Hi guys. I am back with a fabulous article on Top 5 Things You Need To Know Before Buying a Laptop. In this laptop buying guide, I will put out everything I know about what makes a laptop your best laptop. I have gained this information while I was going through my research to buy a computer.
And I know, how difficult it is to buy a new laptop or choose the best laptop from the vast number of laptops out there. It becomes complicated when you are a completely non-technical person, looking to buy a computer for personal, gaming or professional use. Gaming laptops are different from professional or laptops from personal usage. Further, the budget doesn’t allow you to buy the laptop which is guaranteed to be the best laptop.
So In this search to choose your best laptop, which suits your need, this laptop buying guide will be essential. Enough of chatter, let’s take a look at the top 5 things you need to know before buying your laptop.
Before I tell you how to judge the performance of a laptop. It is important to answer a simple question –
How will you use your laptop?
- Light Use – Buy a laptop for simple everyday activities like surfing the web, email, and social media, watching movies on Netflix or streaming content.
- Medium Use – Typing for work, browsing the web, editing documents, photos, and basic gaming. Medium use laptops are for students and professionals who do a lot of research and can have multiple reports or tabs open at the same time.
- Heavy and Demanding Use – Includes content creation, heavy programming, specialized applications such as AutoCAD, Photoshop and MATLAB, as well as heavy gaming.
PERFORMANCE = PROCESSOR + RAM + INTERNAL MEMORY + BATTERY + GRAPHICS CARD
A laptop’s performance is based on 5 main pillars –
- Internal Memory
- Graphics card
Each laptop’s specifications are different combinations of these 5 aspects.
Example: Intel Core i5 Processor, 4GB RAM, 500 GB storage, Nvidia Graphics card, 41 Watt-hour battery capacity
- The processor is your computer’s brain. The more powerful a brain, the more it can do and do it faster.
- Better the processor the more you can get done on your laptop. You should buy a laptop with a processor suitable for your work.
- Laptop processors are primarily made by two companies- Intel and AMD.
- Intel has its Pentium, Celeron and Core i3, i5, i7 series (in increasing order of processing power)
- AMD has A, FX and Ryzen series of processors (in increasing order of processing power)
More RAM = Better Multi-tasking
- RAM is internal memory which stores all open apps, files, and games you may be playing.
- More RAM allows more of them to be running simultaneously.
- Typically laptops come with 4, 8 or 16 GB of RAM.
- DDR 4: Faster, efficient power consumption
- DDR 3: Older, slower and consumes more power
Pro Tip: Buy a laptop with DDR4 RAM as it saves energy, improves battery life, and future-proofs your laptop. DDR3 RAMs are cheaper, but there is a good chance that DDR3 may soon become obsolete, and any upgrades will not be possible.
- With time, the applications and operating systems you use will be upgraded to newer versions and would need more RAM. This will cause slow down in performance or the computer system to hang frequently.
- This is when upgrading the RAM can keep the laptop usable for longer, especially if you have bought a laptop with just 4GB of RAM.
Pro Tip: For most users, I recommend to buy a laptop with 8GB RAM given how much RAM programs use today. However, if you plan on really heavy gaming, you should go for at least 16GB RAM.
- This is also referred to as the hard drive size or capacity of the laptop.
- Storage on a laptop is where the Operating System, documents, photos, apps, games and movies are stored.
- Without sufficient storage you will not be able to store all things and also speed will be slow.
Usually, laptop storage is of 3 types –
- Hard Disk Drive(HDD)
- Solid State Drive(SSD)
- Solid–State Hybrid Drive(SSHD)
- Bigger Battery = More Hours of Usage ( heavier laptop)
- Usually measured in Watt-Hour(WHr) More WHr = More battery life
- A graphics card is a dedicated chip inside your laptop, responsible for the quality of visuals you see on screen.
- Just like RAM the more the GBs in your graphics card, the smoother your games will run.
- Photo and Video Editing software like Photoshop, design software like AutoCAD, and of course most modern games require a dedicated graphics card to function smoothly.
While choosing the right display for your laptop, you will need to decide the right screen size and the right resolution for your usage.
- The screen comes in several sizes; all measured diagonally. The most common laptop screen size is 15.6 inches.
- There are also 11 inches, 13 inches going up to 17.3 inches on some hardcore gaming laptops.
- Larger screen size is ideal for gaming, photo or video editing. Your crush looks bigger on big screen size. Let’s make him/her brighter in the next section.
- Small screen size reduces the weight of your laptop and makes it easier to carry around.
It’s time for another pro tip of this laptop buying guide.
Pro Tip: If you need to carry your laptop around a lot, then consider a laptop with a display between 11 to 14 inches.
Higher Screen Resolution = Sharp, clear and rich visual experience
So now your crush looks bigger, brighter and better. Finally, something to cheer!!
- Screen Resolution is measured as the pixel count and is mentioned in horizontal and vertical pixel counts.
- The most common screen resolutions are
Pro Tip: Full HD is currently the recommended resolution as it is a balance between cost, good visuals, and battery life.
Screen Type: IPS (in-plane-switching) vs. Non-IPS (in-plane switching)
- For those looking for a best visual experience which means great looking colors and viewing angles, choose a laptop with an IPS display.
- If you are on a budget, you can just go for a display that is not IPS. It will also bring the cost of the laptop down.
- The refresh rate is the number of times an image is changed per second on the laptop screen.
- It’s measured in Hertz(Hz) or Frames per second(FPS).
- For gaming, you need a higher refresh rate.
- The standard refresh rate for laptops is 60Hz. Lower screen rate means your screen will not be able to keep up with the fast pace of gaming.
- Bezels are the black(usually) plastic border that surrounds the screen on your laptop.
- Laptop bezels may look ugly, but they protect the laptop screen from accidental damage.
- Similar to smartphones, Bezel-less is the new trend which allows more screen space without increasing the size of the body.
Matte vs. Glossy Display
|Matte Display||Glossy Display|
|Matte displays are more common as they don’t have reflections.||Glossy Displays are widespread on laptops and generally make the colors on the screen pop out.|
|They are best suited for people like graphic designers who need absolute clarity for work. These displays come at a premium cost.||They give reflections.|
3. Operating system
- The operating system controls the hardware of the laptop and allows other software to communicate with the hardware.
- It manages all software and hardware, including files memory and connected devices.
Pro Tip: If you are planning on exclusively Windows 10, it is often better to buy a laptop with preinstalled windows. A standalone Windows license usually costs more than the difference in price of a laptop with and without windows.
Pro Tip: If you plan to buy a Linux/DOS machine, and later install windows, make sure you contact a professional or download the correct drivers only from the manufacturer’s website.
These pro tips to buy laptop will definitely help you choose easily among the top laptops out there.
4. Ports & Connectivity
- The ports and connectivity options on your laptop define what all you can connect with your laptop like pen drive, external hard disk, mouse, projector, TV, headphones or to even charge your phone.
- Make sure your laptop has enough ports for connecting multiple ports simultaneously, especially the ones you will use most.
Different ports serve different purposes, but here are a few essential ones to look for:
These ports are used to connect regular USB devices like mobile phones, pen drive, etc. A higher number with the USB indicates a more top speed. Ex: USB 3.1 is faster than USB 3.0.
These ports provide faster data transfer, and smaller sized chargers compared o USB-A. You can use these to connect universal chargers and docks.
Use this port to directly connect microSD or SD memory cards to copy data from your DSLR or your phone.
With this connector, you can connect your laptop with an LED TV or projector.
This an older type of connector for TVs, monitors, and projectors.
This is the latest and fastest type of connector for laptops. Thunderbolt is a combination of Type C connector and Display port. Furthermore, it allows charging, connection with peripherals or displays with a single port. You can tell if a laptop has thunderbolt enabled USB C ports by looking for a lightning bolt next to it.
Basic Laptops | For everyday and lightweight use
- Basic laptops have a screen which folds down onto the keyboard and mousepad.
- They are generally less expensive than a touchscreen or 2-in-1 models.
- These are the most common and affordable laptops and are sufficient for most users.
Thin and Lightweight Laptops | For people on the Go
- These are below 1.8kgs in weight and usually, have a display size of 14 inches or lower.
- They are an excellent choice for those who want a powerful device they can take with them on the go.
- However, they are generally more expensive than basic or most business laptops.
Laptops with touch screen displays enable scribbling on the screen to edit documents directly with the help of a stylus or screen scrolling, zooming and other such controls using your fingers.
They function both as a laptop and a tablet, hence the name. There are two types of 2-in-1s :
- With a removable, the display of the laptop detaches from the keyboard, meaning you can use it as a tablet.
- Detachable 2-in-1s are slightly lower powered than convertible ones as they have limited space, processor and battery capacity.
- Some detachable laptops overcome this by including two processors(one in display and other in the main body) or only including a small battery in the display portion, and a larger battery to be used when display and keyboard are attached.
- In a convertible laptop, the screen can’t be detached.
- Instead, the screen can be rotated 360 degrees, meaning the keyboard goes on the bottom and the display goes on the top.
- The resulting form is a little thicker version of a tablet, but often more powerful thanks to extra space for internal components.
- Gaming laptops are equipped with powerful hardware and a sturdy design, IPS display, and a dedicated graphics card.
- Laptops to play games are generally heavier than basic or business laptops. Further, with that extra space, you get more powerful processors, widescreen IPS display, higher refresh rates, larger batteries, and GPUs.
It seems we have reached this ultimate laptop buying guide while will definitely help you come out from the laptop store with the best laptop in your hand. All the topics have been explained really well in this laptop buying guide. I hope you understand them well.
Finally, it’s time to bid adieu. Share this laptop buying guide with your colleagues, friends, and family so that they don’t buy a wrong laptop and regret later. Bye. Keep smiling!