Laptops are a must-have device in today’s world where everything is digitized. They have become a necessity for many people, including students, professionals, gamers, and everyone in between.
Laptops have evolved a lot over the years, becoming faster, more powerful, and lighter. However, with so many options & brands available in the market today, choosing the perfect laptop can be overwhelming for some people, especially those who don’t have enough technical knowledge. That’s where a dedicated Laptop buying guide can help you to find the right laptop for your requirements.
In this handy guide, we’ll help you understand the essential features to consider when buying a laptop, to ensure you make the right decision on your investment.
Table of Contents
Important Things to Consider Before you should Buy your Laptop:
After using so many brand’s products (laptops & notebooks) for almost 15+ years, I have found that people always make mistakes in a hurry of buying their own laptop, without much technical knowledge of what they are investing their hard-earned money into. And as a result, they regret later buying the wrong one which never solves their purpose.
So, I thought it will be a good idea to write a comprehensive Laptop Buying Guide, which will help beginners as well as experts what they are missing while purchasing their own laptops.
Please read this article till the end, and support me in creating such valuable content ahead. If you have any questions to ask, you can leave your thoughts in the comments section below the article.
When buying a laptop, here are some of the most important things to consider:
Purpose: Consider what you will be using the laptop for. Will you be using it for basic regular tasks like browsing the internet, watching a couple of movies, and sending emails, or do you need it for more demanding tasks like video editing or gaming? This will help determine the specs you need, and you don’t need to overspend your hard-earned money on a powerful system that is actually not worth investing in.
Processor: The processor is the brain of the computer, so it’s important to choose one that is powerful enough for your needs. Intel and AMD are the two main processor manufacturers, and both offer a range of options at various price points. So you have to go for the right processor depending on your purpose of work, the higher the processor efficiency, the price of the system will be increased accordingly.
RAM: The amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) is important for multitasking and running demanding software. At a minimum, look for a laptop with 8GB of RAM if you have a decent budget, but if you plan to run more powerful software, you may need 16GB or more.
Storage: Consider how much storage you will need. A solid-state drive (SSD) is faster and more reliable than a traditional hard drive (HDD), but it is also more expensive. A laptop with a minimum of 256GB/512GB of storage is generally recommended, but if you plan to store a lot of files or media, you may need more.
Display: The display is another important factor to consider. Look for a laptop with a high-resolution display and good color accuracy if you plan to use it for video or photo editing. If you plan to use it for gaming, look for a display with a fast refresh rate and low response time.
Battery life: If you plan to use the laptop on the go most of the time, battery life is important to check for. Look for a laptop with a battery life of at least 8 hours.
Size and weight: Consider the size and weight of the laptop if you plan to travel with it frequently. A smaller and lighter laptop will be more portable but may have a smaller display and fewer ports.
Ports: Consider the ports that the laptop has, such as USB, HDMI, and Ethernet. Make sure the laptop has enough ports to connect all of your devices.
Overall, the most important things to look for when buying a laptop depending on your needs and intended use cases. By considering these factors, you can easily find a laptop that is powerful, reliable, and also meets your specific needs.
Now let’s break down each section we discussed so that you will have a general idea of how things work, and what you need to look for to find yourself a good and efficient laptop.
Most Recommended Things to Check for When Buying your New Laptop:
#Section 1: Purpose of the Laptop
Before buying a laptop, it’s crucial to determine its purpose or use cases that you actually want to go for. Different laptops are designed & categorized for different tasks, so understanding what you’ll use it for will help you choose the right one.
Here are some of the purposes to consider:
- Basic tasks: If you need a laptop for browsing the internet, sending emails, and word processing, you don’t need a high-end device. A budget-friendly laptop with a dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage will suffice.
- Office tasks: For tasks such as data entry, accounting, and graphics editing tasks, you need a mid-range laptop with a faster processor e.g: Core-i3, a minimum of 8GB of RAM, and at least 512GB of storage. It should also have a good keyboard, trackpad, and reliable battery life.
- Gaming: Gaming laptops require powerful hardware configurations to handle intensive graphics and gameplay. If you are planning for a gaming laptop to buy, look for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card, a high-end processor e.g: Core-i5 or Core-i7, at least 16GB of RAM, and a large storage capacity.
- Creative tasks: For tasks such as video and photo editing, you need a laptop with a high-resolution display, a dedicated graphics card, a minimum of 16GB of RAM, and a large storage capacity of 1-2TB. Also, you have to look for the input & output ports profile very carefully. Because these kinds of creative tasks require a lot of external devices to be connected e.g: Cameras, SD cards, and external storage drives for importing as well as exporting the data files seamlessly.
#Section 2: Processor
The processor is the brain of the laptop and determines its speed and performance. This is the main integral part that will decide, how powerful your overall system will be, cause like Desktop computers, you can’t be able to change or upgrade your device’s processor once you have purchased it.
So you need to be very careful while choosing your processor, here we have listed some of the key things to notice before you pick the one.
When choosing a laptop Processor, consider the following:
- Processor type: Intel and AMD are the two leading processor manufacturers in the market. Intel processors are popular in laptops due to their performance, while AMD processors are known for their value. In terms of price, Intel processors are slightly high-priced compared to AMD, but also they are highly efficient and provide great support. If you are not on a very tight budget, consider going with Intel.
- Processor speed: The processor speed is measured in GHz, and the higher the GHz, the faster the processor. For basic tasks, a dual-core processor with a speed of 2.5GHz will suffice. For more demanding tasks, consider a quad-core processor with a speed of 3.5GHz or higher. Today you have the options of Core i3, Core i5, & Core i7 to choose from depending on your needs.
- Processor Generation: Processor generations refer to the version of the processor that was released. The latest generation processors are faster and more efficient than older ones. Consider a laptop with a minimum of an 8th generation or higher processor for basic tasks. And if you are buying a laptop for high-end tasks consider going with the most recent generations of processors, by investing some extra amount of money.
#Section 3: RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the laptop’s temporary memory that stores data that the processor needs to access quickly. The larger the RAM size will be, the more amount of data it can store at a time, and it also helps you to multitask in a faster way.
Consider the following when choosing a laptop’s RAM:
- Amount of RAM: The amount of RAM refers to the available size of the RAM that your laptop model has already added to it. Although you can change the RAM or upgrade it later, it is recommended to go with a high-capacity RAM while purchasing your laptop. So that you will get the best one suitable for your laptop, and with some additional price discounts. For basic tasks, 4GB of RAM is sufficient, but for more demanding tasks, consider a minimum of 8GB or 16GB variant. For gaming, video editing, and other intensive tasks, you need a minimum of 16GB or more.
- RAM speed: The speed of RAM is measured in MHz, and the higher the MHz, the faster the RAM. Consider a laptop with a RAM speed of at least 2400MHz. If you have a decent amount of budget to invest additionally, go with a more powerful and high-speed RAM available for your device. It will help you run your tasks faster.
- Upgradeability: Some laptops allow you to upgrade the RAM later. If you need more RAM in the future, look for a laptop with this option. It is always advisable to pick a laptop that has extended RAM features available, cause you can easily add extra RAM modules, whenever you feel necessary to upgrade.
#Section 4: Storage
Storage is the disk drive, where the laptop stores all your data, including your local files, documents, and applications. There are two types of storage used commonly in laptop PCs: hard disk drive (HDD) and solid-state drive (SSD).
An SSD drive is faster in terms of speed, compared to a traditional HDD drive, so if you can invest some extra amount for getting yourself an SSD drive, rather than an HDD, it will help you a lot in running your tasks more efficiently.
Consider the following things when choosing a laptop’s storage:
- HDD Vs. SSD: SSDs are usually 10x faster and more reliable than traditional HDD drives, but they are also more expensive. For basic daily tasks, a laptop with an HDD will suffice, but for faster performance, consider a laptop with an SSD storage drive. You can also look for laptops with a hybrid storage system that combines both HDD and SSD storage drives.
- Storage capacity: The storage capacity you need depends on how you plan to use the laptop. For basic tasks, 256GB of storage is sufficient, but for tasks like graphics and video editing, consider a minimum of 1TB in HDD or 512GB SSD or more.
- Upgradeability: Some laptops allow you to upgrade the storage later. If you need more storage in the future, look for a laptop with this option. If you have no plans to upgrade your device storage in the future, it will be a wise idea to choose a model that already has a high-capacity storage space, else you can add external storage drives to transfer your files very easily.
#Section 5: Display
The display of your laptop is one of the most important features to consider when buying a laptop, especially if you plan to use it for creative tasks like graphics, video editing, or gaming.
Having a High-resolution display will provide you with a clear viewing angle of your multimedia content, along with clear high-quality pixels to improve your visual experience.
Consider the following key points when choosing a laptop’s display:
- Size: Laptops come in different sizes, so as the screen size, ranging from 11 inches to 17 inches. The size you choose depends on your needs and preference. A smaller laptop is more portable, while a larger laptop with a big screen display offers a better viewing experience.
- Resolution: The resolution determines the quality of the display. For basic/ general daily tasks, a laptop with a resolution of 1366 x 768 will be sufficient, whereas for better viewing quality, consider buying a laptop with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 or higher depending on your spending capacity.
- Panel type: There are three types of panels: TN, IPS, and OLED. TN panels are the cheapest and offer the least color accuracy and viewing angles. IPS panels are more expensive and offer better color accuracy and wider viewing angles. OLED panels are the most expensive and offer the best color accuracy and contrast.
#Section 6: Graphics
Having yourself a dedicated graphics card on your laptop has a lot of advantages. If you plan to use the laptop for gaming or creative tasks like image & video editing, you need a dedicated graphics card, as it will help you in rendering your data faster.
Integrated graphics cards are only sufficient for basic daily tasks, where there is no need for a dedicated graphics module.
Consider the following things when choosing a laptop’s graphics:
- Dedicated vs. Integrated graphics: Integrated graphics are built into the processor/ motherboard, while dedicated graphics have their own dedicated memory module. Dedicated graphics offer a way better performance and are essential for gaming and video editing tasks mostly. If you are buying a laptop for such high-intensity tasks, having yourself a dedicated graphics card on your system is mandatory. You can opt for at least 2-4GB of graphics memory dedicated to your creative & multimedia tasks.
- Graphics card model: NVIDIA and AMD are the leading graphics card manufacturers currently. So you should go for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card from either of these manufacturers. But as stated above, choose a high-capacity dedicated graphics card if possible, of course, it will cost you some extra budget, but it will be worth choosing in the long run.
#Section 7: Battery Life
Battery life is also an essential feature to consider, especially if you plan to use the laptop on the go most of the time. As there are not many things to check a laptop’s battery life, you can check the reviews posted by the users on online forums or online shopping sites selling laptops.
Also, don’t forget to check the company’s claimed battery capacity and performance, if you are choosing a well-known brand, you will get longer backup time, compared to the cheaper third-party brands.
Consider the following when choosing a laptop’s battery life:
- Battery capacity: The battery capacity determines how long the laptop can last on a single charge cycle. The better the battery capacity, the more it will last in powering up your device. So look for a laptop with a battery capacity of at least 45Wh or more.
- Battery life: Battery life depends on how you use the laptop mainly. And it truly varies from user to user, you must follow all the battery-saving tips to power up your laptop for a longer time period. Look for a laptop with a battery life of at least 6-8 hours or more; below this life span of a battery, is not recommended at all.
#Section 8: Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard and touchpad are also essential things to consider, but most people ignore them, especially if you plan to use the laptop for office tasks or at night time you have to look for some necessary features.
Things to look for when choosing a laptop’s keyboard and touchpad:
- Keyboard: Look for a laptop with a comfortable and responsive keyboard. A backlit keyboard is also useful for working in low-light environments, whereas if you require the numbers most of the time while you are working on your laptop, an extra number pad added to your keyboard can help you in typing the numbers faster.
- Touchpad: Look for a laptop with a large and responsive touchpad. Multi-touch gestures are also useful for navigating the laptop. If you are planning to use an external mouse for better navigation, still having a quick and responsive touchpad can help your job done while you are on a travel.
#Section 9: Input & Output Ports
Laptops are versatile devices that offer a range of input and output ports to allow users to connect different devices and peripherals, which provides great flexibility in doing their tasks more efficiently.
The input and output ports of a laptop are essential for expanding its capabilities and improving its usability. When choosing a laptop, it is important to consider the type and number of input and output ports(e.g: HDMI, USB, Ethernet, SD card slot) it offers, depending on your needs and intended use. Whether you need to connect external displays, transfer data, or connect peripherals, a laptop with the right input and output ports can provide you with the functionality and versatility you need.
In this section, we will discuss the different input and output ports of a laptop and their importance.
#Section 9.1: Input Ports
Input ports allow users to connect external devices such as keyboards, mice, microphones, and cameras to their laptops. The most common input ports on laptops include:
- USB Port: USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a standard input port that allows users to connect a wide range of devices, including flash drives, external hard drives, and other peripherals like USB keyboards & mice. Most laptops come with USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 ports, with newer models offering USB-C ports.
- HDMI Port: HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is an input/output port that allows users to connect their laptop to an external device. It provides high-quality video and audio input/ output and is widely used in gaming and media applications.
- Audio Jack: Audio jacks are one of the most common input ports that allow users to connect external speakers, headphones, or microphones to their laptops. Most laptops come with a standard 3.5mm audio jack, while some newer models also offer a combination audio jack that supports both audio input and output.
- SD Card Slot: An SD (Secure Digital) card slot is an input port that allows users to read and write data to SD cards. It is commonly used to transfer photos and videos from digital cameras and other devices.
#Section 9.2: Output Ports
Output ports allow users to connect their laptops to external displays, projectors, and other devices seamlessly. The most common output ports on laptops include:
- VGA Port: VGA (Video Graphics Array) is an output port that allows users to connect their laptops to older displays or projectors. It provides a lower-quality video output compared to HDMI.
- DisplayPort: DisplayPort is an output port that provides high-quality video and audio output. It is commonly used in gaming and media applications and can support multiple displays.
- Thunderbolt Port: Thunderbolt is an output port that provides high-speed data transfer and can support multiple displays. It is commonly used in professional settings such as video editing and graphic design.
- Ethernet Port: An Ethernet port is an output port that allows users to connect their laptops to wired networks such as LAN. It provides faster and more reliable internet connectivity compared to Wi-Fi. An Ethernet port can be also classified as an input port, depending on its use cases.
Choosing the perfect laptop can be overwhelming, but understanding the essential features and considering their importance can help you make the right decision while getting your new laptop.
Consider the laptop’s purpose, processor, RAM, storage, display, graphics, battery life, keyboard, and touchpad when making your decision. Also, remember to consider your budget and choose a laptop that meets your needs without breaking the bank.
With this laptop buying guide, you’ll be able to find the perfect laptop you want for your needs, very easily.
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We have tried our best to solve your queries as much as possible, please go through the FAQ section to find the answers to your queries quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs):
What should I consider when purchasing a laptop?
When purchasing a laptop, consider the following factors: the purpose of the laptop, your budget, the size and weight of the laptop, the processor, RAM, storage, battery life, screen resolution, and graphics card.
What is the difference between a laptop and a desktop?
Laptops are portable and designed for on-the-go use, while desktops are typically more powerful and have a larger display. Laptops also tend to have less upgradability compared to desktops.
What size laptop should I get?
This depends on your usage and needs. If you plan on using your laptop for travel or on-the-go use, a smaller, lightweight laptop may be ideal. If you plan on using your laptop for gaming or video editing, a larger laptop with a larger display may be more suitable.
What is a good battery life for a laptop?
A good battery life for a laptop should last at least 6-8 hours on a single charge, but this depends on your usage and needs. If you plan on using your laptop for extended periods without access to a power outlet, a laptop with a longer battery life may be more suitable.
What is the difference between a solid-state drive (SSD) and a hard disk drive (HDD)?
SSDs are faster and more reliable compared to HDDs, but they tend to be more expensive. HDDs have more storage capacity but are slower and less reliable compared to SSDs.
Should I purchase a laptop with a dedicated graphics card or an integrated graphics card?
If you plan on using your laptop for gaming or video editing purposes, a dedicated graphics card can provide better performance. If you primarily use your laptop for everyday tasks such as web browsing and email, an integrated graphics card is sufficient.
Should I purchase a laptop with touchscreen capability?
If you plan on using your laptop for artistic or creative work that involves drawing or sketching, a touch-screen laptop may be useful.
How much RAM should I get for my laptop?
This totally depends on your day-to-day use cases. If you plan on using your laptop for basic daily tasks such as web browsing and email, 4GB of RAM may be sufficient.
If you plan on using your laptop for more demanding and high-intensity tasks such as gaming or video editing, 8GB or more of RAM may be necessary.
What is the difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0?
USB 3.0 offers faster data transfer speeds compared to USB 2.0. , USB 2.0 has a maximum data transfer rate of 480 Mbps, while USB 3.0 can transfer data at up to 5 Gbps.
Can I connect my laptop to a TV without an HDMI port?
Yes, you can use a VGA or DisplayPort cable to connect your laptop to an older TV or monitor that doesn’t have an HDMI port. But if you have the HDMI option available, connecting through HDMI will provide you better visual experience.
How many USB ports do I need on my laptop?
If you plan on connecting several external devices simultaneously, you may need multiple USB ports. However, if you only use one or two external devices at a time, a laptop with one or two USB ports may be sufficient. But this is not a matter of concern, as you can connect an external USB extender to connect more devices later if you need it at any time.
Do all laptops have an SD card slot?
No, not all laptops have an SD card slot. Some newer laptops have replaced the SD card slot with a microSD card slot, while others may not have a dedicated card slot at all.
What is the difference between a VGA and a DisplayPort?
VGA provides lower-quality video output compared to DisplayPort. DisplayPort offers higher-quality video output and can support multiple displays.
Do I need an Ethernet port on my laptop?
Yes. It is important to have an Ethernet port on your laptop If you require faster and more reliable internet connectivity. However, if you primarily use Wi-Fi for internet connectivity, you may not need an Ethernet port.
Can I use a Thunderbolt port to charge my laptop?
Yes, Thunderbolt ports can provide power and charge your laptop, but it depends on the specific laptop and port configuration. Not all laptops provide the same facility.
Can I use an audio jack to connect a microphone to my laptop?
Yes, if your laptop has an integrated audio input jack, you can connect a microphone to it.
Do all laptops have an HDMI port?
No, not all laptops have an HDMI port. Some newer laptops may only have a USB-C or Thunderbolt port, which can be used with an adapter to connect to an external display.
What are some of the most popular laptop brands?
Some of the most popular laptop brands include Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Apple, and Microsoft.
Which laptop brand is the best?
Each brand has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, Dell is known for its durability, HP for its stylish designs, and Apple for its user-friendly interface. Do some research and read reviews to find the brand that best fits your needs as well as your spending capacity.
Are gaming laptops only available from certain manufacturers?
No, gaming laptops are available from a variety of manufacturers, including Dell, HP, Asus, and Acer. Look for laptops with dedicated graphics cards and high-performance processors for the best gaming experience.
Is it better to buy a laptop from a well-known brand or a lesser-known brand?
Well-known brands often have a reputation for quality and offer reliable customer support, but they may also come with a higher price tag. Lesser-known brands may offer more affordable options, but may not have the same level of customer support and after-sales service.
Should I buy a laptop from a local store or an online store?
Buying a laptop from a local store allows you to physically see and test out the laptop before purchasing, and also offers the convenience of in-person customer support.
Buying online offers a wider selection and often better prices, but you may not be able to test the laptop before purchasing and may have to deal with shipping and returns.
Can I customize the specifications of a laptop from certain manufacturers?
Yes, some manufacturers such as Dell and HP offer the option to customize the specifications of your laptop before purchasing. This allows you to choose the specific components that best fit your needs and budget.
Are Apple laptops worth the price?
Apple laptops are popularly known for their sleek designs, user-friendly interface, faster performance, and reliability. However, they also tend to be more expensive compared to laptops from other manufacturers. If you have enough budget for getting yourself a Macbook, you can go with it blindly.
How important is build quality when choosing a laptop?
Build quality is an important factor to consider when choosing a laptop, as it can affect the durability and longevity of the device. Look for laptops made from high-quality materials with sturdy hinges.
Are expensive laptops always better in terms of quality?
Not necessarily. While more expensive laptops may have higher-end components and better build quality, it’s important to evaluate each laptop on its own merits. Look for laptops that offer the best combination of performance, build quality, and affordability for your needs, within your specified budget.
Can I upgrade the configuration of a laptop after purchasing it?
This depends on the laptop model and configuration. Some laptops allow for easy upgrades of components such as RAM or disk storage, while others are more difficult to upgrade. Make sure to research the upgradeability of a laptop before making a purchase decision.
Is it worth paying extra for a higher screen resolution laptop?
Higher screen resolutions can provide sharper and more detailed visuals, which can be important for tasks such as video editing or graphic design. However, they may not be as necessary for general usages such as web browsing or word processing. Before going with these features, you first decide on your usage details.
How can I find a laptop that offers the best value for my budget?
Look for laptops that offer a good combination of performance, build quality, and affordability for your needs. Do your research and read reviews from other users to find laptops that offer the best value for your budget.
Should I always choose a laptop with the latest Generation processor?
Not necessarily important. While having the latest processor can provide a better performance, it may not be necessary for all users. Consider your usage and budget when choosing a laptop, and look for a processor that offers the best combination of performance and affordability for your needs.
What are the main operating systems available for laptops?
The most popular operating systems for laptops are Windows, macOS, and Linux. Windows is developed by Microsoft and is the most widely used operating system in the world.
macOS is developed by Apple and is exclusive to their hardware. Linux is an open-source operating system that comes in many different flavors and is known for its customizability and flexibility.
Which operating system should I choose for my laptop?
The choice of the operating system(OS) depends on your personal preferences and needs. Windows is a great choice if you’re looking for a familiar interface and a wide range of software and hardware compatibility.
macOS is a good option if you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem and prefer a streamlined and user-friendly interface. Linux is a good choice if you’re a power user or developer and want maximum control over your system.
Are there any advantages of using a specific operating system over others?
Each operating system has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, Windows offers better compatibility with the widest range of software and hardware, while macOS offers a more streamlined and user-friendly experience.
Linux offers greater flexibility and control but can have a steeper learning curve. It’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing an operating system.
Can I switch between operating systems on my laptop anytime?
In most cases, yes. You can install multiple operating systems on a laptop and choose which one to use at startup. However, it’s important to note that switching between operating systems can be a complex process and requires some technical expertise. But you can do it easily, with some extra effort.
Do I need to purchase an operating system separately when buying a new laptop?
It depends on the laptop manufacturer and the specific model you’re buying. Some laptops come with an operating system pre-installed, while others may not.
In the case of Windows, some manufacturers offer laptops with a “Windows 10 S” version pre-installed, which is a locked-down version of the OS that only allows you to install apps from the Microsoft Store.
If you want the full version of Windows, you may need to purchase it separately. macOS, on the other hand, is only available on Apple hardware and comes pre-installed on their laptops.
Are there any free operating systems available for laptops?
Yes, Linux is an open-source operating system that is available for free. There are many different versions of Linux, known as “distributions”, that offer different features and capabilities. Some popular distributions include Ubuntu, Fedora, and Debian. If you know how to use Linux OS, you can use it for free of cost.
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