Buying a laptop is far from easy. From size to connectivity options to different types of storage, the process is overwhelming. Do you need something light enough to take with you to class, yet powerful enough to handle multimedia tasks? Are you on a tight budget? If your head is spinning, don’t worry, we can help steer you in the right direction.
- SIZE If portability is a top priority, then you should consider a laptop with a smaller screen, as they’re designed to be light and slim. We’d recommend opting for an 11-13-inch ultrabook that weighs three pounds or less.
- SCREEN A screen that’s comfortable to look at is key. Touchscreens because they’re super glossy and that causes way too much reflection. If you want to see everything on the screen at once or use multiple programs side-by-side, you should get a laptop with a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution (full HD) screen. You don’t really have to scroll to see everything, which is always nice.
- CPU The processor is one of the most important components because it’s the brain of the laptop. Whether you’re pressing a key or opening a file, the processor is what that executes the command.
- RAM is important because it allows you to work with more information at the same time. But how much do you need? Well, I’d say 4GB of RAM is a good baseline for a Windows PC. It’s sufficient enough for basic tasks like browsing the web, checking e-mail, watching Netflix, and so on. If you’re a photo/video editor or a hardcore gamer, we’d recommend bumping it up to 8GB of RAM.
- STORAGE Back in the day, hard disk drives were all the rage. Instead of storing information on microchips, HDD’s store information on a spinning metal disk. While HDD’s are inexpensive and better at processing large files, they’re also noisy and use up a lot of power. These days, solid state drives are the norm, as they’re faster and use less power. Basically, they’re pricier, but deliver better performance and are more reliable than HDD’s (bye-bye fragmentation).
- CONNECTIVITY Whether it’s an external display or a thumb drive, most laptops need to connect to something. Adapters are fine in a pinch, but it’s easier if you get a laptop that already has a bunch of connectivity options. We’d recommend getting a laptop with a couple of USB 3.0 ports. This is useful for hooking up to a hard drive when you need to back up your files. SD card slots are also great, especially if you’re a photo editor, as it makes transferring photos a breeze.