Selecting a laptop may not always be simple since many factors are regularly overlooked by buyers in their search, leading to disappointments. In this post, we shall look at the best laptop features to consider before buying one for your unique use.
What is a laptop?
Laptops is a portable computer that combines all the components and capabilities of a desktop computer, including a processor, the monitor, speakers, a keyboard, storage device, pointing devices (such as a touchpad or trackpad, and TrackPoint), with an operating system, into a single unit.
Most modern laptops feature integrated webcams and built-in microphones and speakers, while many even have touchscreens. Laptops can be powered from an internal battery which is charged by an external power supply from an AC adapter.
Laptops are used in different settings including from the sofa, from the bed, outdoors e.t.c, and as such its comfort when using it is very important. That is why we need to consider a variety of specifications before jumping in and buying one.
Hardware specifications, like the processor speed and memory capacity, significantly vary between various types, makes, models, and price points.
The size of the laptop is the major factor to consider before looking at other factors. The size will dictate the screen size as well as the weight of the laptop. Some features might also be missing for some slim laptops such as optical drives as a matter of compromise.
The size of the laptops ranges from 11.6-inches to around 17.3-inches. The weight ranges from 3 pounds (1.3 KG) to around 6.6 pounds (2.9 KG). These measurements might be different depending on the manufacturer and new trends being released.
The smallest laptops which happen to be the lightest are more suitable for kids and light duties since most of them are powered by less powerful processors and graphics cards, fewer ports, and lack of optical drive.
The best compromise for size ranges between 13-15 inches for mobile users with moderate processing needs. This type might have more features but might still lack optical drives.
The bigger laptops have a bigger screen and contain more power to play high-end games and other heavy tasks. They are also more expensive due to the additional features. However, they are not designed for frequent movement and hence they are good for people who want laptops for their desks with high performance.
Apart from the dimensions, there are several other considerations of laptop types you may want to look at.
Ultrabook laptops which happen to be slim and light with high performance
Rugged laptops, specifically designed to operate reliably in harsh usage environments and conditions, such as very hard vibrations, extreme temperatures, and damp or dusty conditions.
Convertible/hybrid / 2-in-1 with the ability to conceal a hardware keyboard, which can be flipped, rotated, or slid behind the back of the chassis, thus transforming from a laptop into a tablet.
The CPU forms the basis of computers operation speed and as such its important to consider the right CPU for your needs. The most popular CPU is from the Intel company followed by AMD processors.
While Core i3 has the lowest performance level, they happen to use much less power and laptops with these processors can go for long without a need for external power. Core i5 is the most popular and balance between speed and power consumption while high ended processors such as core i7 and core i9 give the best performance but are power-hungry.
It’s important also to consider the processor generations as well since modern generations have more features than the old generation processor. Generation is denoted by the processor number, e.g. core I7 8650U is the 8th generation while core I7 3770 its a 3rd generation processor, but both are core i7. I suggest looking at the intel description for this information to understand more. The latest Intel processor is the 10th generation, which is specifically designed for laptops and 2-in1.
For gamers, it’s worth considering the AMD Rizen processor which coupled with AMD graphics chipset or you can consider getting a laptop with a 10th generation intel processor with a letter G before the final digit which is optimized for graphics.
RAM is the working bench for the processor and hence the more application you can run at a go.
The amount of RAM will be dictated by what you are willing to spend on the laptop. 8GB is adequate RAM for most users while power users might consider up to 32GB RAM.
The higher the RAM the better, although it is easily upgradable in the future.
Clarity of your screen, brightness, reflection, and size are some of the areas you need to look at.
You need to establish the type, whether its LED or LCD screen. Active matrix based on LED it’s a better preference due to its better clarity.
Screen with high resolution (number of pixels per inch) will have clearer and sharper images. Resolution starts from 1366 x 768 for budget laptops up to 2560 x 1600 for full HD laptops and the newest 4K resolution. Select the most appropriate screen resolution for your needs and budget. Most people will, however, be comfortable with FHD laptops.
You can also consider selecting a laptop with a touch screen if it’s not a convertible laptop that comes with a touch screen as a standard.
5. Secondary Storage (Popular as a Hard Drive)
This type of storage is used to store your data and information for a longer period. There are two options for this type of storage; HDD or SSD.
While HDD is more popular for its cost and large capacity, SSD is taking the market by storm. Consider a laptop with at least 1TB of hard drive or you consider a quieter and faster SSD with less storage if you are not on a limited budget.
They are various ports that come as standard nowadays such as USB. The most important thing to consider is the version of USB available, from 2.0, 3.x and latest one are USB 4 or USB type C. However, consider other important ports such as HDMI (for connecting external screens), Audio/microphone jack, SD card slots, Ethernet port, SIM card slot among others.
You surely intend to connect your laptop to the internet and read more upcoming articles like this one. Then checking if your new entry will have WiFi connectivity, Bluetooth, 4G LTE in their latest standards, i.e. Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5.
Is it a full-sized keyboard or condensed keys. If you are going to do a lot of typing then consider a full-sized keyboard that has more space around the arrow keys and independent numeric keypad keys.
The accuracy of your keystrokes is improved if the keys are concave in shape instead of flat because the light dimple helps your fingers find the centre of a key without looking down at the keyboard.
Depending on your working environment, you may also want backlighting for the keys. Choosing a model with adjustable brightness levels can assist you to type within the dark without burning your eyes.
Consider keys with more resistance when pressing better tactile feedback to the finger. A key that’s easy to press and release won’t give you the feeling of having pressed a key. So you’ll tend to repress it and create typing errors.
Most people buy laptops for their portability and ability to use for hours without connecting to a power outlet. However, if you intend to use it on your desk with a power outlet throughout, then this is a minor consideration for you.
Consider a laptop with long battery life e.g. 7 hours of battery life. It’s worth noting that battery life is directly affected by some other factors including processor type and screen size. Select the best compromise for your unique need to be comfortable.
10. Platform – Windows, Mac, Chrome
The three platforms (operating systems) that are popular have the most common features installed. The selections in mostly based on the specific users’ tastes and knowledge of use.
Chrome being the latest platform may have some compatibility issues especially when working offline. Windows is the most popular with most features while Apple Mac OS comes in second with alternative features to windows.
You may also consider free open source platforms that you can install later such as Ubuntu and Fedora. Open source platforms offer more control over security, especially for tech persons.
Final Thoughts on Best Laptop Features
They are many laptop features that you may need to look at but this is just a guideline of the most important ones.
It’s good to note that laptop components are not intended to be replaceable or upgradable, except for components that can be detached, such as a battery or CD/CDR/DVD drive. This restriction is one among the main differences between laptops and desktop computers because the massive “tower” cases utilized in desktop computers are designed so that new motherboards, hard disks, sound cards, RAM, and other components are often added.
The laptop design has obvious restrictions on power consumption, physical size, and cooling which limit the utmost performance of laptop parts compared thereto of desktop components, although that difference has increasingly narrowed.
As a result, make your decision wisely to avoid disappointments later while trying to upgrade. Also consider buying a futuristic laptop, i.e. the kind of laptop that will remain relevant in the near future as the technology continues to grow fast. Consider laptops that can be able to comfortably run future Softwares before it’s completely outdated.
Your needs are unique and as such consider all factors before settling for one. You can ask any question on how to select and I will be glad to help out.
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