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Laptop Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right PC

  • 15 Sep 2021 17:55
  • 323

Hooray! You've come to the right place if you're seeking for the greatest laptop brands in the world this year.

Laptops have dethroned the PCs in the field of personal computers. Laptops can now handle heavy tasks like gaming, graphics rendering, while having slim bodies, being lightweight, and beautiful. This article will talk about what you need to know about laptops, as well as the most famous brands in laptop manufacturing.

Types of laptop

1. Notebook

A full-sized laptop that strikes a mix between mobility and functionality. Processor speed, storage capacity, memory (RAM), and screen size can all vary significantly in overall size and specification. They are available in a variety of price points, ranging from low-cost budget versions to high-performance productivity and gaming devices.

Notebooks are not the best in performance, as well as not the best in design, but the best overall. In fact, this is the most preferred type of laptop.

2. Ultrabook

Intel invented the word "ultrabook" to describe a certain type of the ultraportable notebook computer. Ultrabooks must fulfill specified standards for size/weight, battery life, and processor type, with specialized Intel security features. 

Strong security and anti-theft protection integrated into the hardware are some of its strong qualities. Although the original MacBook Air is often recognized as the inspiration for the Ultrabook category, it is not an Ultrabook.

3. Netbook and Chromebook

The term "netbook" referred to a type of tiny and inexpensive laptop computer built for internet-connected computing (hence the name "netbook"). For several years, these little laptops were quite popular since they were very inexpensive, but the trade-off was that they were also sluggish, and the cost-cutting showed in many areas, notably low RAM, CPU-speed, and storage. They made advantage of Intel's low-power Atom CPU. Tablets, Ultrabooks, and ultraportables, notably Chromebooks, are more competent alternatives these days.

Recognized as a type of netbook, Chromebooks use the ChromeOS (Linux-based) operating system. These are intended to be used largely with web programs and data saved to the Cloud rather than on the laptop itself. Apps must be obtained via the Chrome Web Store. Chromebooks of recent generations can also run Android applications.

Chromebooks are popular in some schools and even business organizations since there are numerous lower-cost versions available and their basic setup allows for simpler centralized management and security.

5. Macbook

Apple's laptop computers are divided into two groups: the ultra-thin MacBook Air and the high-performance MacBook Pro, which is available in 13-inch and 16-inch sizes (the latter recently replacing the 15-inch size). They are all powered by the macOS operating system.

The most recent models have ditched Intel's platform in favor of Apple's own M1 chipset, which combines everything on a single chip. This allows Apple complete control over the close integration of hardware and software, resulting in substantial improvements in performance and battery life.

6. Gaming laptops

Gaming laptops must be designed to stay up with the never-ending march of development. The finest models have powerful CPUs and graphics chips, as well as adequate RAM to run contemporary games. Anything less can render the most popular games unplayable.

High-end gaming laptops are generally hefty in order to accommodate superior desktop-like technology and bigger displays. Because of its power-hungry components, battery life isn't excellent — especially on computers with 4K screens. However, this isn't always the case, as our greatest gaming laptops tend to provide a decent medium ground or greater stealth gaming capability.

Gaming laptops are the most powerful type of laptops; however, they can never be compared to the performance of a PC. Therefore, if you’re looking for a device without mobility, you should choose a real PC.

7. Business laptops

Despite being aimed at experts, business laptops have several appealing characteristics for the ordinary customer. They may not necessarily have the aesthetics of more mainstream systems, but they usually have better battery life and more durable and strong casings.

The most significant disadvantage of business laptops is their high cost. They generally have somewhat bigger displays with excellent color fidelity, particularly if they are geared towards video editors and photographers. Because of their higher emphasis on security and privacy, they are also far more likely to provide stronger defensive methods such as biometric validation and professionally geared software packages.

8. Convertible (2-in-1)

These hybrid devices combine the functions of a laptop and a tablet. They are sometimes referred to as 2-in-1 laptops or hybrids.

They can swiftly convert between touchscreen tablet mode and classic keyboard mode by detaching, sliding, twisting, and folding back components. The fold-back technique is currently used by the majority of devices, while a few still feature detachable displays.

Microsoft Surface lineup is now considered to be one of the best 2-in-1 laptop brands.

Buying Guide

1. CPU/Processor

The CPU, like any computer, is the brains of the laptop and does the majority of the general work. When the computer wants to access or alter data, the CPU is in charge of doing so. Better CPUs will be able to process more data more quickly. However, take in mind that a CPU's sheer clock speed does not always provide a whole picture. If you're not sure what you want, type its model number (such as "Core i5-9400H") into a web search to compare your alternatives.

Intel's latest products include 11th-generation Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 processors. The generation may be found in the chip's component number, which appears directly after the dash. The i5-9400H, for example, is a 9th-generation CPU. Meanwhile, AMD's most recent notebook processors are its third-generation mobile Ryzen 5000 Series CPUs, which are rarer to locate in laptop options.

When choosing a laptop based on its CPU, newer is nearly always preferable. Avoid purchasing a laptop with a CPU that is a few generations old. Unless you're doing anything heavy, such as video editing, don't be concerned about purchasing a processor that isn't in the midrange. The four cores on the Core i5-1135G7, for example, provide adequate performance for practically everybody.

2. Graphics

The main idea of graphics card is instead of sequential processing in CPU, GPU processes data parallelly. That idea only works with graphics because “frames” can be processed separately, for example, the frames can even be calculated before they’re played.

There are two types of graphics card in laptop: built-in graphics cards, and external graphics cards:

  • Built-in graphics cards are made with the chips, usually named by the chip manufacturers. Some examples for built-in graphics cards are Intel UHD 610, Intel UHD 620.
  • External graphics cards: NVIDIA and AMD are two top brands in manufacturing graphics cards’ chipset. Note that NVIDIA and AMD only manufacture the chipsets, but manufacturers like MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte are the ones who finish the final products.

3. Audio

Although certain computers, such as the MacBook Pro, provide sufficient sound straight out of the box, most laptops lack the space to integrate effective speakers inside the shell. Most laptops have connections for connecting headphones or external speakers if you want a more immersive listening experience.

4. Memory or RAM

RAM, often known as system memory, is a type of specialized hardware used for temporarily storing and retrieving information for instant use. All current processes, including the web browser that is now showing this tutorial, store data in RAM.

Essentially, the more RAM a computer has, the more information it can access at any given moment, and hence the more tasks it can accomplish at any given time. However, unlike storage (which is discussed further below), RAM does not retain data eternally. When RAM loses power, all data stored in it is gone.

Here are some popular RAM capacities for you to take a look:

  • 4GB of RAM: for normal stuff, like using Microsoft Office or surfing the web
  • 8GB of RAM: for heavy working stuff, like using specialized softwares
  • 16GB of RAM: entry-level for gaming
  • 32GB of RAM: handles mostly every game out there
  • 64GB of RAM or more: AI computation and heavy computing tasks.

5. Storage

There are two types of storage, which are SSD and HDD. However, as you might have known, SSD is dominating the market. We won’t bother you with the details of how SSD and HDD work, but here are the pros and cons of those:

Pros:

  • In terms of speed, SSDs are the best. SSD data can be read at up to 10GB/s and write at a little slower.
  • In terms of size, SSDs are much smaller than HDDs.
  • When being moved around, SSDs are safer with movements, because it’s solid state.

Cons:

  • SSDs are much more expensive to manufacture.

6. Ports

Due to a complicated maze of language, ports on a laptop may rapidly become perplexing. Make a point of concentrating on the USB ports that you require.

Older laptops typically include USB-A connections to accommodate legacy devices such as peripherals and external drives. They are rectangular in shape with squared corners and can only be used with a one-side-up connection. 

We made a list of popular interfaces that laptops now have. Take a look:

  • USB-A 2.0: legacy standard for USB-A. This allows slow speeds of transferring data, and is suitable for input interfaces like keyboards, mouses, drawing pads.
  • USB-A 3.0/3.1/3.2: latest standards for USB. 3.2 USBs can transfer up to 10Gb/s transfer rate
  • USB-C 3.0/3.1/3.2: offers the same speed as USB-A, aiming to be the future universal connectors
  • HDMI and DisplayPort: ports dedicated for displays. HDMI is more popular than DisplayPort, but offers lower bandwidth.
  • 3.5 headphone jacks: this type of port doesn’t need explanation. Connect your headphones and see what it does.

Famous Brands

In the market today, there is an infinite number of laptop manufacturers that make good devices. It is impossible for us to list out all of them, but instead, we’ll talk about the best brands for each using purpose.

1. Best gaming laptop brands - MSI and ASUS

There are two biggest competitors for the top position of the best gaming laptop brands nowadays: MSI and ASUS.

To put it in detail, MSI is an independent brand established to produce and sell gaming laptops. They’re not only manufacturing laptops, but also making gaming equipment like graphics cards, RAM, or even gaming chairs. On the other hand, ASUS is a very big company dedicated to making IT devices in general. ASUS gaming is only a small department of the ASUS company.

MSI is super famous in the community of gamers; however, MSI laptops can cost gamers up to $4000 - $5000, with no option under $700. On the contrary, ASUS has two lineups for gaming: ASUS ROG being the best,  then ASUS TUF. You can buy an ASUS gaming laptop for as low as $500 and as high as $5000.

As for the design, gaming laptops can’t be beautiful, but MSI seems to focus more on both the overall design and the cooling design of laptops than ASUS. Finally, there is no absolute way we can say for certain that MSI or ASUS is better, so we put  both brands in this segment.

2. Best brand for business - Lenovo

Lenovo sells laptops for you to make money. That’s true. We all know the famous ThinkPad from Lenovo made for businessmen that everyone loves. Those laptops are not the fanciest, not the most powerful, not the lightest, but the most usable.

Lenovo laptops are packed with latest features for usability, security, and connectivity. Unlike luxurious brands, they don’t like eliminating a port before literally everyone on earth has stopped using it. That’s why we get the best compatibility with Lenovo laptops.

3. LG and HP - Battlefield for lightweight laptops

Yes, we’re talking about two lineups that are competing for the thinnest laptops in the world: the LG Gram and the HP Spectre.

These models might not be the lightest and thinnest laptops in the world, but they’re the thinnest laptops in the world with high performance. Despite the “half-an-inch” designs, they still manage to support Intel Core i7 or Core i9 processors with an external graphics card. Therefore, this is the battle for going beyond limits.

Along with the LG Gram, LG also sells other models made for average customers. LG products aim towards good designs, with somewhat limited processing power for office work. 

On the other hand, HP aims at selling products for big companies and offices in bulk. Their products are usually integrated with central management with Intel vPro certifications, lots of management and support features, and also anti-theft. The support of HP should be considered on the pro level.

4. Affordable laptop brands - Acer

Acer stands out as a brand for students. Acer makes lots of products with cheap prices for just enough purposes. Acer laptops might lack some features and performance, but we can’t blame the budget on that.

While Acer Aspire and Acer Chromebook are made for students with limited budgets, Acer does try to compete on the lightweight tier with Acer Swift, which is priced at little higher than Aspire and Chromebook series. Acer Swift has the latest CPUs, the best design in the Acer family, so it’s worth taking a look.

Another series worth mentioning is the Acer Nitro, made for gaming. Acer Nitro laptops are affordable gaming laptops with just enough screen configurations, performance, and battery power.

5. Durability champion - Dell

Well, nobody has to remind me of how durable Dell laptops are. Dells are like Nokia phones in the world of laptops. Dell laptops aren’t focused on the aspects of beauty and design, but the performance and durability. 

Dell laptops are made with the motto “to last”. Studies have shown that Dell laptops on average have 18.2% longer battery life than their counterparts. Dell laptops are also made for the worst cases, the data remains undamaged.

Aside from the durability section, Dell also features the XPS lineup, which is the luxurious powerful series for people who need both lightweightness and performance. However, the XPS series is more expensive than all the other Dell laptops.

FAQs

1. What should I consider when buying a laptop?

In this post, we'll go over seven key considerations to consider before purchasing a new laptop.

  • Size. One of the nicest aspects of a laptop is its flexibility to fit into a laptop bag and travel the world with you
  • RAM.
  • Screen Resolution
  • Lifespan
  • Storing
  • Ports for USB 3.0
  • CPU

2. What should I be focusing on more when buying a laptop?

Well, that depends on your purpose.

  • If you’re a student, then you should focus on the CPU and the memory
  • If you’re a businessman, then you should focus on the storage as well as the security of the device.
  • If you’re a scientist, then you should think more about the graphics card and the memory.
  • If you’re a gamer, then the monitor and the graphics card are the most important things to you.

3. How much should I spend on a laptop?

The best laptop value is found in the $800 to $1,000 price bracket. This amount of money will not get you everything, but it will get you a laptop that is good in key areas. If you want a gaming laptop, you will have to pay extra money. In this case, we recommend setting aside at least $1,500.

4. How much RAM do I need for my laptop?

4GB of laptop RAM should be enough for anyone searching for the minimum computing necessities. If you want your PC to do more demanding tasks at the same time, such as gaming, graphic design, and programming, you need to have at least 8GB of laptop RAM.

5. How long does a laptop usually last?

What is the average laptop lifespan? The same problems apply to laptop computers. The average laptop has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, according to most experts. It may live longer, but its value will be restricted as the components lose their ability to execute sophisticated programs.

Conclusion

Nowadays, possessing a computer of any kind is virtually a need. A computer is an indispensable tool for everyday living, from accessing the internet to checking email to doing schoolwork. Modern laptop computers are powerful enough for almost everyone and portable enough to take with you to work, school, or even on vacation.

So, in the previous parts, we introduced you to the greatest brands and advised you on what to look for when purchasing a laptop. If you found our post useful, please continue to follow us for the most recent updates.


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Maria Lebsack By, Maria Lebsack
Maria Lebsack is a Content Manager at BeFirstOne, as well as a freelance Social Media Campaign Manager. Since finishing her MA in Creative Writing, she has gone on to gain experience in Laptop, digital marketing and content creation. She enjoys writing about all-things literature, nature, design, and the arts and culture sector.
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