Sunday, November 21, 2021

What To Look For In A Laptop Computer

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Best Laptop Accessories For Programmers

What You MUST Know Before Buying A Computer

A good consideration as well is perhaps pairing your laptop purchase with a docking station. That way, you can hook up your laptop to external monitors when you get home and enjoy your ample screen space for your code editor and all the windows you open while squashing bugs. Also, if your laptop of choice lacks ports, the docking station allows you to connect all your favorite computer accessories and peripherals.

Many coders also enjoy having two or even 3 monitors. For instance, a front-end web developer could code on one screen, see the browser on another and do research on the third screen. Having additional monitors speeds up your workflow and makes it a lot easier to get some serious coding done. If more monitors are a must, you can also save desk space by getting a dual monitor mount or adjustment arm. Mounting your monitors allows you to adjust them exactly how you like and easily move the monitor closer to you.

How To Buy The Best Laptop

With hundreds of models to choose from, you’ll want to find laptop that ticks the boxes and will last the test of time.

One of the biggest decisions will be how much you want to spend – what many don’t realise is that if you’re after a good all-rounder for day-to-day tasks, it doesn’t have to be a lot.

We award Best Buys to our top-performing laptops, and our cheapest Best Buys costs less than £500. Plus if you’re willing to compromise you can find good models for as little as £200.

Follow the steps below and use our interactive tools and tables to find the perfect laptop.

Which Os Should You Use

Every operating system has its ups and downs. One might be ideal for gaming, while another offers exclusive software support for your profession or hobbies. Plus, each operating system occupies a select price range and requires a different set of hardware specs, which is why its important to pick an OS before you start worrying about details like RAM.

Heres a rundown of the most popular operating systems, to help you decide which type of laptop is best for your needs:

Windows

Windows offers the widest software compatibility of any operating system, and its the ideal OS for gaming. When you need to run specific software for work or play, a Windows laptop is usually the way to go. Of course, most professional apps are also compatible with macOS, but Windows laptops cost a little less than MacBooks and can pair to your Android phone for calls and texts.

Bear in mind that the Windows OS is quite demanding and power-hungry. Entry level Windows laptops in the $200 to $500 range tend to have poor battery life and wont offer the seamless performance of more expensive Windows machines. If youre on a very tight budget, a Chromebook may be a better option, as Chrome OS runs fine on lower-end hardware.

macOS

Chrome OS

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Introduction: A Window To Your Pc

Whether youre building or buying, theres a lot of specs that you need to sort through when getting a PC. Paying attention to the performance & ergonomic features of your desktop rig is important, but you dont want to neglect the other pieces of equipment youll need. This includes your keyboard, your mouse, and of course, your desktop monitor.

The monitor is what were going to be focusing on in this handbook. Professional monitors are the window to your PC through which youll see what youre doing, so its a purchase youll want to get right whether youre using the desktop for working or gaming. At this point, you may want to know the answer to the question What to look for in a gaming monitor?

Many people wont put much thought into buying their monitors, and we dont blame them, a lot of complicated visual tech goes into making modern screens we already went to great lengths to explain different monitor types and features in our What is Computer Monitor? post, which really complements this text.

In it, were going to go over just about everything youll want to know about buying monitors, and well do it in plain English for those of you out there that arent tech-savvy. Moreover, you can check out this curved vs flat monitor review if you are not familiar with its advantages and flaws.

Image Quality & Panel Technology

Desktop computer buying guide

Now that weve covered the main specs that youll find on a monitors product listing page, lets go through some of the secondary and more technical features that you might want to pay attention to.

Image quality is a pretty vague term thatd rely on so many things, the resolution and aspect ratio being some of them.

Of course, without a GPU capable of processing pretty visuals, you wont be seeing anything at all, so image quality isnt solely the responsibility of the monitor.

There are three other specs that contribute to image quality that is part of the display device, those being brightness, contrast ratio, and color representation.

Brightness should be self-explanatory and for most people, it wouldnt even come up when thinking about buying a monitor.

If youre one of those people then dont worry, it usually doesnt matter too much as long as youre getting the standard HD monitors out there. This is because theyll be within the 200 to 300 nit range thats ideal for most.

Thats not as a unit of light measurement, by the way, not the other nits. It means candela per square meter.

All that said, those who are graphic designers or photographers might need to pay attention to the peak brightness of a monitor and how itll change their visuals. In that case, youll want to look for monitors with over 300 nits for a richer display and more striking colors.

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Best Laptops For Business

Like selecting a laptop for programming, business laptops come down to your personal preferences. You can focus on the niceties that suit you such as light weight, durability and long battery life. Additionally, you should make sure your laptop has good security features, such as a fingerprint reader or facial recognition to keep sensitive work data secure.

Depending on your line of work, a special ruggedized laptop may be the best call for you. These laptops are specifically built to endure drops, dings and unfavorable environmental conditions and meet MIL-SPEC standards for their chassis and keyboards.

If youre a designer, engineer or crunching some serious numbers, you should consider a business laptop with the newest CPUs to keep your workflows running. Mobile workstations, intended for 3D animation, computer-assisted design and hardcore data analysis, are a specific class of business laptop when you need extreme power, multitasking ability and portability. Theyll cost you more and gobble up battery power much faster, but they get most any job done seamlessly.

The Screen Is The Window Into The Soul

Screen quality is finally becoming important in laptops. Thanks to Apple, almost everybody seems to be racing to release something with an in-plane switching screen these days. This means better colour and viewing angles than typical laptop displays, which are known as twisted nematic . If you can afford a laptop with an IPS screen, we absolutely recommend it.

Another factor to consider is resolution. A huge majority of laptops ship with a resolution of 1366×768. While this looks fine on 11.6-inch laptops, by the time you get to 15.6-inch, it tends to make everything seem comically large, and images tend to lack detail. A new rash of Windows 8 laptops have sought to address this, offering full HD IPS screens on everything from 12.5-inch to 15.6-inch screens. There are 11.6-inch laptops that run full HD as well, but things tend to feel a little cramped there.

Then, of course, there’s Apple’s amazing Retina displays, available on its 13.3 and 15.4-inch MacBook Pros. To give you an idea of how much is crammed into one of these displays, a 15.6-inch, 1366×768 screen manages to fit about 100 pixels in each square inch. At 2880×1800, the MacBook Pro Retina 15.4-inch fits in around 220. This high amount of pixels per inch has been given the rather descriptive name of HiDPI.

Text is amazingly crisp on a Retina, or HiDPI display.

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Storage Size: What Can It Hold

One of the latest technological advancements in terms of space is server-based storage, known as the cloud, in which documents and media are streamed from a remote server that you can access and share from anywhere.

If you are only going to use your laptop for basic tasks, you will be fine with storage space with a smaller capacity. However, if you are going to be storing a lot of documents, photos, videos, graphics, for example, you will want to look into a much larger storage space with enough capacity to hold all of your data and documents.

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What’s An Ideal Size And Weight

Things to know before buying a laptop

Most people searching for a general-purpose laptop should choose one that measures about half an inch thick and weighs 3 pounds or less. In general, these are the maximum dimensions and heft a laptop can have for us to consider it an ultraportable, and for most users, portability is the key to maximizing use and enjoyment.

Aiming for that weight and thickness, in most cases, will limit the laptops screen size to 13 or 14 inches, although a few models with 15-inch or larger screens now fit into the ultraportable category. At most of these screen sizes, you can find models in either the conventional clamshell laptop shape or a 2-in-1 convertible design. The latter has a hinge that rotates the screen 360 degrees so you can use it as a makeshift tablet or prop it up like a tent for watching movies.

Some Windows and Chrome OS laptops do have smaller displays, such as 10 or 11 inches. Some of these are not technically laptops in the pure sense, but rather tablets with detachable keyboards. Unless youre specifically looking for a part-time tablet or the lightest possible laptop, avoid these designs. Theyre lighter than most 13-inch ultraportables, often less than 2 pounds, but theyre not as good at being tablets as the Apple iPad is, and their detachable keyboards mean theyre not much good at being laptops, eithertyping on most of them tends to be subpar.

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How Do I Tell If My Cpu Clock Speed Is Good

Good question. Again, the cliff-notes version is that higher numbers are usually better. However, due to thermal restrictions, processors with more cores tend to operate at a lower clock speed. This is why having a PC with more cores might not always offer you the best level of performance.

So, whats a good clock speed look like?

Well, this is going to depends what youre doing with your PC. Some applications run single-threads, others are designed to utilize multiple. For uses where the latter is the case like video rendering and some gaming experiences, having more cores is going to offer up an enormous improvement over having faster ones.

That said, for more everyday things like web browsing, an i5 processor with a higher clock speed is probably going to offer more bang for your buck than a beefier i7.

In a hypothetical world where everyone could afford it, maybe wed all own PCs with the best Intel Core CPU available. However, in the world we actually live in, not everyone needs that high-end performance and not everyone can afford it. For most people, opting for a higher clock-speed over a higher core-count will do just fine as an alternative.

How To Buy A Laptop 2021

Mobile computing isnt a luxury anymore these days, having ready access to a laptop is a flat out necessity.

Whether you need to edit video on the go, email your boss, play games, or just keep in touch with family, performance and portability come together when you pick the right notebook.

Although prices have come down, laptops are still a big investment. Thats why you should be confident that youve found the perfect laptop to fit your needs and budget before checking out!

Thats where we come in!

A typical laptop will last between 3 5 years. When its time to replace a new laptop, from start to finish weve got a full guide to walk you through every aspect of the buying process.

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What Is A Solid

Unlike HDDs, solid-state drives have no moving parts. While they have lower capacities than normal hard drives theyre much thinner and run much faster, making them ideal for high-performance computing. However, they are more expensive than other drives, so tend to be featured on more premium or performance-focused laptops.

Power Without The Plug

Young Man Looking Computer Screen Home Office  Stock ...

While you might have a two- or three-year warranty on your laptop, your battery is generally only covered for one year.

Two specs to look for in laptop batteries include capacity and the number of cells. Typical batteries have a mAh rating of between 2000mAh and 6000mAh â higher is better. Cells are the actual compartments where power is produced, and can range from four to 12 â the more the better. Keep in mind, though, that this may cause the battery pack to stick out from your laptop in potentially awkward positions.

Some laptops don’t have easily-swappable batteries, in an attempt to cut down on physical size and to lengthen battery life. Be aware of this â when your battery dies, you may need to take your laptop in for a service, rather than simply swapping the battery out yourself.

On the other hand, some can take a second battery, either by replacing the optical drive or by placing a shim on the bottom. Check your accessories before you buy.

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Which Screen Size Will Work For Me

If you want a perfect mix between portability and visibility, a laptop with a 14 screen is ideal. Smaller screens, such as 11.6 and 10.6, are even easier to carry around but may be too small if you spend a lot of time typing documents or looking at spread sheets.

Laptops with 15.6 screens are the most common and are great if youre spending more time working at a desk than on the go.

The largest screen size available today is 17.3. While laptops with this screen size can be difficult to carry around, they offer the clearest view of your content and are great for multimedia.

Best Laptop Accessories For Music Producers

One of the major pieces of equipment youll need for music production is an audio interface. This device allows you to plug in instruments with a ¼ jack or XLR cable. You can also purchase USB mics, but they are typically pricier and harder to use when you have more than one. Typically, USB mics are basically identical in build quality and save you the money of buying an interface. Also, some audio interfaces come with free DAW software, but not all. Most audio interfaces are compatible with any DAW software.

Theres a variety of MIDI controllers you can buy for music production, and most musicians at least get a MIDI keyboard. Typically, MIDI controllers need to be connected via USB-A, so you may need to purchase a USB hub to accommodate for this.

Also, if you dont plan on buying studio monitors to listen back to your tracks, you should buy high-quality studio headphones. You shouldnt select studio headphones the same way you would select standard headphones. Standard headphones tend to accentuate high and lows and have more dynamic sound. Studio headphones, however, are made to deliver even EQ so you hear your music accurately. Coziness and fit matters even more too, since youll be spending a lot of time wearing them while you mix your music.

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Best Laptop Accessories For Business

Keep your investment protected! Since youll often be toting your laptop to and from meetings and the office, youll need a laptop bag at a minimum. A case for your laptop itself is advised too to guard against the occasional desk spill or unexplained scratch. For on-the-go productivity, a wireless mouse is much better than your laptops track pad. Youll also need a USB flash drive to share files and transfer important data.

To make sure you always have your important files backed up, we advise buying an external hard drive. That way, you can back up all your files not only on the cloud but also within your drive. Data redundancy is very important no matter your profession!

When youre in a meeting, its important to be heard and seen, so a high-quality wireless headset and webcam is a must for the businessperson on the move. Oftentimes, the webcam built into laptops is insufficient, and wont often include features such as 4K video or high-quality audio. Plus, with an external webcam, you have greater ability to adjust the angle so people see the best side of you! CDW supplies and configures VoIP headsets and webcams from the top brands in the business.

Dont forget a backup laptop charger or a laptop power bank. Chargers can make the difference between 2 hours of work and 2 hours of wasted time.

Things To Look For When Buying A Laptop

Computer Basics: Inside a Computer

In 1995, laptops were ugly. Not just ugly, but also heavy and expensive. A couple thousand dollars bought a small 4:3 screen, chunky keyboard and a hard drive measured in megabytes, not gigabytes. Thankfully, modern laptops are entirely different beasts. They’re lighter, faster, infinitely more versatile and cheaper than ever. And there are a ton of them: In the first quarter of 2010, about 50 million tablets were sold worldwide .

The vast options in today’s laptop market makes finding the right system a bit of a challenge. There are desktop replacement laptops, ultralights, high-end systems for gamers and cheap netbooks for taking notes. You have to know exactly what you’re looking for.

Here’s how you get started: Read through the next 10 pages to figure out what you should keep an eye out for in a new laptop. If you know why each of the next 10 features is important, you’ll be prepared to pick the perfect notebook for your needs.

Contents

  • Warranty and Release Cycles
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