Most of us use a laptop daily, for both business and personal needs. The devices, therefore, get a tremendous workout and are typically one of our most trusted possessions. If your computer is constantly crashing, so slow it makes you want to scream, or otherwise unsuitable (perhaps it has even died completely), it’s time to consider buying something new.
With so many products on the market now, though, the level of choice can overwhelm even tech-heads. As such, it pays to have a checklist of things to think about before you get out your credit card.
Consider Your Level and Type of Usage
First, get clear on how you want to use a laptop. The number of hours per week and the way you use a computer dictates, to a large extent, what kind of device you need. For instance, people who only do a few simple things like pay bills, surf the web occasionally, and store a few photos can get away with a more affordable laptop with less storage space and a slower processor.
On the other hand, some fall in the heavy use category. These people multitask with many tabs and programs open and need sophisticated graphics, plus photo and video editing tools, and to store and perhaps stream a vast number of files. They require a more comprehensive tool. If this is you, you must select a laptop that can handle this more taxing use.
Also, consider whether you plan to use your new laptop for personal use only, for business use, and/or for gaming. Each of these uses dictates different consideration when buying a device. When using a laptop for work every day, for example, you require a computer with fast startup and load times and high-level security.
Gamers, though, tend to focus more on the quality of graphics and sound. If you want your laptop to function as an entertainment device for streaming movies, you’ll probably be on the lookout for a convertible 2-in-1 computer that gives you the most bang for your buck when watching a screen.
Factor in the level of security you like warranty-wise, too. Most computers come with a standard 12-month warranty, but you may decide that you’d prefer to purchase a separate laptop warranty for your device to cover it for longer. If this is the case, be sure to check the available options when researching products.
You also need to decide on a budget. It’s better to do this upfront so you don’t end up spending more than you should when in the shops, confronted with an array of products. If you work from home and your employer offers to pay for part or all of the device’s cost, make sure you know how much is in their budget.
Screen Size and Style
To find the right product for you, decide what screen size is necessary. People who use a laptop for many hours per day without the addition of a larger screen generally require a screen size on the higher end, so they don’t strain their neck.
If, though, you’re an occasional user or someone who wants the lightest possible computer for travel purposes, a small screen size may work better. When comparing screens in shops, pay attention to the design of the screen. Two laptops might have the same screen size, technically, but one might have a larger display because the casing around it is minimal.
There are other screen features to factor into your decision. For example, you may want a laptop with biometrics to increase security if you’ll store highly sensitive data on it. Plus, many laptops now have quality touchscreens on them, which are helpful if you like this kind of tech or need the functionality for the type of work you do. Also, compare the clarity of the resolution on different machines if this is important to you.
There are numerous specification factors to weigh up when comparing laptops, so think about your preferences in different areas then try to find the computer that gives you the best mix of these elements for your budget. You’ll typically always need to compromise in one or more areas.
Things to compare include:
- Operating systems –Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, or Google Chrome
- Battery life
- Ergonomics, particularly the comfort level of the keyboard
- Ports and connectivity
- Memory and storage
- The processor type
- Audio quality
Buying a laptop takes some thought and research, but since this piece of equipment is so vital in our day-to-day lives, it’s worth the investment of time and effort. The more factors listed above that you weigh up when deciding on a machine, the better the results should be for you.