A Guide to Buying a New Laptop
Buying a new laptop is a daunting process, with so many specs to get right, it can be a real pain. You’ve got to weigh up what you need against the price, and make sure your new machine can do what you need it to do, without breaking the bank.
So, we thought we’d give you a hand with picking out your new computer. Whether you need it for university, you want to watch some Netflix, or you’ve got some intense gaming to do, we’ve got a few things you should look out for when you’re picking out a new laptop.
Make Sure Your New Laptop has the Right Specs
To some, the specifications on a laptop might look like a foreign language. With an array of acronyms from CPU and RAM to SSD, it can be a little confusing. The most important thing to consider before splashing out on the most hi-tech machine available, is what you’ll be using it for.
A big factor when it comes to your new machines capabilities is the processor. Generally, you’ll find most laptops come with an AMD or an Intel brand processor. But they make processors for all capabilities, and budgets, so it’s worth knowing what to look out for.
Intel’s Celeron/Pentium processors are cost-effective, but they offer slower performance, so they’re perfect for note-taking and light browsing. With the Intel i3, i5, i7 and i9 processors, they get more powerful and more expensive as you go through the list. So, i3’s great for light users, whereas an i9 processor is for those using the most demanding apps out there.
On the other hand, you have AMD, who generally offer competitive power, for a slightly lower price. For browsing, streaming and note-taking, a laptop with an AMD A, FX or E series processor is perfect. But for something that will compete with an Intel i5 or i7, it’s worth checking out the AMD Ryzen 4000 series.
To cut a long story short, you’ll want to try and get 8GB of RAM, even on a budget machine. 16GB of RAM will give your machine a nice boost without costing much extra. But 32GB and beyond is probably best left for those who are going to be working with the most powerful apps for hours at a time.
While 4GB of RAM is offered on some low-priced laptops, you won’t be able to get much use out of your machine. With 8GB, your laptop will be able to handle twice the workload, so you can stay productive on your laptop, and it’ll even be able to handle some light gaming.
When it comes to storage, you have a choice between an SSD (Solid State Drive) and an HDD (Hard Disk Drives). HDD’s are cheaper and generally offer more storage, but they rely on mechanical parts to store your data.
SSD’s on the other hand offer a much faster experience. Without any moving parts, SSD’s are more durable, they don’t heat up as much, and generally use less energy. But that comes at a cost, as they generally come with higher price tags and less storage space. So, consider this if you won’t need much storage and you’re happy to spend for the speed.
This one is a little more self-explanatory, you’ll want a laptop that can last! For those who want a big, powerful gaming laptop that’s going to stay on a desk, this won’t be an issue. But for those who’re after a laptop that’s going to last a day of lectures, you’ll need it to survive the day.
Read third-party reviews to get a real sense of how long the laptop will last, and generally keep an eye out for laptops with 8 hours or more of battery life.
Curry’s offer a huge range of laptops for every budget and have cracking support teams, so you won’t be lost in a sea of specs.
For lovely, low prices on the latest machines, it’s worth checking out what eBuyer has on offer.
The Size and Shape of Your New Laptop
The best gear costs money, so it’s only worth splashing out for that kind of equipment if it’s essential. A great place to start when it comes to deciding is portability. Whether it’s something for on-the-go work, or something a little more stationary, this can help you decide how important the laptops size is when you’re buying. If it’s going to be left at home, something bigger might be better.
For students, kids and light web-surfers, notebook laptops are a great option. They’re small, lightweight, and cost-effective. You can type your lecture notes or get your social media fix and you won’t be left out of pocket. But if the laptops getting left at home, bigger machines can offer more power thanks to their size.
Generally, the smaller notebook laptops have screen sizes of 11-12 inches. They generally weight less than 2 kilograms, so it’s as simple as slotting it into your bag for lectures. For a balance of portability and usability, laptops between 13-15 inches are a great shout. Larger, more powerful machines run from 16-18 inches. These can be a pain to get around, but they can offer more power!
Usability is important when you’re buying a new machine. Laptops cost money, and you’ll want the best user experience. From the keyboard to the trackpad, you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable using it. Not to mention, with 2-in-1 laptops, you can give yourself the option of using touchscreen.
AO.com have a cracking range of laptops of every shape and size. From notebooks and 2-in-1’s to bigger powerhouses.
Lenovo have a bunch of options for every budget when it comes to buying a new machine.
Windows, MacBook or a Chromebook
When it comes to operating systems, you’ll have a few options. This will largely come down to preference, but it can have a big impact on your budget. Most people are generally familiar with Windows, and you can find Windows-powered machines for low prices.
MacBook’s come with a higher price tag, but MacOS is the top choice for a lot of people. It’s particularly popular with creatives, so it’s worth considering if you’re an artist or a musician looking for a new laptop. Not to mention, Apple offer some pretty stylish machines.
Chromebooks come with Chrome OS and it’s a lot like Windows. It’s stripped back for simplicity, but as a result, you’ll see some savings. Because it’s so simple, it’s great for those who just want their laptop for a little light browsing and don’t mind writing notes in online applications like Google Docs.
Get the Right Price on Your New Laptop
Finding the right laptop for the right price is all about balance. For those who are light users, you’ll be able to find a machine that can handle the job, without breaking the bank. Otherwise, you’ll need to weigh up the most important aspects to you and decide from there.
While focusing on the essentials can help you cut costs on top tech, there are a few other things to look out for. Refurbished machines can be a cracking way to get top-of-the-line machines without paying the price, so it’s worth checking out your favourite manufacturers refurbished offerings.
Another way to grab yourself a saving is to keep an eye out for student discounts. Especially around September time, manufacturers and retailers tend to offer some incredible discounts. Not to mention, Black Friday is a terrific time of year for those looking to save on tech.
Dell Refurbished have a cracking selection of like-new machines, for second-hand prices.
HP can give you little help with your education, as they typically offer a stunning student discount.
Get the Right New Laptop for Your Needs
Buying a new laptop can be a little confusing. With numbers, acronyms and specs being thrown around everywhere, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed.
So, we hope this guide has gone some way to helping you decide on what you need from your laptop, and the kinda prices you should be paying.