Looking for a new laptop?
It’s a big world out there, and you have a lot of choices. If it ever feels overwhelming, then a little help might be welcome.
Not to worry – here are five tips that can help you choose the perfect laptop.
How Will You Use It?
The answer to this question determines all the hardware considerations you’ll need to think about. Is this for work? School? Pleasure? Will you mostly browse the internet? Watch videos? Play games?
Here’s the biggest thing to think about. If you do more graphically intense work on the laptop (like editing videos or cad designs), then you need a more powerful computer. Otherwise, you can stick to the average recommendations in this article.
What Are Your Brand Preferences?
If you have a favorite brand, that’s fine. Get a new computer from that brand, and you should be fine. That’s true whether you prefer Macs, Windows PCs, or Chromebooks. New models tend to have good hardware, and they can do all of the usual stuff.
If you need powerful graphics processing, then you’ll need a high-end computer from your favorite brand.
If, however, you don’t have a preferred brand, then Windows machines are the most universal. They’re compatible with more stuff and will put fewer limits on what you can do with the computer.
What Hardware Do You Need?
This is the big question. There’s too much to cover it all right here, so instead, let’s focus on the essentials. These are minimum recommendations for average computer users. If you’re an above-average user, then you’ll need to take a step up from these recommendations.
Let’s start with computer memory (RAM). You need 8 GB. If you can get 16 GB at a good price, that’s worth it so that your computer will stay relevant longer, but 8 GB is the current minimum.
Every computer needs a processor (CPU). There are way too many options to cover them all, so here’s the very short version. Get either an AMD or Intel processor, and make sure it has at least four cores. Anything less, and your computer will really struggle in three years or so.
Not all laptops have a dedicated graphics card, but some do. Most users don’t need a graphics card in their laptops. You only need one to play high-end games or do video editing. Anything else should be fine without this expensive upgrade.
How Much Should You Spend?
If you’re not terribly familiar with computer hardware, then it’s sometimes easier to think about things in terms of costs. The answer to this question really depends on how you want to use the computer. If you’re doing hardcore gaming or video processing, then you’ll probably want to spend $1,000 to $2,000 on the laptop, possibly even more for very advanced work.
If you’re an average user, then your price range will be $500 to $800 depending on your specific preferences and what kinds of sales you can find.
Now, it’s possible to spend noticeably less than $500 on a laptop. Unless you’re on a very tight budget, it’s a bad idea. A $200 to $300 laptop is only going to last for around 2 years. Meanwhile, you can get a $500 laptop that might be good for a full 10 years, if you take good care of it.
What Size Should You Get?
Laptops come in sizes that mostly range from about 11 inches to about 17 inches. What size do you need? This is completely a matter of preference. There is no right answer.
Keep in mind that these measurements are describing the screen. So if you want a bigger screen, you need a bigger laptop, but bigger laptops weigh more. That’s your trade-off.
You can also consider keyboards. Usually, you need a 17-inch laptop to get a full keyboard with a number pad. Otherwise, the keyboard will be smaller.