When looking for a new laptop, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that there are thousands of options of laptops for sale at all different price points and levels of quality. The bad news is that finding the right one for your needs can be a little daunting. Making the wrong choice could mean overpaying for features you don’t need or expecting too much of a lighter spec machine.
This article provides a guide to help you find the right laptop for your requirements.
Figuring Out Your Use Case
Simply buying a laptop is difficult because the options include everything from low-end Chromebooks to top-end gaming PCs. Your choice will also depend to some extent on your preferred operating system and brand.
First, decide on your budget and stick to it. You can find a laptop for as low as $400 if needed. Unless you really see something you cannot live without, there is no need to overspend in today’s market. Cheap laptops are available from a wide variety of outlets, meaning prices are kept honest.
What Will You Use your Laptop For?
Casual browsing, home admin, and checking email are low-intensity items that can all be carried out from a lower-spec device. Even streaming some movies in the evenings will not be a problem. For this, a cheap option is perfectly fine.
If you are working from home or in the field, a slightly higher spec device is likely to benefit you. In this case, go for a slightly higher memory (RAM), a modern processor, and a keyboard and screen you can comfortably work for several hours on.
Gamers have a different use case entirely. Modern games require a good quality graphics card and HD screen to maximize your gaming experience.
Keep Battery Life in Mind
Although charge points are more readily available nowadays, choosing a laptop with good battery life is important if you plan to take it out and about. Even compared to a few years ago, the battery life of laptops is increasing regularly.
Battery life is generally related to the demands on the computer. Larger screens and graphics cards place more intense demands on the battery. This means that gaming laptops often only have around 4-5 hours of battery life at optimal performance. Lighter devices carrying out tasks that require less CPU usage can be expected to last for around 9-10 hours on a single charge.
Other Features to Look Out For
To get the features you need, you need to consider the specifications of a laptop before purchase. Cluing up on what to look for is essential.
Processors from Intel or AMD offer best-in-class CPU capability. Intel processors are top of the class for performance, while AMD offers optimal value for money. Both manufacturers have adopted an ascending system to show the quality of their chips. So in simple terms, the higher the number the better quality (and more expensive the price) of the processor.
The other gauge to look for with your processor is its age. Again, the higher the ‘generation’, the more modern the chip is. The newer models offer more processing efficiency making for a faster computing experience and conserved battery life.
Also, look out for the amount of memory (RAM) your chosen PC has. Depending on your budget, try to go for at least 4GB of RAM, but the higher the better. Not only does this make your PC quicker, but it will also boost its longevity. You will only need to consider a dedicated graphics card if you plan to play intensive games on your machine.
Close in On Your Choice
Armed with this knowledge, you should be getting a little closer to your final choice. Whether you go for an all-rounder, or a more specialized device will depend on your use case. From tablets to Chromebooks, every budget and requirement is covered.
There are also compromises to be made in terms of performance versus battery life. If you travel a lot, battery life and weight will be your main concerns. But if you are a video editor or serious gamer, CPU speed and screen size will come first.
In short, there is a laptop to suit everyone in the modern PC market. Doing a little due diligence before you make your purchase will help you stay on budget. It will also make sure you are not disappointed with your PC, or inadvertently trying to carry an over-spec PC between meetings or on the metro.