Unlike smartphones, laptop is something we buy as a long-term investment. We are more careful when we purchase laptops compared with other gadgets, after all it is the only device that is meant to get our work done and create value while others could simply be for entertainment purpose.
But given the fact that we are flooded with laptops in all forms, shapes and prices, it can be a daunting task to pick the right laptop for our purpose. We have shortlisted top 5 things, including features to consider in a laptop before purchasing one.
Consideration 1: Purpose Of Buying A Laptop
The first and foremost, a buyer must ask oneself the purpose of buying a laptop, is it primarily for business requiring frequent editing of documents and whether the business would require frequent traveling – requiring the laptop to be lightweight and not oversized, or is it gamers who look for largest screen size with the most advanced specs in the Graphics, RAM and processor departments. Even the top e-commerce websites categorize laptops into business, daily use, basic use, gaming and so on as different users may be up for a different purpose. For example, a writer or a person who writes a lot of content would look for a laptop with a good keyboard such as one with island type keys with tactile feedback or other regular ones with comfortable keys. If the writer spends hours sitting at a café searching for ideas to write those long blog posts then he or she would need a laptop with good battery backup. Laptops with high-end processors including Intel i3, i5 and i7 produce a lot of heat, hence, a bad choice for such purposes, whereas the new generation Intel Pentium Quad Cores and Atom processors are very heat efficient processors balancing processing power and battery backup. Graphic designers may look for a laptop with Retina quality display and good processing power for editing graphic content. Similarly, every user would have a different set of needs, and the laptop should meet those needs sufficiently.
Consideration 2: Battery Backup Of The Laptop
If mobility and size weren’t of much issue, one would naturally buy a desktop computer system for their stability. But laptops have almost eliminated desktop market because of the fact that we want our computer system to be as personal as possible and move with us. Hence laptops are increasingly becoming sleek and lighter. When laptops become mobile, just like smartphone, it is natural that laptops would be spending much time away from power plug points. So, battery backup is an important thing to consider in a laptop. Apple MacBook air provides more than 10 hours of battery life even with fairly powerful processors such as Intel i5, which is really good for balanced performance and battery life. Other manufacturers also have laptops with rated 10 hours or more battery life with modern low-power-guzzling Intel processors such as Bail Trail Pentium Quad Core with LDDR3 RAMs and Atom processors, but they are on the weaker side of performance. So, it is important to check the real-life battery backup performance of the laptop you wish to buy.
Consideration 3: Performance Of The Laptop
Performance of a laptop can be simply summarized by two things: processor and RAM. If you buy an expensive laptop with high-end processor such as Intel i7 that has just 4GB RAM then you will only get partial performance from the laptop. A processor without enough RAM is like an airplane without wings. Some laptops may offer a good balance of features but without enough RAM, you may need to get additional RAM for a small additional price. With RAM, always remember the golden rule, the more is always better. For basic word editing, videos and music, a decent processor would suffice if it has good RAM. Moderate laptop use with a good amount of editing complex Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint documents would at least require an Intel i3 processor and 4GB RAM.
Consideration 4: Screen Size Of The Laptop
Size is another important factor that should be on the checklist before buying a laptop. If you will read a lot of content and work mobile, then a high pixel density screen such as Retina should be preferable. If not, the screen should be big enough producing good color saturation for easy readability. For those who travel often, the screen should be somewhere between 11 inch to 13 inches for both portability and weight. If graphic work is part of the job, bigger screen with high quality screen should be first choice. For the best balance, a screen size of 13 to 14 inch would please all kinds of users who may or may not travel extensively.
Consideration 5: Ports And Expandability
A lot of modern laptops that are extremely sleek and sexy forget to add important ports like HDMI and LAN which can be crucial. For example, you may decide to replace all your laptops at home with MacBook Air which doesn’t come with LAN port. And then you decide to setup your Wi-Fi router at home which requires the device to be accessed through a LAN cable or configure a switch (although most Wi-Fi routers do provide wireless setup option by entering the PIN provided in each router), you will need a LAN port. And, you may also want to future-proof your laptop by ensuring that its ports such as USB, HDMI, other proprietary ports and Wireless standards of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are of the latest standard or version, good for the next couple of years.
And finally, you need to check whether you could get extended warranty for a small premium that you may have to shell out with your laptop. Repairing laptops out of warranty could be an expensive affair. In some countries, companies like Apple only provides replacement service if the product is within warranty and do not repair it, we are sure that you don’t want to use your expensive device as a paperweight if something goes wrong beyond warranty period.