The market for laptops nowadays is flooded with possibilities, making it difficult to choose the best one. There are inexpensive netbooks for taking notes; ultralight laptops; high-end gaming computers; and laptops that can replace desktop computers. You must be very clear about what you’re looking for.
How to get started is as follows: Discover the features you should look for in a new laptop by reading the next 10 pages. You’ll be able to choose the ideal notebook for your needs if you understand why each of the ten attributes listed below is crucial.
1: Analyze Your Usage Scenario
The kinds of apps you wish to run define your requirements in the categories that follow because we are not all looking for the same attributes in a laptop. Consider your reasons for purchasing a laptop first. Is it to complete ordinary business duties like taking notes, creating PowerPoint presentations, and so forth? Or do you intend to play video games, watch HD movies, and video chat with your friends?
2: Battery Life
Mobile computing is at the heart of laptop computing, and battery life is likely the most important factor to take into account when choosing a laptop that will be used frequently on the go. Battery life isn’t as important if you’re looking for a desktop replacement system, which means you’ll primarily just leave it on your desk and don’t often take it on vacation. Otherwise, pay particular attention to the battery life of a laptop. An increasing number of systems have inbuilt non-removable batteries as laptops become thinner and designers focus more on keeping them small and svelte.
It’s hard to purchase a second battery and switch the two out to double battery life, which is the price to pay for that more svelte laptop chassis. Last but not least, never believe battery life claims. The figures laptop manufacturers provide frequently pertain to light usage with a darkened screen. Assume you’ll receive 1 to 2 hours less than stated while using numerous applications and the Internet, and potentially even less if you’re playing games or performing other computer-intensive activities.
3: Size And Resolution Of The Laptop Screen
In the laptop sector, there are three standard screen sizes: 13 inches (33 centimeters), 15 inches (38 centimeters), and 17 inches (43 centimeters). The smallest laptops in this group place a higher priority on mobility and frequently do without DVD drives to achieve this. The selection in the mid-size category is a little wider. Some heavier systems serve as desktop replacements, while other models are still lightweight and have huge screens.
Laptops in the largest category are, well, fairly massive. Although they frequently come with powerful technology and high-definition displays, they can easily weigh up to ten pounds (4.5 kilograms). In general, laptops with screens larger than 15 inches (38 centimeters) or 17 inches (43 centimeters) provide good substitutes for televisions and computer monitors for watching videos, especially when traveling. Depending on your preferences, smaller notebooks between 11 and 14 inches (27.9 and 35.6 centimeters) may be too small for watching movies. More crucially, the resolution of their displays is frequently inferior. The total number of pixels in the display is its resolution;
More pixels enable the simultaneous presentation of more content. Typically, resolutions range from 1366 by 768, which is slightly larger than 720p, to 1920 by 1080, or 1080p. To save money, laptop manufacturers frequently utilize displays with lower resolutions. We’ll discuss the processor and graphics card, two other crucial components, on the following page. The higher resolution screen should always be chosen over an HD upgrade option when comparing two machines, though.
4: Processing Unit And Graphics
How effectively a computer can run programs, multitask, and perform all other tasks is largely dependent on its processor. Every year, processors become faster and more productive. The majority of Windows-based laptops use Intel CPUs; smaller ultraportables, like Apple’s sleek MacBook Air, use ultra-low voltage processors, which consume less power.
Although quad-core CPUs offer more potent performance, dual-core processors can play 1080p video and run system-demanding applications like Photoshop. When it comes to playing HD video and running games, the graphics processor, or GPU, is crucial. Instead of using separate graphics chips, many laptops employ integrated graphics.
These are capable of decoding 1080p video despite being less powerful (and less battery-intensive). Although dedicated graphics cards are essential for playing video games, the two items on the following page — hard drive storage and memory — are more crucial for the typical computer user.
5: Memory And Storage
Hard drives, which rotate physically and store data, have been a staple of laptop storage for years. Although the majority of them continue to employ silicon-based memory, quicker solid-state drives are becoming more accessible and common in portable computers. Solid-state drives are more dependable in computers that are frequently banged and jostled around because they don’t rely on moving parts.
They are costly and don’t provide nearly as much data storage, which is a drawback. If you save the majority of your material in the cloud and don’t intend to fill a computer with terabytes of music and film, storage capacity may not be a major worry for you. In that case, an SSD or compact HDD would serve just fine. The situation with random access memory (RAM) is different.
Every piece of software that runs on a computer, including the operating system (often Windows), must store data in RAM to operate. The more RAM you have, the better; whenever possible, it makes sense to upgrade this part. 4 gigabytes is a suitable minimum to operate Windows 7.
6: Is An Optical Drive Necessary?
Since the introduction of the first CD drives, optical storage devices have been essential parts of computers. However, the advent of inexpensive flash storage in the form of USB drives and cloud storage on the Internet has all but eliminated this need. When did you last utilize a CD burner? Do you stream Netflix movies or view DVDs on your computer?
There are still plenty of laptops available with CD/DVD combo drives if you frequently use any of those functions or need to be able to burn DVDs or CDs for work. In a small number of laptops, including the media-focused 15-inch (38-centimeter) and 17-inch (43-centimeter) models, Blu-ray drives are even an option. Learn about cloud storage if you’re not sure whether you need a disc drive.
Transferring files between several machines is simple with Dropbox. Netflix makes it simple to watch movies and TV shows online. You may stream music to your computer using services like Spotify, Rdio, iTunes Match, and several others, as long as you have an Internet connection. Additionally, transferring files from a computer that does have a disc drive may always be done using an external hard drive or flash drive.
7: Expandability And Ports
The USB port is a standard that every computer user is familiar with, but not everyone is aware that USB 3.0, a considerably quicker update to the standard, is gradually taking over the computer industry. In practical applications, USB 3.0 may achieve transfer speeds of up to 400 megabytes per second, which is up to ten times faster than its predecessor.
Even if you don’t currently possess any USB 3.0 hardware, when purchasing a new laptop, take future-proofing into account. Later on, you might appreciate that USB 3.0 port greatly. There are other points to take into account. Do you want HDMI to send video signals to a TV? Do you require an SD card slot to transfer photographs from your digital camera to your laptop? Will a laptop’s built-in WiFi connection be sufficient, or will you require an Ethernet port to access the internet?
Learn how adaptable or extensible a laptop is if you intend to retain it for a long time. For instance, Apple computers are renowned for their superior construction as well as for being locked down and challenging to maintain. Instead of being replaceable, the batteries are incorporated. Many computers have easily replaceable or swappable detachable batteries.