From writing a research document to editing videos or playing a laptop is always better. So, what kind should you buy?
Compact enough to take with you, but versatile enough to run demanding applications. We refer to the laptop, the best tool to do a serious job or play at home or when you are traveling.
There is a wide variety of sizes, features, and prices, which makes choosing the right laptop a challenge. That’s why you need to find out what your needs are.
Table of Contents
The Top 3 Platforms
Most laptops come with one of three operating systems: Windows, Chrome OS or MacOS (only for MacBooks). Choosing the right one is a personal preference, but here is a brief summary of what each one offers.
It is the most flexible operating system; Windows appears in many more brands and models than Chrome OS or Mac OS X. Windows laptops vary in price and offer a wide range of functions from touch screens to fingerprint readers and dual graphics.
Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft’s star operating system, offers a number of improvements over Windows 7 and 8, including the ability to switch between tablet and desktop mode, a refreshed start menu with live tiles, and the powerful digital assistant Cortana.
Since its launch in July 2015, Windows 10 has also added a number of improvements, including the ability to use follow-up questions with Cortana, search your email in natural language, and use your pen to scribble almost anywhere.
All MacBooks come with the latest Apple desktop operating system, high Sierra Mac OS. In general, the operating system offers functionality similar to Windows 10, but with a different version of the interface that replaces an application base at the bottom of the screen for the Start menu and the Microsoft taskbar.
Instead of Cortana’s digital assistant, Mac users get Siri. Check out which is the better of the two AI’s at Forbes
They can also make transactions with Apple Pay, receive calls or text messages from their phones and unlock their laptops with an Apple Watch. However, Mac OS is not made for touch, because no MacBook comes with a touch screen.
It’s found on inexpensive Chromebooks like Samsung’s Chromebook 3. The operating system of Google is simple and safe, but more limited than Windows or Mac.
The user interface looks a lot like Windows with an application menu, a desktop and the ability to drag windows, but the main application it uses is the Chrome browser.
The drawback is that many of the “web applications” you use do not work particularly well offline, that is, disconnected from the Internet. However, that is changing as several Chromebooks, including the high-end Google PixelBook, can now run Android applications.
If you need a device to browse the web and check email, browse social networks and chat online, Chromebooks are highly portable and tend to offer good battery life at low prices.
They are also popular in some schools and parents, as they are difficult to infect with malware (“malware”) for children and are more functional than most tablets.
If you need a Chromebook, look for one with at least 4 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. A resolution of 1920 x 1080 is preferable but rare.
Pay extra to get a 2 in 1 if you plan to use Android applications.
2 In 1: Yes, Or No?
Many laptops are included in the 2-in-1 category, hybrid devices that can switch between traditional mode, tablet mode and other intermediate positions, such as a store or support modes.
The 2 in 1 are generally in two different styles: removable with screens that come off completely from the keyboard and flexible laptops with hinges that tilt 360 degrees back to change mode.
Most of these teams are much better at fulfilling one purpose than the other. Those that are folded are good laptops and the detachable ones offer a superior tablet experience.
However, if you do not see the need to use your laptop as a slate, you will usually get more performance for your money with a traditional laptop. If you decide you want a 2 in 1, take into account that the flexible ones usually have a better battery life than their removable sisters.
Before looking at the specifications or prices, you need to find out how portable you need your laptop to be. They are usually classified by their screen sizes:
- 11 to 12 inches: The finest and lightest in the world have screens of 11 to 12 inches and usually weigh 1,100 kg to 1,600 kg.
- 13 to 14 inches: Provides the best balance between portability and ease of use, especially if you get a laptop that weighs less than 1,800 kg.
- 15 inches: The most popular size, 15-inch laptops generally weigh from 2 kg to 2,950 kg. Consider this size if you want a larger screen and do not plan to carry your laptop often.
- 17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays at your desk all day every day, a 17-inch or 18-inch laptop could provide the kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or make productivity at the station level of work.
Keyboard and Touchpad:
The most impressive specifications in the world mean nothing if the laptop you’re buying does not have good ergonomics.
If you plan on doing a lot of work on your computer, make sure that the keyboard offers solid tactile feedback.
Find an accurate touchpad that does not give you a quick cursor and consistently responds to multi-touch gestures, such as pinching to zoom.
If you are buying a business laptop, consider getting one with a pointing device between the G and H keys so you can navigate the desktop without lifting your fingers from the keyboard.
The components of laptops, such as the processor, hard drive, RAM and graphics chip can confuse even computer fans, so do not feel bad if the specification sheets look like alphabet soup.
The “brains” of your computer, the processor has a great influence on performance, but depending on what you want to do, even the least expensive model can be good enough. Next, a summary of chips:
- Intel Core i5: If you are looking for a conventional laptop with the best combination of price and performance, get one with an Intel Core i5 CPU. Models that end in U (for example, Core i5-7200U) are the most common. The new eighth-generation CPUs, Kaby Lake Refresh, from Intel, have model numbers that start with 8 (for example, Core i5-8250U) and double the number of cores from two to four, which greatly improves performance.
- Intel Core i7: A step ahead of the Core i5, whose models with numbers that end in HQ or K use higher power and four cores, allowing games and productivity even faster. There are also Core i7 chips from the Y series that have lower power and performance. Pay attention to CPUs that have an 8 in the model number (for example, Core i7-8250U) because they are part of Intel’s latest 8th generation Core series and offer better performance.
- Intel Core i3: Performance is only one step below the Core i5 and so is the price. If you can possibly move to a Core i5, I recommend it.
- AMD Ryzen Mobile: A new set of chips designed to compete with Intel Core i5 and Core i7.
- AMD Series A, FX or E: Found in low-cost laptops, AMD processors (the company calls them APU instead of CPU) provide decent performance for the money that is good enough to surf the web, see means and tasks of productivity.
- Intel Pentium / Celeron: Common in laptops under $ 400, these chips offer the slowest performance, but they can do it if your main tasks are surfing the web and edit documents lightly. If you can pay more to get a Core i3 or i5, it would be better.
- Intel Core m / Core i5 / i7 “Y Series”: Low power and low heat allow computers with these processors to run without a fan. The performance is better than that of Celeron, but one level below the regular Core i5 U series.
- Intel Xeon: Extremely powerful and expensive processors for large mobile workstations. If you perform professional-level engineering, three-dimensional modeling (3D) or video editing, you may want a Xeon, but you will not get a good battery life or a lightweight laptop.
Some laptops under $250 come with only 2GB of RAM, but ideally, you want at least 4GB even in a budget system and 8GB if you can spend a little more. For most users, 16 GB or more is an exaggeration.
Also known as a hard drive, its performance is even more important than the speed of your CPU. If you can afford it and do not need a ton of internal storage, buy a laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a hard drive, because it’s up to three times faster.
Laptopverge.com has covered the topic of SSD and SSD laptops quite comprehensively in case you need any more info.
Among SSDs, the new PCIe x4 drives (also known as NVMEs) offer triple the speed of traditional SATA drives.
Laptops under $250 use eMMC memory, which is technically solid-state but no faster than a mechanical hard drive.
The more pixels you have, the more content you can place on the screen and the sharper you will see. Unfortunately, most of the cheap and conventional laptops have 1366 x 768 screens and so do more than half of the business laptops, but if you can afford it, I recommend paying extra for a panel that works in 1920 x 1080, also known as Full HD or 1080p.
Some high-end laptops have screens of 2560 x 1600, 3200 x 1800 or even 3840 x 2160, all with a sharp appearance but consume more energy, which reduces the life of the battery.
If you are buying a normal laptop, instead of a 2 in 1, you will not get much benefit from a touch screen and you will get one to three hours less battery life. In 2 in 1, the touch screens come as standard.
If you’re not practicing PC games, creating 3D objects or editing high-resolution videos, an integrated graphics chip (one that shares system memory) will be fine.
However, if you have any of the above needs, a discrete AMD or Nvidia graphics processor is essential. As with CPUs, there is a high and low range of graphics chips.
Gaming systems or low-end workstations currently have Nvidia GTX 1050 while mid-range models have GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1060 and high-end models have GTX 1070 or 1080. Nvidia maintains a list of its graphics chips from low to a high range just like AMD.
While the absence of ports is not usually a matter of discussion when choosing a laptop, it is useful to get the connections you need in the system, instead of having to carry a lot of accessories. Most conventional laptops will have USB 3.0 ports and HDMI output for video.
However, a growing number of laptops use USB Type C or Thunderbolt 3 ports that are compatible with USB Type C. Getting Type-C is a definite advantage since you can use it to connect to chargers and universal docks.
DVD and Blu-Ray Drives:
Few laptops come with optical drives, because all software and movies can be downloaded. However, if you really need to read and/or write discs and the laptop you choose does not come with a built-in DVD drive, you can always buy an external one that connects via USB for less than $ 20.
If you buy a large, bulky laptop that you will only use on a desk near an electrical outlet, you do not have to worry about the battery life. However, if you plan to use the laptop in your lap, even if you are at home or at work, you will want at least 7 hours of resistance, with 8 or more hours being ideal.
To determine the expected battery life of a laptop, do not take the word of the manufacturer. Instead, read the results of third parties from objective sources.
The following are the most important things to consider when choosing a new laptop.
- 5 to 14-inch screens offer the best balance between ease of use and portability. Larger screens are fine if you do not travel much and the smaller models are ideal for children.
- CPU Core i5.
- Screen 1920 x 1080.
- 8GB of RAM.
- SSD storage instead of a hard drive.
- More than 8 hours of battery life is ideal if you plan to take your laptop anywhere.
- Consider a 2 in 1 if you want to use your laptop as a tablet. If not, a standard laptop may be a better option.
- Chromebooks are good for children. Windows laptops and MacBooks offer a lot of functionality. The platform you prefer is a matter of personal taste.