Becoming Obsessed With One Specification
Tunnel vision is bad news when buying a laptop. While its fun to pit spec sheets against each other, avoid picking out one particular specification as your favorite and only looking at that factor. While you should have a baseline specification in mind to ensure that you get the performance you need dont obsess over maximizing any single specification.
Its easy to be excited about paying a little extra for double the RAM, for example, but most people dont need more than 8GB unless you are using some serious software for work purposes.
Likewise, dont become obsessed with battery life, resolution, or processor speed. If youre on a budget and most people are youll need to learn to balance a variety of hardware. Ensure the laptop you want has the features and hardware you need anything else that comes in under budget is just a bonus.
Choose The Right Size
Before you look at specs or pricing, you need to figure out just how portable you need your laptop to be. Laptops are usually categorized by their display sizes:
- 11 to 12 inches: The thinnest and lightest systems around have 11- to 12-inch screens and typically weigh 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.
- 13 to 14 inches: Provides the best balance of portability and usability, particularly if you get a laptop that weighs under 4 pounds.
- 15 to 16 inches: The most popular size, 15-inch laptops usually weigh 4 to 5.5 pounds. Consider this size if you want a larger screen and you’re not planning to carry your notebook around often. Laptops with 16-inch displays are rare but Apple might get the trend started with its 16-inch MacBook Pro.
- 17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, a 17- or 18-inch system could provide you with the kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or do workstation-level productivity.
The Final Step: Buy Laptops For Your Business
Now that you’ve successfully narrowed down your choices of work laptops based on what you need and what you can afford, you can confidently make your purchase. The basic approach outlined in this laptop buying guide can be used to buy other technology too, like copiers and business phone systems. We also have a variety of helpful guides to advise you on software buying decisions.
Max Freedman contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.
Also Check: Refurbished Computer Definition
Which Laptop Is Best For Gaming Or Creating
You can play games and create content on any laptop. That said, what games you play and what content you create — and the speed at which you do them — is going vary greatly depending on the components inside the laptop.
For casual browser-based games or using streaming-game services like and Xbox Cloud Gaming, you don’t need a powerful gaming laptop. And similarly, if you’re just trimming video clips, cropping photos or live-streaming video from your webcam, you can get by with a modestly priced laptop or Chromebook with integrated graphics.
For anything more demanding, you’ll need to invest more money for discrete graphics like Nvidia’s RTX 30-series GPUs. Increased system memory of 16GB or more, having a speedy SSD for storage and a faster processor such as an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 will all help you get things moving faster, too.
The other piece you’ll want to consider is the display. For gaming, look for screens with a high refresh rate of 120Hz or faster so games look smoother while playing. For content creation, look for displays that cover 100% sRGB color space.
Desktop Or Laptop Or Tablet
Desktop computers have lost their popularity over the years in favour of laptops and tablets. A desktop computer comprises of a tower, maybe half a metre high and 20cm wide, plus a separate keyboard, mouse and monitor . They are always plugged into mains power.
Laptops have the advantage of portability. They are becoming thinner and lighter.
In the past, the main reason to buy a desktop computer was for extra performance and a bigger screen. These days, most laptops have adequate performance and you can plug a screen of any size into your laptop.
Laptops have increasingly better battery life, some now lasting 14 or more hours. They can also be plugged in. You can plug in a monitor with a bigger screen and use either the big screen, the laptop screen or both.
Tablets have the best battery life but have no keyboard . Thats sounds fine until youre massaging your fingers after tapping a glass screen for 2 hours.
Some devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro have detachable keyboards so you can use it as a laptop or a tablet. They are hybrid.
Desktop and laptop hardware can be upgraded whereas tablets cannot.
Also Check: Print Screen Samsung Laptop
Apple Macbook Air M1 2020
This is our go-to recommendation for those in search of a MacOS laptop for everyday basic use. The MacBook Air was updated in the first half of 2020 with new Intel processors and, most importantly, a new keyboard. However, in November, Apple announced its new homegrown M1 processors would be replacing Intel’s CPUs in the Air. Using Apple’s M1, the company promises an operating system with better performance and longer battery life — up to 18 hours. The Intel-based models will still be around, though, and regardless of which chip is running the Air, you’re getting a great little Mac laptop starting at $999.
Our Laptop Buying Process
To evaluate which stores on this list were the best possible place to buy a laptop on the web, we personally bought laptops from each of them and recorded a series of metrics which fed into the overall performance score they received.
Related:If you are searching for small form laptops that can handle light processing like browsing the internet, then you need the best netbook.
This included the price of the laptop itself , the cost of shipping , the amount of selection available, the most recently updated models added to the lineup, as well as the effectiveness of their customer service departments and the amount of time it took to receive our refund after the return process was complete.
Taking all of these different factors into consideration we were able to test and review many of the top portals and whittle down our options from around 12 different major stores on the web down to five. These five exemplify everything you should look for when you want to optimize your laptop buying experience, and represent the peak of buying a laptop online!
Also Check: Print Screen Laptop Dell
Meet Your Needs And Budget
Of course, you need to balance these features with your budget and your needs, and you might have to make some compromises. Rarely does a laptop come along that ticks all the boxes, especially when it comes to price.
Let us know in the comments below if you consider other aspects of a laptop to be more important , and especially let us know if youve already found the perfect laptop for your needs.
How Do You Plan On Using The Computer
The best way to start understanding the type of computer you need is to understand how you plan on using the computer. Some users might be surprised to learn that they don’t need the most powerful computer to only view the web and read e-mail.
Check the following checkboxes for the tasks you plan on doing with your computer.
Don’t Miss: Places To Sell Laptops
Performance: Laptops Are More Powerful
For tasks like email, web browsing, or playing video or audio, both platforms will work equally well since these activities don’t require much processing power. Things get more complicated once you start performing more demanding tasks that involve multitasking or HD graphics. In these cases, laptops typically perform better. There are exceptions, though, such as for video editing. Some high-end tablets can actually outperform laptops thanks to specialized hardware.
How To Buy More Ram For Laptop
RAM modules take up precious space, so laptops are typically engineered with only two RAM slots, and both are usually occupied by existing memory when you buy it. This means that a laptop that comes from the factory with 4GB of memory, likely has two 2GB memory modules installed. To upgrade to 8GB, you cant just buy 4GB of RAM. Youll need to remove the existing two 2GB modules and replace them with two 4GB modules, which forces you discard, or try to sell the now-useless 2GB modules.
Desktops often have three or more slots, of which only two are generally in use when the computer ships, making it easier and less wasteful when it comes to upgrades. This is why we generally advise that you buy a laptop that already comes with the amount of RAM you think youll need, instead of relying on the ability to upgrade at a later date.
Read Also: How To Connect Airpods To A Hp Laptop
Eligibility For Ebb Program Free Laptop
Not all people are going to qualify for this program. Surely the FCC aims to the households who are still now offline due to low income. They are struggling due to a loss of income and job and they cant afford to go for internet for their kids education as well.
So you need to qualify and be eligible for getting started with this program. When you are getting assistance and benefits under some government program, you will be eligible automatically. There are also a few eligibility criteria to join in this program to get assistance.
- You need to have income at or below 135% under the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- If you have participated already in different government benefits programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline and still getting assistance.
- You are approved for getting free-reduced school lunches for the school breakfast program
- You are receiving currently Pell grants under the current award year.
- Other low-cost offerings,
- You are struggling after losing your income and job recently.
Additionally, senior people and disabled people are more likely to get assistance from different government programs. Surely these programs aim at low-income households who are in trouble for the recent pandemic. But you may explain that you are a senior or have the issue of disability and dont afford to buy a laptop to get connected. Then your application will be considered as well.
You Cant Install The Latest Operating System
If you want to take subjective feel out of the equation, Apple and Microsoft offer a definitive way to tell that your laptop has passed its best before date. Every time a new version of Windows or macOS is released, the companies publish a list of minimum supported specs. When your laptop can no longer download and run the current version of its operating system , its time to replace it.
Don’t Miss: How To Clean Hp Laptop Keyboard
If You Want To Overclock: Yes
If you intend to overclock your laptop, the only mobile 8th-gen chip that comes fully unlocked is the Core i9-8950HK. Like its desktop counterpart, the Core i9 allows more knobs for overclocking the chip properly.
Only two 8th-gen Core CPUs support overclocking, and only Core i9 imposes no restrictions.
This this time though, Intel is also introducing semi-unlocked or partial unlocked CPUs to allow for milder overclocking exploits. The 6-core Core i7-8850H will be partially unlocked and allow up to a 400MHz overclock or four multiplier ratios to be set. Whether your gaming laptop can actually support those overclocks is up to its cooling, but this means we might be see overclocking on laptops it wasnt previously available on. Nevertheless, Core i9 is your only option if you want to crank clocks as high as possible with no restrictions.
How To Pick The Best Laptop For You
So, what makes a laptop worth buying? First, it needs to offer excellent value for money. That means budget laptops below the $400/£400 price point need to still offer good performance and build quality.
Meanwhile, ultra-expensive devices need to justify their high price tags with best-in-class performance, premium build quality and lengthy battery lives.
If you want something to work on, a laptop with a modern processor, at least 8GB of RAM and a large screen are worth considering.
For gaming, you’ll want a gaming laptop with a dedicated graphics card and fast and responsive screen.
Check out our guide on what you should look for when buying a new laptop at the end of this page for more in-depth advice on buying a laptop.
Also Check: How To Reset Laptop Without Password
If Youre Waiting For Nvidias New Gpus: Not Yet
So if gaming is still mostly about the GPU, youll always see the most bang for the buck with a bigger GPU. Nvidias GTX 10-series is now 19 months old and counting. A successor is expectedfingers crossedby the end of this year. And that means the saddest person on the planet will be the one who buys a GeForce GTX 1080 laptop the day before a GeForce GTX 2080 laptop is released.
If you want to sit on your hands and continue to game on your GeForce GTX 680M until those new GPUs appear, its perfectly understandable. Quite reasonable too.
When Is The Best Time To Buy A New Laptop
The answer is when theres a killer sale at Amazon of course, but necessity may prevent that from being an option. Thats especially true if your laptop is for business purposes and it has stopped working entirely.
Note that you will often see manufacturers drop the price on flagship laptop models after a year. If you have the ability to wait, you may get the model you want at a better price.
Of course, by the time the price on that unit goes down, better machines will be available with higher end specs for the same amount. Buying early and getting the specific features you need is usually the best way to go.
Hopefully thats full answered the question of when and how often you should replace your laptop!
Have any other questions for us about the lifespan of your machine or need help picking a new one? Sound off in the comments below and well get you an answer!
Don’t Miss: How To Fax A Pdf From A Mac
What Is Ram And What Does It Do For Your Computer
At a very basic level, a computer is comprised of three main components.
Choosing The Right Os
Aside from niche systems like Linux, there are usually three main options when buying a new laptop:
- Windows 10
- Chrome OS
- Mac OS
Windows will often be your main pick, simply because it has the most options in terms of apps and programs.
There are downsides of course, as Windows is a resource-hungry OS that frequently slows down while installing large update files.
Theres no question that gamers or anyone using a laptop for business applications will want to go with Windows in the vast majority of cases, however.
If you mostly spend your time online watching YouTube videos and browsing social media, you may be better served with the Chrome OS. Chrome also now has access to the full Google Play app store, which radically increases your options.
..the Mac OS is a solid alternative to Windows if you dont mind learning a different system
Finally, the Mac OS is a solid alternative to Windows if you dont mind learning a different system. If you use music or video editing software, Mac is an excellent option, and they are also much less prone to viruses and spyware.
For the tech enthusiasts, MacBooks have a few features that Windows machines dont normally offer, such as high resolution retina displays and the nifty Touch Bar.
You May Like: How To Change The Color Of Your Steelseries Keyboard
Complete Warranty Info And Fileaway
A lot of people actually throw out the paperwork that comes with their laptop.
Dont be one of them. Often the warranty information will require you to complete forms and send them back or register online. Be sure to do these things.
Then take all of the paperwork that comes with your purchase and file it away. This includes the receipt, user manual and warranty information.
What To Look For In A New Laptop
Weve actually got you covered already with an in-depth guide on how to buy a new laptop and quick tips on specific features to look for when shopping.
There is one major element to keep in mind when upgrading right now, however.
Most new laptops entirely skip the optical drive in order to fit other components into a slimmer profile. If you still use install discs, make sure to factor it in
While our buying guide covers the specs, price, and features to look out for, you are probably still wondering:
Don’t Miss: How To Record A Video On Hp Laptop
Differences Between Laptop Vs Desktop
A desktop PC is a static, stationary computer that will stay on a desk in an office or bedroom. It usually consists of various parts: a tower, a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse.
PCs are generally more customizable than laptops as well. You can put together top-of-the-line parts for every aspect of the PC when you choose a desktop computer, whereas your choices are more limited with a laptop.
Check out our pick of the best desktop PCs to see what this form factor has to offer.
A laptop is a portable, all-in-one device that usually has USB inputs on the sides for optional peripherals. Laptops have a built-in screen, a built-in keyboard, a trackpad that acts as a mouse, and can vary in size.
Laptops are generally limited by their size but many modern batteries are big enough to provide 12 or more hours of power before needing to recharge.
We’ve collected together the best laptops as well.