The truth is buying a new laptop isn’t easy there’s so many things to consider it can get a bit confusing you could just jump on Amazon and type in laptop and then filter by price size and customer rating but if you’re spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a new laptop you want to make sure you’re getting the right one for you and it’s good value for money so I’m gonna walk you through ten things that you need to know in order to choose the perfect laptop for you and I’ve put links to some of my recommended laptops.
Which Operating System
Do you prefer using Windows Mac OS or Chrome OS there’s no right or wrong answer and it’s usually best to stick with what you know Windows is by far the most common platform so you’ve got the greatest range of laptops to choose from Mac OS is obviously exclusive to Apple Mac books and MacBook Pros which are beautiful machines and really easy to use but they’re also relatively expensive there isn’t much variety and the latest models have a limited range of ports
Chromebooks running Chrome OS are very popular with students so if you want a budget and just doing really basic things like google docs streaming Netflix and send emails a Chromebook could be ideal personally though I tend to prefer going for a Windows 10 laptop because there’s just so much choice and it means I can pay what I want and get the specs and the features I need.
if you’re into gaming Windows machines are pretty much your only option right.
Simple or Convertible:
now next question do you want a traditional clamshell laptop like this that’s the most common kind of laptop doesn’t open any further than that sometimes can be a touchscreen or would you prefer something a little more fancy like a convertible two-in-one with a 360 degree hinge so you can turn the screen right around and use it as a tablet or you can put it in tent mode and or stand mode which is handy if you’re watching movies or something maybe on a plane you basically get a touchscreen tablet experience but all in one laptop thanks to that 360 hinge so these are convertible two-in-ones well
the third choice is a hybrid two-in-one with a fully detachable keyboard so you’ve got slightly more budget options like this ace switch three so you can just pull it off like that you got the keyboard and tablet separately that’s pretty similar to the surface pro or on the higher end of the scale there are downsides to these though generally two-in-one devices are more expensive than a similarly SPECT normal laptop and quite often they won’t be as powerful due to size and design restrictions that’s not always the case though
Let’s talk about size because most laptops have 13 14 or 15 inch screen sizes you do get a few 11 inch budget laptops and some huge 17 or 18 inch gaming beasts but we’ll talk more about that in a bit generally as you’d expect the smaller screen size the lighter and more compact it is so 13 and 14 inch ultrabooks which are just a fancy name for thin and light laptops that use Intel chips make great travel companions, anything bigger then that, you’ll struggle to get any work done on trains or planes but bigger 15-inch laptops can be more powerful often less room for a dedicated graphics card and they can use more power-hungry processors but the good news is that brands are putting bigger screens into more compact and travel friendly bodies by trimming the size of the bezel around the screen so if you’re going to leaveyour laptop at home or in the office you may as well go for something a bit bigger and therefore hopefully a bit more powerful but if you want something that’s good on the road and you barely feel in your backpack then maybe consider a 13-inch ultra book like one of these but if you can afford it a high-end MacBook Pro 15 XPS 15 or surface book 215 are relatively compact for their size and offer really high-end performance the whole time you’re using a laptop you’re looking at the screen so you want to make sure it looks good firstly make sure it’s got an IPS screen you can check the tech specs or reviews to see if IPS is mentioned as they offer much better color accuracy and viewing angles the alternative is ATM screen which is still used on some cheaper models and is okay but it can look grainy and viewing angles are pretty terrible you should also consider the screens resolution but don’t worry about this too much ideally go for a laptop with a full HD so that’s a 1920 by 1080 resolution even though everyone’s talking about 4k unless it’s a 15-inch or bigger laptop and you really want those extra pixels for watching 4k movies or if you’re editing 4k video I’d avoid it as it has a big impact on your battery life and your framerate in games a
Which actually as dull and complicated as it can be is super important for knowing what kind of performance you’re gonna get from a laptop so there’s three main things to consider
- The processor
- The RAM and
- The storage
- Maybe also graphics cards if you’re into gaming or you run more intensive workstation applications
The most important thing is the processor you’ll see most mid-range or high end laptops come with an Intel Core i3 i5 or i7 processor generally higher the number the better the performance you get unless you’re doing lots of photo or video editing or more intensive tasks a core i5 will be just fine but also look for what generation it is every year these chips get refreshed and improved with the latest eighth generation processors nowo ffering four cores rather than two which is better for multitasking seventh generation chips are still fine I’ve still use this Dell XPS 15 but where possible try and get the latest one some cheaper laptops will come with a pentium or Celeron processor but unless you’re using it for more basic tasks or you’re on a super tight budget I try to avoid these as a rule of thumb.
Then we’ve got RAM which is much easier usually you’ll get 4 8 or 16 gigabytes of RAM in a laptop again unless you’re going for a basic machine I’ll avoid 4 gigs the sweet spot is 8 gigabytes for video editing rendering or any sort of power user go for 16 gigs where possible and finally in terms of specs
Coming to storage I can’t emphasize this enough how important and SSD or solid-state drive in your laptop is it makes a huge difference just to how fast everything feels from boot times opening programs generally using the desktop I really do highly recommend making sure your new laptop comes with an SSD some laptops have both like a 32 or 128 gigabyte SSD and then a second higher capacity hard drive that’s fine too and it’s arguably the best of both worlds you get the SSD speed boost for Windows but you also get enough storage for all your files but let’s keep things simple if you’ve got a budget of say five hundred to a thousand look for a laptop that has an Intel Core i3 i5 eight gigs of RAM and at least a 256 gigabyte storage SSD over a thousand and then you can start looking at i5 and i7 processors up to 16 gigs of ram and maybe a 512 gigabyte storage SSD
but if you want a tight budget under five or six hundred maybe consider something that has a core i3 or if you’re really pushed maybe an Intel Celeron or Pentium processor this Asus which 3 has a Pentium and it’s fine because it’sb acked up by an SSD it’s got 32 gigabytes of flash storage and that for basic Windows tasks makes the biggest difference in terms of performance and how fast everything feels now let’s move
If you’re in to gaming because while that lot will play some games may be a lower to medium settings if you drop the resolution if you want to play games seriously and of the rares of the graphics have higher frame rates you’re going to want to look into a gaming laptop. For example HP omen X and these generally come with an i7 processors 16 gigs around and importantly a dedicated graphics card, while omen X is going to be ideal for gaming there is a halfway house between someone who wants a powerful but still portable laptop and someone who just wants the best gaming performance possible and you can still get dedicated graphics cards in laptops like these the Dell XPS 15, surface book 2, NVIDIA GTX 1050 so look for either NVIDIA GTX or AMD rx or aim the Vega branding on a laptop that means it has a dedicated graphics card which will make a laptop a lot more powerful and capable of playing games with higher settings and a high resolutions.
You don’t miss that USB HDMI card readers ports are really important and to be honest all I would recommend is making sure the laptop you get comes with at least one USB 3.1 type C port it is still relatively new but it can do pretty much everything and will definitely future-proof your laptop.
But even if the specs and the price and the size everything is right if the keyboard and a touchpad are rubbish then it’s not gonna be very nice to use in my experience MacBooks and MacBook Pros have the best touchpads they’re big responsive and has great gesture support in Mac OS.
For Windows, laptops try one with a Microsoft precision touchpad this basically guarantees the touchpad will be fast and precise if you’re not sure if it’s got one just google the laptops name along with precision touchpad and see if any reviews mention.
Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t have one although I would recommend then maybe trying it in the store before you buy it and same with the keyboard it’s very difficult to describe a keyboard other than saying it’s responsive or clacking or spongy. It is Recommended to try it in person,because keyboards are very tricky to talk about a lot of people use key travel how far the key goes in essentially as a differentiator between quality but that’s not always the case and the latest keyboards say on the MacBook Pros have very very minimal key travel but are still very good so it’s not a great indicator.
What about battery life how long should your laptop last well anything quoted above six hours is decent but since most brands test them at low brightness if a retailer says 6 hours you can expect more like 4 in the real world
The size of the battery, 4k resolution screens graphics cards, and all the generations processors have the biggest impact on battery life most reviews you read will tell you how long a laptop lasts but if you can get one with at least 6 hours but preferably 8 to 10 hours then that will do nicely.