What to Consider When Buying a Laptop: The Most Important Features
Are you planning to buy a new laptop?
Laptops are versatile enough to perform demanding applications. Not only that, they are compact to carry anywhere, whether at the classroom, home, or on the road.
But most people wonder what to consider when buying a laptop. Given that there are many brands, each with different pricing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Laptops vary significantly in specifications. What’s more, your needs may be different from another person’s.
For some, a high-performing CPU is more critical. Others, the screen quality is a priority. Here are the most important features you should consider when buying a laptop.
Nowadays, hard drives are not preferred for light and thin laptops. They are bulky, slow, and produce noise and heat. Most people prefer to buy a computer with a solid-state drive (SSD), as it offers more speed than a hard drive.
SSD runs silently and doesn’t add weight to the bulk of the laptop. Choose an SSD when you buy a laptop to enjoy the speed of loading programs. It also boots up your system quickly to access your data.
Identify now an SSD drive that fits your budget. It should be at least 256 gigabytes. Storing all your data in the cloud may leave you with space. But it’s good to have extra space in case you need it.
Many laptops combine a smaller SSD with a large hard drive to increase storage space. This allows users to have adequate space for their data. They also experience speed benefits.
2. Operating System
Before you start looking at laptops, you need to identify the best operating system OS for you. Knowing the software, you want to run will help you choose the right operating system. Windows is an ideal choice for Microsoft apps like MS office Outlook or Access.
MacOS is beginner-friendly compared to Windows. But it’s not a good choice if you don’t have an iPad or iPhone.
It is coupled with Apple’s hardware. The options available are focused on MacBooks.
Chrome OS is a good choice if you use the web browser to do laptop tasks. Chrome laptops, also referred to as Chromebooks, are the least powerful and the cheapest. So it’s worth considering if you have a tight budget.
Linux is recommended if you don’t use MS office. It can be installed on any laptop hardware. Make your selection wisely and identify the best operating system for your needs.
Before checking laptop specs or pricing, it’s good to know how portable you want the laptop to be. They come in varying display sizes. The lightest and thinnest screen systems measure 11 to 12 inches and weigh between 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.
13 to 14-inch screen laptops offer the best usability and possibility, as long as they weigh under 4 pounds. The most popular screen size is 15 to 16 inches and weighs 4 to 5.5 pounds. This size is ideal, as it has a large screen if you don’t carry your notebook often.
It’s rare to get 16-inch display laptops, but Apple offers a 16-inch MacBook Pro. Also, if the computer will stay on your desk every day, choose a 17 to 18-inch screen system. It will provide you with the processing power needed to perform work-level productivity.
Depending on how you plan to use the laptop, make sure you choose the correct size suitable for your task. Keep in mind that you cannot upgrade size later like RAM or ROM. So, it would help if you chose wisely.
4. Screen Quality
There are high chances that you will be staring at your laptop screen for many hours every day. It’s especially so if you earn a living working online. It means one of the essential laptop features is screen quality.
Opt for a laptop screen that you can adjust the brightness to suit your eyes. Glossier screens reflect the surrounding light.
Generally, touchscreen laptops tend to have glossier screens. Take time to compare the pros and cons before making your choice.
Screen resolution is of great importance regardless of how you plan to use the laptop. A full HD screen of 1920×1080 is recommended. It provides enough room to view your windows and offers excellent image quality.
Check out different laptop screens in person before making your selection. Looking at tech specs online alone will not give you the actual user experience.
5. Battery Life
The best laptop is one that has at least 7 to 8 hours of battery life. To know the expected battery life check the laptop buying guide. Manufacturer-provided battery life is not like the real-life experience of using the laptop. Read online reviews to confirm that the manufacturer has provided the correct information.
Remember, many variables also determine the battery life. They include screen resolution, screen brightness, and the number of applications. Also, if you’re connected to Bluetooth devices or a Wi-Fi network, it can affect battery life.
On top of that, the operating system plays a significant role in battery life. Convertibles running on Chrome OS have longer battery life. This is in comparison to those running on Windows 10.
If you run many programs or transfer a lot of files, your battery will not last as long as the vendor has quoted. Look at the watts-hours or milliamp-hours. The higher the figures, the more the battery will last.
Consider laptops that also support fast charging. It will take a short time for the computer to charge, increasing efficiency and productivity.
A laptop with impressive specs doesn’t mean a lot of it has bad ergonomics. Make sure you buy a computer with a keyboard that provides solid tactile feedback.
The distance from which the key goes down after pressing down should be 1 to 2mm. There should be adequate space between the keys.
If you opt for a window laptop, ensure it comes with precision Touchpad drivers. The touchpad needs to be accurate to avoid a jumpy cursor. It needs to respond to multitouch gestures consistently, like pinch-to-zoom.
A laptop with a pointing stick, also known as a nub between G and H keys, is ideal for business. It will be easy to navigate the computer with your fingers on the keyboard’s home row. For a great overall user experience, identify a laptop with a comfortable keyboard.
The keys should offer sharp responsiveness as you let them go. Ensure that the keyboard is backlit. It will be easy to see when typing in an environment with dim light.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is necessary for computer performance. It’s vital if you multitask on your laptop often. For example, if you write a word document, edit photos, and browse the web all at the same time.
The more RAM a laptop has, the faster it will be to access data, and applications will also run smoothly. The minimum RAM is 4GB.
For high-power software, consider 8GB RAM or more. It’s impossible to open more browser tabs or complete compiling of videos if you’re out of RAM.
Before you purchase a laptop, find out if the RAM is soldered to the motherboard. If that’s the case, you cannot upgrade it by yourself. If you are compiling in programming software, then 16GB RAM should be the minimum.
If you can afford it, opt for 32GB RAM to avoid running out of space. Choose RAM with DDR4. DDR refers to a double data rate.
Most computers nowadays have DDR4 RAM, as it is speedy. Check this before you decide where to buy a laptop.
8. Check for Ports
Hard drive, RAM, and CPU impact the performance of your laptop. But the types and amounts of ports are also important. Ports help in plugging USB devices and recharging your laptop.
Choose a computer with at least one USB-A, one USB-C under the headset/microphone jack. The best laptops can charge through USB-C. It is easy to use a portable charger when you’re not near a power outlet.
USB-C chargers are cheaper and easy to replace. You can use them to charge an Android phone and iPad. To download images captured on your camera, ensure the laptop has a Micro SD card reader.
9. Processing Power
Intel’s primary processors are core i5 core i9, core i3, and Core i7. The least powerful is core i3, with Core i9 being the most powerful.
A laptop that comes with an Intel Core i5 eighth-generation or a later processor is the best. It’s ideal for users who run Microsoft’s office suite, web browser, and photo editing software. To upgrade your laptop, choose Intel i7 chip if you can afford it.
Chrome OS functions well with Intel i3 chip. High-end Chromebooks do best with Intel i5 chips. Keep in mind that extra power translates to shorter battery life. Make sure you balance your needs.
You Now Know What to Consider When Buying a Laptop
It’s important to know what to consider when buying a laptop. It helps to balance the features with your needs and budget to avoid making some compromises.
Rarely will you find a computer that has all the features you want. It’s especially so if you have a budget to meet. Focus on a laptop that has the essential features that you need.
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