How To Choose A Laptop That Fits Your Needs And Budget
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Published by TOP4 Team
Laptops deftly combine the power of desktop computers with portability, enabling you to be set free from a desk and work (and play) from practically anywhere. But with the sheer number of options, it can be hard to find a laptop that meets your budget and needs. Fret not. This quick guide identifies all the factors you need to consider when shopping for a laptop.
Questions you need to answer
First, determine what type of user you are. Are you going to use the laptop for Web surfing and checking out social networks or do you wish to have a capable laptop for entertainment and work? Or are you a professional who wants a solid workhorse with ample power?
If portability is a main concern, be aware that several factors affect the size and weight of the laptop. These include the screen size, built-in storage devices and whether the laptop has a disc drive.
Recently, manufacturers have released hybrid laptops that offer the benefits of laptops and tablets. You might want to keep these within your radar.
Windows, Chrome or OS X?
The operating system of a laptop controls and manages both the software and hardware. It enables the user to interact with the laptop and programmes in a visual manner.
OS X is the operating system that's exclusive to Mac computers. The OS boasts of minimal issues with malware and viruses but has a higher price tag.
The latest Windows OS has added intuitive touch-screen functionality, allowing users to choose between using a laptop with a trackpad and keyboard or use a touchscreen or a combination of both.
Chrome OS is exclusive to Chromebooks. Instead of installing programmes directly to the laptop, the OS uses apps. Chromebooks are primarily geared for online surfing and encoding and are not suited for serious gaming and video editing.
Screen size and resolution
The larger the screen size is, the better you will enjoy watching movies, playing games, viewing documents, etc. However, the catch is that the bigger the screen size, the greater the weight and power consumption becomes.
Resolution refers to picture quality. Laptop screens are broadly classified into five types with HD or 1366 x 768 as the standard and Quad HD+ or 3200 x 1800 as the most powerful.
The processor acts as the laptop's brain. In coordination with the memory, the processor determines the type of programmes the laptop can effectively handle, the number of programmes you can run simultaneously, and the speed by which these programmes will run. Most laptops run on either Intel or AMD processors.
The computer's random access memory or RAM aids the processor in handling the demands of the user. For light to average users, a 2GB RAM will suffice. For more intensive tasks like photo editing, you should opt for higher RAM. Most laptops have somewhere between 4GB to 8GB RAM pre-installed with the option to bump this up to 32 GB.
Conventional hard drives boast of large storage capacities. However, these disc drives tend to be heavy and thick. On top of that, these generate a substantial amount of heat and noise. Solid state drives or SSDs overcome these issues but come at a steeper price.
The final area you need to consider are the ports available on each laptop you are eyeing to buy. USB allows you to connect your various devices to your laptop. HDMI enables you to connect your laptop to a flat screen TV while media card slots allow you to transfer photos and videos from your camera. Thunderbolt connects peripherals to a laptop and facilitates faster data transfer.