IBM created the first commercially available laptop or portable computer, the IBM 5100, way back in 1975. It weighed a staggering 50 pounds and cost between $8,975 to $19,975. As you’ve probably guessed, this “laptop” was only available for a select few.
Fast forward about half a century later, and laptops are a common sight in households and offices worldwide. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, you’ll be dumbfounded by the number and types of laptops you’ll have to choose from. That’s why it’s a good idea to look through a laptop buying guide to help you make the right choice.
A laptop is a huge investment, and due diligence is necessary for you to get the best laptop within your budget. Today’s post is the ultimate laptop buying guide for buying a laptop for your specific needs.
Choose the Right Operating System
The first thing you need to consider when buying a laptop is what type of operating system you want for the laptop. These days, we have four major operating systems for PCs: Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, and Linux. Let’s look at each one of them one by one to help you determine the right one for you.
Windows enjoys the largest operating system market share worldwide, with a staggering 87.56% of the market. Many laptop manufacturers create their laptops to run on Windows, meaning you’ll have a large laptop pool to choose from.
These laptops come in various shapes and sizes, and you’ll likely find what you want in a Windows laptop. Most laptops that run on windows come in the typical clamshell model, although you can get hybrid, 2-in-1 laptops that use Windows. We’ll talk more about the design later on.
When it comes to software, most programs and apps run seamlessly on Windows 10. These programs include CAD software, video-editing software, word processors, and spreadsheets among others. Playing your games will also be a breeze, provided the laptop meets the games’ minimum system requirements.
Most current Windows laptops run on Windows 10. However, recent entries use the just-released Windows 11. Some notable features of Windows 10 include:
-Voice-controlled assistance with Cortana.
-An enhanced search that allows you to exclude locations and specific folders in your search.
-Ability to pause updates when you don’t have a wifi connection.
-Windows Sandbox allows you to run apps you don’t trust in a digital environment outside your main computer system.
It’s also worth noting that Windows is a lot more open-ended than macOS, meaning you have greater variety in terms of software and games. Plus, Microsoft quickly updates Windows to fix bugs and enhance its speed and usability.
MacOS trails behind Windows in market share but is still a popular choice with laptop users. MacOS runs exclusively on Apple laptops like the MacBook and the MacBook pro. If you’re buying either of the devices, you’ll have no choice but to use macOS.
Apple’s macOS is straightforward, intuitive, and very user-friendly. Apple designs macOS to take full advantage of the high-powered components characteristic of MacBooks. Customer service is also top-notch, ensuring they solve users’ issues and complaints effectively.
MacBooks are a marvel of modern technology, with sturdy, modern, and elegant designs. Their displays look great and they have a premium feel to them. However, as you’d expect, MacBooks cost way more than other laptops in their group.
All the latest MacBooks sport the M1 chip which boats blistering speeds and performance. MacBooks boast top-tier components that can handle anything you throw at it. However, it’s almost impossible to upgrade MacBook components, meaning you’re stuck with what you get.
MacBooks are also pretty limited in terms of the software they can run. This is a slight disadvantage for those who need specific software to accomplish their daily tasks. However, you might be able to find MacOS versions of the software you have in mind.
If you need a sturdy and reliable laptop for handling day-to-day tasks and light gaming, then a macOS laptop will suit you fine. If you use our laptop for energy-intensive software, you’re better of with a Windows laptop
Chrome OS is the newest kid on the block in terms of PC operating systems. This operating system from Google is based on Google’s Chrome browser. It runs on entry-level, budget laptops known as Chromebooks.
Google created Chromebook to switch students in mind, providing an affordable laptop for students to accomplish academic activities. Chromebooks can handle basic tasks like word processing, internet browsing, and media playback. However, they may not be the best laptops for heavy gaming or computer-aided design.
That said, if you do some digging, you can snag yourself a powerful Chromebook that can handle energy-intensive tasks. The Google Pixelbook and HP Elite Chromebook are fine examples of these high-powered Chromebooks.
Laptops that run on Chrome OS may have a limited app selection. That’s because Chrome OS is a web-based operating system that stores files and apps on the cloud. However, you can download apps from the Google Playstore directly to your Chromebook.
Decide the Laptop’s Design and Form Factors
These days laptops come in various designs and sizes. You need to lock down on the size and design that suit your specific needs. When it comes to design, all laptops break down into two types, conventional clamshell laptops, and hybrid laptops.
Clamshell laptops are your typical laptops that open up like clamshells. These laptops have hinges connecting the screen to the display, allowing them to open and close like a clamshell. Most laptops allow the screen to bend back until 180-degrees, but for some, the angle is slightly lesser.
2-in-1 or Hybrid Laptops
2-in-1 laptops get the name because they combine a laptop and tablet in a single unit. All 2-in-1 laptops have a touchscreen display and a keyboard. Hybrid laptops further differentiate into two types and they are:
Bend-back hybrid laptops also have hinges between the display and keyboard like clamshell laptops. However, with bend-back laptops, you can turn back the screen by 360-degrees so it rests behind the keyboard.
When you bend the screen back, you can use it in tablet mode. For typing, just tilt the screen to a 90-degree angle and type away.
As the name connotes, with detachable laptops, you can detach the display completely from the keyboard. That way, you can use the screen independently as a tablet for your drawings and presentations. When you need to type, you just attach the screen to the keyboard, and boom! You have a laptop.
The design you settle for should align with the laptop’s purpose. For instance, if you’re into design and drawing, a detachable laptop will be just what the doctor ordered. However, if you’re an avid gamer, get a clamshell laptop with a large display.
Remember to explore all your options before settling on a laptop. For starters, you can check out what Lenovo has to offer on this site.
Decide on a Processor
You can think of the processor as the brain of the computer. It’s the part that issues instructions to various laptop components to perform their required functions. Your laptop will be nothing but a shell without the processor.
When it comes to processors, your options boil down to two types, Intel and AMD processors. Intel is the more popular of the two and is available with different types of laptops. A few examples of Intel processors include Intel Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and Core i9.
AMD Ryzen processors work hand-in-hand with Radeon Graphics to allow seamless performance and graphics. Radeon Vega is a graphics processing unit that lets laptops run heavy-duty games without lag.
AMD processors are more efficient than Intel processors, but Intel boasts higher clock speeds. There are different types of processors from these manufacturers ranging from low to high-level ones. Either processor works great, but if you’re into gaming, you should get a laptop with an AMD processor.
Decide How Much Memory You Want
There are two types of memory you’ll find in laptops, Random Access Memory(RAM) and Read-Only Memory(ROM. The latter is a volatile type of memory that holds programs and tasks currently running on the computer. ROM, on the other hand, is permanent storage for software, files, and folders.
Usually, the more memory you have, the better it is for you. However, in some cases, having too much memory may be unnecessary. 4 GB of RAM will do for casual activities like web browsing and typing documents. However, for intensive gaming and design software, you’ll need around 12 GB of RAM.
Laptops these days have Solid State Drives or SSDs instead of hard disk drives or HDDs. SSDs are much faster than HDDs, but have smaller storage capacities and are more expensive. However, storage space shouldn’t be a big issue, given that you can buy an external drive for storing your files.
Laptop Buying Guide for Your Laptop Shopping
We hope this laptop buying guide will help you out the next time you need to buy a laptop. Remember to settle for nothing but the best laptop when you purchase a laptop. Always buy your laptop online because it’s easier and much more convenient than physical shopping.
For more informative content, check out the other posts on the site.
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