Whether you’re studying, working, or want to watch movies in bed, laptops offer you the ability to be productive and entertained. Since there are dozens of laptops on the market, finding the right one can be overwhelming – especially if you’re not sure what features you should be looking for in a laptop in the first place.
It depends on what your needs are, which makes choosing the right laptop much easier if you take the time to figure out exactly what those needs are before buying one.
You’ll want a laptop that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. While it’s tempting to splurge, consider whether you need all of those bells and whistles. If you’re buying a laptop for basic Web surfing, office apps, and Netflix viewing, your most important specs will be price, weight, and battery life.
For example, if you have a big budget but don’t travel frequently or go out at night much, there’s little reason to buy something super-durable that can survive drops or water exposure. On the other hand, if you’re carrying your laptop everywhere with you—to work for meetings or classes—you might want something durable enough to withstand hard use.
Computer screens have different sizes, confusing people when deciding which laptop they should buy. These are known as laptop screen sizes: 10-inch, 11-inch, 12-inch, 13-inch, 14-inch, and 15 inches. The key difference between them is in their size and quality.
There is no perfect screen size for a laptop because it depends on what you plan on using it for. If you’re buying a computer for portability, then a small one with a 10 inch or 11-inch screen might be best. But if you want to do work that requires fast access and better graphics, then a bigger screen will be better, such as 12 inches or 13 inches, but they won’t fit in your bag so easily.
It all comes down to what you need from your laptop. In terms of quality, larger screens usually mean higher resolution and brightness levels which means more pixels per inch (PPI). It is good for editing photos or watching movies on long journeys. However, bigger laptops also cost more money, so it’s worth balancing these factors against each other before deciding.
If you’re choosing a laptop for specific tasks, like video editing or web design, focusing on key specs that relate directly to those uses makes sense. For example, a gaming laptop with a fast graphics card is great for gaming but may not be powerful enough for video editing.
However, if you’re looking for an all-purpose PC—for work and play—you want a generally powerful machine that offers excellent battery life. In general, aim for at least 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the better your computer will perform when running multiple applications simultaneously.
RAM (random access memory) is like short-term memory for your computer. Generally speaking, the more RAM you have, the better your computer will perform when running multiple applications simultaneously.
You’ll also want to ensure that any laptop you buy has enough storage space for your files and documents, which can be a challenge on small devices with limited hard drive space. Pay special attention if you plan on storing videos or large graphics files, as these can quickly eat up all available storage space.
Different tasks and programs require different levels of performance. If you’re only using your laptop for web browsing, word processing, email, watching videos, and so on, a five or 6-hour battery life should be plenty.
But if you want to play video games or edit photos and videos, that may not be enough power. Also, consider how important it is for your laptop to run for as long as possible in case of an emergency—do you need a backup plan in case your power runs out?
Think about how often you’ll use it away from an outlet: if you don’t do much work outside of the Wi-Fi range or far from home, longer battery life might not matter much.
If you are buying a laptop for more demanding tasks, like gaming or video editing:
- Aim for at least a 10-hour battery life.
- Remember that batteries don’t last forever—you’ll probably need to replace yours after a few years.
- Consider all these factors and choose a laptop with great battery life if it matters most.
2-in-1 laptops: If you plan on using your laptop as both a notebook and tablet, look for one with touch support. If it’s an actual computer (meaning it can be upgraded), consider buying an external keyboard so you can use it in tablet mode.
How Much Processing Power Do You Need?
When shopping for a laptop, please pay attention to how much RAM it comes with. If you’re looking at a Windows machine, there are two standards: 4GB is good enough for most folks, while 8GB should be plenty for power users.
On Apple laptops (and MacBooks), expect to find 4GB of RAM standard on non-Pro models and up to 16GB on Pro machines. You must choose an amount of memory that best suits your needs; don’t simply go by what others say or what a store salesperson recommends.
What About A Graphics Card?
Today’s laptops may look sleek and portable, but once you start doing more than just emailing, you’ll notice something’s missing: a powerful graphics card. Most laptop models don’t have much of one, or they don’t include one. If you want to edit videos, play games, or edit photos on your laptop, you won’t get top-notch performance and can wind up with a sluggish machine that takes forever to load programs.
How Much RAM Do You Need?
Most laptops come with 2 gigabytes of RAM, which is great for most users. But some people need more memory if they like to multitask—like if you use your laptop for school and also edit photos at night. If you fall into that category, consider buying a laptop with 4 gigabytes of RAM.
Even better: get one with 8 gigabytes so you can run multiple apps without bogging down your computer’s performance. Suppose your laptop has 16 gigabytes of RAM. In that case, it’s probably overkill unless you’re an avid gamer or video editor—but if you are either of those things and aren’t getting much gaming or editing done daily, it could be worth investing in anyway since having too much memory is way better than not enough.
SSD Storage Or Spinning Drive?
SSD stands for a solid-state drive. An SSD drive stores data on microchips rather than a hard disk platter. The first benefit of an SSD is its speed. SSDs are much faster at reading and writing files than traditional spinning-disk hard drives.
They’re also lighter, more compact, and less likely to fail because there are no moving parts inside that can break down. SSD drives can be up to 20 times faster than traditional spinning-drive storage solutions—so you won’t have to wait around as long for your laptop’s operating system or applications to load. You’ll feel a difference in terms of snappiness and overall responsiveness with an SSD under your feet.
Why Choose Tech Classify?
Find the perfect laptop with Tech Classify! Let Tech Classify find the perfect laptop using our powerful laptop matching algorithm and expert advice on what to look for when buying a laptop. We’ll tell you what features are important (processor speed, weight, battery life) so you can make an informed purchase decision.