This season should be … buying laptops, if someone in your family needs it. Or do you treat yourself to the latest machine of Christmas? whatever the case, gazing out across the mass of models presently on offer can be a daunting prospect.
Do not panic, because we are here to guide you through the ins and outs of choosing the excellent laptop. No matter who you are shopping for, what your budget is, and how well you know your Intel chips from your AMD ones. Read on and make a more informed choice.
Every laptop could be a compromise between a number of factors, 2 of these factors being screen size and portability. Bigger laptops give you more screen room for your excel spreadsheets or Netflix binges. But they are also heavier and harder to carry around. Look for the screen size, that is usually measured diagonally in inches and should seem prominently on the specs.
So, you wish to decide where you want the balance to lie. Do you want something ultralight or something substantial? maximum people will normally prefer one over the other. Depending on whether they are preparing to use their machine for just for catching up on emails on the train or full-scale gaming, for example.
To get the best of both worlds. You might want to consider something like the Surface Book or a Windows 2-in-1. That doubles up as both a tablet and a laptop – light-weight when you want it to be, but also capable at the same time. Typically, you are going to be paying more for a bigger computer. So that is something else to consider for your purchase.
Then there is power vs price – if you want to know how nippy without deeply diving in your shortlisted laptop components list, look at what it’s selling for. We have no problem with cheaper computers but something costlier will handle demanding tasks better and probably last you longer as well.
That said, you do not want to waste money on top-end specs you are ne’er going to need. As with the screen size and portability issue, lots of it boils down to how you (or the lucky recipient of the laptop) are going to use it. Gaming, video editing, and image editing are 3 of the most demanding tasks you can put computers though. So if they have no interest for you, you can save money on something more mid-range.
You can spend hours on the web researching CPU and GPU benchmarks, and by all means, do so if you want, but looking at prices could be a good shortcut. It’s maybe a good idea to get a shortlist of 2 or 3 laptops. And then compare processors and other specs in more depth – check speed, of course, but also the year when these components 1st came out. As which will affect their performance and efficiency (the draw on battery life).
Making decisions about the hardware. And then you have also got a much better OS software choice to make too: macOS, Windows or Chrome OS? The simple answer is whatever you or another person who is going to be using the laptop are most comfortable with. But the main differences are the quick running down.
Chromebooks are basically just a browser on a laptop. That means you are restricted to web apps, and you actually need a Wi-Fi connection most of the time. It also means they start up fast, they are low cost, and they do not want extra software like antivirus. Perfect for people with light-weight computing needs.
Windows 10 allows you to access all the power and performance of desktop applications. As well as a good tablet interface – whereas macOS is restricted to laptops and desktops. Windows 10 is appearing on an increasing number of 2-in-1 and hybrid devices. It’s no more than MacOS, it’s just different – If the new laptop owner is comfortable with Windows, there is no reason to change.
Finally, the Apple desktop OS is glossy, safe and stable. You could make a case for it being less bloated and more intuitive than Microsoft’s offering. And it comes with a bigger choice of free software, but it is also very Apple-centric – it does not play nicely with non-Apple gear (like Chromecasts or Android phones). Of course you only have the choice of laptops and laptop specs that Apple decides to give you.
What’s the laptop going to be used for? how much do you want to spend? can it run all the applications it needs to? you’ve lots of questions to work through before shopping for. But our round-ups of the best Windows laptops, the best MacBook deals, and the best Chromebooks should make your choice a little bit easier.
Answer a few of the queries we’ve raised above. Decide on your budget, and you should have a much narrower choice of potential laptops to pick from. In the final reckoning check out reviews on the web. Like our take on the Medion Erazer X6603 or the Huawei Matebook X – and you should have a decent plan of what fits the bill best.
If you’re buying for someone else, you might even want to ask their opinion on the options available. Though you will lose the element of surprise – extra factors like the number of expansion ports. Whether or not it’s a touchscreen for stylus support, and even what colors in comes in can all assist you to make your final decision.