Searching for a suitable laptop for your needs can be cumbersome and even frustrating for some. But for tech enthusiasts, like me, it’s an interesting adventure. So, I’ve written this article to help you find the perfect laptop you need. At the end, I’ll also recommend a few laptops that will be suitable for different types of users. Here’s the most comprehensive laptop buying guide.
Follow along and by the end of this article you’ll be able to properly research in order to find the laptop that will meet your needs.
The most important thing to look for in a laptop is performance. Buy a low-powered laptop, and you’ll regret your decision for eternity.
It’s preferable to buy a laptop that is sufficiently powered or a bit over-powered. First, you need to understand what you’re willing to get out of your laptop – you might be just browsing the web, check the mail or gaming, video editing and other intensive tasks.
Let’s go over what you need to check to ensure you have proper power to perform your tasks.
This is the heart of your laptop. You simply cannot underestimate this while choosing your laptop. You might be like, “What the hell are those numbers? I don’t understand them!” But don’t worry. Most people are overwhelmed by this or simply don’t understand what it is and decide to skip it.
Don’t be that person!
It’s okay to not understand so much about processors. But don’t buy a laptop without properly researching about the processor online. Sure, Celeron can sound more interesting than Core i3. But, you’d be surprised by the difference in their performance.
So, research about the performance of the processor of the laptop that’s on your wishlist. Just go to Google and search: ‘processor model + performance’. You should also compare it with other processors in the same price range to see which one performs better.
Another, thing you need to consider is which companies’ processor you want. 98% of people stick with Intel or AMD. (Yeah, I made up the percentage but nearly everyone choose from them. Heck, I don’t even know any other company that makes processors for desktops or laptops!)
Generally speaking, Intel’s processors are more efficient and reliable. AMD’s ones are more powerful for less money. Now, decide which one seems better to you.
- If you want a basic laptop to browse the web, see movies and do other low-intensive stuff, something as powerful as the Intel i3 7th generation will get your job done. Even a 6th gen one will get you through.
- For serious gaming consider something as powerful as the Intel i7 9th or 8th gen. However, most games will run smoothly on Intel’s i5 8th gen processor too.
- For video editing or 3D modelling, i5 8th gen is good, but if you have the money, go for i7.
RAM is another concept a lot of people cannot grasp. Well, it allows the computer to store and access information. This information is not stored permanently, but is actually temporary.
Always remember – The more, the better!
All applications consume RAM. And you need to ensure that you have enough of it!
RAMs come in different memory capacities, like 4 GB, 8 GB, etc – the more, the better. You don’t want to get ‘just enough’. Always go for higher RAM, if possible. Keep as much headroom as possible.
Other than memory capacity, you need to consider the RAM speed. Again, the more, the better. Higher speeds allow faster for transfer of the stored information, enabling applications to perform better and more efficiently.
RAM speeds are shown like DDR3-1600. Here, DDR3 is the RAM type and provides a good idea of the RAM generation, speed and efficiency. The ‘1600’ is the RAM frequency. In this example, it is 1600 MHz. As you can probably guess, higher is better.
Right now, DDR4 is the latest. But DDR5 RAMs are currently in the development process.
- For normal day-to-day usage, 8 GB RAM is just fine.
- Go for 16 GB or more if you’ll play games or perform more intensive tasks.
Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
The GPU is another important aspect in deciding your computer’s performance. All the graphics processing and software GUIs are made possible with the help of a GPU.
All laptop processors come with a built-in GPU but those are fairly low powered. However, most tasks there is no need for a dedicated GPU. You can easily go by with the built-in GPUs. Nowadays, built-in GPUs have become quite capable and many games and softwares run without needing a dedicated high power graphics card.
So, don’t keep dedicated GPU at the top of your priority list.
If, you are a hard-core gamer, game developer or something along those lines, you might want to buy a laptop with a dedicated GPU. It provides a substantial increase in graphics performance but is more power hungry. So, keep in mind that your battery life will not be something extravagant. And you also lose portability to some extent.
Your laptop screen is your primary source of content consumption. Ensuring that it meets your requirements is quite important. When it comes to displays, you have mostly two things to keep in mind – size and resolution.
Another thing to keep in mind is whether you need a touchscreen or not. Now, touchscreen can be tempting but as many big tech YouTubers have pointed out, they rarely use the touchscreen functionality. Well, who wants a greasy screen?
However, if that’s your thing, go with it!
When searching for laptops, you’ll mostly come across 13.3″ models or 15.4″ ones. They are the most common and both has its own advantages and disadvantages as mentioned below.
Advantages of 13.3″ Screen:
- Greater portability. Small screen means small size, and hence greater probability. Its weight is also less.
- More battery life – Due to the small screen, less power is consumed which ensures a greater battery life.
Disadvantages of 13.3″ Screen:
- Less screen real estate. You’ll be able to view less content due to smaller screen size.
For students who mostly use their laptops for school-related work, homework, etc. a 13.3″ laptop is a great buy.
Advantages of 15.4″ Screen:
- Bigger screen is always better in media consumption. Whether you are watching movies, reading books, playing games or doing some editing, a bigger screen is always beneficial.
- Bigger screen size allows for more space inside the laptop. Most companies utilise this extra space to provide a bigger battery.
Disadvantages of 15.4″ Screen:
- Bigger screen means you have to sacrifice on portability and suffer from a heavier weight. Although some 15.6″ laptops are portable, they are generally a bit difficult to carry around.
For more professional and heavy users, 15.6″ laptops are more suitable.
Resolution matters more to video editors, gamers and people who consume enormous amounts on content from their screens. A good resolution ensures that objects, texts, etc. displayed on the screen are sharp, ie. not pixelated.
Screen resolution means number of pixels on your screen. Higher is better, again! For example, 1280 x 720 pixels (or 720p) means 1280 horizontal pixels and 720 vertical pixels.
Most laptops have 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. However, laptops with FHD screens (1920 x 1080 pixels aka 1080p) are coming up. It’s better to have a full HD screen as it will ensure that the screen is sharp. You can go for a higher resolution such as 2K or 4K, but they will cost much more.
Different laptops have different designs, and it completely depends on personal preference. But let’s break down the different design trends to see which is more preferable.
In recent years, most laptops are aiming for a smaller footprint, less bulk and thinner design. This type of design was brought to the world by Apple with their MacBook Air. Recently, most companies are trying to build laptops which resemble (a lot) the MacBook Pro.
Thin aluminium build, strong and dense structure and minimalist – Jony Ive’s vision (which is now being followed by many companies).
This is good for the consumers who can now buy laptops which look amazing and run on Windows.
The more beefy gaming computers are not getting any slimmer, however. Buying a gaming laptop gives you more performance on the graphics side, but dies down on the portability.
It’s 2019 and by now you probably know what bezels are. Companies are obsessed with removing as much bezel as possible, and rightly so.
Bezels are mostly useless, other than protecting the screen in case of accidents. Removal of bezels allow laptops to have a bigger screen while at the same time have a smaller footprint.
Thin black bezels not only look nice, but also reduce distractions.
The new edge-to-edge or infinity displays are the trend nowadays.
Apple has made the most noticeable changes to their keyboards. In a move to make their laptops slimmer, they also make the keyboard as slim as possible. This results in a drastic decrease in key travel. The new butterfly keyboards also reduce the sound of key press dramatically and enables a quiet typing session. Not many people like this, but I love Apple’s keyboards. If you’re hesitant about it, go to the nearest Apple Store and try out the keyboard there.
Microsoft has gone a different look. Instead of charging the keyboard itself, they have changed the ‘feel’ of the keyboard. Fully covered with alcantara, it looks and feels premium. The soft touch of alcantara compliments long typing sessions. However, with use, the alcantara gets dirty and starts looking, well, dirty!
Gaming laptops always seem to make no effort to reduce their bulk. RGB and mechanical keys are what compose the keyboard of gaming laptops.
Gamers swear by these!
Touchpad is the most important mean with which you interact with the laptop. Having a nice, big touchpad will save you from suffering from hours of frustration.
Apple has been shining in the touchpad field. Big, comfortable touchpad is what makes their MacBook experience the best. The new solid-state touchpads are so responsive and comfortable to use. The big size makes it a lot easier to use too. You are not cramped to a tiny space. To top it off, the macOS gestures are something to behold – they just make multitasking so much pleasing!
Windows laptops too have improved in this sector. But no one can come close to what MacBooks offer. Windows gestures work, but they are not as intuitive and pleasing.
In this section I’ll suggest some laptops for different types of users. You can click on the links along with them too to check out the laptop on Amazon.
- Budget Laptop – Acer Aspire 5 (Lite)
- Casual Users – Lenovo IdeaPad 330
- Serious Users – Apple MacBook Air
- Light Gamers – Acer Aspire 5
- Serious Gamers – MSI Gaming GE63
- Programmers / Creators / Editors – Apple MacBook Pro
- Creator (Windows) – Microsoft Surface Book 2
- Editor (Windows) – Dell XPS 13
I perfectly understand that the above mentioned products may not be within one’s budget.
Even though I’ve tried to include cheaper laptops, it is perfectly understandable that the above mentioned products may not be within one’s budget.
In that case, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) right away letting me know of your budget and usage purpose. I’ll give a prompt answer!
Contact here – https://thereviewologists.com/contact
We have covered all the important fields that you need to know about when purchasing a laptop. We will continue to improve and add new information as needed to keep this laptop buying guide helpful at all times.
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