Are you looking to invest in a laptop in 2020? Seeking a laptop buying guide in 2020? Check this article out, we can help you out!
Given the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, it’s becoming really important to invest in a laptop that will really help you meet your computing needs while at home. To help you out, we’re presenting some things to consider before buying a laptop, so that you can make the most informed purchase you possibly can, and will ultimately end up with a machine that will meet most if not all your needs.
Speaking of which—that’s a good place to start. What do you need a laptop for? Will it be for work or for leisure? Are you a heavy user like an app or software developer, graphics artist, or gamer who needs heavy computing power at your fingertips—or are you more of a casual user who won’t need to put your device to too much use, and will you be using it to surf the net, watch YouTube or Netflix videos and movies, chat with friends, and so on? And how much budget are you willing and/or able to commit to your laptop purchase? Think about what you need first before you decide what kind of laptop to invest in. Once you’ve done that, choosing a laptop will be easier and much more straightforward!
The first thing to know is that the form factor, or the physical configuration of the laptop you want to get, matters. There are quite a few options available in this day and age. Would you need a basic laptop—just a screen and keyboard and which doesn’t convert into a tablet, and/or doesn’t have gaming- or graphics-specific features like a powerful processor and RAM?
Basic laptops are great for less demanding operations like word processing, internet surfing and online research, and for viewing online content like Netflix movies and YouTube videos. Because of their relative simplicity, basic laptops are great for students and working professionals who don’t need fancy or advanced features and/or don’t really want or need to spend on them.
But you can also consider other form factors like a 2-in-1, which converts into a tablet either through a folding keyboard or a detachable one, to allow you to more comfortably watch movies or better read in bed, for example; or an ultrabook, which is lighter and easier to carry around, if you need to tote your gear from place to place.
The second consideration is that the specification of your laptop is also crucial. Regardless of form factor, you can choose from laptops that have more or less powerful processors, greater or lesser amounts of RAM and storage space, and so on. What are the specifications of a good laptop? The answer is: it depends! A good rule of thumb with laptops is that more is better, but the more you want to get, the more you have to spend too. More powerful processors and larger amounts of RAM will confer zippier performance, but will on average cost more than less powerful processors.
Your choice of specification will depend heavily on your needs as well as your budget. What makes it to your list of the features of a good laptop ultimately depends on what you need or want to do with one. If you’re a gamer or graphics or video professional, for example, then you may have no choice but to limit your options to laptops with better processors and higher RAM as well as dedicated graphics processors or GPUs (or, conversely, go for those devices that can be upgraded later on so you can keep making sure that your device is as good as you need it to be).
Some kinds of laptops, like gaming devices, come standard with higher-resolution displays and can also offer plenty of ports so that users can plug in external displays, peripherals like gaming-specific keyboards and mice, and so on. As for storage, onboard storage is an option if you’re open to spending more for it, but you can also choose to buy an external hard disk (which may be cheaper) or store most if not all your data online.
Other considerations relative to specification? The display is also important, for one. While laptop displays range from 11 inches all the way up to 17 inches, the sweet spot for many users appears to be in the 13-inch range. Those working on graphics and video or who prefer to watch content on large-screened devices might be better served by bigger laptops; those who prefer portability and lightweight might prefer smaller-screened ones. And of course display resolution—the higher the resolution, the clearer the image—can also be paramount. Other things you need to think about and consider are weight, which is a function of the size of the laptop; the number of ports a particular laptop has, which is important if you need to plug a lot of stuff in; and battery life, which also affects size but may not be so important if you’re home for the most part.
The third consideration is that you have options too in terms of the operating system laptops run. There are a few choices in this regard: Windows, macOS, Linux, or Chrome OS. Windows is by far the most popular operating system available nowadays and has a very wide selection of apps and games available for it as well as machines running up and down the price spectrum; for many people nowadays, therefore, Windows computers are in the sweet spot when it comes to laptop choices. Apple’s macOS is also quite popular and works much more seamlessly than any of the others with other Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches, but may cost a little more than laptops that run other operating systems. (Additionally, there are currently no macOS laptops that feature touchscreens, so if you prefer or require a laptop with a touchscreen, Apple products are automatically off your list.)
Chrome OS computers can also be quite appealing due to the efficiency of Chrome OS (meaning that it doesn’t require high-spec software to run well) and thus relatively lower prices, as well as ability to run many Android apps, but they may be harder to find than other laptops here in the Philippines and you may have less options available too. Lastly, Linux laptops are also an option—more often than not, as lower-priced versions of many Windows laptops because they come without bundled Windows, but if you need particular apps that don’t run on Linux, then you may be out of luck.
There you have it! We hope this article helps you establish what bases to cover before you make that purchase, across form factor, specifications, and operating system—but only after you’ve determined what exactly it is that you need and want.
We’ve also curated our top laptop picks for the year in this catalogue to help make your decision easier. And if you’re in the market specifically for a laptop for work, for a college student, or are looking for laptops that fit DepEd-recommended specs, check out the articles we’ve put together for you.
Best of luck with that new laptop buy!