So what should you consider when buying a new laptop?
The eleven most essential factors you should consider when choosing a new laptopinclude;
Size of the laptop
Amount of RAM or memory
Let’s begin from the top.
1. Size of the laptop
Laptop size is as important when considering buying a new device. Generally, laptops are mobile devices and therefore are meant to be portable. But this is not always the case, unfortunately. Some laptops are more portable than others. Other laptops can be a burden carrying around, which hampers autonomy.
If you’re looking for a laptop that you can slip into a bag without much of a fuss, Ultrabooks are the go-to-choice. Any laptop marketed as an Ultrabook is, you guessed it, ultra-portable. These laptops are typically thin and lightweight – making up for an ultraportable device.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, matters a lot as far as performance is concerned. RAM is always the priority for many when choosing a laptop. Especially if you want a high-performance machine that will handle some heavy loads like gaming.
When it comes to RAM, more is better. Additionally, if you want to get even better performance going for a laptop with the latest RAM technology, DDR4, is a plus. DDR4 is the default on most modern laptops, so no need to fret.
How Much Ram Do I Need in My Laptop?
4GB of laptop RAM is just enough for someone looking for a basic machine for day-to-day tasks like surfing the web, watching videos, etc.
But if you ask, how much RAM do you need in 2021? At least 8GB of RAM will be the answer. Because currently, 8GB is the average RAM for a laptop. For students and anyone else, starting at 8GB is better.
With 8GB of laptop RAM, even Microsoft’s heavy Windows 10 OS shouldn’t have any problems. But that doesn’t mean 4GB is not sufficient. Just 4GB of laptop RAM is enough for Windows 10.
The quality and resolution matter, although it’s often an overlooked thing. But there’s the reason as to why only hawk-eyed buyers consider it when buying laptops. It’s majorly because most laptop displays have FHD resolution. Newer laptops now even include 4K panels which offer more pixels for better clarity.
What are the best 4K laptops?
The best 4K laptop as of today is the Dell XPS 15. It sports a 15-inch 4K OLED panel, impressive battery life, an overclockable Intel Core i9 processor, a discrete Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU, up to 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD.
For gaming-centric users, the Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR for its 15.6-inch 4K OLED panel, Intel’s 10th Gen H-Series processor combined with an NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD storage.
Some laptops, however, still include 720p displays, so be sure to confirm the resolution before buying a laptop.
Even better, some laptops swap LCD panels for AMOLED counterparts. OLED laptop panels offer deeper or truer blacks, brighter highlights, and better dynamic range than LCD.
OLED vs. LCD: Is OLED worth it on a laptop?
If you want the advantages of OLED display technology, go for them. But laptops with these panels tend to be pricier than those with ubiquitous and cheaper LCD display panels. Also, OLED is better for those that want to do graphic design, which requires better color accuracy.
OLED has some downsides, though, primarily so-called burn-in. However, that is not a big issue under everyday use.
This is key to general laptop performance. From boot time, running programs, and just about everything. Most other laptop specifications are limited to the processor’s performance and feature that it can handle or support. Given that, this is where your search for a new laptop should majorly focus.
Intel laptop processors include Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9, from low performance to high-performance models.
There’s a hot debate on whether AMD laptops are better than Intel-powered counterparts. For now, AMD is a leader both in terms of performance and price.
5. Laptop Storage
Like RAM, the higher the amount of storage, the better; however, there’s a human-dependent factor; what you’ll be doing with your laptop. There are two things to consider when buying a laptop in terms of storage. The first one is storage capacity, and the second, storage type (HDD or SSD).
Let’s start with the storage type.
SSD vs. HDD Laptop Storage
SSD runs faster than mechanical hard drives. They also consume less power. Under similar conditions, a laptop with an SSD(Solid State Drive) runs faster than with an HDD. But SSDs are not cheap. They have their price. For instance, a 6TB HDD costs as low as $100. That is about the price of a 1TB SSD.
Storage capacity will depend on what you’ll be doing. If you intend to store lots of large files, you’ll need more storage. Currently, 500GB is standard, although 1TB is becoming more common.
1TB is enough if all you’ll do is store media files. 500GB may not be enough since Operating Systems alone occupy substantial amounts before you add your stuff.
If you’re the type that loves to hoard movies and TV Shows, you can buy extra storage separately or look for a laptop with additional storage.
500GB is the average laptop storage space.
How much storage do you need for a laptop?
1GB is enough for standard users who will only store their photos, a couple of movies, and other media types. For gaming and hoarding movies and TV Shows, more storage will be required.
The good thing about laptops is you can easily extend storage by either buying a disk with more storage or an external disk. And hard drives are dirt cheap.
Is 256 GB enough storage for a laptop?
256GB is enough, only for those who don’t plan to store many files on their PC. This is the typical Chromebook storage capacity.
If you’re torn between choosing a laptop with a 256GB SSD or 1TB HDD, we recommend going for the former(256GB SSD) then purchasing an external HDD for supplemental purposes.
256GB makes sense for Chromebooks are they were built on the concept of storing data on the cloud. So presumably, all your files should not live on your laptop, so you don’t gobble the insufficient storage capacity.
6. Available Ports
The number and types of ports available are also essential to consider when buying a new laptop. Laptops typically ship with different kinds of ports, including USB, RJ45(Ethernet), HMDI, headphone jack, and an SD Card/ MicroSD card reader. Most laptops will have at least two USB ports, a single HMDI port, one headphone jack, and an HMDI port.
Other ports that you can find on laptops include a Display or Mini Display port, a handy addition if you wish to connect your device to an external monitor. A display port can support up to 4K/60Hz output.
How many USB ports should a laptop have?
Three USB ports should be enough. The least number of USB ports on a laptop should be two. The GIGABYTE AERO 17 HDR has one USB Type C port, one Mini DisplayPort, 3 USB 3.2 ports, and an SD Card Reader for a gaming laptop. Budget Chromebooks commonly offer 2 USB ports.
Which port is faster on a laptop?
The latest USB 3.1 (Gen 2) is the fastest port on a laptop, with up to 10 gigabits per second in data transfer speeds. You’ll have to dig deeper into the spec sheet to know this. USB Type-C is the alternative for ultrathin laptops. USB Type-C also offers up to 10 gigabits per second data transfer speeds. For better transfer speeds, Thunderbolt 3 is your go-to option.
Thunderbolt 3 looks similar to USB Type-C. But while all Thunderbolt 3 ports can work as USB Type-C, not all USB Type-C ports are Thunderbolt 3. Got it? Read that again, if not.
In terms of data transfer speeds, Thunderbolt 3 is way faster than USB Type-C. Thunderbolt 3 supports up to 40Gbps for cables up to 1.6feet. That speed reduces to 20 Gbps for longer cables.
These are the cutting-edge specs to look out for when buying a new laptop.
Can you add more USB ports to a laptop?
Yes, you can add more USB ports to a laptop. To add more USB ports to a laptop, you have to buy a hub or docking station. There’s a caveat, though. Yes, it’s not that straightforward.
Plus, your laptop has at least one of the latest USB standards. Your laptop should have at least one of these: USB Type-C, USB 4, Thunderbolt 3, or Thunderbolt 4.
This works for both Macs, PCs, and laptops.
Your budget dictates the kinds of laptops you can buy. There are laptops below $200, others below $300, $400, $500, $600, $700, $800, $900 and those that go beyond the $1000 mark. A budget gaming laptop costs around $700 – $800. More powerful options go upwards of $1000.
If you intend to do other graphics-intensive tasks, a more costly laptop is better. Arguably, this is not always the case.
But for those who want a basic laptop for more manageable tasks, a budget Chromebook should do.
While it’s easier to bash price, it’s an essential factor.
8. Battery Life
A significant advantage of laptops over desktops, aside from portability, is storing power using built-in batteries. Laptop batteries give the autonomy needed to work from just anywhere. However, as you may already know, laptop batteries dint offer much screentime to meet your needs.
Laptop makers usually claim more battery life on their spec sheet, which rarely, if ever, translates to the real world. Best battery laptops should offer at least 10 hours of runtime without plugging the power cable.
Keyboards are pretty easy to choose, theoretically. It’s also puzzling that most laptop reviewers don’t pay much attention to the keyboard as they should. Of course, keyboards are not an issue to some since they still prefer third-party alternatives. But once in a while, you’ll have to use the built-in keyboard.
Look out for half-size Enter keys, or space bars, and layout familiarity. Most keyboards are QWERTY, but other less common options exist like QWERTZ and JCUKEN. Yes, QWERTY conquered the keyboard layout race.
A rule of thumb is to go for what you prefer or are familiar with.
The last consideration to look out for when buying a laptop is the Operating System. There quite a number out there but mainstream options include macOS, Windows, and Linux. macOS and Windows are, however, the two most common platforms found on laptops directly from manufacturers. The choice depends on a variety of factors, including security, gaming, hardware choices available, among other things.
For gaming, Windows 10 is the go-to-platform. macOS wins on security and tighter mobile integration. But Windows has more advantages than macOS. But if you intend to do iOS development, the only choice is to go for a Mac.
11. Form factor
Laptops come in a variety of form factors. The standard form factor is the clam-shell – the usual laptop design that opens to a certain extent. All of Apple’s Macs have this form factor, so there’s no alternative if you’ve decided to take the macOS route.
There are two-in-one convertible laptops. These allow you to switch between a standard laptop to a tablet form. HP’s Spectre x360 is one of the best 2-in-1 convertible laptops.
Affiliate Disclosure: “drtechtips.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.”