Setting out to purchase a new laptop can be a daunting task. No matter the price range, there numerous outstanding laptops to choose from on the market today. From the design, size, connectivity and storage options – the selection process can be overwhelming.
You must take into consideration your personal needs and answer the right questions. Is it lightweight? Can it handle multimedia tasks? Does it fit within your budget?
Be diligent in research and be open to reading product and user reviews. But in order to make the best decision, here we list below the top points to consider before purchasing a new laptop.
If work demands you to travel frequently, make portability a top priority. Consider a laptop with a smaller screen, that is crafted to be light and slim. Try for an 11 to a 13-inch screen that weighs below three pounds with strong battery life.
Do you have poor eyesight or suffer from headaches? Look for a screen that you find comfortable to look at. Since you will most likely end up staring at your laptop screen for multiple hours. Consider how the screen appears in different angles when there are multiple programs opened side by side. Very glossy touch screens lead to reflections which are not good for gamers, or online photo or video editors. If you are not a fan of scrolling too often, purchase a high definition screen laptop with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Modern laptops now offer 4K resolutions, but be prepared to pay a lot more.
Design and Form
If portability is not your top priority then a basic clamshell laptop that is in between the 13 to 15-inch screen range should be adequate for your basic work or personal needs. But if you are not keen on carrying anything heavy, try to look on the market for ultrabooks that weigh a little over two pounds. If money is not a problem, there are laptops manufactured to allow you to turn the screen all the way around. This new but pricey design can make you use your laptop as a tablet too.
The Central Processing Unit or CPU is one of the most essential components when selecting a laptop because it serves as the brain of your laptop. The processor is the system that executes the command for simple tasks like opening a file. If your needs fall into basic web surfing and email writing, opt for a dual-core processor. This enables you to have several apps or windows open at the same time. Remember, the more cores you have the better the performance will be. A more powerful processor, however, is recommended if you are using a laptop for gaming or photo editing and music software.
Random-access memory or RAM enables you to work with more information, and multitask all at the same time. 4GB RAM is a good place to start. It is adequate for basic tasks like browsing online, checking emails, and watching movies and listening to music, etc. If you are a journalist or a photographer who needs a photo editing software, for example, it is suggested to look for a laptop with up to 8GB RAM.
The only downfall to consider with the more powerful RAM is the shelf life of the battery. Your laptop will be drained quicker and you will need to charge it frequently. But if you’re on the road more often, then you might need to opt for a lower RAM to save on battery life while traveling.
An HDD or computer hard disk drive (HDD) is a non-volatile memory hardware that controls the reading and writing of the hard disk, which supports data storage. It is most commonly used as the main storage device in computers. They can, however, be slow, noisy and bulky. A solid-state drive SSD for laptops offers more speed than a hard drive and runs quietly, and does not add too much weight to the bulk of a laptop. Today more laptop manufacturers have embraced the use of SSD storage. Compare the laptop specs and choose the one that offers sufficient storage for your specific work needs.
Choose a laptop with multiple connectivity options. It is recommended to purchase a laptop with a couple of USB ports, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. SD card slots are beneficial if you work as a photo editor, as it makes transferring multiple photos efficiently.
For writers who go on long typing sessions, choose a laptop with a comfortable keyboard. Choose a good layout with full-sized keys and space between the arrow keys. The keys should provide sufficient space on the downstroke and timely response when you let go of a letter key. It might also help to choose a keyboard that is slightly backlit, so it can be easier to view in lowly lit situations.
Screen brightness, resolution, the number of applications running on your laptop are all factors that affect your battery life. If you run a number of programs that require processing, transfer multiple files on a wireless network or play videos and graphic-heavy games your laptop battery life will drain very fast.
Search for a laptop that has a high rating on the battery in Watt-hours (Wh) or its milliamp-hours (mAh). The larger the numbers, the longer the battery will last.