Laptop sales now account for almost 75% of all computer sales in terms of revenue. So with desktops on their way out, there’s more choice than ever on the market.
Some people want an ultraportable that is light and easy to carry around with them. Meanwhile, others prefer something more powerful and durable. There are also different price ranges to consider when buying a laptop.
You can sell your old laptop for cash, or you can spend thousands on a top-of-the-line model. This laptop guide to buying will help you decide which type of laptop is best for your needs.
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Know Your Use Case
The first step in buying a laptop is deciding why you need it. Do you want an ultraportable that’s light and easy to carry around? Or do you prefer something with more power, like a desktop replacement or gaming notebook?
There are plenty of options out there. But if you don’t know your use case, you may end up spending too much money on a machine that doesn’t fit your needs.
For example, a high-end gaming laptop might be perfect for someone who wants to play games at home. But it might not be so great for someone who only uses their laptop for work.
If you’re looking for a new laptop, you should start thinking about how you plan to use it.
Suppose you have specific requirements, such as needing a touchscreen. Then make sure that you look into those features before making any other decisions.
Platform of Choice
Choosing an operating system should be your first port of call, and some use cases need specific operating systems. For example, if you plan on using Microsoft Office often, Windows 10 Home or Pro will work as the best business laptop platform for your needs.
And if you’re a developer, you’ll want to run Linux with its open-source functionality, and it’s this vast flexibility that makes it the perfect coding machine.
But suppose you want something simple and lightweight, then a Chromebook’s always-connected features at a low price point would be perfect for you.
Or, if you’re an iPhone user, look into the Macbook Air or Pro. These models come preloaded with Apple’s iOS software, and what’s more, they offer amazing battery life and performance.
All this coupled together means you have perfect compatibility with the Apple ecosystem.
If you have a budget, you can get away with choosing from any form factor. Yet, if you want a powerful device, you’ll want to opt for one of these laptop models:
A notebook is a general laptop for everyday use. Often, notebooks tend to be lighter than their desktop counterparts, and they usually come with larger screens. Chromebooks are good examples of notebooks.
A convertible laptop has two modes: tablet mode and laptop mode. A convertible laptop is ideal for people who spend most of their time in tablet mode.
You can convert between them by flipping the screen over. This type of laptop also tends to be thinner and lighter than other laptops.
An ultrabook is a powerful high-end laptop that delivers in a slim form factor. These have a premium price tag, often seen, and they’re more durable than traditional notebooks.
The total storage space of a laptop indicator represents the number of gigabytes it has. A typical entry-level laptop will have between 8 GB and 16 GB of internal memory, and more expensive models often come with more memory.
A solid-state drive is faster than a hard disk drive. Choose an SSD for gaming and multimedia applications where high-end laptop specifications are a must.
That said, they tend to be pricier, and hard drives are cheaper and work well for everyday tasks.
RAM is another important consideration when it comes to storage capacity. RAM allows your computer to process data fast. The higher the amount of RAM, the better.
There are three main types of technology used in LCDs today: IPS, TN and VA. Each technology offers different benefits and drawbacks.
IPS displays offer great viewing angles and color accuracy. But they aren’t suitable for outdoor activities due to sunlight reflection issues.
On the flip side, TN displays offer excellent contrast and color accuracy. Yet, their viewing angle isn’t as wide as IPS panels. Finally, VA displays provide the widest viewing angle and highest brightness levels.
The resolution of the screen also matters. Most modern laptops feature Full HD displays, and higher resolutions such as QHD and UHD are available. But they’re not as common in laptops as the average user can see little difference.
Graphics cards and sound cards have only recently come to the fore in laptops. That’s down to recent vast improvements in modern technology. It’s now easier than ever to game and partake in media editing on these compact devices.
Make sure to look for a chipset that supports the latest generation graphics card and audio technologies. You can find more information on Intel’s Evo Performance technology by clicking the link.
While the battery life is less of an issue nowadays, thanks to fast charging technologies, it still plays a role in how long your laptop lasts.
Most manufacturers recommend keeping your laptop plugged in while you sleep, thanks to adaptive technology. That way, it won’t drain the battery overnight.
It’s not uncommon for a laptop battery to last anywhere from 3 hours to 12 hours, depending on how heavy the workload is.
Wi-Fi connectivity is essential for most users. In addition to Wi-Fi, many laptops now include Bluetooth 5.1, and some models even support dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking.
But if you’re a gamer or need a stable internet connection, opt for a laptop with a LAN port. These allow you to connect a LAN cable straight into your laptop from the router.
That setup is most popular with gamers as they need a fast internet connection without the dropouts and latency with Wi-Fi connectivity.
Accessory Ports and Peripherals
USB ports are also useful for connecting peripherals like keyboards and mice. USB Type C connectors are becoming increasingly popular because they’re reversible and don’t require dongles.
If you want to use headphones or speakers, look for a model with headphone jacks instead of using adapters.
When shopping for a keyboard, consider its size and layout. If you plan on typing a lot, you’ll want one with full-sized keys.
Look for a keyboard with a backlighting system too. Backlit keyboards make working in low-light conditions easier.
Touchpads are located under the display. They’re generally larger than trackpads, so that you may prefer one over the other.
Some laptops come equipped with a fingerprint reader, which is ideal for biometric logins.
You can also buy third-party security accessories. One example is the top-end Yubico Security Keys, a more secure tech than biometrics.
If you have sensitive information stored on your laptop, ensure it’s encrypted, and a password will be enough to keep others out.
But if you want to protect your data, you should get a TPM chip that sits right into the motherboard.
And check for the lifetime of the operating system and updates. Most laptops are covered for 3-5 years from the manufacturing date, not the purchase date if you’re buying an older model. So be prepared to upgrade sooner than you first thought if you want to stay safe.
Look at the build quality of the laptop before buying. The chassis should feel sturdy and well made. Avoid cheap plastic-looking laptops.
You should also check the warranty period. Many companies offer warranties ranging from 1 year to 5 years. Make sure you understand what this means.
For example, some companies only cover repairs within the first 30 days. Others cover repairs regardless of when they happen. Warranty coverage varies by region, so check your local laws before purchasing.
Upgrades and Longevity
Make sure that your laptop is well-supported for years to come with updates on the software side. And, if needed, check you can upgrade internal components as well. Laptop upgrades are most important for gamers who need high RAM power.
Software upgrades are also vital for security too. Software patches help prevent viruses and malware so you can be sure you won’t get infected.
The Ultimate Laptop Guide to Buying
Buying a new laptop is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. We’ve done all the hard work for you, though!
Whether you’re after a gaming PC, a budget laptop, a travel companion, or something to do homework on, we’ve got you covered with our expert advice.
Now you’re armed with everything you need to find the laptop that’s right for you thanks to this laptop guide to buying. So keep reading our articles for the more awesome advice and top-quality content!