Looking to Buy a Laptop? Afraid of making a wrong choice? In this case we recommend to read our article about what you should pay attention to when buying a laptop.
The purpose of a notebook
First of all you need to decide what exactly you are going to perform on your computer. You agree it’s silly to buy a powerful gaming laptop for a kid who is not even in school yet. You do not need it, and the person who regularly carries a computer to work – it will one day just fall off.
Basically, laptops are bought for the following purposes:
Learning– In this case you need a moderately powerful computer. It should run Microsoft Word and similar programs without any problems. It is desirable to have a large number of USB-connectors – to the laptop will be connected to a printer, mouse, flash drive, and other devices. The screen diagonal should be at least 14 inches. But if the computer will be carried to school, then you can think about a more compact model.
Work– You should buy a laptop with a 15-inch display for that purpose. Try to find a lightweight model with a large SSD drive. How powerful should be a laptop – it depends on the tasks. If your work is connected with typing you don’t need a high performance processor, but you will definitely need one for video editing.
Games– in this case you need a specific notebook. When choosing it you don’t need to think about size, weight and battery life. The only thing inside would be a graphics card and an efficient processor. A large amount of RAM and a high-capacity SDD (at most an HDD) are also desirable. Or make sure that in the future you will be able to add another strip of RAM.
Home use– is when a computer can be used by both parents and children. In this case you need to look for a balanced solution. And you don’t have to buy a model that has a graphics card – weak games will be run using the graphics core built into the processor. But a big capacity hard drive does come in handy. However, at home no one interferes with the use of a laptop paired with an external hard drive.
So, with the scenario of use are defined. Now we need to understand what specification notebook you should pay your attention to.
From the diagonal of the screen will depend on two factors:
The dimensions of the laptop– A large computer is harder to carry around;
Ease of use– On a large display is much more legible all the elements of the interface.
Ideally everyone should have a laptop with a 15-inch screen. In practice, however, it turns out that this computer is not always comfortable. And, for that matter, you can always display the picture on a monitor or TV, using the appropriate connector.
Another important parameter of the display is its resolution. In any case do not buy a laptop, the screen which has a resolution lower than F
- l HD (1920×1080 pixels). The time of such devices is irrevocably gone. And spare your eyes! Gamblers in general can look in the direction of models, which display has a 2K or even 4K-definition. Such laptop is recommended for professionals who work actively with photos and videos. The latter are now written in F resolution more and more rarely
- l HD – every second video camera is capable of more, even if we talk about amateur devices.
You should pay attention to other characteristics of the display. Here are the most important ones:
The technology of creation– IPS matrixes are usually used now. They can boast a good color rendering and almost maximum viewing angles.
Frame rate– This parameter is of most interest to the gamer. This is the kind of person who wants to get the most frames per second. The rest are quite satisfied with 60 fps. Even with a professional laptop you are unlikely to need a high frequency.
Color gamut– This parameter indicates how many colors a display is capable of displaying. Some models even have support for HDR, which allows them to display a picture a little worse than those which can display quite expensive TVs.
And many people completely forget that the screen can have a different coating. In the case of the monitor is not so important, which can not be said about the laptop display, which can be used in very different conditions. Matte coating prevents the screen from glare, but it will automatically make the device a little more expensive. A glossy display is cheaper to make. It produces a bit better quality picture. But such a screen, as you have already realized, is not immune to the appearance of glare and reflection.
If you think about it, the display is one of the most expensive components of the laptop. It is partly its final price depends on it. However, the price tag is seriously affected by some other components.
As you know, a desktop computer allows you to change the processor at any time. In the case of a laptop you will be deprived of such a possibility. So you need to think seriously about what platform your laptop will be built on.
We will not mention the specific chip models here. We will only tell you what features you should look for. You should first be interested in the number of cores. Start with four. Notebooks with dual core processor – this is an old century, we must forget about them. But even a quad-core chip can fail to deliver the speed you need – both the frequency of each core and the other hardware components come into play.
As for the clock speed, the higher it is, the better. But do not forget that this parameter can reach each core. That means that a 3,000 MHz octa-core chip will be much more powerful than its 3,300 MHz six-core counterpart.
If we talk about the manufacturer of the processor, it is left to your discretion. Intel products are noticeably more expensive than AMD chips, but they are a little more stable. But this is relative. In fact many AMD processors have no problems at all.
By the way, in recent years, a certain role in the choice of a laptop is played by the processor by which the processor was created. The smaller it is, the more energy efficient the chip should be.
Many modern laptops do not have discrete graphics cards. This is because it simply wouldn’t fit inside – so thin are laptops these days. Instead of a video card, a processor with a built-in graphics core is used. And there’s no need to laugh! This chip can easily handle an average level of graphics in many games, especially if the resolution F
- l HD. That should be enough to use this laptop at home and at school.
If you buy a laptop including for the games, it is better to choose a model with a discrete graphics card. But you have to accept the fact that the computer will be large and heavy – you certainly do not want to lug it somewhere with you. The graphics card in a laptop can be of different generations. We will not advise to chase after the latest, supporting ray tracing technology – such a laptop will cost too much money. We only recommend to pay attention to the amount of video memory. 2 GB is a minimum. In today’s games, you may not even have enough of it.
If you’re going to use your computer for video editing or other similarly demanding tasks, it may be the hardest decision to make. It would seem that in this case you can’t do without a graphics card. But if work is carried out outside the home, then you want to buy some ultrabook, but it will definitely be devoid of graphics adapter. In this case we recommend you to choose the model without graphics cards, but based on a very powerful processor.
Many of our readers have heard about the existence of a “macbook”. These laptops are made by Apple. From traditional laptops they differ not only the bottom row of keys. Every MacBook runs its own operating system called the Mac OS. You may think that it is almost impossible to learn it after Windows. But this is not the case. Here is the usual algorithm. And the new keyboard shortcuts are studied in just a few days.
And in favor of which operating system to make his choice? It’s easy. If you are going to use the laptop for work purposes, you are better off with a MacBook. It is very easy to use. Its only problem is that with time you might need to repair the keyboard. High-quality and reliable mechanism of keys is built only in new models of laptops, released no earlier than 2020.
It should be noted that Apple products often have a steep price tag. If you can’t afford it, you’ll just have to make do with a Windows computer. In this case, you can hardly count on a long battery life. But if you think about it, this is the only choice for a gamer. Alas, the Mac OS doesn’t appeal to game developers very much. And notebooks from Apple come with a video card very rarely.
No computer can not do without a drive. It is on which all data is stored: the files of the operating system, music, videos, and documents you create. When choosing a notebook computer, you should be interested in the type of drive and its capacity. And here there are a variety of options.
For a long time there were only laptops with a hard disk drive (HDD). Now this option is unacceptable for many, because such a computer will take quite a long time to boot, and all installed programs, too.
Modern ultrabooks are no longer able to accommodate HDD, so they are equipped with a solid-state drive (SSD). Its read and write speed varies between 500 and 2500 MB/s, depending on its type and connection method. So the booting of the operating system is instantaneous.
There are also laptops which include two hard drives. SSD is used to store the operating system and installed programs, and HDD is used to keep multimedia and games on it.
As for the disk space, it all depends on what you are going to store on your purchased laptop. Do not forget that you can always connect an external hard drive – movies can be downloaded to it. That is why models with a 500-gigabyte hard drive are so popular now. Even an expensive MacBook often doesn’t offer much more storage space. Looking for a laptop with a hard drive or SSD to 1TB should only be those who are going to use the purchase including for gaming. Again, the computer must have at least a small hard drive to run the operating system on it.
Theoretically, the laptop can be used proudly alone, without connecting any additional devices. But this is strange, to say the least. So when choosing a laptop you need to clarify what connectors have its ends. You may not need some of these, but you will often need some of them.
To transmit an image to a monitor or television – an HDMI connector is usually used for this purpose. Depending on its version, the picture will be transferred in one resolution or another. Also, the laptop may have DisplayPort, originally invented by Apple. It can transmit image and sound at the same time, too. And some laptops can transmit a picture via USB Type-C.
RJ-45 (LAN-connector) – used for wired connection to the local or global network. Right now, relatively few users need it. Make sure it can send and receive information at 1000 Mbit/sec.
Connection of external storage devices and peripherals – usually done via USB-ports. You need to pay attention to their number and version. USB 2.0, the slowest connectors, were only good for connecting a mouse, printer, and other peripherals. It is better to work with an external hard drive through USB 3.First or second generation. Among these jacks, one can belong to the Type-C form factor – you might be familiar with it from your smartphones and tablets.
Earphone and microphone jacks can be separate, but nowadays a combined jack is used more often.
That’s probably all. Laptops used to have a ton of other connectors, you could find DVI, eSATA, RS-232 serial and VGA. But those days are over.
Your modern laptop can’t do without wireless networking methods. However, you should not expect much variety here. Basically laptops work with two standards:
Bluetooth – used for transmitting and receiving sound. Pay attention to the version of the standard – ideally it should be the fifth, it is the most stable and energy efficient.
Wi-Fi – used to connect to the router. It provides the computer access to the Internet. Again, pay attention to the version of the standard. To achieve high speeds, you need to support 802.11ac. Also coming soon to the shelves will be laptops that work with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) – if you have a proper router this will provide you with even more bandwidth.
As for the LTE-module and the GPS-chip, they are practically not found in laptops. Unlike tablets and smartphones.
Every notebook computer has a battery. And it will run for a certain number of hours. At the same time, the manufacturer can not give an exact figure, as it depends on the scenario of use. However, the approximate battery life in the characteristics is still specified. The models without a graphics card last the longest. Alas, this component can by no means be called energy efficient.
If you are going to use a laptop on trips, then you better choose a model that can work on a full battery charge for at least six hours. We recommend to splurge on an Apple laptop – usually Mac OS based devices last quite a long time. Well, if you are buying a computer for your home you can take almost any model that will function with Windows – most of the time the laptop will be plugged into a socket.
Now you understand what exactly the different laptops differ from each other. Now you know which technical features you should pay the most attention to. It remains to define the sum of money which you are ready to part with.