Laptops are great since they’re compact enough to carry around and versatile enough to run demanding applications.
But, buying a laptop can be quite confusing. Even if you know what you want, finding the right model or understanding the manufacturer’s instructions can be quite frustrating.
Here we will look at what you need to know about laptops.
In this post we will go over:
- Which operating system should you pick?
- Which processor should you go for?
- Do you need a graphics card?
- How much RAM?
- What laptop size should you choose?
- Where to Buy
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Which Operating System Should You Pick?
Before you start to look at laptops, it’s important to figure out which operating system works for you.
It is the system that controls the computer hardware and manages all the programs on your laptop.
So, choosing the best operating system will also help you determine which hardware you need.
This is your best bet if you will be working on Microsoft apps such as MS office, Access, or Outlook. You’ll also have a more variety of laptops to choose from than any other OS.
If you want something more beginner-friendly, we suggest you go with Apple’s macOS. However, this should not be your first choice if you don’t own an iPhone or iPad.
You also won’t have a lot of options other than the Macbook.
If you want something budget-friendly, Chrome OS laptops are among the cheapest you’ll find. But, they’re also the least powerful.
Moreover, if you can’t do most of your tasks in a web browser, Chromebooks will not be the best choice for you. Apps like Adobe Creative Suite or Microsoft Office will not run on it.
Linus has a bit of a learning curve. But, if that’s not an issue you can install it on any piece of laptop hardware.
However, you won’t be able to use popular apps like MS Office and Adobe Creative Suite.
Which Processor Should You Go For?
Once you’ve established an idea of which operating system you need, it’s time to figure out the minimum hardware specifications.
To do that, you need to look at the processor also known as the CPU.
Essentially, two companies make processors, Intel and AMD.
Intel’s main processors are:
- Core i3
- Core i5
- Core i7
- Core i9
Whereas the main AMD laptop processors are:
- Ryzen 3
- Ryzen 5
- Ryzen 7
Now, you may be asking, how different are Intel and AMD processors?
After testing out dozens of both each year, we found that the Intel i5 is almost the same as Ryzen 7 besides some very specific benchmarks.
However, in terms of graphics, AMD performs much better.
Then, which one should you go for?
If you’ll be using your laptop for typical tasks such as running a web browser and MS Office, we suggest a laptop with an Intel Core i5 eighth-generation processor or the AMD Ryzen 5000.
Intel i7 or Ryzen 7000 is also a good one if you can afford it.
For a gaming laptop, an i7 or even an i9 chip would work best. But, with the extra power, you’ll have to sacrifice battery life.
Do I Need a Graphics Card?
Technically, any laptops you purchase will have a graphics card.
Most graphic cards are placed in the motherboard with the processor. This is known as integrated graphics and should be fine for more users.
But, if you’re a gamer or a professional video editor, we suggest you get yourself a separate and more powerful GPU.
AMD and NVIDIA are the most popular for making graphic cards on laptops.
How Much RAM Should A Laptop Have?
RAM or Random-access memory is what your laptop uses to hold data. So, the more RAM, the better.
If you’re an average Windows user, 8 gigabytes of RAM will be more than enough for you. But, if you want, you can upgrade your laptop to 16 GB. This will make your laptop more capable, especially for gaming.
For Chromebook, you get away with 4 GB of RAM. This is because it requires less, to begin with.
What Laptop Size Should You Choose?
When it comes to laptops, getting the right size is extremely important. It is not like RAM or ROM that you can upgrade later.
Typically, laptop sizes range from 11.6 inches to 17.3 inches.
Brands such as HP, Dell, and ASUS offer only three display sizes:
Whereas some companies also sell sizes such as:
If portability is a concern, then we suggest you go with a smaller size. They’re also thinner and lighter, so they’re easy to carry around.
It’s important to mention that smaller laptops don’t support the same high-end Intel Core CPUs or discrete graphics cards you’ll be able to find on larger laptops.
Besides size, there are also different classes of laptops that you can choose from.
Ultrabooks are lightweight and thin. But, they will not deliver you high-end performance. For example, Asus Vivobook Pro 15 OLED and HP’s Elite Dragonfly Max.
If you want both power and portability, we suggest you go with Notebooks. You can start with Lenovo Yoga 9i or HP’s Envy x360.
Convertibles are also known as two-in-one laptops. They allow you to fold in the keyboard and use it as a tablet. Examples include Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and HP Chromebook x2 11.
Where to Buy Laptops?
Here comes the most difficult part. Laptop stores are always a hassle to navigate.
You have two options. You can either purchase directly from the manufacturer’s website or a major retailer.
Some examples of manufacturer’s websites are:
However, these websites can be overwhelming since they insist on listing every possible configuration separately.
On the other hand, laptop retail sites use misleading prices. For example, Lenovo always lists exceptionally high prices and sells them at a discount.
Even if you decide to buy from the manufacturer, don’t forget to check prices on Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H.
You want to pay attention to the details and read all the specifications.
It’s also a good idea to check the warranty. You never know when something can go wrong with your laptop.
With laptops, it’s rarely ever a case of one size fits all.
Therefore, it’s important to buy a laptop according to what you’ll actually be using it for.
Some people look for light and portable ones, whereas some require discrete graphics for things like video editing or running high-end games.
Therefore, research is key.
You can do this by reading laptop reviews as well as comparisons to find the one that’s the most suitable for your needs.