Laptop buying guide: things you need to know

Use this Laptop buying guide to get the right Laptop for your budget and expectation.

laptop buying guide

This Laptop buying guide will walk you through everything you need to know before shopping for a new Laptop, from the differences in between the available Operating Systems Windows, Mac OS, Chromebook and their pros and cons, the processor you need for your tasks, RAM, screen size and resolution, battery life and many other features.

Laptops have become more essential for remote access to school, work and web-based apps than ever. Laptops are portable enough to carry with you, yet adapt to many different functions enough to run demanding applications. It’s the best device for doing numerous works whether you are at home, at work, in the classroom or on the road. There are wide range of Laptops with various functions and features that distinguish the best Laptops available, but it can be hard to keep up with the usefulness of the features, let alone determine what’s important. This laptop buying guide will help you decide.

Laptop buying guide quick tips

If you’re in a hurry, here are the most important things to consider before you buy a Laptop. We explain each of these point in greater detail later in the guide below;

  • One mistake must people do is that they choose the budget first before selecting specification. However, it should be the opposite.
  • OS Windows and MacBook offers many functionalities, your choice is a matter of taste. Chromebook are good for kids and student.
  • 12 to 14-inch screen strike the perfect balance between functionality and portability.
  • If you plan on spending more than $500 (N 150, 000), get Laptop with these minimum specs: Core I5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 1920 x 1080 screen SSD storage.

Pick an Operating System

An operating system is an interface between the computer user and computer hardware. An operating system performs all the basic task like process management, memory management, security, error detecting, handling input and output, and controlling peripheral devices.

Popular Operating systems are Windows, Mac and Chromebook. Choosing the right depends on you, it is a personal choice, but here’s is a summary of what each offer, then you determine the one you prefer.

Windows

The most common operating system, windows, run on more laptop models than Mac OS or Chromebook. At present, the latest windows version is the windows 10.

pros

  • Easy to use
  • Availability of Apps
  • Compatibility with older versions
  • Support new hardware
  • Good for gaming
  • Support for plug and play

cons

  • Cons
  • Poor security
  • Susceptible to virus

Apple MacOS

Mac OS is the computer operating system for Apple Computer’s Macintosh line of personal computers and workstation. Laptops running Mac OS are MacBook. At present, the latest version of Mac OS is Mac OS Catalina. The operating system offers similar functionality to windows 10, but the user interface is a little different. Again, your choice of OS depends on personal preference, below are the pros and cons of the Mac OS

pros

  • Simple and cleaner user interface than windows
  • Compatibility with other apple devices
  • Built in iSight camera for easy video
  • Has dedicated features for multitasking
  • Optimized software and hardware
  • Less susceptibility to malware and security issues

Cons

  • Limited availability of Apps
  • Lack appeal for Hardcore gamers
  • It can be very expensive

SIZE

Before you purchase any laptop, you need to know how portable your laptop should be. The size you need to buy depends on whether you will carry your laptop with you around or It would always be on your desk at home or office.  13 to 14-inches provide the balance of usability and portability, especially when you get a laptop that weighs less than2kg. Size less than these are very good for portability but most of them comes with less functionality. If you want a larger screen size and are not prepare to carry your laptop around, go for 15-16 inches. Purchase a larger screen size laptop if your laptop will always stay on your desk at home or office.

CPU

The CPU is a hardware that carries out the instruction of a computer program. The CPU has a high influence on performance, but depending on what you want to do with your laptop. The cheapest model could even perform the task you will use the laptop for. The best CPU for higher duties and performance are AMD Ryzen 7, intel core I9, AMD Ryzen 5 intel core I7 and intel core I3.

RAM

Random access memory (RAM) is one of the most important components in a laptop. It is a fast component that temporarily store data that needs to be processed by the CPU. Accessing information in RAM is very fast unlike hard disk drive (HDD) or even solid-state drive (SSD) that stores information for a long term. RAM enables the CPU to get information extremely fast rather than digging into the device’s slower storage. The more RAM your computer has access to, the faster your computer operates which enable you to perform jobs with ease. If your laptop will be performing a lot of job and you would install a lot of apps in your Laptop, strike for RAM higher than 4GB. Though your Laptop with 2GB RAM can still performs a lot of work like typing and file management.

Graphics

The graphics chip is a specialize piece of hardware that produce the images you see on your monitor. It renders an image on your screen by converting data into a signal that your monitor can understand. In a computer, this can be upgraded because it is a card that can be removed and fixed back. But laptops graphics chip is always integrated on the motherboard and thus difficult to upgrade, so it is very important to purchase what you need at the start.

The primary vendors of graphics chip are AMD and NVIDIA. NVIDIA has the most powerful graphics and very powerful for gaming and business-class laptops. AMD as well provide powerful graphics; their latest and best graphics chip is Radeon RX 5700.

Storage

The amount of storage in a storage device is how much information it can hold in total. All your pictures, music, videos, programs, apps are stored on an internal drive. Unlike RAM, data in storage devices are used for long term and does not necessarily need to be in use. Many laptops come with hard disk drive but recent laptops come with solid state drive.

Solid state drives have better performance than hard disk drive. SSDs have no moving part, enjoy faster access time, lower power consumption and they run more quietly than hard disk drives.

Convertible laptop

2 in 1 laptops or convertible laptops that can act as tablet and laptop. It come in two style; detachable with screen that comes off the keyboard entirely and flexible laptops with hinges that bend back at 360 degrees to switch mode.

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