Tips for wading through laptop confusion and picking the best model for your needs.
Having a computer seems absolutely vital these days, but is a laptop the right access point for you? Computers come in a lot of different formats, the laptop is a nice midway point between a stationary desk model and a smartphone. It’s perfect for working on the go, and it’s even nice for home use.
But how do you wade through all of the different features and information to select a model that will suit your needs? And, more importantly, how do you know which price point is right for you? This is where our team of ShopOwl researchers helps you make an informed decision. We’ve put together this quick guide to help you choose the right laptop and a price point that fits your budget.
Laptop computers give you all the function and features of a desktop computer, but they do it with portability. Whether you’re using your laptop for work or for personal use, having the ability to go across the globe or just into the other room is essential for some.
Today’s laptops take all the features you love and give you a variety of options, so you can customize your preferences. If you’re looking for a large screen or the opposite, a compact unit that’s lightweight, you can find it just about anywhere that electronics are sold.
So how do you go about deciding which model is right for you? There are so many specifications and most of them are numbers that don’t mean a lot to you in your day-to-day life. But the one number that will mean the most is the price tag, with laptops ranging from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand, how do you know what to invest in and what to avoid?
The latest and greatest laptop is always the most appealing because it can do just about anything. But a wise buyer comes into the store knowing what they’ll use their new laptop to do.
For example, if you don’t watch movies on your computer, then you don’t need as much memory, a high-quality graphics package, the best CPU around, and other features that add price and weight.
You want to focus your attention on adequate memory, internal storage options, and your operating system.
The operating system manages all of your software and hardware, memory, connected devices, and more. Most people come in already having a preference for Mac or PC computers. This instantly narrows down your options. Then you can choose from the Mac OS, the Windows-based PC or the Chrome OS, a less expensive option that is a little limited.
Memory, or RAM, is important because it allows your computer to do a lot of things at once, increasing the speed and convenience of your machine.1 Very basic computing needs at least 2GB, but this is not going to be satisfactory for most people. 8GB or more is what’s recommended, the more video and images you deal with, the more RAM you’ll want. There are models that let you expand your RAM, so if that’s important to you, look for those models.
Traditionally hard drives were the way to go with storage, but they add to the weight, the noise and they heat up. Today solid state drives, or SSD storage is the way to go.2 It’s lighter, faster, cooler and quieter. But it’s also uses more GB so this is a trade-off.
Finding the right laptop computer is important because you want to use it for years to come and have it still perform in line with your needs. The above tips will help you make the big decisions, but the following will help you finetune your choice.
Your computer’s processor is basically its brain. Its importance should not be minimized but both Intel and AMD processors (the most widely used types) are great options. Within each processor series are little differences that streamline them for use. Look for ones that are designed to support your activities.
Make sure to check with the ShopOwl algorithm before purchasing a laptop computer, so you can get a clear understanding of what other customers liked and didn’t like about it. This will help you make a more informed purchase.
If you use your computer to connect to your television, your smartphone, your camera, speakers or another device, you will want to ensure that you have the right connectivity options in your new computer.
This is one of those things people often forget to check because they just assume that it’s standard. Unfortunately, it’s not. The most common ports today are USB A, USB C, Thunderbolt, HDMI and media-card slots. If you need something else, be sure to ask for a computer that has what you want.
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