: When you shop for a new computer, find out if security software’s included, to give you peace of mind in case the computer is lost or stolen.

Caption 2: Laptops and netbooks make the perfect gift for the busy person who is always on the go.