So, you’re in the market for a new laptop but unsure where to start? We get it; with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming.
That’s why we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll guide you through some key things you should consider when buying a new laptop, ensuring you make a choice that not only meets your needs but also fits your budget.
From processing power to storage capacity, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started and find you the perfect laptop!
When choosing a new laptop, one of the first decisions you’ll need is which operating system (OS) to go with. Windows is the most popular laptop operating system, with its user-friendly interface and wide range of software compatibility. It offers a familiar experience for most users and has many features and tools that cater to work and personal needs. Windows laptops also tend to have a wide range of hardware options, allowing you to find a laptop that suits your specific requirements.
Mac OS is a solid choice if you are already a fan of Apple products or prefer a more streamlined and cohesive ecosystem. Mac laptops, known as MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, are known for their sleek design, high-performance hardware, and robust security features. Mac OS offers a seamless integration with other Apple devices, making it ideal for those who own an iPhone, iPad, or other Apple products. It also comes with a wide range of pre-installed software, including multimedia editing tools like iMovie and GarageBand.
For those looking for a more open-source and customizable operating system, Linux is worth considering. Linux offers a range of distributions, such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and Linux Mint, each with its interface and features. Linux is known for its stability, security, and versatility, making it a popular choice among developers and IT professionals. It also provides a vast open-source software ecosystem, allowing users to tailor their laptops to their needs. However, it’s important to note that Linux may require more technical knowledge and troubleshooting skills than Windows and Mac OS.
Intel Core i3
The processor, also known as the CPU (Central Processing Unit), is often called the “brain” of your laptop. The Intel Core i3 processors are entry-level processors designed for basic tasks such as web browsing, email, and word processing. While they may not offer the highest performance compared to their more powerful counterparts, the Core i3 processors are energy-efficient and sufficient for everyday computing needs. They are a good choice for budget-conscious users or those who don’t require heavy multitasking or demanding applications.
Intel Core i5
The Intel Core i5 processors are a step up from the Core i3 series and offer more power and performance. They are suitable for users who require faster processing speeds and the ability to handle more demanding tasks such as photo and video editing, casual gaming, and multitasking. The Core i5 processors generally come with Turbo Boost technology, which dynamically adjusts the clock speed to provide a boost when needed. They balance performance and affordability well, making them a popular choice for a wide range of users.
Intel Core i7
The Intel Core i7 processors are the top-of-the-line processors for laptops, offering the highest performance and power. They are designed for power users, gamers, and professionals who require lightning-fast processing speeds and can handle resource-intensive tasks such as 3D rendering, video editing, and virtual reality. The Core i7 processors often have features like hyper-threading, allowing better multitasking and improved performance. However, they also tend to be more expensive than the Core i3 and i5 processors, making them better suited for users needing extra horsepower.
AMD Ryzen 3
If you’re looking for an alternative to Intel processors, the AMD Ryzen series is worth considering. The AMD Ryzen 3 processors are entry-level, similar to the Intel Core i3 series. They offer good performance for everyday tasks at a more affordable price point. Ryzen 3 processors are well-suited for users requiring a budget-friendly option without compromising performance.
AMD Ryzen 5
The AMD Ryzen 5 processors are a step up from the Ryzen 3 series and offer better performance and multitasking capabilities. They are suitable for users who require more power for tasks such as photo and video editing, gaming, and multitasking. Ryzen 5 processors are often praised for their value for money, offering competitive performance compared to their Intel counterparts at a lower price.
AMD Ryzen 7
The AMD Ryzen 7 processors are the high-performance processors in the Ryzen series, designed for power users, gamers, and professionals. They offer excellent performance for resource-intensive tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering, and gaming. Ryzen 7 processors have advanced features like multi-threading, allowing efficient multitasking. They are a cost-effective alternative to Intel’s higher-end processors and provide a compelling option for users seeking top-tier performance.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is your laptop’s temporary storage space to run applications and store data while in use. 4GB of RAM is the minimum requirement for most laptops and is suitable for basic tasks such as web browsing, document editing, and media consumption. However, it may struggle with multitasking or running demanding applications, so if you have multiple applications open or work with more resource-intensive software, it’s recommended to consider higher RAM options.
8GB of RAM is considered the sweet spot for most users, offering a good balance between performance and affordability. With 8GB of RAM, you can comfortably run multiple applications simultaneously, handle multitasking, and run resource-demanding software such as photo and video editing tools. It provides a smoother overall experience and allows for better performance when working with larger files or running memory-intensive applications.
16GB of RAM is recommended for power users, gamers, and professionals who work with a high level of multitasking or resource-intensive applications. With 16GB of RAM, you’ll have enough headroom to run several demanding applications simultaneously, handle virtual machines, and work with large datasets. It provides a significant performance boost for tasks such as video editing, 3D rendering, and gaming, ensuring smooth operation and reducing bottlenecks due to limited RAM.
32GB of RAM is considered overkill for most users and is typically reserved for professionals who require exceptional performance, such as content creators, architects, or engineers working with complex models and simulations. Having 32GB of RAM allows for seamless multitasking and handling of extreme workloads. However, 32GB of RAM may not provide a noticeable difference in everyday tasks for the average user and would be considered a luxury.
Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
Hard Disk Drives, or HDDs, are traditional storage devices that use spinning magnetic disks to store and retrieve data. They offer larger storage capacities at a lower cost than solid-state drives (SSDs). HDDs are suitable for users who require large storage capacities for storing files such as documents, photos, and videos. However, they tend to be slower regarding read and write speeds, which can result in slower boot times and application loading times.
Solid State Drive (SSD)
Solid State Drives, or SSDs, are newer storage devices that use flash memory to store data. SSDs are significantly faster than HDDs, offering faster boot times, quicker application loading times, and improved overall system responsiveness. They are excellent for users who prioritize speed and performance, especially for photo and video editing, gaming, and running resource-intensive applications. SSDs also tend to be more durable and energy-efficient compared to HDDs. However, they typically have a higher price tag for the same storage capacity as an HDD.
Laptops with displays ranging from 11 to 13 inches are considered compact and lightweight. They are ideal for users prioritizing portability and needing a laptop for on-the-go or frequent travel. A smaller display size allows for a more compact form factor and lighter weight, making it easier to carry around. These laptops suit web browsing, document editing, and media consumption. However, the smaller display size may result in a cramped workspace and limited screen real estate for multitasking or working with complex applications.
Laptops with displays ranging from 14 to 16 inches strike a balance between portability and productivity. They offer a more prominent display size than compact laptops, providing more screen real estate for multitasking and working with complex applications. These laptops suit various tasks, from everyday computing to photo and video editing. They also often come with additional features, such as a numeric keypad and larger batteries for increased performance and longer battery life.
17 inches or larger
Laptops with displays measuring 17 inches or larger are considered desktop replacements. They offer a vast viewing area and are often preferred by users who require a larger workspace for tasks such as professional video editing, gaming, or graphic design. These laptops usually have high-resolution displays, powerful processors, and dedicated graphics cards for resource-intensive tasks. However, the larger display size comes with increased weight and reduced portability, making them less ideal for frequent travel or on-the-go use.
HD (1366 x 768)
HD resolution, 1366 x 768 pixels, is the standard resolution for budget laptops. While it may not offer the highest level of detail or sharpness, it is sufficient for basic tasks such as web browsing, document editing, and media consumption. It is a good option for users not concerned with high-resolution visuals and more focused on affordability and functionality. However, a higher-resolution display would provide a better visual experience for photo and video editing or gaming tasks.
Full HD (1920 x 1080)
Full HD resolution, 1920 x 1080 pixels, is the most common resolution for laptops in the mid-range segment. It offers more detail and sharper visuals than HD resolution, making it suitable for various tasks, including photo and video editing, gaming, and multimedia consumption. Full HD displays provide a more immersive visual experience and allow for better multitasking and productivity. They strike a good balance between affordability and visual quality.
4K (3840 x 2160)
4K resolution, with 3840 x 2160 pixels, offers the highest level of detail and clarity. It is ideal for professional photo and video editing or gaming with high-fidelity graphics. 4K displays provide a stunning visual experience, allowing for more precise color reproduction and sharper visuals. However, it’s important to note that 4K displays tend to come at a higher price point and can be more demanding on the laptop’s hardware, requiring more powerful processors and dedicated graphics cards to ensure smooth performance.
Integrated graphics, often found in entry-level laptops or models with lower price points, are built into the laptop’s processor and share the system’s RAM. They offer basic graphics capabilities for everyday tasks such as web browsing, document editing, and media consumption. Integrated graphics are not ideal for gaming or resource-intensive applications as they may struggle to deliver smooth frame rates or handle complex graphics rendering. However, if your usage primarily revolves around basic tasks, integrated graphics can be sufficient and save costs.
Dedicated graphics, also known as discrete graphics, have their own dedicated memory and processing power separate from the laptop’s CPU. They offer superior graphics performance and are designed for gaming, professional video editing, or resource-intensive applications. Laptops with dedicated graphics cards offer smoother gameplay, faster rendering times, and improved visual quality. They provide a significant performance boost for GPU-intensive tasks and are recommended for users who require enhanced graphics capabilities.
Laptops with a battery life of 4 to 6 hours are suitable for users who primarily use their laptops for short periods or have access to power outlets throughout the day. These laptops are often budget-friendly and offer a balance between affordability and portability. They work well for web browsing, document editing, and media consumption. However, for users who require longer battery life for on-the-go use or extended periods without access to power, it’s recommended to consider laptops with longer battery life.
Laptops with a battery life of 7 to 9 hours strike a good balance between portability and productivity. They offer enough battery life to last a workday or a long flight without frequent charging. These laptops are suitable for users who require moderate battery life for tasks such as web browsing, document editing, and multimedia consumption. They offer more flexibility and convenience compared to laptops with shorter battery life.
10 hours or more
Laptops with a battery life of 10 hours or more are considered to have excellent battery life, providing all-day usage without frequent charging. These laptops are ideal for users who require extended battery life for on-the-go use, such as students, frequent travelers, or individuals who work remotely. With a longer battery life, you can confidently work, study, or entertain yourself without worrying about running out of power. However, it’s essential to consider that laptops with longer battery life may come at a higher price or sacrifice other features to accommodate the larger battery.
USB ports are essential for connecting peripherals such as external hard drives, keyboards, mice, and other USB devices. When choosing a laptop, it’s essential to consider the number and type of USB ports available. USB 3.0 ports offer faster data transfer speeds than USB 2.0 ports, making them ideal for tasks such as transferring large files or accessing external storage devices.
An HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port connects your laptop to an external display or television. This is especially useful if you frequently give presentations, watch movies on a larger screen, or require dual monitor support for increased productivity.
SD card reader
An SD card reader lets you quickly transfer data from SD cards commonly used in cameras, smartphones, and other devices. This feature is handy for photographers, videographers, or individuals who frequently work with media files.
A headphone jack lets you connect headphones or external speakers for audio output. It is a standard feature on most laptops and is essential for private listening or connecting to external audio devices.
An Ethernet port provides a wired internet connection, ideal for users who require a stable and high-speed internet connection for tasks such as online gaming or downloading large files. While wireless options are becoming more prevalent, an Ethernet port ensures reliable connectivity where Wi-Fi signals may be weak or congested.
Wireless options (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are essential features for convenience and flexibility. Wi-Fi allows you to connect to wireless networks, providing internet access without needing physical cables. Bluetooth enables wireless connections to speakers, mice, keyboards, and smartphones, allowing for seamless data transfer and peripheral connectivity.
Laptops in the budget range typically offer basic features and are suitable for users who prioritize affordability over high-end specifications. These laptops are a good choice for users who primarily need a laptop for everyday tasks such as web browsing, document editing, and media consumption. While they may lack certain premium features or performance capabilities, they provide a cost-effective solution for those on a tight budget.
Mid-range laptops offer a balance between affordability and performance. They typically come with better specifications, including faster processors, more RAM, higher-resolution displays, and improved build quality compared to budget laptops. Mid-range laptops are suitable for users who require more processing power for tasks such as photo and video editing, light gaming, and multitasking. They provide better overall performance and often have a longer lifespan than budget laptops.
High-end laptops are designed for power users, gamers, and professionals who require top-notch performance, premium features, and the latest technology. These laptops often come with high-resolution displays, powerful processors, dedicated graphics cards, larger storage capacities, and advanced features such as touchscreen or 2-in-1 functionality. High-end laptops offer superior performance for video editing, gaming, 3D rendering, and demanding professional applications. However, they come with a higher price tag and may be overkill for users needing a laptop for everyday tasks.