Laptop Buying Guide | 5 Essential Points to know before you buy

Advertisements

Are you frustrated about how to buy the best and perfect laptop?

Don’t worry here are some points you will get help with buying a perfect laptop.

You need to read below point buying a Laptop

  1. Performance
  2. Display
  3. Operating System
  4. Ports & Connectivity
  5. Design

1. Performance

  • Light use

Simple, everyday activities like surfing the web, email and social media, watching movies or streaming content

  • Medium use

Typing for work, browsing the web, editing documents and photos and basic gaming. This could include students or professionals who do a lot of research and could have multiple documents or tabs open at a time.

  • Heavy and demanding use

With heavy application AutoCAD, Photoshop and MATLAB & heavy gaming.

Performance = Processor + RAM + Internal Memory + Battery + Graphics Card

A laptops performance is based on 5 main pillars.

  1. Processors 2. RAM 3. Internal storage 4. Battery 5. Graphics Card

Each laptop’s specification are based on different combination of these 5 aspects.

Example: Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB storage, Nvidia graphics card, 41 Watt-hour battery capacity.

Processor

  • 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.

Processor Types:

  • Laptop processor are made primarily by two companies –Intel and AMD
  • Intel has its Pentium, Celeron and Core i3, i5, i7 & i9, series (in increasing order of processing power).
  • AMD has A, FX Ryzen series of processors (in increasing order of processing power).

RAM

More RAM = Better Multi-tasking

  • RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is what stores all the open apps, files and games you may be playing
  • More RAM allows more of them to be running smoothly
  • Typically laptops come with 4, 8 or 16GB of RAM

RAM Type

  • DDR4: Faster, efficient power consumption
  • DDR3: Older, slower & consumes more power

| PRO TIP

Buy a laptop with DDR4 RAM as it saves power, improves battery life, and future-proofs your laptop.

Upgradability

With time, the applications and operating system you use will be upgraded to newer versions and would need more RAM. This may cause some slow-down in performance or the system to hang frequently.

| PRO TIP

 For most users, we recommend 8GB RAM given how much RAM programs use today.

If you plan on gaming or heavy software like Photoshop, AutoCAD etc, you should consider 16GB RAM.

Internal Storage

  • The hard drives size or capacity of the laptop.
  • Storage on a laptop is where the operating systems (like Windows or Mac OS) are installed.
  • Where all the documents, photos, apps, games, and movies are stored.
  • Without sufficient storage, you will not be able to store anything.

Usually, laptop storage is of 3 types: Hard Disk Drive (HDD), Solid-State Drive (SSD) & Solid-State Hybrid Drive (SSHD)

Internal Memory Types

Hard Disk Drive (HDD)  Solid-State Drive  Solid-State Hybrid Drive (SSHD)
A mechanical hard disk drive (often shortened to HDD) is a type of storage that gives you lots of capacity on a budget.  A solid state drive (sometimes called SSD) is a type of drive that is faster, but also more expensive, than HDDs  SSHD is a combination of the HDD and the SSD, which means you not only get large storage space, but everything loads faster too.  
A HDD is considered slow because it has moving parts that spin to read data  SSDs can start up Windows in less than 5 seconds.Example: An SSHD unit could have a 128GB SSD paired with a 500GB or 1TB HDD.  
 Programs will run faster if you’re using an SSD.  The Operating System (OS) would be installed on the SSD along with other programs while the HDD part is used for storing documents, movies etc. This means that your OS and programs start up faster.  
 However, all this performance comes at a higher price.   

Battery

Bigger Battery = More hours of usage

  • The battery is what keeps your laptop running the power outlet.
  • Usually measured in Watt-Hour (WHr). More WHr = More battery life.
  • Bigger batteries usually mean heavier laptops.
  • Things like screen brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, type of processor, and even the load on your CPU will impact battery life.
  • Gaming, video playback, heavy editing, etc can all speed up battery drain noticeably.

Graphics Card

  • A graphics card is a dedicated chip inside your laptop, responsible for the quality of visuals you see on your screen.
  • Just like RAM the more the GBs in your graphics card, the smoother your games will run, even in Full HD or 4K resolution.
  • Photo and video editing software like Photoshop, design software like AutoCAD.
  • And most heavy games require a dedicated graphics card to function smoothly.
Nvidia graphics cards  Use case
GTX 1050 GTX 1050Ti GTX 1060 GTX 1650 GTX 1660 GTX 1660 TiCasual gaming & photo editing  
GTX 1070 GTX 1070Ti GTX 1080 GTX 1080Ti RTX 2060 RTX 2070 RTX 2080 RTX 2080Ti  Heavy / hardcore gaming: Using these graphics cards it is possible to play the most demanding games with high resolution & high FPS (Frames per second) settings   Heavy video editing  
AMD graphics cardsUse case  
AMD RX 550 AMD Radeon RX 560 AMD Radeon RX 570 AMD Radeon RX 580 AMD Radeon RX 590  Casual gaming & photo editing  
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid cooled AMD Radeon VII AMD Radeon RX 5700 AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 50th Anniversary AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 50th Anniversary  Heavy / hard-core gaming: Using these graphics cards it is possible to play the most demanding games with high resolution & high FPS (Frames per second) settings     Heavy video editing

Integrated vs Dedicated

IntegratedDedicated  
Integrated graphics cards are present on most laptops and are suited to let you watch movies or do very light photo-editing.  Dedicated graphics cards are required for heavy gaming, photo & video editing as they are more powerful than integrated graphics card.  
Usually Intel processors contain an integrated graphics chip which is sufficient for everyday needs.  Nvidia and AMD are 2 popular companies making dedicated graphics cards.  

2. Display

Choosing the right display for your laptop, you will need to decide the right screen size and the right resolution for your usage.

Screen size

  • Screens come in several sizes, all measured diagonally.
  • The screen size is 15.6 inches, 11 inches, 13 inches, and screen sizes 17.3 inches on hardcore gaming laptops.
  • Larger screen size is ideal for gaming, watching movies, photo or video editing, and complex data visualization; the smaller screen size is lighter and easier to carry around.
  • Do remember the bigger the screen, heavier the laptop.

| PRO TIP

If you need to carry your laptop around a lot, consider a laptop with a display between 11 to 14 inches.

Display Resolution

Higher screen resolution = Sharp, clear and rich visual experience.

  • The most common screen resolutions are HD Ready, Full HD, and 4K.
  • Screen resolution is measured as the pixel count and is mentioned in horizontal and vertical pixel counts.

Display Resolution

HD or HD ready  Full HD or 1080pUltra HD and 4K  
Available in entry level & budget laptops, this display has 1366 x 768 pixel count.  Available in high end laptops, this display type has 1920 x 1080 pixel count and double the pixels and clarity vs HD screens.  With 3840 X 2160 pixels, it has 4 times the resolution of Full HD and is therefore called 4K.  
Sufficient to watch movies, basic graphic games or working on documents.  They offer a sharper visual experience to enjoy HD movies or graphic rich games  These produce even sharper images and are ideal for high resolution video editing, watching 4K videos or graphic intensive gaming.  
It is a cost efficient display.   It is the most expensive display  

| Pro Tip

Full HD is currently the recommended resolution as it a balance between cost, good visuals and battery life.

3. Operating System

An operating system, or “OS,” is software that communicates with the hardware and allows other programs to run. … Every desktop computer, tablet, and smartphone includes an operating system that provides basic functionality for the device.

  • Common desktop operating systems include Windows, OS X, Linux, and macOS.
  • It manages all software and hardware, including files, memory and connected devices.
  • It lets you interact with your laptop and your programs in the simplest possible way.

Here’s a list to help you choose from the various operating systems available to power your laptop:

 WindowsMac OSChrome OSLinuxDOS
Usage  It is the most commonly used Operating System. However, all Laptops may not come with preinstalled Windows. A DOS laptop will need separate purchase and installation of WindowsAll Apple Laptops are preinstalled with Mac OS. The software and hardware on MacBook’s are designed by Apple to work in sync, providing a smooth performance.Works on Chromebooks While there are a few offline apps, high quality internet is required to work effectively as it is primarily cloud-based.It is an open source operating system commonly used by programmers. However, it is not as intuitive Windows and not advised for most of normal usersMost Basic OS. However no other software will operate on the device. The user needs to install Windows or Linux as per need,
Compatible. SoftwareAny software to be Software installed on the machine needs to be compatible with its Operating System. Most common software’s are Windows compatible.Any software to be installed on the machine needs to be compatible with Mac OS.Any software to be installed needs to be compatible with Chrome OS.  Any software to be installed on the machine needs to be compatible with the Linux distribution. Compatible software options are usually more limited than for Windows.No compatible softwares available -needs to have Windows/Linux installed first.  
Preinstalled SoftwareTrial versions of a few software’s are preinstalled. Not all Windows laptops come with MS Office full version preinstalled. Laptops with preinstalled full MS Office versions will be called out separately by the manufacturer.Apple’s own software like Pages and Keynote are preinstalled. MS Office to be purchased separately.Limited software loaded with others available as apps from Google Play store. It has Google’s built-in virus and malware protection.May vary by Linux distribution. Easily downloadable open-source software such as VLC, LibreOffice. Mozilla Firefox is available on the Internet.  None

| PRO TIP

You plan to buy a Linux/DOS-based machine, and install Windows, you need to download the drivers only from the manufacture’s website.

4. Ports & Connectivity

  • The ports & connectivity option on your laptop define what all you connect with your laptop
  • You need this t to connect with pen drive, external hard disk, mouse, projector, TV, headphones, or even to charge your phone.
  • Make sure your laptop has enough ports for connecting multiple devices.

Different ports serve different purpose, here are a few essential ones to look for:

USB type –A :

  • These ports are used to connect regular USB devices like mobile phones, Pen drives, etc.
  • A higher number with the USB indicates a faster speed.

USB type –C:

  • These ports provide faster data transfer and smaller sized charges.
  • You can use these to connect universal charges and docks

Card Reader:

  • Use this port to directly microSD or SD memory card to copy data from your DSLR or phone.

HDMI:

  • With this connector you can connect your laptop with an LED TV or projector.

VGA port:

  • This is an older type of connector for TVs, monitors and projectors.

Thunderbolt:

  • This is the latest and fastest type of connector for laptops,

Thunderbolt is a combination of Type C connector and display Port and allows charging, connection with peripherals or display, with a single port.

5. Design

Which form factor and design should I choose?

Basic Laptops I For everyday and light weight use

  • Basic laptops have a traditional clam-type design, with a screen that folds down onto the keyboard and mousepad.
  • These are the most common and affordable laptops and are sufficient for most users.

Thin and Light weight Laptops I For people on the go

  • These are laptops below 1.8kgs in weight and usually have a display size of 14 inches or lower.
  • They are slim, portable, and lightweight — meaning they’re a great choice for those who want a powerful device they can take with them on the go.
  • Nowadays there are thin and light laptops available from all top brands in the market, as of 2019

Gaming Laptops

  • Equipped with powerful hardware and a dedicated graphics card.
  • With higher refresh rates, larger batteries, and often even graphics processing units, or GPUs.

Additional things to keep in mind

Lid & body :

  • The lid and body – typically made from plastics or aluminium’s – should be adequately flexible and light weight.
  • Most laptops have an angle of rotation of around 90 to 120 degrees.
  • There are a few laptops in which the lid can rotate 180 degrees, meaning lower chances of breakage.
  • Convertible 2-in-1s allow for a rotation of up to 360 degrees.

Keyboard

  • Chiclet style keyboards have flat and shallow keys that allow for easy typing.
  • The keyboard’s spacing and depth should allow for comfortable typing.
  • Many laptops come with a backlit keyboard.

We hope the above article you will get help with buying the best laptop. If you want any help comments below.

Leave a Reply