Guide to Buying a New Laptop For Your VO Work

September 24, 2009  |  Articles

For the past few month’s now I’ve been researching laptops because I don’t have one. The one I currently use belongs to the advertising company I work for and I don’t want to mix my private business with my day job. So I have decided to purchase a new Laptop.

It’s not an easy decision because the new laptop I buy will need to be powerful enough to do design work (I do freelance web design and corporate Identity work along with my blogging and voice over work) and I need a computer powerful enough to run some voice over plugins in real time.

That basically means that while I am recording I might want to run a noise gate or a noise cancellation filter which means the computer has to both record my voice as well as run it through a live plugin and not skip a beat. Its not that complicated and any computer made in the last two years with enough ram can handle this.

The design requirement means that I need allot of Ram and allot of processor power because all the new photo editing and layout software are very processor intensive.

During my research for the right laptop for me I’ve come across allot of configurations. The best (arguably) is the MacBook Pro. Unfortunately its made by Apple and I hate them because of how expensive they are and how retarded their operating system can be. The only advantages of the Mac OS system (to me) is that they give their hardware amazingly long battery times. (up to 7 or more hours) which is one of the features that I want in the laptop I am looking for.


So lets run down a list of the features I am looking for in a laptop:

1. Runs on the new DDR3 RAM architecture:

Currently the difference between the two is not significant but my logic on this is that why invest in an older system when new applications and hardware is available that will increasingly take advantage of the new architecture.

2. Has a 8 or 9 cell battery

This battery can be bought separately but why pay two times when I could just get a long life battery from the beginning. My goal here is to get from 5 to 7 hours of battery life per sitting.

3. Has a newer processor faster processor

I could wait until the new Core i7 processors from intel are more affordable but that means I’ll have to wait a year or so. So for now I’ll make do with the regular Core 2 Duo processors that are more readily available. Anything above 2.5 GHz speed

4. Has at least a 15″ screen

The crappy laptops I’ve been using for the last 4 years have mostly been 14″ or so… Frikking annoying and might lead me to have another LASIK operation just to rectify my eyesight again. grrr. obviously a 17″ is better but ultimately increasesthe weight and decreases the battery time.

5. Has some at least 320 gig HDD space

I could switch out the smaller HDD for a larger one later… but why bother… pay once and get it over with.

6. Has some kind of Card Reader

So I can download my family’s vacation pix

7. Has a webcam

So my wife can Video chat with her friend on MSN

8. Looks pretty

Mean… I meant looks mean and tough and techy with like lights and glowy things (actually the ones that I’ve seen so far that have all these features aren’t pretty at all)

9. Are not an Acer or Lenovo or BenQ

Because Acer sucks and lenovo’s keyboards are weird…. really weird. I don’t have to say anything about BenQ do I?

Operating System

Ideally I would like a laptop pre-installed with the New Microsoft Windows 7. Most of the reviews for the system have been positive and they say it isn’t heavier than Vista which was a huge let down and allot of people downgraded and stuck to Windows XP an ancient yet simple operating system that served people’s needs and was not over irritating.

Vista (which I have installed at home) isnt really that impressive. It looks nice … but not as nice as Mac OS. and its stable (it has crashed maybe 5 or 6 times since I installed it 2 or 3 years back. So compared to my xp track record that’s impressive. Again not as impressive as say an Linux Distro like Ubuntu or Fedora but nonethe less I’m talking about using sound recording applications that exist and don’t need terminal access to install (ok I’m exaggerating I know apt has a gui now).

If all else fails I’ll stick to the Vista installation that comes with the laptop I buy then get windows 7 installed on it whenever that comes out (and maybe I’ll wait a few weeks until some of the more major issues are plugged up).

Prefered Brands

This is very subjective. I originally wanted a Dell but unfortunately the customer care for Dell in Egypt is terrible so I have to consider that maybe a well rounded post purchase system is available in the country where I reside. Ultimately the price of the unit as well as the availability of a model with all the features that I am looking for is what will decided what brand I buy (except acer and lenovo and asus). Since the last time I went laptop hunting there does not exist a Dell laptop that has DDR3 as well as a 9 cell battery etc etc. and if there is one its WAY beyond my budget.

HP is another brand that provides excellent hardware… but for some reason I don’t like them… there is no rhyme or reason for this dislike… I think they make great printers.. in fact my laser jet is an HP. And they have a decent customer care center here… but ultimatly they are too expensive for me…

Fujitsu-Siemens this is a Japanese / German venture that gives you a german made laptop with japanese know how. I bought my dad a FS laptop a year or so back and so far he’s pretty happy with it. Solid build and nice screen.. but not very pretty (like I care).

Toshiba solid contender. Has massive experience in the business but can’t find a model that has all the features I am looking for

Sony as a Playstation 3 owner… I think sony makes great hardware. They make great software too but that doesn’t really come into play here. I’ve seen how trendy sony Viaos are and that is an added bonus. But the price for these is off the charts.


Right now for the laptop features I am looking for the only laptop that provides these features is the Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo X9510 which in cairo runs for about $1,450.

I will not pay that much… Heeeelll no. So I will look for alternative methods to purchase either the FS Esprimo or any models from the brands above that I can find that fit my requirements and are less than $1,200 in price (and are available where I live).

The End

I could go on for another 1000 words on different aspects of the warranty and customer care but I kind of got bored and the stupid internet connection keeps coming and going (which is unusual) so I’ll wrap things up by saying if you have purchased a nice laptop recently and would like to tell me and the rest of my readers about it… please leave a comment and share with us your experience.

Also if I said something that is factually incorrect (like information on any of the architectures or whatever… no my opinions) then go ahead and correct it please.