Choosing the perfect laptop for yourself can be difficult. As difficult as it is, we just have to get it right in order to have a hassle-free user experience.
Knowing what the laptop will be majorly used for is key – getting a laptop dedicated to graphics design or gaming, and using it to perform tasks like typing or watching videos on YouTube is an overkill, more importantly waste of money because you’re buying more power than you actually need.
Top Specs & Features to mind
On the other hand, trying to use a laptop having an Intel Core i3 processor to play GTA V smoothly is pretty much impossible. Knowing that the best user experience means the best laptop for that user, put out together some factors to look at before paying for that device.
Size and Type of Laptop you want
For some people, this should be the first thing to consider. Yes, we know a small laptop doesn’t directly mean a small CPU or big laptops meaning high-level CPUs, what we’re analyzing here is the portability.
You don’t want to buy 15 to 17 inches laptop if you’re going to be carrying it around for the most part of the day. If portability is your priority – you would want to move fast while with your device in your bag pack or hands, you should be going for sizes from the 14.3 inches below. However, note that these smaller sized laptops don’t always come with high-end Intel Core i7 CPUs as would their 15.6-inch variants.
They also don’t accommodate more ports as other sizes would, but it’ll be nice to know that they come with better batteries most of the time. All in all, the bigger the system, the more performance you’re likely to get, but keep in mind that you’re trading battery life and portability.
Screen quality obviously has a key role to play when choosing the laptop that will suit your needs. If you’re user that sits in front of a computer for long hours, you would want to have a PC that’s not too harsh on the eyes.
If you’re a photographer or graphics designer, it is wise to get a PC that comes with a high-resolution screen because you are going to need those additional pixels that can fit into the screen.
Although modern laptops now offer 4K display, this feature is more or less an expensive add-on if you’re only looking for something to read and type with or save multimedia files.
Getting on the issue of whether to get a machine with touch screen features or not. No doubt touch screens make carrying out some tasks and navigation easier, we should also know that touch screens mean additional glossiness and this leads to reflections.
While glossy screens are still being improved, if you’re expected to be working outdoors or in areas where you get more light and distractions, a matte screen should be a better choice for you.
If you expect to be carrying out long typing sessions, then a good keyboard is pretty much the most important factor you want to consider.
The smaller the laptop size, the smaller the keyboard, that doesn’t necessarily reflect that bigger laptops have the best keyboards or give best key travel (the distance keys goes down when pressed) either.
It’s no use going for laptops with keyboards that had everything squished in because the manufacturer was being stingy with size.
The bigger the keys and space between each keys, the better typing experience you’re sure of having.
You should pay attention to position of some important keys like space bar, shift, caps lock, backspace and delete keys, and the Ctrl key. Keeping an eye for keypads that’s got backlight is useful too if you expect to be working with dim light sometimes.
Seeing that Intel cores offer the best CPUs as regards multitasking and multimedia, it’s generally better to get an Intel-based chipset. Of course, there are other lesser processors, but entry-level these days starts from core i3 – assuming we want usage to be as hassle-free as possible.
Though this is just for some lightweight activities like internet browsing, word processing and multimedia. For other higher chipsets like core i5 the mainstream performer is fairly able to perform most of the power demanding tasks, and some come with discrete graphics card which may affect the size of the hardware you’re buying.
Considering the core i7 and core i9 high performers, we would generally say go for this if your reason for a laptop has anything to do with getting advanced graphics, and faster processing. These big guys also come with their flaw as they are not really lightweight designed, so expect lesser battery life when compared to the others.
Honestly, when looking for the best CPUs I’d say go for what you can afford. However, if what you’re able to afford doesn’t match the amount of processing power you demand from your laptop you’re probably going to have a potato laptop – nobody wants a potato laptop.
It’s one thing to have the perfect CPU that will run those tasks effectively, it’s another thing to find the RAM that will make sure while those tasks are being run, you still enough RAM space to carry out another in the background, or even if it’s just to avoid unnecessary glitches when running an application. Gone are the days when a 2GB RAM can suffice for all lightweight tasks, nowadays the recommended entry-level is at least 4GB, and that can be slow for some users.
Considering the fact that apps nowadays are doing more complex tasks, and constantly demanding for more RAM, I would recommend a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM so that you can survive subsequent updates on these apps. If you’re a heavy user (videographer or graphics designer) expect to be looking at 16GB of RAM, and gamers should get a decent laptop with 32GB RAM.
Not to say a graphics designer can’t use 8GB of RAM, but considering evolving technology in apps, 8GB of RAM will give you a slow start.
This generally, depends on your choice as a user. It doesn’t really matter if you’re a heavy user or not, what matters is how many files you’re hoping your PC will be able to store before you start looking for external memory alternatives.
For basic users, usually, a 1TB is more than enough to have as a hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SDD). For heavy users like programmers or videographers, a 2TB should be able to last for a good amount of time.
We should know that, while HDDs are cheaper than SDDs, the latter is much faster and in all other aspects better. However, nowadays PC OEMs would pair small SSD with a larger HDD so that while your operating system is being stored on the faster SSD, you can store other files on the HDD and still maintain a considerable amount of speed. If you’ve got the money, an SSD is what’s recommend, but watch out for those hybrid drives, they can make getting a good storage budget-friendly.
We would want to look at the level of connectivity our new PC can offer. Looking at the ports, you new PC should come with at least one USB 3.0 port (usually about four ports in today should do).
Not just because USB 3.0 is faster for data transfer, but also because most peripheral devices these days are being built to support only USB 3.0 ports or higher. If it can come with a ThunderBolt 3 port it would give an even better experience when taking huge data transfer into consideration.
Looking at internet connection, it’s advisable to go for a PC that supports Wi-Fi connectivity and not just Ethernet cables only.
If you are going to be using your device on the go and require constant internet connection, you wouldn’t was to be limited by just the means of your Ethernet cable port or an adapter.
For some people, this should a benchmark for determining if the laptop is perfect for you or not. While a bigger battery to some extent means bigger weight and body size of the laptop, a battery that can’t give you at least 4 hours of uptime on heavy usage wouldn’t be a nice idea if you are looking to be using your device outdoors and away from source of electricity for a couple of hours a day.
Generally with batteries these days, the stronger your CPU, the more you should expect a lower battery life except if the manufacturers goes all out on giving the juice, and this in turn adds to overall laptop weight.
If you’re not a heavy user, pretty much any laptop will be able to satisfy your needs, but heavy users (HD gamers, graphics designers, videographers, etc.) should be skeptical when it comes to battery life.
Finger Print Support
Biometric encryption is getting more popular these days, because of the higher security level it has to offer. With “ Windows Hello Security” being Integrated into Microsoft’s Windows 10, logging into your PC should get easier. Conventional passwords can be guessed, but it’s not easy to fake a fingerprint, so if your budget is big enough to accommodate this add-on why not.
Body Build and Design
Body build and design is very important if you are looking for a device that is going to stand the test of time.
Apart from this having to do with a laptop being dust and scratch resistant, no matter how cautious we are in handling of our PC, it’s almost impossible to fully protect it from being dropped, accidentally knocked down, or coming in contact with liquid spills.
To solve this problem, modern laptops are being built to withstand these unexpected incidents in the event that they do happen. Keep an eye on the build in order to be on a safe side if ever any of these incidents happen to you.
Before contacting a laptop vendor, we should have in mind that not all these listed above can be checked especially if you’re on a low budget. However, if you’re able to afford a PC that checks out 8/10 of these factors, it’s definitely a good buy.
The least that I would recommend is that your budget should be able to accommodate up to 4 of these factors, other than that, you might just be ending up with a PC that wouldn’t serve as you hoped it would.