Many mobile service operators nowadays are offering free laptops with mobile broadband deals. Mobile broadband can be a great choice for people on the go, who want to have the internet wherever they are. Basically, you sign up for a data plan with a mobile service operator and you receive a 3G modem (which looks like a USB stick) and a SIM card. You put the SIM card into one end of the modem and plug the other end of the modem into your laptop's USB port. Your computer will then use the mobile provider's 3G network to connect to the internet, meaning that you get a connection wherever there's a mobile 3G signal. If you're shopping around for a deal though, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. There are things that you should look for in the mobile broadband deal itself, as well as things that you should look for in the computer that you're being offered. Here's a quick guide to what you should look for....

In the Mobile Broadband Plan...

Obviously, you should look at the price of the plan. But you also need to look at speed and data allowance. Mobile broadband speeds are lower than traditional broadband speeds, and won't be suitable for streaming or big downloads. However, look for a minimum speed of at least 3.5 Mbps, slower than that and you might as well use your smart phone. Mobile broadband plans are nearly always capped, limiting the amount of data that you can use per month. This is subjective, and depends on how much you want to use the internet, but really, anything below 1 GB isn't going to cut it. And that 1 GB is for casual surfing and sending a few emails, in other words, for really light internet users.

In the Free Laptop...

There is a great variety of laptops being offered by different companies, but you want one that's going to meet your needs. Free devices are not going to be top of the line computers, but that doesn't mean that they should be lacking in basic features. There are a few things to look out for.

Look at the processor, the higher the number of GHz listed, the faster your computer will be. Even better, if you can find it, is a laptop that has a dual core processor, meaning it has two processors rather than one and will be much faster.

Look at the hard drive. The more GB the hard drive has, the more stuff you'll be able to store on your device. 50 GB is the absolute minimum for a full laptop, and you really should have much more than that.

Look at RAM, the higher the number the better your computer will be at multi-tasking, meaning that it won't slow down when you've got multiple windows open.

Look at the operating system, you really should have Windows 7. If the device is a netbook then Windows XP is also acceptable.

Finally, look at the screen size. Again, this is subjective, but remember that if the laptop is a netbook it's liable to have a screen of only around ten inches, which is pretty small.