Things consider when buying a new laptop

  • Size: Depending on what you plan to be doing with your next laptop, you’ll want to make sure you pick the size that’s the right fit for you. Size isn’t like the RAM or ROM of a laptop, you can’t upgrade it later. You’re locked into whatever you select up-front, so choose wisely.
  • Screen quality: These days, touchscreens are very common and they can make some tasks easier than others. Unfortunately, they can also add a glossiness to the display which is sometimes undesirable. Glossy screens lead to reflections, which are a definite negative if you’re gaming, watching content or editing images and video content. For these reasons, you might want to consider a laptop that doesn’t have a touchscreen. Next up, be sure to look at the resolution on any laptop you’re thinking of buying.
  • Keyboard quality: For long typing sessions, you’ll need to get a laptop that has a comfortable keyboard. You don’t want to get a keyboard that packs in every key under the sun (think keyboards that have squished in number pads) because that can translate to a poor overall user experience when hunting for specifics like the arrow or delete keys.

You want a keyboard that has a comfortable layout with full-sized keys and some space around the arrow keys. The keys should have adequate travel on the downstroke and snappy responsiveness when you let them go. Make sure the keyboard is also backlit, so that you can type with an easier view on the keys in dimly lit environments.

  • RAM: More RAM allows for more applications to be run at the same time, and for more data to be quickly accessible by the system at any one time, which comes in handy for tasks such as editing photos or video content. 8GB of RAM should suffice for most users.
  • CPU: The processor is one of the most important components because it’s the brain of the laptop. Whether you’re pressing a key or opening a file, the processor is what that executes the command. For simple tasks like surfing the web or writing an impassioned e-mail, we’d recommend a dual-core processor. This allows you to have several windows and apps open at once. While dual-core CPUs are fine for multitasking, they’re not always great for tasks like gaming or photo editing.

If you need the best performance, we’d recommend opting for an Intel Core i7 CPU, as it’s good for multimedia tasks. For music or photo editing software, you should get a processor with a multi-core setup. Basically, the more cores you have, the better performance will be.

  • Storage: Hard drives used to be all the rage, but these days they’ve mostly out of favour, especially for thin and light laptops. This is because they can be slow, somewhat bulky, and produce noticeable heat and noise.

A solid state drive (SSD), on the other hand, offers a lot more speed than a hard drive, runs silently, and can be installed in a form factor that doesn’t add too much to the weight and bulk of a laptop. The only problem is that SSDs don’t offer as much capacity. This means that SSD storage is often more expensive in terms of dollars-to-gigabytes than traditional hard drives.  You’ll be stuck with a drive that’s either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB in size, but costs a lot more than one with a 1TB or 2TB hard drive would.

To compensate, many laptop and PC OEMs now pair a smaller SSD with a larger hard drive. This allows consumers to get the speed benefits of keeping their operating system on SSD storage while also having adequate storage space for the rest of their data.

  • Battery life: Manufacturer-quoted battery life is almost never indicative of what the real-world experience of using a laptop is like. There are simply too many variables that affect battery life. There is the screen brightness, the screen resolution, the number of applications you have running in the background plus whether or not you actively remain connected to Wi Fi networks or Bluetooth devices.

The operating system a laptop runs on can also play a major role in determining battery life. It’s for this reason that ultrabooks and convertibles running on Chrome OS tend to offer superior battery life than those running on Windows 10.

If you run programs that need lots of processing, stream lots of online video, play graphics-intensive games or if you transfer lots of files over a wireless network, then your battery will drain a lot sooner than what the vendor has quoted.

A good practice here is to look at the rating of the battery in Watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh). The larger these figures are, the longer the battery can last. For a 13.3in Ultrabook, for example, a battery with a rating from 44Wh to 50Wh will give you the best results.

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