So you’re getting ready to buy a new laptop? That’s exciting!
Making a laptop is a big purchase that can have a drastic impact on your quality of life.
If you do a lot of your work from your laptop, you’ll need something that can support the tasks you need to accomplish.
Even if you have your laptop mainly for personal use, like gaming or streaming TV, you’ll still need to make sure you buy the right item.
Buying a new laptop that doesn’t suit your needs can be a costly mistake. In this article, we’ll talk you through what to consider when buying a new laptop and how to make sure you can purchase what you need.
What to Consider When Buying A New Laptop
Here are five factors you should think about when buying a new laptop.
When we talk about size, we’re talking about the physical size of your laptop, not the size of its RAM or ROM (more on that later). You can’t change the size of your laptop, so you’ll need to pick the right size upfront.
The smallest laptops tend to start around 11.6 inches long; the largest, on the other hand, go up to nearly 18 inches. Most brands tend to offer three display sizes: around 13 inches, around 15 inches, and around 17 inches. That being said, some brands, like Chromebooks, do go smaller or offer different sizes.
What size you choose will depend entirely on how you plan to use it—will you be porting it around to different job sites or coffee shops? Will it mainly be sitting on your desktop? If you’re traveling a lot, you’ll probably want to consider something smaller and lighter weight. If you’re mainly using your laptop at home, you might get away with something bigger.
That being said, different sized laptops have different capabilities. For instance, laptops that are around 13 inches might have fewer ports than their 15+ inch counterparts. Similarly, laptops that are 15 inches or longer typically support more advanced CPUs or graphics cards.
Consider how you’ll be using your new computer when deciding what to buy.
#2: Screen Quality
Most of us stare at our laptops for hours at at time (if you don’t, congratulations!). That means that screen quality matters. You’ll want to buy a laptop with a screen that’s easy for you to use.
When deciding what kind of screen you’re looking for, first consider whether or not you want a laptop with touchscreen. Many laptops today have touchscreen, which makes some tasks easier than others. That being said, there are some negatives to touchscreens, like increased reflections that might make it difficult to edit images or play video games.
You’ll also want to consider resolution. What kinds of tasks are you trying to accomplish? Will you need to line windows up next to each other? If so, you’ll likely want to search for a full HD 1920×1080-pixel resolution.
If you’re doing hardcore editing, however, you might want something even better, with one of the new 4K resolutions.
Gamers, meanwhile, might look for laptops with quick refresh rates so they can have a smoother play experience.
Consider what your needs are and how screen quality affects them.
#3: Keyboard Quality
If you’re typing all day, you’ll want to get a laptop that has a comfortable and high quality keyboard.
Look for a laptop with a comfortable layout, including full-sized keys and space around the arrows. The keyboard should be responsive and backlit, so you can easier see what you’re typing in a low-light environment.
The CPU (or central processor) is probably the most important part of any laptop or desktop computer. The CPU is the core of your laptop—it handles basic instructions and sends the complicated tasks to other chips in your computer. Think of it like the command center of your laptop, deciding what needs to be done and making it happen.
Intel Core Processors typically offer the best performance when it comes to completing many tasks at once. Intel Processors come in three “levels”: Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7. Core i3 processors are typically found in entry-level laptops; Core i5s are found in most mainstream laptops.
If you want the very best performance, go with a Core i7 processor. Note: Core i7s have a LOT of power, which can translate to an extra hot laptop as you perform your different tasks. Watch out for this is you have your computer in your lap a lot.
Today, you’ll want to look for a computer with about 8GB of RAM as an absolute minimum. If you use your laptop all day, for work or something else, opt for 16 GB. Gamer? Start looking at laptops that start at 32 GB.
The more RAM you have, the more applications you’ll be able to run at the same time. Basically, your laptop’s performance will be faster and snappier.
Today’s thin and light laptops often forego hard drives in favor of solid state drives (SSDs). SSD storage has more speed than a hard drive, runs almost silently, and doesn’t add too much weight to your laptop. Most new purchases will use SSD storage for these reasons.
If you buy a computer with SSD storage, you’ll likely be impressed with its speed, efficiency, and low noise output.
There are some drawbacks to SSD storage—namely, that SSD doesn’t offer as much storage space as traditional hard drives. These days some laptops have a smaller SSD for their operating system paired with a larger hard drive for other data.
You can also always buy an external hard drive if you’re extremely worried about losing storage space.
#7: Battery Life
If you’re planning on traveling a lot with your laptop, battery life will likely be important to you. That being said, manufacturer quoted battery life is rarely what you’ll actually get—in most cases, you’ll get way less time out of your battery than the manufacturer states.
Your battery life will depend on a lot of factors: the number of programs you have running, if you’re streaming or transferring files, and how bright your screen is, for starters. Basically, battery life is very user dependent, but there are still stats you can analyze when purchasing your computer.
Take a look at the battery’s Watt-hours or milliamp-hours rating. The larger the figures are, the longer your battery will last.
You’ll need ports if you want to connect your laptop to external devices, like monitors, microphones, webcams, keyboards, a mouse, etc. Ideally, you’ll want to find a laptop that has at least a few USB ports. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck unable to connect your laptop to needed accessories or looking for Bluetooth accessories to complete your needed tasks.
#9: Overall Quality
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, you’ll likely drop, knock, or bump your laptop during daily use. While most laptops are designed to withstand such use, some are definitely better than others.
It’s worth seeing how your laptop of choice can handle extreme conditions. Even if it can’t be wiped clean after you spill your coffee on it, many laptops offer warranties that will at least give you the peace of mind that you won’t need to shell out more $$$ to replace what you’ve broken.
#10: Whether It Meets Your Needs and Budget
Of course, you’ll need to balance your laptop needs with your actual budget. That being said, if you don’t have a lot of cash on hand, there are plenty of options to support you in buying a new computer of your dreams.
In our article “How to Buy a New Laptop With No Credit,” we walk you through exactly what you need to do to purchase the laptop of your dreams even if you don’t have the cash for it right now.
Buying A New Laptop: Final Thoughts
Buying a new laptop is a big decision! You’ll need to consider many factors, including your usage, budget, and needs when deciding what to purchase.
If you’d like help deciding what laptop is right for you, feel free to reach out to our customer care team any day. We are standing by and happy to help!