Buying A Laptop: Here Are The 7 Things To Consider
Buying a laptop these days can be tricky. Not only are there dozens of brands claiming superiority of each other, there are hundreds models promising almost identical functionality. So, what should you look for when buying a laptop?
As a rule of the thumb, never sacrifice functionality at the altar of design and elegance. For instance, what’s is the benefit of a highly portable laptop with mediocre battery life? The point is, performance comes ahead of everything.
The following are the 7 factors I look into when buying a laptop.
Many will jump right into the specs forgetting that your budget decides what specs or laptop you take home. Would you get a high-end ultrabook like Dell XPS 13 with a budget of $300? I doubt it, even an ex-UK still costs a lot more.
Determine what you can spend without constraining yourself in the process then restrict your search to laptops within that range.
Buying a laptop – New, Refurbished or Used?
There are several advantages that come with buying a brand new laptop from a reputable dealer. However, brand new laptops don’t come cheap. For instance, the $300 we spoke of earlier may not afford you more than a laptop running Intel Celeron. Anyway, if you have money always go for a brand new machine.
There are cases when a man has to get what his heart desires even if he can’t afford it. That’s when you should forego all that comes with a new laptop and find solace in a refurbished one. For instance, a brand new Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB) – 15″ costs over $2000 yet a refurbished will cost half of that.
But what do you do when your budget can’t get you even the refurbished laptop? Well, you can opt for a used one. As the name suggests, a used laptop has not undergone any repairs or replacement of parts. It’s either the current owner is in a fix and needs some money hence selling their laptop or you get one from a dealer in used laptop.
NOTE: Both refurbished and used laptop have reduced battery life and overall performance. It is important that you manage your expectations when going for any laptops other than new.
The specs to go for depend entirely with what you intend to use the laptop for. Buying a laptop for graphic design means certain specs (a bigger RAM, Faster Processor, Dedicated Graphics and Bigger SSD Storage). On the other hand, a laptop for normal use (using office apps and playing music/watching movies) may require a wider screen and a better keyboard. Not so demanding when it comes to specs.
In a nutshell, an ideal laptop should have the following minimum specs
- RAM – 4GB
- Processor – Core i5 (4th Gen) or AMD Ryzen 5
- Storage – 500GB HHD or 128GB SSD (this is better)
- Screen Resolution – 1366×768 but FHD ( 1920×1080 ) is preferable
- Connectivity – Bluetooth, WIFI and Ports (HDMI, USBs) and Card Reader
If you are always on the move and would love to carry your laptop along, size matters a lot. Size here refers to the dimensions and weight. Without thinking twice, buy a laptop that is slimmer and weighs 1.5kg at most. Anything heavier may not be as portable as you may think even if it was ultra thin.
Screen size also matters. Laptop screen range from 11″ to 17″ with the most popular being 13″, 14″ and 15″. The smaller the screen the lighter (and in some cases) the slimmer the laptop. I’d suggest a 13″ laptop screen if you move a lot. Otherwise, 15″ is wide enough for graphic works and multimedia.
4. Buying a laptop: Battery Life
As I mentioned earlier, a sleek laptop is of no value to you if you have to plug it on power all the time. You need something that lives to its claim of portability. My advice, never compromise on battery life.
The question, however, what battery life is good enough. Well, for budget and midrange laptops (don’t cost more than $600), at least 4hrs of battery life is acceptable. However, when dealing with pricey notebooks like HP Spectre 2 in 1, accept nothing less than 8hrs of battery. After all, you are paying a small fortune for the laptop.
You are buying a laptop yes, but what does it come with? Are you willing to pay more for the accessories like a software (office and antivirus), mouse, extra battery or bag? If you are not, then look for a deal that includes as many accessories as possible without costing an arm and a leg.
Always watch out for Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays for deals. Most dealers in laptops tend to throw in some accessories during the sales period.
6. Form Factor
With advancement of technology come serious enovations. Days when laptops weighed several Kilos are long gone and so are the inflexible laptops. Nowadays laptops can bend upto 360°. In fact, some laptops are detachable i.e. you can use them as ultrabooks or tablets.
Form factor is obviously important when buying a laptop as it will determine flexibility. Do you want a 2 in 1 or a laptop that bends or just a traditional one? Choose carefully becaise, unlike other specs, you can;t upgrade form factor aka the design.
Why you are buying the laptop is irrelevant when it comes to the keyboard. I mean, you will type on that laptop one way or another and the type of keyboard will determine whether typing is enjoyable or uncomfortable.
A good laptop keyboard:
- Is backlight (to allow you to type with ease in lowlight environments)
- Has snappy full-sized keys
- Has a perfect layout
While it is true there may be other factors to consider when buying a laptop, no one would suggest against budget, processing power and design. Before you pay for that laptop, consult experts (like me 🙂 ), do some online research especially for a great discount and read what other users say about the laptop you are about to buy.
I hope this was helpful. Let me know what you think via the comment box. Feel free to add other factors.