Tips on Buying Your First Laptop

So you’re interested in buying a laptop? That’s not a problem since there are plenty of laptops available today at varied price range. Compact enough to carry with you, yet versatile enough to run your applications a laptop is the best tool for doing work or play at home or on the road. So, whether you are a student, a businessman, or a gamer looking for portability, there a right laptop for you.

First Laptop

Before buying your first laptop, you need to know why you want a laptop in the first place. There’s a wide variety of size, features and price that makes choosing the right laptop for you a challenge. This is why you need to find out what your needs are.

Operating System

For beginners, this isn’t an easy question to answer especially if you are not familiar with operating systems. Operating systems are what makes you run apps, surf the web, and play games. Also operating systems affect the price of the laptop.

Here’s a quick overview of the operating systems today.

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 is the most common choice for an operating system as we are all used to it already. Chances are if you have a desktop computer at home, you are running Windows and Windows 8.1 will be very familiar to you.

Windows 8.1 laptops generally have varied prices. Starting at under $400, you’ll have a laptop that is decent for work or everyday use without breaking the bank. Moreover, you’ll have plenty of choices available not just in brands, but also in style.

Windows laptops vary from a student, to home users, and even for business people and gamers.

Apple OS X

Apple OS X is an easy-to-use, no fuzz operating system. In fact some of the things we have grown to use in Windows 8.1 are way easier in OSX. However, the problem with OSX is program compatibility. Since majority are Windows users, some applications won’t work in OSX unless they are meant to run on it.

OS X are meant for the creatives as majority of the compatible apps are for the creative types like Adobe Premiere, and Photoshop. If you are a creative type then OSX is for you.

Apple’s laptops are limited. You have two choices, the Macbook Pro edition for a full-fledged laptop experience or the Air version or as people call it “the internet machine”.

Also, Apple notebooks are very expensive. You can buy a high end Windows laptop that is three times more powerful for the price of one Macbook Pro.

Size

For laptops, portability is an issue. But before buying the smallest laptop you can find, you need to determine first what size is fit for your needs.

11 to 12 inches
This is the thinnest and most portable laptops you can find in the market and is the lightest of its kind. However, the screen is small and the keyboard is small. You may find to be squinting to the screen most of the time.

13 to 14 inches
This size provides a balance between usability and portability. It has the right size and weight that it won’t be a burden especially if you travel a lot and has the right keyboard and screen size that you won’t squint often.

15 inches
Although quite bulky and heavy, this is the most popular size of laptop as it has the right screen size and a desktop-size keyboard. 15-inches could be a great desktop replacement. However, 15 inches are heavy and bulky, so if you intend to use the laptop at home, this is an excellent choice.

17 inches and above
Often called the powerhouse of laptops and a complete desktop replacement. If your laptop sits on your desk everyday, this will give you the kind of processing power you need to use as your everyday workstation or game center. Because of the size, these laptops are usually equipped with the fastest processor around with the highest possible graphics chips. Just don’t even think of making this portable as you’ll definitely need a strong back for that.

The Specs

CPU
The kind of CPU you should be looking for depends on how intensive the task is at hand. If you just need a mobile internet device, go for Intel Celeron, Intel Atom and Core M CPUs.

If performance matters, don’t settle for CPUS of this kind. Prefer Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors and try to get the latest generation of these processors.

RAM
RAM is responsible for lag-free computing. Laptops today have 4GB of memory or more so don’t settle for less. If you can get a system with 4GB or higher, the better especially if you do intensive tasks like games and video editing.

Hard Drive
As for hard drives, faster isn’t always better. Faster drives like SSD doubles your speed compared to a regular hard disk drive, but it has a smaller space and is more expensive. Regular hard disk drives, on the other hand are cheap and has ample capacity. If you have several movies and games, you might want to stick to old HDDs than SSDs.

Display (Resolution)
The more pixels the display has, the windows you can fit and the better the image quality. Always go for the highest screen resolution as they work better with web browsing, games, movies, etc.

Graphics Chip
Integrated graphics chip, or the ones that share with your laptops memory fits most of the basic tasks like watching videos and probably a few games. Dedicated graphics card on the other hand will provide more performance specially in GPU-intensive games; moreover, a good GPU can accelerate video playback particularly in HD movies and is particularly useful for video editing.

Touch Screen
Nowadays, touch screens are simply mandatory. Take for example laptops with Windows 8.1. You’ll make full use of the system if you have a laptop that has a touch screen.

Morever, most touch screens provide you with various ways to use your laptop and the screen can even be removed to work as a standalone tablet.