Buying A Laptop - Everything you Need To Know

Updated: May 28

A laptop computer is a small, portable personal computer having a thin LCD or LED computer screen mounted on the inside of the upper lid and an alphanumeric keyboard on the inside of the lower lid.

A laptop is a personal computer that is small enough to sit in a person's lap, and is designed for mobile use

Laptops are compact to carry around and are versatile to run demanding applications.

It can be used for doing serious work, watch videos or play at home, on the road, offices or in school.

With the emergence of standalone tablets and smartphones in doing certain jobs like typing of documents, watching movies, editing images, videos and so on, most people realize that certain things like typing of documents or research paper, playing certain video games, engineering or architectural designs works better on a laptop.

So what type of laptop should you get? In this post, we have put together a laptop buying guide to help you out.

There's a wide variety of factors which makes choosing the best laptop a challenge. This post got you covered.

If you're in a hurry and don't want to wait for Amazon Prime Day 2019, these are the most important things to consider when choosing a new laptop. For a lot more detail, see the sections below.

  1. 12.5 to 14-inch screens offer the best balance between usability and portability. Larger screens are fine if you don't travel much and smaller models are great for kids.

  • · Core i5 CPU

  • · 1920 x 1080 screen

  • · 8GB of RAM

  • · SSD Storage instead of a hard drive.

2. A 4+ hours of battery life is ideal if you plan to take your laptop anywhere at all.

Consider a 2-in-1 laptop if you want to use your laptop as a tablet. If not, a standard clamshell notebook may be a better choice.

3. Chromebooks are good for kids and their functionality is expanding rapidly. Windows laptops and MacBooks both offer plenty of functionality; which platform you prefer is a matter of personal taste.

When considering to get a laptop, you need know the type of operating Is running on the laptop.

Most laptops come with one of three operating systems: Windows, Chrome OS or MacOS (for MacBooks only). Choosing the right one is a personal.

Most people are conversant and comfortable using windows and do not know how to make use of the mac os.

1. Windows 10

Windows is the most flexible operating system, Windows, is one of the major os on many laptop and computer models than Chrome OS or Mac OS.

Most laptops typically run Windows as an operating system. Windows is far more open-ended than MacOS, and updated more frequently. There’s also more software available for Windows users than Mac. Also, Windows is the standard for game development and many business-related programs.

Windows 10, is the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. This has lots of improvements over Windows 7 and 8, including the ability to switch between tablet and desktop modes, a revamped Start menu with live tiles and the powerful Cortana digital assistant.

2. Apple mac OS

Apple Mac Os is not as rampant on many laptops like windows. They are majorly on apple laptops and computers.

Mac operating system offers similar functionality to Windows 10, but with a different take on the interface that substitutes an apps dock at the bottom of the screen for Microsoft's Start menu and taskbar.

Apple is usually protective of its brand, releasing products in very deliberate iterations. Although, Macs are very user friendly.

3. Chrome OS

Chrome Os is owned by Google. Google’s Chrome OS is a little different from the other two as it is based on Google’s Chrome browser.

This is good for users who only have little demand of their pc. It is suitable for user who only needs a laptop to read emails, watch Netflix, and occasionally play the odd mobile game. Chromebooks are highly portable and tend to offer good battery life at low prices

It is not suitable if you want or have a high demand for laptop use in terms of having software or other high end application.

Google's OS is simple and secure, but more limited than Windows or macOS. The user interface looks a lot like Windows with an application menu, a desktop and the ability to drag windows around, but the main app you use is the Chrome browser. The downside is that many of the "web apps" you use don't work particularly well offline. However, that's changing as a several Chromebooks, including the high-end, Google PixelBook, can now run Android apps.

Size has a part to play in choosing a laptop. Whereas a bigger display allows for a more expansive and often better viewing experience, it also cuts into the portability factor. A laptop’s size determines the weight of the laptop.

Laptops are categorized by their display sizes:

  • 11 to 12 inches: They are the thinnest and lightest systems and typically weigh 2.5 to 3.5 pounds,(1.13kg - 1.59kg)

  • 13 to 14 inches: This screen size provides a balance in portability and usability, It weighs under 4 pounds (1.8kg).

  • 15 inches: They usually weigh 4.5 (2kg) to 6.5pounds (2.95kg). This kind of size is mostly if you do not wish to carry the laptop around regularly.

  • 17 to 18 inches: This size is If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, They offer you processing power you need to play high-end games or do workstation-level productivity.

Note “certain application require certain screen size before installation. So if you are into use of certain software like design or development software, then you need consider getting a laptop with larger screen size.”

The most impressive specs in the world don't mean diddly if the laptop you're shopping for doesn't have good ergonomics. If you plan to do a lot of work on your computer, make sure the keyboard offers solid tactile feedback, plenty of vertical travel (the distance the key goes down when pressed, usually 1 to 2mm) and enough space between the keys.

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Look for an accurate touchpad that doesn't give you a jumpy cursor and responds consistently to multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom. If you're buying a business laptop, consider getting one with a pointing stick (aka nub) between the G and H keys so you can navigate around the desktop without lifting your fingers off the keyboard's home row.

Certain hardware things to note in a laptop before buying

1 CPU: This is the "brain" of any computer. The processor controls the performance of computers:

  1. Intel Core i9: Core i9 processors offers faster performance than any other processor. Available only on premium laptops, workstations and other high-end gaming rigs. They are for those who demand more in programs and apps.

  2. Intel Core i7: They allow for faster gaming and productivity. There are also Core i7 Y series chips that have lower power and performance. They have a numbering system and if you see the 7, it means the 7th generation (ex: Core i7-7250U) because they are part of Intel's latest Generation Core Series, and offer better performance.

  3. Intel Core i5: Core i5 offers a balance between price and performance. Those with the a Y in the name are low power and have worse performance while models with an HQ use more wattage and appear in thicker gaming and workstation systems.

  4. Intel Core i3: They are relatively good and cheaper compared to the others mentioned above.

  5. AMD Ryzen Mobile: This is a set of processor designed to compete with Intel Core i5 and Core i7.

  6. AMD A, FX or E Series: It is an 8-core chip that runs at up to 4.7 Ghz. AMD's processors It provide decent performance for the money that's good enough for web surfing, media viewing and productivity.

  7. Intel Pentium / Celeron: Systems with this kind of processor are best for low task requirement like surfing the net, typing and editing of documents, watching videos and some others. These chips offer the slowest performance. It is recommended to go for a Core i3 or i5 or better still core i7.

  8. Intel Core m / Core i5 / i7 "Y Series" : Laptops with such processor usually do not have fans as they consume low-power and generate low heat. Their performance is better than Celeron, but not compared with Core i5 U series.

  9. Intel Xeon: This processor is powerful and expensive and suitable for large mobile workstations. Majorly for professional-grade engineering, 3D modeling or video editing, and so on. A set back with such is that they do not have good battery life and are heavy.

2 RAM: (Random Access Memory) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data in current use are kept so they can be quickly accessed by the device's processor.

There are different RAM sizes like 1Gb, 2GB, 3Gb, 4Gb, 8Gb, 16Gb and all this has impact on the laptop processing speed. The larger the RAM, the higher the processor speed and performance.

For better speed and performance, it is recommended to get a laptop with 4GB RAM size.

3 Storage Drive: This refers to the amount of space available on a laptop for saving or storing files, software, documents and any others. The performance of your storage drive is as important as the speed of your CPU.

There are two kinds of storage drives. They are Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD). The HDD is the most common on majority of laptops and computers in the market.

Larger capacity drives tend to perform better than smaller ones and faster spinning drives, when compared with ones of similar capacity, are usually more responsive than slower ones.

Laptops with SSD perform better and faster than laptops with HDD. The draw back with SSD is that they are more expensive than the later.

4 Display: This has to deal with the pixels. The more pixels you have, the more content you can fit on-screen, and the sharper it will look.

It is recommended to go for a panel that runs at 1920 x 1080, also known as Full HD or 1080p. Higher-end laptops have screens that are 2560 x 1600, 3200 x 1800 or even 3840 x 2160 (4K). They offer sharp displays but consume more power, lowering the battery life.

5 Graphics Chip: There are some laptops with specifically graphics chips mainly for those that are into playing PC games, creating 3D objects or doing high-res video editing. Discrete graphics processor from AMD or Nvidia is essential kind of laptops are best for this purpose. Low-end laptops usually have Nvidia MX250 or GTX 1650 GPUs while mid-range models have RTX 2050 or RTX 2060 and high-end models have Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 or RTX 2080 Ti, AMD Radeon RX 5700 GPUs

6 Ports: The port is a connection point or interface between a computer and an external or internal device. Most modern laptops have just three USB ports, audio jacks, Ethernet port, SD card slots.

Most laptops will have USB 3.0 ports and HDMI port for video. However, an increasing number of laptops use USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports that are USB Type-C compatible. Getting Type-C is a definite plus because you can use it to connect to universal chargers and docks.

7 DVD/Blu-ray Drives. Blu-ray drives are compatible with both CD and DVD. Blu-ray drives come in three varieties. Readers can read any format (CD, DVD, and Blu-ray).

Some recent laptops do not have this feature anymore since movies are downloadable or transferable. Most laptops still have drives.

When making a choice of laptop to buy, you may consider the DVD/Blu-ray Drives if you will be playing CD/DVD. Also, if your laptop of choice does not have this feature, you can buy an external one that connects via USB

This is another very important factor to consider when buying or choosing a laptop. Battery size is measured in milliampere hours. When you using a laptop far from a power source, it is expected to have long life and last you up to 3 hours or more. If you get a laptop of lesser battery life, remember that with time, the battery life deceases to the point that it works more like a desktop.

If you would be working for longer hours and you are not close to a source of power supply, then you need a laptop that will suffice for your need.

To determine a laptop's expected battery life, simply read third-party results from objective sources, such as reviews.

Money is a factor in any purchasing decision. The size of your budget has an impact to play in buying a laptop. If you have more money, you can buy a better laptop with more advanced features.

The size of your pocket determines the type of laptop you will buy. Not sure how to strike a balance between cost and quality, check out the features of such laptop and see if it meets your basic needs and matches your budget.

The brand of a product has an impact to play in the procurement of any gadget. A laptop is only as good as the company that stands behind it. When getting a laptop, it is important to note that timely technical support is a factor to consider.

Also, the brand has a way of designing their products so that it stands out in quality, value, aesthetics, review performance and other criteria. Brands like Hp, Lenovo, Dell, to mention but a few tested and trusted.

The benefit of this post is to help buyers in making a choice when they want to buy a laptop. With the points highlighted above, it is quite clear that you can simply make a good choice of laptop. SPAR cares and wish to help our customers in making a good choice when they want to buy products. Kindly share and like us on social media.

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