What Spec Of Home Computer Do You Need
Light user – So you just want to browse the internet, type out some emails, and maybe use a word processor? Heck, go wild, you fancy a spreadsheet or two. In this case, we recommend you save yourself some money and get either an Intel i3 or i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. Thats all you need. Given that you want simplicity, you could get an all-in-one PC, to save money on peripherals like a monitor and keyboard.
Work user – If you use your PC for work, and want to run several programs at once, and more demanding apps, then you need a beefier machine. We would strongly recommend an Intel i5 or i7 processor , with 16GB of RAM, and either a pure SSD or a combo SSD/HDD storage system. Why? Having an SSD means Windows will load much, much quicker , and your processor and RAM will allow you to switch quickly between multiple apps, as you do your work. Its a very efficient solution, and shouldnt break the bank too much.
Creative user – This all really depends on what youre creating, but if youre running Adobe Suite or equivalent you need either an i7 Windows PC, with 16GB/32GB of RAM and a large SSD , or a newer iMac. Youll be processing larger files, and using power-hungry apps, so your machine needs to be able to keep up. Dont forget that youll probably need to add a 4K monitor to your cost too, and these start around $300.
The Best Windows Laptops Right Now
If you demand the absolute best Windows laptop of them all and don’t mind paying for it, the Dell XPS 17 9710 is unlikely to disappoint you. It’s big and impressively slim, and it manages to cram a whole load of performance into its svelte frame. In fact, it’s very likely to be seriously overpowered for most design tasks , but if you need something for complex 3D projects or effects-laden 4K video, it’ll be more than up to the task .
As well as bringing top performance, it’s really well-built with plenty of connectivity, including four Thunderbolt 4 ports and even an SD card slot. It’s a joy to use, with a comfortable and responsive keyboard and trackpad, and we love its looks too. Find out more about why we rate this laptop in our Dell XPS 17 9710 review.
For the best Windows laptop to take to university you probably don’t want to be spending a fortune on high-end performance more likely you’ll need a laptop that can cope with coursework and run whatever Adobe CC apps you need, and that’s portable enough to take with you anywhere. We reckon the HP Pavilion 14 fits the bill perfectly.
You can spec it up to meet your needs without breaking the bank, and at 14 inches it’s easy to lug around without being too tiny to use comfortably for hours on end. The touchscreen display’s an added bonus, and it comes with just enough ports: a USB-C, a pair of USB-A ports, HDMI and even an microSD card slot.
Do I Need Dedicated Graphics
A graphics processor thats built into the CPU is perfectly adequate for most everyday laptop use. Youll know youre looking at an IGP if you see a reference to Intels HD Graphics, UHD Graphics, or Iris as the graphics solution on an Intel-CPU laptop . An IGP shares the CPUs processor cores, memory, or both. The amount of memory available to the integrated graphics chip is usually fixed, so increasing the amount of system memory wont result in better graphics performance.
Most gamers will want to consider a discrete GPU with its own dedicated computing resources. Even a budget gaming GPU will offer an immense advantage over an integrated graphics processor when it comes to playing 3D games. At the high end, hardcore gamers should look for Nvidias latest GeForce RTX GPUs.
With gaming laptops, the level of GPU you need is very much tied to the frame rate you want to run at the laptops native screen resolution, and the kind of games you play. Thats where our reviews come in handy. We test with several demanding gaming and industry-standard benchmarks to give you a relative sense of a laptops graphics performance. Check out our roundup of favorite late-model gaming machines and best budget gaming laptops for much more.
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Go Solid State If You Can: Storage Solutions
With businesses using video, multimedia PowerPoint slides, and multi-megapixel photos in staff meetings virtual and in-person, opting for a spacious drive is a good idea. If you’re going to go with a traditional platter, a 1TB hard drive is a good balance between economy and space.
That said, we’re huge fans of solid-state boot drives. While pricier and more meager in their storage capacities, solid-state drives don’t have any spinning parts and are therefore better suited to take a licking on the road. SSD-equipped systems also boot and launch apps more quickly. If you’ll travel or commute much with your laptop and don’t need maximal storage capacity, an SSD is the right choice. SSDs tend to be pricier than hard drives, which means that you’ll likely be looking at 256GB or 512GB capacities to maximize your budget.
Optical drives have all but disappeared on business laptops. If you need to retrieve older files or records stored on CDs or DVDs, an external drive can help that’s a smarter move than buying a bulky laptop equipped with an optical drive if you know you’re not quite done shuffling discs yet.
Pay Attention To Graphics: The Gpu Factor
Also important: the graphics processor, also known as the GPU. Almost all ultraportables rely on integrated graphics, and for any Intel chip up through the 10th Generation, that comes in the form of Intel UHD Graphics. This is graphics-acceleration silicon that is part of the CPU, not a dedicated chip of its own. This level of horsepower is fine for casual gaming or old games, streaming media, and maybe editing the odd photo, but not for substantial gaming.
However, Intel’s 11th Generation/Tiger Lake is challenging that narrative. One of its main draws is improved integrated graphics, named Iris Xe, that replaces the Intel UHD Graphics in the higher-end versions of the chips. Though the performance does not equal that of the discrete GPUs seen in gaming laptops, it’s much improved over past Intel and AMD integrated solutions. This means non-gaming laptops with Tiger Lake CPUs are generally capable of running big-budget single-player games on medium or low settings, and less-straining multiplayer titles, opening up gaming to a wider audience. Performance does vary based on each Tiger Lake chip, so the higher chips in the hierarchy are better for gaming, but the passive performance of each is evident. You can see more specific Iris Xe performance numbers in our Xe testing piece. Additionally, Apple’s M1 chip is in the same boat for graphics processing: Up to eight of its cores are dedicated to graphics, resulting in similar numbers to Iris Xe in our testing.
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Q: How Do I Choose A Good Laptop
To choose the best laptop, you first need to consider what you want to use the computer for and how much you’re able to spend. Determining your budget is one of the most critical steps as it’ll make it easy for you to rule out certain devices. If you want to use the laptop for business, home, streaming, or college work, that’ll also play a large part in which laptop is best for you. From there, you can start to shortlist laptops based on specifications like display resolution, CPU, RAM, and storage.
The Best Budget Laptop In 2021
You dont need to spend $1,000 to get a laptop that looks and feels premium. The HP Envy x360 2020 is the best budget laptop you can buy, thanks to its sturdy and compact build, chic convertible design, and excellent performance.
Part of what makes the Envy so great is that HP has ported over a number of elements from its excellent 2019 flagship, the Spectre x360, including the thin-and-light chassis and nearly bezel-free display with an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio. The touchscreen is bright and looks great. . And HP has added a row of convenient hotkeys to the keyboard, including kill switches for the microphone and webcam.
But the most exciting feature is inside: the new Envy x360 is powered by AMDs Ryzen 4000 series. The Ryzen 5-4500U in my model did an outstanding job with a fairly heavy load of multitasking. And AMDs integrated Radeon graphics delivered good gaming performance comparable to what youd expect from a lower-powered discrete GPU.
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Mobile Workhorses: Our Top Bets
Take some time to consider the nature of your particular job. Doing so should point you toward the ideal business laptop. Paying a little extra for more power or capabilities now will save you headaches down the road. The added value of a longer warranty , specialized tech support, and a more ruggedized frame are some of the extra benefits you may get with a business laptop.
If your work is graphics-intensive, you’ll want to opt for a laptop with discrete graphics. When choosing a processor, you’ll have to find the right balance between power for your applications and energy efficiency, and in selecting a battery, you’ll need to choose between its capacity and weight. When you determine the best features for your needs, you can focus on just those laptops that incorporate them. And that’s where our deep-dive reviews come in.
Our current favorite business laptops are laid out below. We refresh the list often to include the newest products, and because of the large number of laptops we review every year, not every top-rated product makes the cut. For more, also see our overall top laptop picks, and if money is tight, our roundup of the best budget laptops is worth a read.
Best Budget Gaming Laptop For First
- High-refresh display with support for AMD FreeSync
- Potent Ryzen 4000 series processor
- 16GB of RAM in under-$1000 test configuration
- Good battery life and speakers
- Wi-Fi 6 support
- Single-color keyboard, versus RGB keyboard of the Alpha 15
- CPU runs hot under load
- Can’t quite match gaming frame rates of GeForce GTX 1660 Ti notebooks
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Types Of Laptops Explained
General purpose laptops: These laptops come in a variety of types, from the best cheap laptops to serious, silicon-stuffed systems that deliver massive power and performance. These sorts of systems work well if you’re just looking for a solid all-round system that is geared mostly toward work and productivity.
Gaming laptops: The best gaming laptops are ideal for serious gamers, as they come with dedicated graphics cards. These dedicated GPUs mean that you can play video games at higher resolutions and higher framerates, as well as enjoy advanced graphical effects like real time ray tracing. They tend have a higher entry price than general purpose laptops.
Ultraportable laptops: Ultrabooks and the best lightweight laptops are specialists at portability, and often come with thinner and lighter designs that general purpose or gaming laptops. These systems are a good choice for working professionals who need to carry their laptop around with them and travel frequently. Specs vary, but due to the lithe designs these laptops tend to retail for more than general purpose laptops.
How Much Should You Spend On A Laptop
Sometimes the best does come at a steep price, but equally you can get a lot of laptop for under £500 or even £300 provided you need only complete basic tasks such as web browsing, writing emails and creating the odd document.
Around £500 or above can get you a solid laptop, but its likely to have an entry-level set of specs. Were talking a relatively basic processor, minimal SSD storage and a relatively low-quality screen. It might also be on the heavy side.
Pay £700 or more and you should get a blazing fast processor, plenty of RAM, loads of storage and a gorgeous display. You should also expect excellent build quality and premium materials. Many laptops these days are above £1,000, which is when you start getting the likes of 4K touchscreens and ultra-lightweight builds.
Weve shown you our favourite laptops available right now and offered some advice on how much to spend, but if youre still undecided we might be able to help break down your options further. Here we talk about screen size, storage, processors and more to help you make your decision.
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Best For Field Workers
OS Windows 11 , Windows 10 | CPU Core i3-7130U, Core i5-8350U, Core i7-8650U | GPU Intel HD 620 Graphics | RAM 8GB, 16GB, 32GB | Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Screen 14in. WVA, 1920 x 1080 | Wireless Bluetooth 4.2, 802.11ac , 4G LTE | Ports and slots 3x USB 3.0, USB-C, RS-232 serial, RJ-45 Ethernet, HDMI, SD card slot, SIM slot, SmartCard reader | Cameras FHD web or IR camera with privacy shutter | Audio 2 mics, speaker, 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack | Battery 51Wh, optional 2nd 51Wh hot-swap battery | Dimensions 347mm x 244mm x 32.8mm | Weight from 2.22kg | Price from $2,264 , $2,346 , $2,625
Laptops must often brave the elements, which can include bright sunshine, rain, a dust storm, baking heat, serious vibration, and drops from a variety of heights onto different surfaces. No wonder that ‘rugged’ laptops come in many shades — ‘extreme’ or ‘fully’ rugged, ‘semi’ or ‘business’ rugged, for example. Two main classifications are used to assess the ruggedness of laptops and other equipment: the US military’s MIL-STD 810 series and the IP or Ingress Protection code. There are numerous MIL-STD 810 tests, and most laptops will only undergo a subset, so check the specs carefully to see which they are. The IP code reports two numbers, the first concerning resistance to solids and the second to liquids .
Read the review: Dell Latitude 5240 Rugged review
Are There Any Particular Brands Who Are Known As The Best In Class
When it comes to smartphones, everyone knows that Apple and Samsung will always deliver a good quality product, regardless of the model. Is it the same for laptop manufacturers? When the Telegraph asked Elford, he said: All the major laptop brands produce good quality devices. Apple Mac still stands out from a design and quality perspective.
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A Solid Alternative To Toughbook Latitude Rugged Tablets
- Optional Intel Core i7 with vPro and excellent performance
- Three-year warranty includes accidental-damage coverage
- Standard batteries offer limited runtime
- Extended batteries add considerable bulk
- Sunny display with vivid colors
- Windows Hello webcam with 1080p video support
- Integrated kickstand
- SD card reader for easy storage expansion
- Long battery life
- Optional extras pump up price quickly
- Disappointing computing performance, even with Core i3 upgrade
- Nifty optional wireless keyboard with inductive charging
- Luxurious built-in leather cover
Best For Early Adopters
OS Windows 10 | CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G Compute Platform | GPU Qualcomm Adreno GPU | RAM up to 16GB | Storage up to 512GB | Screen 13.5in. 1920 x 1280 Edge-to-Edge Glass, 10-point multi-touch | Wireless Bluetooth LE 5.0, 802.11ax , 4G LTE and 5G mobile broadband | Ports and slots 2x USB-C 3.2, Nano SIM | Camera HD IR + hybrid Y2.2mm HD webcam | Audio 2x front-facing mics, 4x stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack | Battery up to 24.5h of local video playback | Dimensions 299mm x 230mm x 15.9mm | Weight 1.3kg | Price from $1,419
A subset of the laptop-buying population will always be hankering after the latest form factors and platforms, and CES is the place to get a first look at what’s in store for the coming year. Despite being online-only due to the coronavirus pandemic, CES 2021 didn’t disappoint, offering up a healthy crop of cutting-edge industrial designs and configurations.
The Elite Folio’s Arm-based processor certainly delivers on battery life , but there is a trade-off in that Windows 10 on Arm can currently only run 32-bit Windows apps. Intel x64 emulation is coming to WoA, however, and is available now via the Windows Insider Program. ARM64-native apps are appearing too, and include Microsoft’s Teams and Edge, and Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom.
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Best Laptops For Programming
Programming is a tedious job to do, there are so many alphabetical and numeric characters put together to make one program. And for smooth work, they need a faster device than the normal one to deliver the best results.
The best features to look for in a programming laptop are RAM of size 8 GB or more, with a 5th or 7th generation processor. Apart from this, consider a hassle-free typing keyboard that has soft touch.
The screens consistency matters to avoid putting pressure on the eyes as much as possible. As a result, for sheer ease, we suggest having a laptop with a 15-inch screen. Resolution is also important.
Fact Check: In todays situation, when everyone needs to work from home, the need for PCs and laptops is increasing. The Global PC market has grown by 12.7% from a year ago in the third quarter of 2020.
Companies are also investing in equipment to facilitate WFH for their employees. Apart from programming, there are other uses like business use, gaming, and personal use. These are also contributing to the market share of laptops.
Global PC market shipments break a 10-year record in Q3 2020:
These are some of the market leaders in the laptop market. Worldwide desktop, notebook, and workstation shipments .