Jan 312016

Laptop buying guide

Laptop buying is also as much difficult today as smartphone, as technology changed too much in last 10 years now laptops comes with many configurations and various hardware options.

For example laptops can be classified in three categories

  1. Traditional laptops – Where not too much changes in screen and hardware types , these type of laptops used mainly industrial usage, offices, testing etc. All the major ports are available like VGA , Ethernet, HDMI with traditional optical disk drive & magnetic HDD. These are generally bulkier in size & weight, display are generally without touch functionality. These laptops are also used replacement of desktops with lessor hardware accessories like extra keyboard, mouse and sometimes can be used for portability.
  2. Hybrid laptops – People who want portability without losing ability of good performance used these types of laptops. These can be used as tablet forms and with detachable keyboard can be used for productivity works. These are lighter in weight good hardware configuration and having touch display. Some things might be not there as optical drive, VGA ports etc. Due to lighter construction, slicker in size and high hardware configuration these devices are costlier than traditional laptops.
  3. Tablets – These type of laptops generally used for personnel usage, Processor, RAM and internal memory wise these cannot be used for high productivity works e.g. large MS office works, photo / video editing , programming , testing, industrial usage etc. These can be used with some external keyboard like Bluetooth and USB or detachable if provided by manufacturer.

See also what is difference between laptop vs tablet.

laptop buying guide

The things to consider for buying your choice of laptop-

A. Fix your budget – First you have to finalize your budget, because you cannot go beyond your budget.

B. Finalize your priority and requirement – You have to first finalize your requirement and priority so that you can choose which laptop you really needed.

Take a note pad and write down your needs and requirements e.g. your basic requirement are for just entertainment and some occasional light office work and web browsing than a good quality tablet with windows will be ok for your that also provide you good portability.

But if you want to do some hardcore professional work or want a laptop with good performance and entertainment you can go for traditional laptops where many options are available like some laptops come with touch display some without touch, some are lighter in weight but may be higher in price etc.

Before buying and finalize laptop you should know following things related to hardware and software wise :

Hardware wise Laptop buying guide –

  1. Processor – Processor in the main thing to drive any laptop or desktop machine, this is the brain of machine. Choose wisely your processor as high end processor may be very costly and very low end processor may frustrate you while working and your laptop may struggle even very small works like loading webpages. If you want to use your laptop for some light works like web browsing, playing videos etc. and some small level office works than Core i3 processor with third/fourth/fifth generation will be okay. If you want a good performing machine that can do any work without a fuss and can do lot of multitasking than go for Core i5/i7 processor with latest generation fifth/sixth generation.
  2. RAM – RAM is also important thing as like processor before everything getting load and to work on a machine it needs to be loaded first in its RAM, if RAM is higher you can do lot of multitasking. Today’s browser even Google Chrome and Firefox are too much memory hogging. It can be said that minimum 4GB RAM is must for every laptop to doing work faster and with performance. If you can afford for more than go for 6-8 GB RAM for better performance fluid gaming /multimedia experience
  3. Hard disk – All your data will be stored in hard disk e.g. OS files, media, office files etc. Today’s hard disk cost is very cheaper compared to earlier 4-5 years. Now a 1TB HDD can be considered easily without paying a hefty amount. Nowadays some of the laptop coming with dual HDD option e.g. one SSD for OS and one normal HDD for other data storage. SSD is a solid state drive as like as RAM or USB pen drives where data stored in Nand flash based electronic chips. Reliability and data transfer rate in SSD is very higher compared to traditional HDD. OS boots very fast and application runs 4-5 times faster in SSD also copying and moving are faster. The only drawback in SSD is these are very costlier compared to HDD. That’s why now manufacturer’s provided two hard disk options where one low memory cheaper SSD used for OS e.g. 16/32/64GB and other hard disk with 500GB/1TB used for data storage purpose. See the previous guide how to upgrade to HDD to SSD in your laptop. If you have a laptop with Optical drive you can replace that with secondary HDD using HDD caddy.
  4. Graphic Card– Graphics cards are also important for good visual and multimedia performance, for gaming this contribute very important role. For average usage 1GB graphics card is ok, if you want to use your laptop for heavy gaming than consider higher graphics card version 2-4GB.
  5. Display – Screen size is important aspect to consider for buying a laptop, if your main purpose is for home or office and not going to use it too much outside you can use bigger screen size laptop e.g. 15” etc. But if you are going to use it everywhere you have to choose lower size screen display e.g. 12- 14” will be ok , more smaller screen sizes not good for log duration productivity works. Full HD display is must for today’s scenario with resolution of 1600 x 900/ 1920 x 1080 Very much higher resolution is not advisable in day to day work and office works as it makes fonts and other icons very smaller. So do not go for very much higher like 4000 p resolution. A good quality screen makes you feel good on any works e.g. web browsing, video playing etc. WLED and LED screen is preferable compared to TFT display. Also touch screen option are available, if price is not a big issue you may go for touch display as latest Microsoft OS e.g. windows 8/10 are very much customized to work with touch displays.
  6. IO ports – input /output ports are very much important subject to your requirement, if you are going for lighter and thinner laptops you may have to sacrifice traditional VGA ports even Ethernet ports. Today many laptop coming with HDMI/mini HDMI ports, you have to decide you are ok with these ports. If there is not too much usage of traditional ports you may opt for these as many adapter and converters are available in case you want to use traditional VGA/HDMI/Ethernet ports. USB ports are very much important, minimum three ports should be there if USB 3.0 option is available go for this for higher speed data transfer. Also see for all in one memory card readers.
  7. Connectivity – Most of or all laptops having Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity also see if 3G connectivity option is there. Many hybrid laptop and tablets are coming with both 3G and Wifi connectivity so there is no separate dongle is required to connect with 3G/4G internet.
  8. Webcam – A good quality webcam is must for video call and for Skype hangout etc.
  9. Keyboard & Mouse – If budget permits go for backlit keyboard that makes your work experience good in dark places also.
  10. Battery Backup – Good battery life is must for portability and for work at a place where electricity plug not available.
  11. Weight and dimension – A low weight and sleek design is always good for portability and work from lap.
  12. Optical drive – Today’s scenario optical drive is not must for all users with growing usage of USB sticks, portable HDD and cloud storage. Nowadays OS and drivers also available at online and can be installed using bootable USB disks. Optical drive only needed for accessing old CD/DVDs and also for sending someone presentations or data. So you can bypass this as very cheaper rate external optical drives also available if you required in future.

Software wise Laptop buying guide –

It is always good choice to buy a laptop with genuine windows OS so that you can work efficiently without any hassle and trouble for long time. The advantage of pre-installed OS is that manufacturers and Microsoft provided support online and offline in case any requirement occurs in future. Also for pre-installed OS there are no problems of drivers. Whenever a new version of windows released manufacturers provides latest drivers compatible to their devices.

In case you are thinking to buy a laptop without OS (may be the budget is the problem), always ensure that all the drivers available and provided by the manufacturers. Otherwise you may mess up with non-working devices in your laptop even they are physically available. As some of the manufacturer says we are not providing support for these machines.

Ensure that windows keys, OS DVD/Media provided with the laptop so not in trouble in future. Other software you may opt to buy with laptop or can be buy separately like MS office, antivirus software etc.