Laptops offer brilliant portability and power, but they’re ultimately less flexible than a desktop.
It’s the best tool for doing serious work or play at whether you’re at home, on the road or in a college classroom.
That’s what this guide will help you avoid and make sure that what you’re buying is what you need now and in the future.
Most laptops come with one of three operating systems: Windows, Chrome OS or MacOS (for MacBooks only).
Though you can change operating systems later. You cannot install Mac OS X on a non-Mac laptop, but you can install Linux onto either a Mac or a Windows laptop, or Windows onto a Mac laptop.
The most common operating system available, and compatible with the most software.
Windows is designed specifically around an intuitive touch-screen interface (though it can be used with a traditional mouse and keyboard), expanding your navigation options.
MacOS boasts an elegant and easy-to-use interface to complement Macs’ sleek aesthetics and impressive battery life. Macs have historically had fewer issues with viruses and malware.
Chrome OS is based on cloud storage and features many built-in Google tools and multiple security layers. It also integrates with your Google Account for seamless access to files, photos, music and more from all your devices.
It is designed for laptops that are consistently connected to the internet, and can only run special web apps.
The “brains” of your computer, the processor has a huge influence on performance, how many programs you can have open at the same time, and how fast those programs will run. Most laptops feature an Intel® or AMD processor.
Intel’s processors are at the heart of every modern MacBook and the majority of Windows laptops.
Core X-Series: Intel’s ultimate processor for gaming and virtual reality experiences. The Core X-series family offers up to 18 cores and 36 threads to power through the creation, editing and production of 4K or 360° videos, high-resolution photos and high-quality audio.
A new set of chips that are designed to compete with Intel Core i5 and Core i7.
AMD A, FX or E Series: Found on low-cost laptops, AMD’s processors — the company calls them APUs rather than CPUs — provide decent performance for the money that’s good enough for web surfing, media viewing and productivity.
The bare minimum RAM available on laptops today is 4GB and this is good enough for most users (except graphics editors and gamers). However, the more the RAM, the better the performance.
There’s no best laptop overall; it really depends on your own requirements and budgets, and size will play a big part in that.
Laptops are usually categorized by their display sizes:
- 11 to 12 inches: The thinnest and lightest systems around have 11- to 12-inch screens and typically weigh 2.5 to 3.5 pounds,
- 13 to 14 inches: Provides the best balance of portability and usability, particularly if you get a laptop that weighs under 4 pounds.
- 15 inches: The most popular size, 15-inch laptops usually weigh 4.5 to 6.5 pounds. Consider this size if you want a larger screen and you’re not planning to carry your notebook around often.
- 17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays on your desk all day every day, a 17- or 18-inch system could provide you with the kind of processing power you need to play high-end games or do workstation-level productivity.
The size of the screen isn’t everything; a resolution should also be taken into account.
To get an idea of exactly what it is you’re looking for in a screen, it pays to go into a store and try a few out.
On laptops with smaller screens, a larger resolution doesn’t always mean more space
A 1920 x 1080 (also called 1080p) display can show as much as 10 additional lines of text on a web page, or in an email or a document, you’re editing.
|Computer Industry Name||TV Industry Name|
|1366 x 768||HD (not Full HD)|
|1600 x 900||HD+|
|1920 x 1080||Full HD||1080p|
|2304×1440||Retina (Apple only)|
|2560 x 1440||QHD / WQHD||2K|
|2560×1600||Retina (Apple only)|
|2880×1800||Retina (Apple only)|
|3000 x 2000||PixelSense (MS Only)|
|3200 x 1800||QHD+||3K|
|3840 x 2160||UHD||4K|