Important Things To Consider Before Buying A Laptop

Purchasing a new Laptop could become a big challenge when one does not have an idea of basic things to consider.

In most cases, people have ended up buying a laptop that does not really work for them. Some have bought systems that is incapable of satisfying their needs for purchasing in the first place.

To avoid this, we have been able to put up a list of important factors to consider before stepping out to make your next laptop purchase.
Below, are some important factors to consider before you buy your new laptop.

Battery life

A laptop is incomplete with a bad battery!
You must definitely checking for a good battery when buying a new laptop.
Manufacturer-quoted battery life is almost never indicative of what the real-world experience of using a laptop is like.

There are simply too many variables that affect battery life. There is the screen brightness, the screen resolution, the number of applications you have running in the background plus whether or not you actively remain connected to Wi Fi networks or Bluetooth devices.

The operating system a laptop runs on can also play a major role in determining battery life. It’s for this reason that Ultrabooks and convertibles running on Chrome OS tend to offer superior battery life than those running on Windows 11.

If you run programs that need lots of processing, stream lots of online video, play graphics-intensive games or if you transfer lots of files over a wireless network, then your battery will drain a lot sooner than what the vendor has quoted.

A good practice here is to look at the rating of the battery in Watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh). The larger these figures are, the longer the battery can last. For a 13.3-inch Ultrabook, for example, a battery with a rating from 50Wh to 60Wh will give you the best results.

Another key thing to look for here is fast-charging. Much like modern smartphones, many new laptops also support fast-charging, which is always good in a pinch.

Display quality

Since you’ll probably end up staring at your laptop display hours at a time, you’ll probably want to make sure it’s as painless as possible to do so. For this, you’ll need a display that is comfortable to look at and feels natural to use.

To start with, you’ll want to consider whether you want your next laptop to have a touchscreen at all. These days, touchscreens are very common and they can make some tasks easier than others. Some brands include this feature as standard. Others will demand a modest surcharge for its inclusion.

Unfortunately, opting for a touchscreen can sometimes add a glossiness to the display. Though not a universal trait among touch-sensitive displays, glossier screens are often a little more susceptible to glare. This can be a definite drawback if you’re gaming, watching content or editing images and video content.

Modern touchscreens are much better than their predecessors but, some of the above details persist and if you’re more of a natural typist, you might want to consider going for a laptop that doesn’t have a touchscreen.

Next up, be sure to look at the resolution on any laptop you’re thinking of buying. A 1920×1080-pixel resolution (Full HD) should be considered the minimum if you want plenty of space to line up windows and keep things in view. If you splurge on something a little sharper, you probably won’t regret it though.

Select modern laptops also now offer 4K resolutions. However, these high-end display panels are generally a costly add-on to an already-expensive product. 4K is an extra that’s only really going to be worth it for those who really need it such as content creation professionals.

Keyboard quality

For long typing sessions, you’ll need to consider the keyboard comfortability before buying a new laptop. You don’t want to get a keyboard that packs in every key under the sun (think keyboards that have squished in number pads) because that can translate to a poor overall user experience when hunting for specifics like the arrow or delete keys.

Ideally, you want a keyboard that has a comfortable layout with full-sized keys and some space around the arrow keys. The keys should have adequate travel on the downstroke and snappy responsiveness when you let them go.

Make sure the keyboard is also backlit. At face value, that might seem like a superficial detail but backlit keys make it much easier to see what you’re typing in dimly lit environments. Gaming laptops like the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 (review here) and MSI Katana GF76 (review here) come with attractive RGB key backlighting to allow gaming at night or in dimly lit environments. Note: While backlit keys are useful, they will drain your battery sooner, so take that into consideration when choosing your laptop.

As with the display, it helps to try before you buy, especially if your main task will be typing. Chances are, you’re going to find the most comfort with what you know here. If you’re used to typing on a laptop keyboard that stretches all the way to the edge of the chassis, you’re probably going to find laptops that opt for the same or a similar layout to be easier to type on than the alternatives.

CPU

It’s hard to go past any of Intel’s Core-based CPUs when buying a new laptop. Even if you’re not versed in the technical details, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the stickers plastered on all new laptops for the silicon giant’s Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors.

For many users, an Intel Core Processor 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 and Core i7 make up the majority of mainstream computers.

Core i7-based systems are for those of you who want the best performance from your laptop. However, note that with a Core i7-based system, heat coming through the base of the laptop can be a cause for concern, especially if you plan to actually use the laptop on your lap a lot of the time.

Some larger laptops also now incorporate Intel’s i9 Core processors. Laptops running on Core i9 processors are even more powerful than laptops running on Core i7 processors. They’re able to rival desktops for performance, but they do come with a significantly-higher cost than a laptop with an i7, i5 or i3 Core Processor.

Storage

Hard drives used to be all the rage, but these days they’re mostly out of favor, especially for thin and light laptops. This is because they can be slow, somewhat bulky, and produce noticeable heat and noise.

A solid state drive (SSD), on the other hand, offers a lot more speed than a hard drive, runs silently, and can be installed in a form factor that doesn’t add too much to the weight and bulk of a laptop. As a result of these clear benefits, most OEMs have embraced SSD storage as the standard for laptops.

Stick to an SSD for your new laptop and you’ll love the speed with which it can load programs, access your data, and also how quickly it can boot up your system.

Just a few years ago SSDs didn’t offer as much raw capacity as hard drives. Additionally, this kind of storage was often more expensive in terms of dollars-to-gigabytes than traditional hard drives. In 2022 these problems are no longer. Laptops now have comparatively large SSD drives to hard drives and aren’t astronomically expensive.

The newest, fastest laptops have NVMe solid-state drives which are faster than traditional SSDs. If you’re buying a new laptop in 2022, you’ll preferably want one with an NVMe SSD. However, that being said, don’t feel overly pressured to spend extra on the latest model here. While it is true that more recent SSDs boast better speeds than older models, the biggest advantages you’ll enjoy are tied more to the fundamental advances that SSDs offer over traditional hard drive storage.

When it comes to the SSD storage capacity you should look for we recommend at least 512GB as the very minimum. Games and programs are getting larger every year as they become more advanced and complex so you’ll want to ensure you have a little left in your storage after you load on your must-have programs and personal files. It’s also worth noting that your operating system will take up some of that 512GB right off the bat, so you won’t have exactly that number to play.

If you install a lot of programs or have an extensive game or movie library, you’ll probably want to opt for 1TB or more of SSD storage. You’d be surprised how fast it is to fill up even 1TB or 2TB, but with the extra GB on board, you will have a greater capacity to branch out and get a little more things you like on there. Trust us, you won’t decry the extra space when you can download that game you really wanted from Steam.

Another thing worth mentioning here is cloud storage. Cloud storage is extremely popular since it allows users to store any number of files safely and remotely, without the need for your device’s storage. Software developers are starting to build cloud storage into their software ecosystems. The best example of this is Microsoft’s OneDrive application which comes bundled with Windows at purchase.

Size & Form (shape)

Size matters, when it comes to laptops.

Depending on what you plan to be doing with your next laptop, you’ll want to make sure you pick the size that’s the best fit for you. Size isn’t like the RAM or ROM of a laptop, you can’t upgrade it later. You’re locked into whatever form-factor you select up-front, so choose wisely.

Laptops sizes tend to start at 11.6-inches and go all the way up to 17.3 inches. Most brands and OEMS like HP, Dell, ASUS and Acer tend to offer three display sizes – 13.3-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inches. However, some vendors do sell laptops that fall outside these sizes including 11.6-inches, 12.5-inches and 14-inches.

Obviously, if portability is your priority, you’ll want to go for a smaller-sized Windows laptop. They tend to be thinner and lighter than their larger counterparts. Look for laptops that have a screen that is either 12.5-inches or 13.3-inches in size, and a weight between 1kg and 1.5kgs.

However, keep in mind that smaller-sized 13.3-inch machines often don’t support the same high-end Intel Core CPUs or discrete graphics cards you’ll be able to find in their 15.6-inch counterparts. Most of the time, they’ll also feature a less-robust selection of ports. If the kind of work you intend to be using your new laptop for necessitates a larger display or standalone graphics, you’ll probably need to look at a larger size.

RAM

In the old days, you rarely needed more than 4GB of RAM to get the best out of your system.
These days, you’ll probably want to think about 8GB as a minimum when buying a new laptop. If you’re a power-user, 16GB is the way to go. Meanwhile, gamers should look at dialing things upwards all the way to 32GB (or beyond) if they want the best experience.

More RAM allows for more applications to be run at the same time and for more data to be quickly accessible by the system at any one time, which comes in handy for tasks such as editing photos or video content.

There are a few interesting terms that you might see when looking into RAM specs, here’s what you essentially need to know about them. Alongside the brand and capacity of any RAM stick, you’re gonna find the letters DDR. There’s also usually a number attached. For example, the MSI GE76 Raider laptop (review here) has two 16GB sticks of DDR5 RAM. This acronym stands for Double Data Rate and the number that comes after it refers to the generation of component design.

The most recent generation of RAM hardware is DDR5. As a rule, higher numbers are better than lower numbers here and most motherboards can only support certain generations of RAM. Thankfully, since you’re looking at buying a laptop, you don’t have too much to worry about since no sane OEM is going to stick incompatible RAM into a prebuilt machine.

The number after DDR also denotes the transfer speed. Similar to the clock-speed on a CPU, this number measures the default theoretical maximum transfer speed. Again, higher is better here. Higher speeds means stuff happens faster.

Another detail to note is whether or not the RAM in your laptop is single or dual-channel. In most everyday use cases, this might not make a huge difference but if you’re trying to weigh up your options, a laptop with dual-channel is generally more desirable than one with an equivalent amount of single-channel memory clocked at the same transfer speed. This is because dual-channel RAM is able to transfer a greater amount of data at once.

In conclusion, while having more RAM is always going to be better than having less RAM, most users aren’t going to feel the difference between having 16GB or 32GB unless they’re running RAM-heavy applications where that 16GB or a secondary channel is going to make a big difference.

Since RAM is relatively cheap and often easy to upgrade in modern laptops, it’s usually smarter and safer to buy a laptop with RAM that you know you will need rather than what you think you might need.

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