Welcome to the first stage of the Buying a Laptop series.
Buying a laptop is a complicated process. Given the dizzying array of options in terms of design, and hardware unique to each leading manufacturer. The path to finding the best laptop for you is a complex maze of choices you need to make.
But whether you’re looking to play games, stream movies, type papers, crunch videos or stay connected while traveling. A laptop is the best tool for gaining wireless access to much of the world’s knowledge.
You want the best performance. But what about price? How big should the screen be before it becomes a sacrifice on portability? What kind of ports do you need? And how much storage space?
Giving outright recommendations is difficult. Every user has a different set of requirements for what they would like their laptop to do.
But a solid idea of how your laptop will solve your needs will make it pretty easy to get most of the options you want; at a price that’s affordable for you. And you’ll be able to prioritize which components are most important to you.
Buying a Laptop
As was said, buying a laptop is a complex maze of choices. But because you’re serious about arriving at a laptop that will serve you well for a long while. We’ve carefully curated this series to help you navigate that maze.
First up in this series are 9 of the most important considerations that will go a long way in helping you nail down what you’re looking for in a laptop. Answering these preliminary questions will make the rest of the laptop buying experience easy.
How Will You Use It?
In other words, what would you like your laptop to do?
If you only imagine yourself surfing the internet and social networking. Buying a laptop with all the latest and greatest hardware might be a bit overkill. Consider a less resource heavy device like a Chromebook.
On the other hand. If you’re work requires heavy multitasking, manipulating sophisticated graphics and photos, or video production. You should look at a notebook that can offer you more substantial components like one designed for tasks like video editing.
It matters in 3 distinct ways.
Display Size – The overall size of a laptop is generally distinguished by the size of its display. Buying a laptop with a big screen will give you more real-estate so that as you multitask with numerous windows open. You’ll be able to see more of what you’re working on.
Typing Experience – This is also affected by the size of the laptop. If you have large hands, for instance. A laptop with 10.1-inch screen will feel cramped as you try to bang out important memos to supervisors and clients.
Portability – If you’re a road warrior that likes to get a head start on the workday before you get into the office. An oversized laptop like a 17-inch desktop replacement won’t fit easily on your lap; especially as the train car begins to fill with more passengers.
Pick a Platform
Ooh. Here we go. Now we’re getting to the good stuff. Buying a laptop means choosing between the Mac, Windows, or Chrome operating systems.
Each one has its advantage over the other depending on the type of user you are. For instance:
- Mac users love that the interface is so simple to use. It’s somewhat similar to the GUI iOS on your iPhone. And unlike Windows, MacOS users get to enjoy fewer viruses and security issues.
- Windows users love that there is a HUGE selection of software available. It simply dominates when it comes to Plug & Play support for the average home user. And where else can you really go for the latest PC gaming technology?
- Chrome users love that maintenance is hassle-free since Google automatically updates the OS regularly. Because it’s a light operating system that requires less hardware resources. It doesn’t need a high-powered processor and large storage space. And, it’s fully integrated with Google and Android.
MUST READ: Learn more about which OS suits you best.
Mac or a PC Laptop
This references the question above because if you prefer the Mac ecosystem. You’re automatically locked into an Apple laptop. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Apple computers in general have some of the highest customer satisfaction rates in the industry. But you’ll pay more for a Mac. And models are rarely refreshed unless Apple sees the need.
PC laptops come in numerous shapes and sizes to fit a business or an individual’s exacting standards. But because a PC laptop can be produced by any manufacturer. There’s no standardization. Which means you often get what you pay for.
This also relates to consideration #3. We touched on this a bit as we discussed PC laptops, too.
If buying a laptop for you means strictly deciding between a Chrome or Windows operating system. Your laptop can come in almost any shape or size you wish.
In computer speak, form factor is the size, configuration, or physical arrangement of a device. A laptop can come as a:
- clam-shell with the display screen hinged to the keyboard
- 2-in-1 which allows you to either rotate the keyboard 360-degrees on a hinge; or remove it entirely so you can use it as a tablet
- or a Tablet when all you really need is just the laptop’s display
There’s No Substitute for Good Design
We’ve come a long way since back in the day when a laptop was an ugly brick, and thought of as a novelty only but for business professionals and those who could afford to get one.
Like cell phones, laptops are an extension of you. They are a means by which to stay connected, do research, and fire off last-minute emails.
While buying a laptop, take time to think about how the screen size, weight, thickness, and layout of the keyboard complements your daily computing needs. After all whatever you choose, chances are you’ll be spending a lot of time with it.
When buying a laptop, the sheer number of choices you are presented with can be overwhelming. A useful place to start is with a brand you’re most familiar with. As you get to know what they have to offer you in the type of laptop you’re most interested in. You’ll be able to discern better what a competing brand may also have to offer.
Warranty and Support
A laptop is only as good as the company is willing to stand behind the product. It’s not something we like to think about before even getting the laptop. But the reality is at some point, parts will fail. That’s just the nature of the beast.
Comparing warranties should really be the first step in buying a laptop. Things to consider are:
- What does the warranty cover
- What does it NOT cover
- How long is the warranty good for
- Is your laptop covered even if you leave the country
This is not an attempt to sway your final decision one way or the other. But Apple is known for consistently having the best warranty and support of any laptop manufacturer.
Don’t Buy More Than You Need
It’s so easy to get swept up in the hoopla throughout the laptop buying process that you end up paying more than you intended at check out.
But going through this short exercise before buying a laptop is a great way to mitigate against ending up with more laptop than you bargained for.
Next up in the series, we’ll explore how to Buy a Laptop with Any Budget.
Were there any considerations you feel are important that we forgot to mention? Please let us know in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.