December 6, 2016
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Shopping for a new laptop? Here’s what to consider

Laptop computers are the portable multi-purpose tools of the modern professional. With so many models out there, how do you choose?

Different brands each have their own strengths, making it difficult to choose the right laptop for your needs. This guide teaches you what sort of questions you should ask when looking for a laptop so you can get the unit that fits your needs and budget.

What OS do you prefer? Which is better at what I want to do?

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For the first-time buyer, this may be a difficult question to answer. But this is important if you want to be familiar with your laptop and maximize its usage. The most popular operating systems in the market today are Mac OS X (for Mac products), Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS. The most flexible and common system among these three is Windows, so you can start with that.

How important is the display to my daily needs? What are the display specs?

Screen quality is also important, especially if you’re using the laptop for visually-oriented tasks. Pick a laptop with better resolution, if you want to have sharp, clear visuals, go for a laptop with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. If you’re a professional who needs specific and accurate colors in your work, make sure you pick one with a wider range of colors. Also, do your eyes a favor and pick a laptop that’s good for your eyes. Some laptops have screens that are too reflective and have fewer display customizations.

How big/heavy is it? Does its size and weight fit my lifestyle?

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Laptops are supposed to be portable and how portable the unit will be is a main concern for laptop buyers. If you want a unit that you can take anywhere you go, it’s best to choose one that’s small and lightweight. In this aspect, an Ultrabook can be a good option.

How much internal storage does it have?

This is an important question that can save you money and desk/storage space. Getting a unit with a bigger internal storage means you can save your budged from buying extra hard disk drives or SSDs. Knowing what type of internal storage helps, too. (If you’d like to know more about HDDs and SSDs, read our feature about it here. Having a bigger internal storage helps with data processing as well, which leads us to the next question…

How fast can this laptop process what I do on a daily basis?

It’s good to educate yourself on what the prevailing trends are in terms of RAM, CPU, and GPU. Knowing which processors are better saves you money for upgrades and the time it takes waiting for your laptop to process whatever task you’re doing. Familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of dual-cores and quad-cores, Nvidia and AMD, and the various internal fan setups that help a laptop’s hardware to take the heat of processing.

How long does its battery last?

If you’re the type who’s always traveling while working, a battery that lasts longer is better for you. But if you’re the type who stays in one place while working anyway, having a laptop’s battery run like a desktop (meaning it always has to be plugged in) isn’t so bad.

Are the keyboard and touchpads ergonomic?

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If you’re going to work on your laptop the entire day, you should choose a unit that has a comfortable keyboard and touchpad. There should be enough space between the keys and the touchpad should respond consistently to multi-touch gestures, and big enough to accommodate moving items farther across the screen.

What are my exact specifications?

It would be best if you do your homework, look through the different laptops online, and list the specifications you want. The amount of laptop brands and models are too many enough, just imagine the variety of different specs out there that can confuse even the most seasoned laptop user. In this aspect, you will have to do a thorough research and comparison of the specs of different units:

  • CPU – Laptops with Core-based CPUs make a great option for multitasking functions.
  • RAM – For most users, a laptop with a 4GB RAM will suffice but if you need a machine that can juggle heavy tasks, go for something higher than 4.
  • Internal storage – If you don’t need a large internal storage but want something fast, get a unit with a solid state drive (SSD). If you want to go for size over speed, go for HDD.
  • GPU – An integrated graphics chip will suffice if you’re not looking for a gaming laptop.
  • Battery life – If you’ll be taking your laptop out with you for most of the day, look for a unit with a battery that can last up to 10 hours.

Apart from these aspects of the laptop you’re buying, there could be more you’ll easily miss so if you’re looking around online, make sure you check their spec sheets first so it will be easier to compare.

How much is it?

Finally, we come to the most important question. You want the best for you but can you afford them? If you’re on a budget, it’s best to review options within your range and pick the best in that range.

Think about it

Buying a laptop involves a great deal of thought if you want to score the best deal. You just have to remember well what your needs and wants are. It also helps when you know your routine well, and what your tech lifestyle is like. The more you know yourself around the technology you use, the more you can choose your devices better. Use these tips as your guide and you’ll breeze through your laptop purchase with no problem.