The amelioration in the laptop industries have been on a spree in the past decade. Tech Tycoons like Dell, ASUS, Lenovo, Microsoft and Apple have been launching models after models to compete against each other.
With so many varieties to choose from, customers are having a hard time selecting one. However, the varieties are not only to blame here. The personal preferences of the users also play a big hand in their confusion. Since there is not one single kind of user, there is also not one kind of preference.
While some are selective of the brand, others are more into the hardware specifications of the laptop. Some prioritize the design while others the battery life. At the end, what everyone wants is a laptop worth his or her money. Here are tips on 10 factors that will help you buy a laptop for all your needs.
The CPU is the pivot of a whole laptop and it is where all the calculations and thinking happen. Therefore, it would be obvious for you to choose a faster and powerful processor, but what people often do not take into consideration is that – more powerful the laptop, the faster will your battery drain.
People simply go for high-end processors without actually knowing if they have the use of it or not. Before buying your next laptop, understand the capability of each processor.
The companies – AMD and Intel, have made the two more prominent processors in laptops. While AMD processors appear only in budget laptops and provide an average performance, Intel has been ruling the market of high-end laptops.
Launching processors on a regular basis, Intel makes sure to provide CPUs that can handle any task. Recently, AMD also launched a new Ryzen Mobile platform, which has made them step up into the big leagues again. Hence, the two processors you can choose from are by Intel or AMD.
Another common question is regarding the Core i3, i5 and i7.To explain it in simple words, processors with Core-i3 are the slowest, Core- i5 are faster, Core-i7 are faster than Core-i5, Core-i9 are faster than Core-i7 and so on.
The Core-i5 model is adequate for daily use, which does not consist of long hours of gaming or graphic designing. For that, the Core-i7 would be the ideal choice. Core-i3 laptops will be suitable only if you have minimal and light work on the laptop like browsing internet, reading and editing documents, watching videos, working with a single task at a time and similar work.
The i5 and i7 provide turbo boost and some of the Intel’s new processors are only available in i5 and i7. Hence, going for an Intel processor with at least an i5 core would be advisable.
Other option that you will have is different generations. While the Coffee Lake (8th gen) is a huge performance upgrade over its predecessor Kaby Lake (7th gen), it is only recommended if you do not have a budget constraint, or else the 7th generation core processors are also reliable in themselves.
For those who want to go beyond the eighth gen, Intel has recently launched their ninth and tenth gen core processors for laptops, making them quite expensive but powerful at the same time.
Graphics Processor Unit
Your Graphics Processor Unit is as important as your CPU. It is responsible for accelerating the 3D visuals in gaming and making sure that tools like Adobe Creative Suite run smoothly, hence making them important for gamers and graphic designers. It can make an effect that would not be possible with the CPU alone.
The two companies that are currently making GPU for every laptop out there are NVIDIA and AMD. The most famous line of GPU by NVIDIA is GeForce and Quadro while of AMD is Radeon and Radeon Pro.
The GeForce and Radeon are Inclined towards the gaming aspect while the Quadro and Radeon Pro are mostly opted by professionals. These both cards cost much higher than regular GPUs and provide the same hardware specifications like the ones found in cheaper gaming cards.
What makes these cards different is that they are designed to support and enhance the working of specific software. Hence purchasing them would be a smart choice if your livelihood depends on certain software.
The GeForce and Radeon are more inclined towards gaming. They are designed to enhance your gaming experience. Hence, the first thing you should decide is for what are you going to use this laptop. Other things you should consider are the other specifications of your laptop. If you have a 4K resolution display, you will need a graphic card with more memory. Hence, while choosing your GPU, also consider the display you are working with.
The Random Access Memory (RAM) is another important parameter of your laptop. Although available from as small as 4GB and the highest being 32GB, there are certain factors that will help you finalize how much RAM will you be actually requiring.
Firstly, it depends on the amount of work you expect to be simultaneously doing on a laptop. If it is quite high then you will require a higher RAM. However, the memory can only make the laptop faster only to a certain extent, but after that the speed also depends on the other components. Hence, if you have a powerful RAM, you also need other powerful components to work together with it.
Devices, which primarily work in the cloud like the Chromebook, require minimum RAM of even 4GB to function efficiently. However, for windows and MacBook, a minimum of 8GB RAM is suggested, as they come with the latest processors which require tremendous amount of memory to function smoothly.
For gamers and Graphic designing professionals, it is safer to go for 16GB or higher RAM to ensure that there is no sort of hindrance or shortage of memory during their tasks. Professionals who want to edit large videos or photo files on their laptop only require a memory beyond 16GB. If you don’t plan to change your laptop for a long time, it would be better to buy one with a little higher RAM than your requirements, as it is not as easy as a computer when it comes to upgrading the memory.
Laptop models can come with variations in specifications such as processor, GPU and storage, which in turn vary the pricing of the laptop. There are two types of storage a laptop can have. One is HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and SSD (Solid State Drive).
The HDD has a spinning metal disk on which the information is stored and uses mechanical arm with a read/write head to move around the wheel accessing the data. On the other hand, the SSD is the modern way of storing the data. In this, the information is stored on microchips. This way, it becomes easier to access the data and there is less noise created than HDD.
They also have very less boot up time and consume less power. Although it is a more efficient way to store data, it is costlier than HDD. Hence, addition of an SSD to your configuration increases the price of your laptop significantly. If speed is that you require then, it is better to opt for SSD, or else you can also go for a combination of SSD and HDD.
The storage spaces also vary in capacity. HDD can vary between 160GB to 2TB (2000 GB) and SDD varies from 64GB to 1TB. The selection of the storage capacity is another factor that governs the pricing of the laptop. One should decide what kind of work they would need to do on their laptop and select their storage accordingly.
If it is going to be used for light work such as emails or browsing and day-to-day things being stored, then a 256 to 500 GB HDD will be sufficient. However, if the use is for gaming or graphic designing then a minimum of 1TB HDD is required. If your laptop is going to be replacing your desktop or other laptop and storing all its files like images and videos, a minimum of 750GB storage is recommended.
While your processors and drivers are responsible for making your laptop efficient, your display decides how good your viewing experience is. There are three things you should consider while choosing your display, namely screen size, resolution and screen type.
Screen sizes are basically the diagonal measure of the screen. Standard notebooks have a screen size ranging from 10.6 inches to 18.4 inches. Your screen size is decided by whether you will be carrying your laptops at all times or will it be replacing your desktop at workplace or home. In the case, you will be carrying it with you wherever you go, a 14-inch screen is recommended, as it will make your laptop more portable and easy to carry.
However, you will have the constraint of working on a small screen. On the other hand, if your laptop is going to have a permanent place, a 15.6-inch screen is an ideal choice as it is more comfortable in terms of viewing experience but, will in turn decrease the portability. While there are displays as small as 12.6-inch or less available but, they are least recommended for some particular use.
The resolution of the display is the most important factor. The fundamentals of a display are pixels, which are a series of dots. More the pixels, better is the resolution. There are numerous variations in the resolutions available these days.
The resolution you can find in a very cheap laptop is a HD(not Full HD) display where resolution is 1366×768 and the best goes up to 2560×1440 pixels which being Ultra HD(4Kresolution) or even better with upcoming technology like 5K and more. Unless you have a budget constraint, it is always recommended to buy a laptop that has a resolution of 1920×1080 (FHD) at least.
Users also have the liberty of choosing whether they want their display to be touch screen of non-touch screen. With that, they also get to choose if their display is LCD, LED or OLED. While the basic combination of Non-touch and LCD is found in much of the low-end laptops, they fail to give the best viewing experience.
Many users prefer touch Laptops as it helps them to get the feel of a tablet a little bit. The LED and OLED displays give out the best Nits rate, which in turn is responsible for the detailed pictures on the screen. The choices in this section of the laptop are completely dependent upon the preferences of the user and hence can be decided by them to increase or decrease the total price of their laptop.
Even though your laptop may have the best of the best configuration, it won’t be of any use if you have to keep running to find a charging port frequently. The battery life of a laptop is a key factor one should take into consideration while making a purchase.
Although the duration of the battery life is dependent more on your use, it is also affected a by the hardware configuration. The more powerful GPU and processors are, the faster the battery gets drained. Hence, finding a balance between the hardware specifications and battery life is important.
For a user who is always on the go, a laptop with longer battery life (minimum of 10 hours) is suggested. For a user with a stationary workplace, the battery life can be compromised for the hardware specifications. Also, remember that you will always not get the promised battery life as the use varies on daily basis, hence choose the battery life with a range.
The notebooks and ultrabooks have quite the battery life but the same cannot be same for the laptops dedicated for gaming and graphic designing. These laptops have very powerful processors whose power supply cannot be hindered to alter their performance.
To preserve your battery and increase its lifespan, it is recommended to keep your laptop plugged in all the time. Lithium batteries that are being used have the tendency to disintegrate. Although there will be no immediate problems with leaving your laptop plugged in, it will slowly deteriorate the battery.
Operating System (OS)
Your operating system is the program that manages all the hardware and software of your laptop. Over the past decade, Windows and Mac OS have been the only two operating systems that have been preferred by the industries. All other companies except for Apple who have their own Operating system use windows. However, some may argue that there is a third competitor in this race and that is UNIX.
Due to MacOS, the basic choice users have to make is between Apple and all other companies. While there are ways to run windows on MacBook, it is not preferred by all. Linux, like the other two OS does not often come installed already and is free OS that allows modification in the operating system itself. To choose which operating system to go for, one must know if they require a Server OS or an Everyday OS.
An everyday OS runs all the basic programs including Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe Photoshop and games. It is recommended for your basic daily uses. On the other hand, Server OS platforms are mainly recommended for dedicated servers used to build a company’s specifications as it has great amount of memory and is optimized for a network of users, meaning it can handle multiple desktops at same time.
For a personal and everyday use, windows and Mac OS are an ideal choice. The designs of both of them are quite different but they offer the same features. Hence, it comes down to the preference of the user. Gamers and designers are more inclined towards Windows because most of the software are usually optimized for it and not Mac OS.
In the case of home servers, Mac OS is not a good option and it is recommended to go for the Linux Operating system. The system supports multiple users at a time, which is ideal for a home system where two or more laptops are connected to each other. The interface of all three operating system is different but the functions provided by them are the same. Hence, user should choose the one they are the most comfortable with.
The design of a laptop is not altered much. Most companies try to experiment with the design in the hope to invent a feature that the users absolutely find fascinating. There are only a few factors in the design of a laptop that can be varied such as its keyboard size, its track pad, its bezels, webcam and the position of the speakers.
The size of the keyboard can be altered in many ways. It can be made small to fit the center of the laptop, thus providing ample of space at the sides. Often we can see that laptops are missing the numeric keypad that is available on a standard computer keyboard, due to being found unnecessary.
The standard position of thee track pad has been below the keyboard in the laptop, but in recent years there have been models in which the keyboard and track pad lay side by side. While some find it very useful as it gives the feel of a desktop, other prefers the standard position.
The keys mechanism has also been modified quite often by the companies. With providing backlighting to the keys, they have also made the pressing mechanism very smooth, unlike the buttons on a traditional keyboard.
The bezels are the sides of the display of a laptop. They act as a protection for the display and are where the webcam and microphone is placed. Over the past few years, these bezels have kept becoming thinner in order to provide more display screen in smaller laptops.
The thinning of bezels has also led to the increase of pricing of laptops. Hence, people often adjust with little thicker bezels too. The webcam has been in its traditional place that is at the top-center of the bezel for decades now.
However, some companies decided to experiment with its position and place it at the bottom of the bezels and this idea has been disliked by majority of the users and has been rendered useless. Due to the thinning of the bezels, the size of the webcam has also diminished, but not decreasing the quality in majority of the cases.
The speakers have found their position changing from model to model. While often they have been placed at the side of the laptop, the newer models have them above the keyboard.
Although all laptops may seem to be same, they are often categorized lightly into different kinds. First comes the traditional laptops, which were designed as an alternative to computers. Most of your laptop models come under this category. They have the traditional display on one side and keyboard on the other side. There are no changes in the design whatsoever.
Next comes the notebooks, which are small in size and light in weight. They provide an excellent battery life and have been designed to fulfill the necessities of a user. They have a small display than the traditional laptops and are very easy to carry around. Although the previous notebooks were made with the idea of them being portable, the latest upgrades have also made them capable of performing high performance tasks.
They are laptops, which we often called desktop replacement. They are capable of performing all the tasks that can be done of a very powerful computer. These laptops are not only powerful but heavy also, making them recommended for a permanent workplace use. They are much powerful than the notebooks and have a larger screen than them too. The downside to these laptops is that they have a shorter battery life.
The other category of laptops is the 2-in-1.These laptops have the capability of working as both a laptop and a tablet. Hence, the display is touch screen and the keyboard is detachable or can be folded 360 degrees. They are designed to replace the traditional laptops and hence can run high-end software such as adobe Photoshop. They also have a long battery life and are quite handy due to their dual purpose.
The size of a laptop has a direct affect on its efficiency. The hardware components decide what a laptop can do but its size decides how efficiently it can work. When laptops are equipped with powerful processors and GPU, they need some cooling mechanism to deal with the heat generated by them.
The cooling mechanism is often in the form of fans and sometimes cooling liquid too. Unfortunately, many laptop models are flawed because they do not have the adequate size to fit all these components.
Although it is true that a thin laptop is easier to carry, it is also true that it should be able to perform efficiently. Companies are making thin chassis for their laptop in order to make it better for users to carry around, but at the same time providing very powerful components.
Even though the chassis can fit the components, it is not able to fit the adequate cooling system. Due to this, the laptop heats up fast and often break down. Hence, it is not advisable to compromise on the size of the laptop.
If you are buying a laptop for everyday use then you can fend off the heating with an exterior cooling pad also, but that cannot be the case for laptops that are designed for gaming and graphic designing, as their processors need an internal cooling system to cool off very quickly.
To conclude, there are many factors around which the buying of a laptop depends, which all revolve around your intended use of it. Hence, before purchasing a laptop, be clear of what you are going to use the laptop for, which will in turn make your selection easier.
There can be often cases where you have to compromise on more than one factors to get the specifications you need. Hence, always prioritize your needs over your wishes to buy a laptop worth your money.