Laptops offer amazing convenience of portability and power, but they are ultimately less flexible than a desktop. Once you have made your choice, you have made it.
Going out of budget while buying a laptop is pretty common because we tend to go into overdrive once we dive into the world of new and upgraded specs and want to buy the fastest and reliable machine ever.
For this reason, you need to think carefully about what you need your laptop for before you hand over your cash. In this buying guide, we will cut through some of the confusion by taking you through the different kinds of laptop available, providing an overview of the different specifications you will come across.
Pick a Size: Laptops tend to be divided into categories based on the diagonal size of their screens, in inches. This is because a laptop’s screen size also determines the overall size of its chassis. A laptop with a huge 17-inch screen will be fantastic for work and gaming, and is likely to feature a decent-sized keyboard to make typing easier, but will be far bigger and heavier than a 13-inch model.
Machine Performance: Unless you are buying a seriously cheap laptop, opt for at least 4GB, so you do not have to worry about how many browser tabs you have open at once. If you are going to be editing video, you will ideally need at least 8GB, although this amount of RAM is now common even in inexpensive laptops.
Graphics: Most laptops rely on their processor’s integrated graphics chipset, usually called something like “Intel HD Graphics”. This can play simple 3D games at a low resolution at low to medium detail settings, but if you are serious about games then you will need a laptop with a dedicated Nvidia or AMD graphics chipset.
Battery Life: Along with size and weight, this should be a priority if you are planning to travel with your laptop. It is not always possible to get a seat on a train or in a café near a power socket, after all. Small, light laptops generally offer superior battery life to larger models, chiefly due to being equipped with less powerful low-voltage processors and a smaller screen.
Storage: As is the case on a desktop PC, an SSD will make your laptop boot faster and feel far quicker and more responsive, so is worth looking out for if you can afford it. Unlike on a desktop PC, you cannot just buy a small SSD for your operating system and stick in a cheap hard disk for your personal files.