What To Look For When Buying a Laptop – Essential Tips9 mins read

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There have been a lot of laptop products out there, but knowing which one to buy to suit your desire and work ethic is important too. It is no doubt that the technological world is advancing every single day. Asking a question of which laptop to buy isn’t a clear question with an obvious answer.

When people ask me which laptop they should buy, I simply tell them, it’s based on the purposes of which you want to use it for.

But there are certain criteria’s you should look out for when deciding on which laptop to buy. Here are some guidelines to help you make a good choice.

Size

When it comes to choosing a laptop, size is important.

Size isn’t RAM or ROM that could be upgraded. Once you make a mistake of buying the wrong size, you might get frustrated overtime using the laptop. Size is the construction as to the length, width and height of the laptop.

Laptops sizes tend to start at 11.6-inches and go all the way up to 17.3 inches. Most brands like HP, Dell, ASUS, Acer and Lenovo, tend to offer three display sizes – 13.3-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inches. However, some vendors do sell laptops that fall outside these sizes including 11.6-inches, 12.5-inches and 14-inches.

If portability is a priority to you, you’ll want to go for a smaller sized Windows laptop. They tend to be thinner and lighter than their larger counterparts. Look for laptops that have a screen that is either 12.5-inches or 13.3-inches in size, and a weight between 1kg and 1.5kgs.

However, keep in mind that most smaller size 13 inch machines does not come with a robust selection of ports. If the kind of work you intend using your laptop for requires a larger display, you’ll probably need to look for a larger sized laptop.

More so, there are classes of laptop you could choose from.

Convertibles (also known as 2-in-1 laptops or 2-in-1 PCs) expand on this by adding the ability to fold away or remove the keyboard entirely and use your new laptop in tablet mode.

Ultrabooks tend to favor a slim and lightweight form-factor over high-end performance.

By contrast, Notebooks tend to offer a good mix of power and portability. If you’re looking at notebooks, a good place to start is the Dell XPS 13 and Asus VivoBook S15

The most important thing to look out for here is, to think about what you want the laptop to do. Size would not matter as far as needs is important. Some users need something light and portable like me, while other users need discrete graphics for things like video editing or running high end games.

Once you come up with an idea as to what size is suitable for you, searching for a laptop becomes much easier.


CPU

Intel’s Core-based CPUs are critacal when buying a new laptop. Think of Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 and core i9.

An Intel Core Processor offer the best performance when it comes to multitasking and multimedia tasks. Core i7s are better than Core i5s, which are in turn better than Core i3’s. Core i7 really does not have seven cores neither do Core i3 have three cores. The numbers are simply an indication of their relative processing powers.

The more cores there are, the more tasks that can be performed at the same time.

Core i3 – great single core performance, decent multitasking, excellent for budget gaming.

Core i5 – About the same single core performance as i3, much better at multitasking, video rendering, and high end gaming with the best video cards available

Core i7 – most expensive for extreme multitasking, future proof gaming

Also, note that with a Core i7-based system, heat coming through the base of the laptop can become a course for concern, especially if you plan to actually use the laptop on your lap for extended periods of time

Some advanced laptops have included Intel’s core i9 processors. These laptops run more powerfully than laptops running on a core i5 or i7 processors. Laptops running on core i9 processors can compete with desktops in terms of performance but they come with a much higher cost than the i3, i5 and i7 core processors.


Screen Quality

Since you’ll be working with your PC for extended or short period, getting a comfortable screen to work with would be vital.

Just before we get into screen resolutions, you have to choose whether you want a laptop that has a touchscreen or not. Unlike the previous decades, touchscreen has become common in our society. Although these can make tasks become somewhat easier but it can have a glossy effect on the display.

Be sure to look at the resolution of any laptop you’re thinking of buying. A 1920×1080-pixel resolution (Full HD) should be considered if you want plenty of space to line up windows and keep things in view. Modern laptops now offer 4K resolutions. However, these high-end display panels are generally costly and are mostly used for content creation by professionals.

Viewing angles are extremely important. A laptop screen that has IPS (in-plane switching) technology offers the widest viewing angles and the best user comfort. Off course, you are not always going to be using your laptop in its natural position, so a laptop with an IPS display is usually preferred over the opposite.

Also, If you are a photographer or videographer, you will want a laptop that offers better color accuracy and support wider color gamut and HDR standards over those that don’t.

Finally, if you love games, then you should take the time to check the refresh rate on the display of a desired laptop, as it enables a smother and more responsive experience when playing.


 

Keyboard Quality

This is the one feature people overlook when buying. They feel it’s not of necessity. You wouldn’t want to have a laptop that is not comfortable to your fingers when typing. Would you?

You wouldn’t also want to have a keyboard that has complicated keys, making user experience poor.  

You want a keyboard that has beautifully set out layouts, properly laid out function and arrow keys, with adequate spaces in-between the keys, giving you a romantic feeling when touched.

Make sure the keyboard is also back lit, so that you can type with an easier view on the keys in dimly lit environments.


RAM

In the early days of technology, you rarely needed more than 4GB of RAM or more to get the best out of your system.

These days, you’ll probably want to think about 8GB as a minimum. Meanwhile, gamers should look at things upwards, all the way to 32GB if they want the best experience. But 16GB can be considered in terms of cost for gamers.

More RAM allows for more applications to be run at the same time, and for more data to be quickly accessible by the system at any one time, which comes in handy for tasks such as editing photos or video content.


Storage Sense

Buying a laptop without considering the storage capacity could be a dangerous mistake you wouldn’t want to make. When I bought my system, it took me 2 months to realize the low storage capacity. I hated it irrespective of the appealing appearance, and beautiful design. It could be frustrating to delete some files in order to receive other files.

If you stumbled into buying an external hard drive, it could be bulky and moving it would sometimes seem impossible because of its noticeable heat and noise. But you need to carry it because you have backed up files in it. However, if you get the right storage, enjoying your laptop wouldn’t be an option.

Most OEMs have enfolded the use of Solid State Drive (SSD) as their standard because it offers more speed than a hard drive, runs silently, and can be installed in a form factor that doesn’t add too much to the weight and bulk of a laptop.

Stick to an SSD for your new laptop and you’ll love the speed with which it can load programs, access your data, and also how quickly it can boot up your system.

The only problem is that SSDs don’t offer as much capacity a the Hard Drive. This means that SSD storage is often more expensive than traditional hard drives. You’ll be stuck with a drive that’s either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB in size, but costs a lot more than one with a 1TB or 2TB hard drive would.

The newest, fastest laptops also have NVMe solid-state drives which are much faster than traditional SSDs but also more expensive.


Battery Life

Unlike before where laptops had battery problems in terms of longevity, modern manufacturers understands the importance of battery life. No one wants to experience power outage after using his laptop for 2 hours.

However, there are many variables that can affect battery life. There is the screen brightness, the screen resolution, the number of applications you have running in the background plus whether or not you actively remain connected to Wi Fi networks or Bluetooth devices.

The operating system a laptop runs on can also play a major role in determining battery life. This is the reason why ultrabooks and convertibles running on Chrome OS tend to offer superior battery life than those running on Windows 10.

If you run programs that need lots of processing, play graphics-intensive games, stream lots of online video, or if you transfer lots of files over a wireless network, then your battery will drain a lot sooner than what the vendor has quoted.

The best way here is to look at the rating of the battery in Watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh). The larger these figures are, the longer the battery can last. For a 13.3in Ultrabook, for example, a battery with a rating from 44Wh to 50Wh will give you the best results.


Fingerprint Reader and TPM

Fingerprint readers are great when logging into mobile devices and the latest Windows 10 Operating System makes further use of them with its Windows Hello system.

To ensure high security over your system, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) have embraced the use of fingerprint to keep your system safe as the only means of accessing it is by using your finger. This also allows you to know who wants to access your system

People can guess your password, but few can fake a fingerprint. In order to keep the contents of your laptop secure, a portable PC with a fingerprint reader is usually the best way forward.


Budget

This term however wouldn’t be ignored. Of course, you need to balance these features with your budget and your needs, and you might have to make some drastic decisions. Rarely does a laptop come along, that ticks all the boxes, especially when it comes to price.

Thank you for reading and please don’t forget to let us know in the comments below, if you consider other aspects of a laptop to be more important in terms of a better gaming performance or a rugged build, maybe you want a laptop that can turn into a tablet etcetera, and especially let us know if you’ve already found the perfect laptop for your needs.

5 thoughts on “What To Look For When Buying a Laptop – Essential Tips<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">9</span> mins read</span>”

  1. Great Info! One thing to factor in when purchasing a laptop is what you are using it for. If you’re just browsing the internet you won’t need as much power as someone that is a gamer or graphic designer. I have an Acer with an i7 processor with 12g RAM, and a 500GB SSD. I’m using it for music/video production and some graphic design. The SSD definitely helps with boot and load time. The extra RAM helps everything run smooth as well.

  2. This is a really essential article for all the university or college students. I know it can be really difficult to choose a laptop among all those brand when buying for studies. I know this because I’m having the problem. Good thing that I found this article. It has a great criteria for choosing the right laptop for me. 

    The explanations were easy to understand and read. Thank you so much for sharing this article.

  3. Thanks for the comprehensive article on what to look for when buying a laptop. I’ve previously just gone into a store without doing much research, and chosen a laptop that looks good and is a good price. There’s clearly a lot more that I should be considering, and I will be referring to your article when I’m due for an upgrade. 

    I think storage is something that I need to really consider as I want to be able to access photos easily. 

    • Your welcome Fiona. Storage is far one of the most important things to consider when choosing. Subscribe to our newsletter and be notified when we publish related article

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