Choosing a new laptop.
Deciding which laptop to buy can often seem like a complex task, taking a while to think about the points below should make the process less daunting.
Deciding how much you want to spend is probably the most important decision to make.
Budget laptops are available for under $200, premium laptops will be in the region of $2000 or even more.
How much you want to spend will partly depend on how you want to use it, for occasional web browsing, writing/editing documents, or updating a spreadsheet whilst at home, you may find that a budget model is more than sufficient.
If you are using your laptop daily away from home, or for work you are likely to want to increase your budget.
All laptops available today can handle these basic tasks, though spending more money will give you the following benefits:
- More power – a better processor, more RAM and a separate graphics card to handle tasks such as video/photo editing or gaming. If you really need the highest spec for playing the latest games or specialist video editing software it may well be better to split your budget between a desktop and laptop.
- More portability – a lighter, more compact device, usually with better battery life offering greater flexibility and easier to carry away from home. Some models may offer a detachable keyboard for even greater portability.
- Increased screen resolution – budget laptops may not offer a Full HD 1080p screen resolution meaning you will be able to fit less information on the screen. Photos may seem to comparatively lack the crispness and detail, of a higher end model.
- Faster and larger amounts of storage – gradually mechanical hard disk drives with moving parts that are slower and may be prone to failure are being replaced by quicker and more reliable SSD’s (solid state drives). SSD’s offer and immediate speed boost to any laptop and can even be a cheap upgrade for an existing model. They will be found on laptops at all levels though at the lower end are likely to offer insufficient storage for lots of music or video files. If you tend to use streaming services such as Spotify or Netflix this isn’t necessarily an issue.
If you aren’t going to be using your laptop for gaming or intensive video tasks then you will probably be best choosing a model without a graphics card – it will be quieter, have reduced battery usage and probably be more compact.
Whatever you decide to spend you will get more bang for your buck if you can wait for the sales – Black Friday and holiday sales can offer big discounts.
If you can’t wait, it may be worth considering last year’s model – you are likely to get a good discount and specifications are not jumping by that much year to year.
As with cars it can be worth taking into account depreciation – some premium models from brands such as Apple will hold their value well, whilst others may depreciate more over 2-3 years. Therefore, even though the initial outlay may be higher you will recoup more of your investment when you next look to update your laptop.
Once you have decided on the budget you are looking to spend it is a case of choosing the model with the best combination of specs according to your needs.