Laptop Buying Guide (How to Decide Which Laptop to Buy)
Last Updated on September 4, 2020 by Editorial Team
Planning on buying a laptop?
Then this in-depth laptop buying guide is for you. It will help you to decide which laptop to buy which will full-fill your requirements.
The Laptop is an essential utility for those who want to run applications, software, play games, browse the internet or watch movies online. It is compact, portable, easy to use & works equally as a Desktop.
There are wide ranges of laptops available in the market, in different price categories. Most are big manufacturers like Dell or HP. They all promise to deliver the best products in different price ranges and categories. Before purchasing any of them, you should make sure, the laptop is the right choice for you.
No one wants a laptop that crashes, freezes or has other issues. But what if it not functioning properly, or keyword or mouse defects, size is not what you were expecting.
It is better to avoid such a situation by cross-checking your requirements, budgets, the brand you prefer, etc. To make it easy for you, we have prepared this laptop buying guide. You will learn about various types, sizes, specifications you will come across.
Before moving on, you need to ask some questions from yourself. These will help you in making a better buying decision & choose the best model for you.
Should You buy a laptop or a desktop?
Should I buy a laptop or a desktop? This is yet another confusion for the beginners. It is important to make it clear before discussing it further. To make it easy for you, we have differentiated them on the basis of the main features.
|Use at||Lap, desk, anywhere (portable)||Desk|
|Cost||Generally more expensive||Less expensive|
|Powers and features||Generally less||Generally more|
|Weight||4.5 to 8 lbs|
Super light models weigh under 3 lbs
|A standard desktop weighs 25 lbs.|
|Hardware (for the same money)||Less powerful||More powerful|
|Number of ports||Less (Limited)||More|
Both have their own advantages & limitation. You can choose either of them depending on your needs. It’s simple if you need a portable device which you can carry anywhere you should go for Laptops. But in the case; performance, flexibility & maintenance is the key factor, Desktop may be your ideal choice.
How will you use your laptop?
This is an important question which you need to ask yourself. The types of work you will do will decide which laptop is perfect for you. On the basis of usage, the work can be divided into the following categories.
Light use: General internet usage, paying bills, social media, data storage, watching movies, storing media etc.
Average use: Light application like a spreadsheet, word, small games, movies, coding etc.
Demanding use: If you want to run multiple app/programs at the same time this comes under demanding use. Photo/Video editing software, heavy games, etc need a high-quality processor with large RAM.
The person who needs to do a lot of heavy stuff needs to look for a specification like a screen with high resolution, high system memory, large internal storage and a faster processor.
Read this also: Must Have Cool Laptop Accessories & Gadgets
Let’s begin our part of the main discussion.
The top 10 things to consider when buying a new laptop
So if you are planning to buy a laptop then the given list is for you. Check out the list below to know more about your laptop before you go for buying it. You really need to look up this list:
1. Pick a platform: Mac, Windows or else
This can be difficult for you to make a decision if you are not familiar with any of these operating system.
Mac does provide higher quality hardware but it costs too much for what you get. Windows is not as fast and powerful but it offers great flexibility and has tons of software. Mac needs lesser maintenance as it contains comparatively fewer viruses than Windows.
To make it simple for you, if the price is not an issue you should definitely go for Mac otherwise Windows is also a good choice.
2. Decide which size will suit your needs
Portability is the main concern in buying a laptop. In order to select the best one go for the small and lightweight size system that fulfills your needs. They are available in different sizes. You can’t say anyone best, it totally depends on your personal requirements. Have a look at various sizes available in the market.
11 to 12 inches: This contains the thinnest and lightest systems typically weighing around 1.1 to 1.4 kg.
13 to 14 inches: This can be your ideal choice as it delivers the best balance of portability and user experience. Generally, they weight around 1.8 – 2.1 kg.
15 inches: This one is a highly recommended & popular size. They generally weigh around 2 – 3 kg. It is advisable to go for this only if you are not planning to carry it often.
17 to 18 inches: You can prefer this size if you want to use it as a desktop on your desk. It comes with the right kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or run the huge software. But be aware that they are much heavier as compared to that of the 13-inch model.
3. Screen resolution
We spend many hours on the system every day. Hence you need to choose a screen resolution that is comfortable. Remember one thing, the size of the screen is alone not important what makes it better is its resolution.
Screen resolution can be defined as the number of distinct horizontal & vertical pixels in each dimension. Choose the best screen technology such as an LED, LCD. Consider the resolution of the screen 1920*1080-pixel (Full HD) can be a good choice.
Laptops with touch screens are glossy which produces reflections. If the touchscreen is not your priority consider a model that doesn’t come with this feature.
If you want plenty of space to line up the windows and keep things in view. Screen viewing angles are extremely important. A laptop screen that touts IPS (in-plane switching) technology offers the widest viewing angles and the best user comfort.
4. Keyboard quality
If you need to do a lot of work on your system, a strong & comfortable quiet keyboard should be your topmost priority.
Some essential feature you need to check the keyboard quality:
- Comfortable layout with full-size keys and some space around arrow keys
- Keys should have adequate travel on the downstroke and snappy responsiveness when you let them go.
- Backlit so that you can type with an easier view of the keys in dimly lit environments.
- Check for pointing stick between G & H. This can help you navigate around the system without lifting your finger from the keyboard.
CPU is considered the brain of a computer. It directly impacts the performance & speed of any model. But it is essentially not always important to have an expensive model to achieve the best performance. Depending on your needs a budgeted laptop can also fulfill your requirements.
There are a different variety of processors available. People need to think about species of a processor such as Intel core based processors Core i3, Core i5, Core i7. A brief CPU comparison is described below:
Go for CPU which offers the best performance when it comes to multitasking and multimedia tasks. Core i3-based notebooks are generally found in entry-level systems. While Core i5 makes up the majority of mainstream computers. Core i7 is for those who want the best performance. While buying such a model you should be ready to bear the heat they release especially when you keep them on your lap.
It is a secondary or temporary storage device that allows the user to run more than one application at the same time and access data quickly. To use software such as adobe photoshop, you need high capacity RAM runt the system without lagging.
RAM is available in different types and sizes. You need to choose RAM which is best according to your needs. It is available in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB. Ideally, 4 GB is good to get the best out of your system.
7. Storage drive (hard drive)
With the tradition of thin and lightweight laptops, the hard drive is becoming less popular. The main reason is they are slow, bulky and can release an excessive amount of heat.
A great option is a Solid-state drive (SSD). They significantly increase the speed of your system without making any noise. The best thing is they don’t add too much weight to the system.
8. Battery life
If you are a demanding user and will use the laptop most on your lap then you need longer battery life. Ideally, you should look for a model that can sustain for 7 to 8+ hours.
The more enhancing feature like screen resolution, faster hard drive, increased processing power or multitasking will drain your battery faster.
You can check the battery rating in Watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh). The more it will be the longer the battery will run.
9. Fingerprint reader and TPM
It is important that you buy a secure laptop that can take care of your private data and information. Biometric helps you lock your system using your body parts.
The fingerprint scanner is the most popular feature which enables you to lock or unlock your device using your finger.
Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is special security chips that come along with your model motherboard. This chip encrypts your hardware & files. Hence no one else can view your file by simply accessing them remotely.
If buying a secure business laptop is the topmost priority you should definitely consider these specifications.
10. Build quality
Some people ask questions about which brand or manufacturer provides the best build quality laptop in the market. The answer to this question may vary upon personal opinion. But surely Apple, Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer & Asus are on the top list.
To select the best build quality product you can filter them on specific features. For example,
- super gaming laptop
- best business product
- low budget model
After identifying your need, check out which brand and model is perfect for you.
11. Plan Based on Your Budget
Money matter and that’s the reason why most of people search for low-cost cheap laptops. There is a range of products available in each price category. Each having its own limited specification fits for one kind of needs. Decide your budget and look for the product if it is available in your range.
12. Mind the Brand
The brand is all about customer experience. It confirms your credibility, creates user loyalty and motivates the buyer to buy.
If you are the one for whom the brand is an important aspect, you can go for that. But make sure you are taking care of other important things to consider. Check whether you are getting value for your money.
13. Discrete versus integrated graphics
The purpose of your laptop graphic card is to convert video data into an electronic signal and send it to the monitor. After receiving the signal monitor converts it into colorful images. The process happens so fast that it handles the process of watching videos, playing videos.
There are two types of Graphic card – discrete & integrated. The integrated graphics card doesn’t have their own Ram hence dependent on system memory. However, discrete or dedicated GPU has its own independent source of video memory. Learn more about the basic difference between integrated vs dedicated.
If you are a light user, the integrated graphics card is ideal for you. You can seamlessly watch HD/Blu ray videos, surf the web, watch YouTube videos etc.
But in the case, you are a gamer, graphic designer or demanding user who wants the best visual experience than a dedicated or discrete graphics card is for you.
14. Ports and Connectivity
Whenever you are purchasing a new laptop keep in mind to consider ports. They are simply a physical connector that helps you connect any device to your laptop.
With the devices becoming ultra-thin, laptops with fewer ports are coming in the market. Some of them are containing collapsible Ethernet ports, micro USB, and micro HDMI ports.
USB 3.0 can transfer data at up to 625MBps. It is 10 times faster than the previous versions. You can check for HDMI ports if you want to connect the system with HDTV. If you need to transfer media from the old digital camera, you can search for the SD card slot. Ethernet port helps you to connect to the internet via cable. Most of the modern devices come with inbuilt in Bluetooth & wifi for wireless network connection.
At the end of this laptop buying guide, we will quickly recap the most important things you need to consider.
- 12.5 to 14-inch screens
- Core i5 CPU
- 1920 x 1080 screen
- 8GB of RAM
- SSD Storage instead of a hard drive
- 8+ hours of battery life
- Best build quality
- Discrete graphics cards
- USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, Sd card slot (if required), Wifi, Bluetooth
Mention your thoughts & point of view. Which brand do you like the most? What are the things you look for when buying a laptop? Also read this post to know the list of must have laptop accessories.