Entering the market for a new laptop can be stressful. There seem to be countless options, each unique and worthy in its own way. Figuring out which is best for you requires a careful analysis of your needs, a projection of your intended uses for the computer, and an honest evaluation of what you can afford.
If you’re having trouble making a decision, there are a few different and important criteria you can use to simplify your decision making. Looking over this comprehensive list of considerations will help land you with the perfect laptop!
Laptops come in many different sizes. Typically, they range from 11.6 inches up to 17.3 inches (keep in mind that this measurement is made diagonally from the base of the screen to the upper, opposite corner). How big your laptop is will determine how portable it is.
While all laptops are portable by definition, the bigger the machine the harder it will be to pack it into your bags or lug around to cafes. However, larger laptops also tend to have higher ram speed and improved graphics cards. This is necessary to keep in mind if you’re looking for a machine that offers high performance, or if you’re a gamer and want better on-screen visuals.
Most people who work from their computers spend hours and hours each day staring at thousands of shifting pixels. If you’re one of these people, you want to make sure that you have a screen that—at the very least—doesn’t strain your eyes to look at.
It’s become increasingly common for computers to come with a touchscreen. However, most of these models have a glossy layer on the outside that can become annoying after long hours of exposure. Unless you have a pressing need, it might be best to opt for a regular option. This small difference can go a long way.
It’s also important to consider resolution. A Full HD screen is 1920×1080. Look for something that offers this pixel resolution or higher. Your eyes will thank you.
The CPU is the brains of your computer. It does all of the calculating, processing, and heavy lifting involved with all of your computer functions. If you want a machine that runs at a high level and can process large amounts of information, it’s vital that you purchase a machine with a powerful CPU.
The most popular CPUs are made by Intel, which offer Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7. As the numeral gets larger, the CPU’s “brain” becomes more powerful. If you’re a gamer or a professional who needs to run multiple programs simultaneously, Core i5 and i7 will be able to handle all of your needs. If you only expect to use your computer for movies or Netflix, Core i3 should do the trick.
If the CPU is your computer’s brains, RAM is its muscle. For a long time, computers functioned perfectly on only 4GB of ram, but the demands of the modern consumer have increased that amount to around 8GB. If you’re someone who expects that they will require a lot of computer power, consider a machine that offers 16G of RAM. Many gamers and gamer computers offer up to 32GB for optimal experience.
Because laptops are made to be taken out of the house and brought to new locations, they will almost inevitably incur some sort of damage. Even if you’re thoughtful with your computer, it’s almost inevitable that something will be spilled on it, or that it will be dropped or dented in some unexpected way.
Anticipating this kind of damage, some manufacturers make laptops that are built to withstand harsh environments. It’s even possible to buy a laptop with a military-grade protection certification. Clearly, most people that use laptops for daily work don’t need these features, but it’s worth asking the salesperson about the durability of any prospective laptop that you’re thinking of purchasing.
Because we’re in the thick of the internet age, laptops are ubiquitous and necessary for most members of the workforce. Make sure that you reference a checklist, like the one you’re reading, before you buy a laptop to make sure that it’s going to satisfy all of your personal requirements. A good laptop is an investment, and you want to be sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck.