11 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Laptop
- 0.1 1. How Powerful is the Laptop
- 0.2 2. Replaceable Parts
- 0.3 3. Choosing a Laptop Screen and Size
- 0.4 4. What OS Does It Use
- 0.5 5. Brand Matters
- 0.6 6. Built With Guaranteed Premium Features
- 0.7 7. Ports, Ports, Ports
- 0.8 8. Consider Storage Options
- 0.9 9. Visual Capabilities
- 0.10 10. Stick Within Your Budget
- 0.11 11. Always Check Consumer Reviews
Nearly 56% of the market share goes to mobile devices, beating desktop computers by a small margin. Mobile devices go beyond smartphones too: this list also includes laptops due to their portability.
It makes sense why laptops are becoming the go-to device for many. Due to the pandemic, more and more people choose to work or study from home. Even those who don’t prefer to carry something that allows people to continue their work, studies, and entertainment while on the go.
That said, you shouldn’t buy the first laptop you find. Choosing a laptop is a delicate process. These are expensive devices, after all, so make sure to consider the following factors to guarantee a worthwhile purchase:
1. How Powerful is the Laptop
The first thing to consider when buying a laptop is the overall performance. Always prioritize power so that you don’t end up with a potato that won’t get anything done. Even if you only need the laptop for basic office or school work, you shouldn’t settle for the weakest option in the market.
What should you look at to determine its power and performance? There are four main things to consider:
- the built-in motherboard
- graphics card (GPU)
- available memory (RAM)
At the very least, aim for a laptop with 4 GB RAM, an 11th-generation Intel i5, and a decent GPU. For those who intend to use the laptop for high-performance duties, like playing AAA video games, you’ll need 16 GB RAM, an 11th-generation Intel i7 or i9 processor, and a GPU from the Nvidia RTX 3000 series. You can also look for a laptop with AMD alternatives instead of Intel and Nvidia.
2. Replaceable Parts
Not every new laptop will last as long as it should. Some laptops use integrated parts, meaning the manufacturers soldered the chips to the motherboard. You won’t be able to replace and upgrade those parts in the future.
Some laptops, such as high-end Lenovo laptops or Dell laptops, allow you to replace things such as the hard drive, RAM cards, and graphic cards. Others won’t give you that opportunity but you can still work around these. There are options now to install an external GPU if you know what you’re doing.
Most laptops won’t allow you to upgrade or replace the processor. That’s already a given for most devices. With that in mind, make it a point to buy a laptop that already comes with the processor you need.
3. Choosing a Laptop Screen and Size
Don’t simply buy a laptop with a huge screen and 4K UHD resolution if you don’t need it. Base the size and screen capabilities according to the kind of laptop usage you expect to get out of the device.
Will you use the laptop for video games, 3D image rendering, video editing, or extensive multitasking? Get a laptop with a 17-inch screen or bigger and it should offer a higher resolution and refresh rate. If you only need the laptop for basic office work, such as school work and research, a 14-inch laptop will suffice.
Size and screen capability will affect portability. The bigger the laptop, the heavier it will be. A powerful laptop screen will also require a more powerful battery that could drain quickly with frequent use.
4. What OS Does It Use
Before choosing a laptop, make sure to check which operating system it runs on.
macOS is a good choice for people already accustomed to the Apple ecosystem. This is the ideal OS for people who use iPhones or iPads. They can easily synchronize their new MacBook to their Apple ID and access all their files, music, and apps.
Depending on what you need the laptop for, you could also consider OS options like Linux or Chrome OS.
However, for most people, Windows remains the best choice. Windows 10 is still the definitive option at the moment but Microsoft is currently rolling out Windows 11. One of the biggest new features available on Windows 11 is the ability to access and run Android games or apps on the desktop interface.
5. Brand Matters
Don’t ignore the value of recognizable brands when choosing a laptop. Why purchase a laptop from a brand you don’t know when there are options from Lenovo, Sony, Apple, Dell, and others?
Yes, buying a laptop from a known brand will cost you more. However, you’re also paying for the brand’s reliability and reputation. These brands grew popular for a reason: people know these brands offer durable and powerful laptops.
The problem with buying a laptop from an unknown brand is that there’s no guarantee you’ll get something worthwhile.
6. Built With Guaranteed Premium Features
Did you know some laptops now feature a label that guarantees premium features? There are ways to tell if a laptop is worth a high price tag simply by looking at the label it carries.
For example, Lenovo now features the Intel EVO platform. This ensures that the laptops you buy carrying that label has powerful parts for all your gaming, school, and office needs. You can learn how it works with this in-depth guide right here.
You’ll also find a similar guarantee whenever you buy a laptop carrying the Alienware or Republic of Gamers label. These labels, even without looking at the device’s specs, will tell you that these are powerful devices meant for premium use.
7. Ports, Ports, Ports
Choose a laptop that comes with modern ports. You’ll need them to connect other devices to the laptop.
Always look for a laptop that comes with USB 3 ports (either USB 3.0 or USB 3.1). Most flash drives, mobile hard drives, and connection cables rely on USB 3 technology. You can still use USB 2 flash drives or cables but data transfer will be much slower.
You should also look for a USB Type-C port. A lot of new phones, tablets, and other devices use USB C now. You should also check if the laptop carries a Thunderbolt port and at least one HDMI port.
The HDMI port will allow you to connect an additional monitor. This is the ideal setup for people who stream or multitask for work and school. You’ll be able to run the streaming software on one monitor while running a game or chat app on the other.
8. Consider Storage Options
Do you need a laptop with 2 TB of storage? That can come in handy but it will significantly increase the price tag. You can settle for a laptop with a 1 TB SSD hard drive and then expand your options with an external hard drive.
Always go for a laptop with an SSD (Solid State Drive). These don’t rely on mechanical moving parts, meaning you get fast data reading and writing. The one downside is that most SSD hard drives don’t offer a ton of storage space.
Older HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) can offer more storage but they are significantly slower and more prone to damages. All it takes is a light drop for an HDD to break apart.
9. Visual Capabilities
Does the laptop offer a screen that outputs in 4k UHD or 1080p? Those high-end resolution options are a must-have for people into AAA video games, video editing jobs, and other graphical tasks. However, that kind of screen will drain the battery for someone who only needs a laptop for research and documents.
Check if the screen is a touchscreen too. That might not offer much for gamers but it can come in handy for those who utilize a laptop’s tablet mode. It can be a useful feature for visual artists or students.
10. Stick Within Your Budget
With so many laptop options, it’s easy to simply settle for the most expensive one out there. Don’t always assume that the most expensive laptop is the best one. Follow the tips listed above to make sure you get the right one and for the budget you have.
How much should your budget be?
For low-end laptops, expect to spend from $400 to $900. Mid-range laptops can cost from $900 to $1,500. For premium laptops, such as Alienware gaming laptops, you can expect to pay more than $2,000.
11. Always Check Consumer Reviews
Choosing a laptop can become quite an overwhelming ordeal for people. You can make it a lot easier and simpler by reading a few reviews first. Don’t fret, you can trust online reviews because these come from consumers who already tried the laptop you like.
Get on YouTube and look for a video review. You should also look for an unboxing video too. These will give you a stronger insight into the laptop’s size, capabilities, parts, and more.
Consider These Factors When Choosing a Laptop
Now you know which factors to consider when choosing a laptop. Always check the parts, read the review, take a look at the available ports, and don’t settle for an unbranded device. Stick within your budget and choose a laptop that suits your needs.
Of course, picking a laptop is only the beginning. Discover even more laptop tips and technology guides by reading our other in-depth lists right here!