Buying the best is not an easy task. The “Best” word itself is a controversial word because there are too many things that vary from person to person. There is a wide variety of laptops on the market, and choosing the right laptop is not easy. To choose a good laptop that suits our needs, you have to consider several important features. The better each of the features of a laptop, the better laptop it will be.
There are different types of laptops, among which we can choose according to our needs. Below you will find a brief explanation of the most common ones.
- Normal and ordinary laptops: These types of laptops are those of a lifetime, the conventional ones. Laptops in this category cover a wide range of needs. There are them from very basic to other mighty ones, able to fulfill more for any activity type.
- Ultralight Laptops (ultrabooks): As the name suggests, these laptops have the singularity of being very light. This may be indifferent if we are going to use it mostly at home, but it is a great advantage if, for example, we have to transport it continuously from one place to another or we have to travel with it.
- Convertible laptops: They are laptops whose screen is touch, ideal for those looking for a tablet’s comfort combined with a computer’s functionalities. They are handy for leisure and entertainment. Some of these laptops allow you to separate the screen from the keyboard, completely becoming a tablet.
- Gaming Laptops: These laptops are particular, mainly focused on video games. They feature features that make them ideal for gaming, attention-grabbing designs, and illuminated keyboards. They are usually quite powerful, with perfect screens and graphics cards.
Performance and speed
The processor or CPU, RAM, and storage unit are three essential elements of a laptop and are the most important ones. They are closely related to each other. Its operation is a complex thing to understand if you do not have the technical knowledge, and for this reason, most people do not get to understand it. Next, we will try to define them most simply and practically possible, so that anyone can understand them and find it easier to buy a laptop.
The processor AKA Control Processing Unit (CPU), is the most important component of the computer and is therefore essential for its operation. We could say that it is the brain of it, in charge of carrying out all the operations and processing all the data. Currently, the main processor manufacturers are Intel and AMD. The most widespread are those belonging to the Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 series, so we will focus on these in this guide. But AMD’s latest 5000 series gives tough competition to Intel’s legacy. Nowadays, a wide number of gaming lovers prefer Ryzen over Intel.
Generally, an Intel Core i3 processor would be enough to perform basic tasks, such as surfing the internet, working with documents using word processors, or watching videos. The next step would be the Intel Core i5, an ideal processor for the average user and behaves well in most situations. It allows the computer to run smoothly when given a slightly more demanding use, using more advanced programs, or playing various games.
Above this is the Intel Core i7, which is the one that incorporates most high-end laptops. But there is i9 series also available for some intensive tasks. I don’t think a consumer user should think to dive into i9. I think the i7 chipset is more than enough.
It is a potent processor that works smoothly with more specific programs or heavy video games. Each of these series has different processors, which are identified by a number. The most important thing is to know which generation the processor belongs to. To better understand this, let’s take the example of an Intel Core i7-11700H.
The number “11” is the one that indicates that it belongs to the eighth generation. Finally, the processor’s fundamental data is the frequency, specified in GHz, which largely determines its speed. The more frequently, the faster the processor will be able to work.
On the other hand, AMD came up with the latest Ryzen 7 5800x and Ryzen 9 5900x for high-end gaming. You should definitely look beyond the Intel lineup if you are looking to perform CPU-intensive tasks. The AMD has improved drastically over the past few years. Now it has become the market leader in providing powerful CPUs. Still, big firms prefer Intel for its stability.
Random Acess Memory (RAM)
Random Acess Memory, more popular with its short-form RAM, is a component that temporarily stores the data to be used for quick access. It is volatile, which means that the data it stores is erased when the computer is turned off. This is very important when you have several things running on your computer simultaneously since each of them takes up a portion of the memory while it is active.
It is most common on today’s laptops to find RAM of 4, 8, and even 16 GB. We recommend you to buy a laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM, since those of 4 GB, even if they are for basic use, are somewhat short in many situations, such as when you have several tabs open in a browser.
Ideally, all running programs work with RAM. If the RAM does not have space for all this data, you start using the hard disk to do the same work. The problem is that the hard drive is much slower than RAM to slow down the computer’s operation.
The storage drive saves data permanently so that it can be accessed at any time, and unlike RAM, it is non-volatile. The data does not disappear, even if the computer is turned off. Storage capacity is not too important today unless you need to store thousands of images or too many audio or video files, in which case I would recommend you choose a capacity of at least 512 GB. However, you can always choose to use an external storage drive.
They are competent and very economical. On the other hand, what is appropriate to look at is the type of storage unit. The ones typically incorporated in today’s laptops are of two different types: hard drives or HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) and solid-state drives or SSDs (Solid State Drives). SSDs are newer and increasingly popular, with many advantages over HDDs. They are much faster, and therefore the speed of the computer improves a lot.
Also, they are more durable since, unlike HDDs, SSDs are not in constant motion. However, the good thing costs money and is quite expensive, but it is the only catch. For this reason, laptops with SSDs offer less storage capacity than those with HDDs.
Without a doubt, if you are going to buy a laptop, I recommend choosing one with SSD. They are infinitely better, and it is one of the best investments you can make on your new laptop. Among its many advantages, it makes programs open with staggering speed, and the computer has a much less cost to boot.
Recommended: SSD vs HDD vs SSHD – Which one to choose?
When we think about the size of a laptop, we associate it with your screen size. The most common measures on the market are usually the following:
- Laptops under 13 inches: They are tiny and lightweight laptops, so they are very comfortable to carry. They are ideal for those who take it everywhere and give it an elementary use, such as checking email or surfing the internet. However, they are highly unsuitable for other uses, as their small screen can be quite uncomfortable.
- 13-inch to 14-inch laptops: They offer a little more comfort when performing a little more complex tasks but largely maintain lightness and ease of transport. They are handy, for example, for people who use them to work and need to travel a lot.
- 15.6-inch Laptops: This is the measure of laptop par excellence, the most widespread. Ideal for virtually any type of utility, they offer a great relationship between mobility and convenience.
- 17.3-inch laptops: These are the largest laptops on the market. They tend to have better performance than smaller ones and can be a good choice if you only need to move them promptly.
Another essential feature of the screen is the resolution, which determines the image quality. The image that is projected onto the screen consists of pixels. The more pixels there are, the more complicated it is to distinguish between them, and therefore the sharper the image will look.
Laptops sold today mainly feature two types of display grades HD and Full HD. The HD screens are 1366×768 pixels. In most cases, considering the size of the screens, this quality is sufficient. On the other hand, we have the Full HD screens, of higher quality than the previous ones, which have 1920×1080 pixels, which can come in handy, for example, for laptops with larger screens. Some costly laptops do offer 4K resolution, which goes beyond Full HD. You can also consider 4K if money allows.
It should be noted that the technology tends to evolve constantly, so more and more Full HD screens are appearing to the detriment of HD screens. There are even some laptops with even higher-quality screens, which are good for photography or audiovisual production. It will be worth noting that refresh rate also matters if you love to do gaming on your laptop. Nowadays, companies are offering high refresh-rate laptops for gaming laptops such as 144Hz or 240Hz.
Our recommendations are as follows: if you can afford it, it is best to buy a laptop of the highest possible quality. If, on the other hand, your budget is tighter, don’t worry too much about quality; it’s preferable to invest in other aspects of a laptop rather than on the screen. In general, laptop screens are not that color-accurate. Therefore, it is advised to buy an external monitor if you are a professional video or photo editor. Otherwise, it is fine to be with your laptop for portability.
The graphics card, AKA Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), is a vitally important element, as it is responsible for transforming the data from the processor into visible information in the form of images. Thanks to this card, we can see what is happening on the computer through the screen.
Laptops often incorporate graphics cards good enough to withstand the normal use of graphics. Manufacturers know their computers well and know which graphics cards they need according to each model. For this reason, it is not something that we should worry about too much when buying a laptop. However, if you plan to use your gaming laptop, it is recommended that you look at this component since something essential for this use.
It would be good to check the requirements of different video games in terms of the graphics card. Nvidia is the leading manufacturer of high-end PC graphics cards. The Nvidia RTX 3080, RTX 3070, RTX 3060, and RTX 3050 are considered the most powerful GPUs for high-end gaming. For the budget segment, GTX 1660 and 1650 are good options to save some money. If you perform graphics-intensive tasks, GPU is equally important, along with a powerful CPU.
The operating system is the basic software of a computer. It manages and manages the hardware and all programs on the computer to interact with them. Most laptops come with an installed operating system, but it’s worth fixing well when buying one. Some are sold without an operating system, and, in these cases, you need to install one to use them.
The most widespread operating systems are Windows, Microsoft, and Apple’s macOS (formerly Mac OS X), so let’s focus on these two, although others like Linux. There are many more laptops with Windows than with macOS, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. The most knowledgeable on the subject believe that macOS is better than Windows. It is an operating system that works smoothly and presents very few problems or failures.
Further, it is said to be more intuitive, and once you get used to it (if you have previously used other operating systems), its use is straightforward. However, they also have negative backgrounds, such as those laptops with macOS are much more expensive, and that being exclusive to the Apple brand, there are few models to choose from. In contrast, those that incorporate Windows are cheaper, and there are many laptops of different brands from which we can choose.
These are the important aspects that should always consider while buying any type of laptop. Apart from that, several other things, such as battery life, design, display quality, etc. matter a lot for certain tasks. So, it entirely depends upon your requirements to decide on the components for a laptop. That is why we give a dedicated buying guide for every topic. Hopefully, this overview give you a quick glimpse to choose a particular laptop.