Need to buy a new notebook, but don’t know exactly which one is right for you? Today, there are many models on the market of various prices and very different characteristics that make a choice quite tricky.
If you still have any doubts about which model is suitable for you, I show you how to choose a laptop in today’s article. It is a reasonably necessary purchase that involves a considerable expense. For this reason, it is always better to buy a model that is perfectly able to meet your needs and, above all, not a computer that gets old immediately and needs to be changed.
Will the processor be okay? Will the RAM be enough? Will the games and programs run smoothly and smoothly? There are many questions, and I promise you that I will do my best to answer your questions as briefly and simply as possible and help you understand which model to choose.
For this reason, in the following lines, I will show you in detail everything you need to look at before buying a notebook. The tutorial is divided into three chapters. We will see all the main features and parameters to consider, both from a technical point of view, therefore the hardware and aesthetic, and then move on to the operating systems.
Table of Contents
Hardware And Technical Specifications
One of the first things you look at when buying a notebook is the technical characteristics that the computer has.
Hardware is a fundamental aspect for every PC, and choosing the right one ensures that you don’t have a computer that is already old in a year or that you will not be able to run the programs and games you want from the first day.
The processor is the heart of any computer and one of the essential components to look at when choosing a good laptop. It is the most important because it is practically impossible to replace a notebook and if you select an unsuitable CPU, you cannot upgrade, but you have to buy a new computer.
Today on the market, there are mainly Intel and AMD to which is added the brand new Apple chip is added, which is only present on some MacBook Pro and Air models. Therefore it is more important to understand the differences between the first two.
In reality, those who want performance always aim for Intel Core, while AMD, despite having outstanding models even at the top of the range, is more common in cheaper notebooks.
Indeed, when you choose a low-cost PC, it is even to be preferred because it has a better performance/price ratio and boasting low energy consumption (therefore greater autonomy) and a pretty good integrated video card.
But when you want to choose a powerful laptop, both in gaming models and professional workstations, Intel is still the favorite brand of most users and the most recommended.
If the processor gives you the computing power, RAM is ultra-fast memory where the programs and files that the CPU has to use are copied. The more RAM you have, the faster your computer is!
The minimum I recommend you have is 8GB. For a domestic user, even four may be enough, but you are really at a minimum, and the notebook will not be very fast, on the contrary. For those who use a computer to work with heavy programs, especially concerning photo and video editing, design, and programming, 8GB is often insufficient. It is better to focus on 16. Finally, in gaming laptops, if you want to play games without problems. For more recent titles, I recommend that you consider buying a computer with 32GB of RAM.
When choosing your computer, it is essential to also look at the screen. Of this, we must consider mainly the size and resolution. However, for those who work in graphics or on the move, brightness and contrast are also fundamental parameters.
As for dimensions, the most chosen laptops have screens between 13 and 15 inches, while those of the models for gaming and workstations even reach 17. The diagonal of the screen affects the size of the notebook itself and, therefore, the weight. For this reason, those looking for a comfortable and easy to carry laptop usually choose a 13″, although the screen may be too small for many. Those who, on the other hand, use it at home, and don’t carry it around much, should opt for a 15″.
In terms of resolution, most of today’s laptops have are FullHD. There are, however, also computers with only HD screens (low-cost PCs) and even models with 4K displays. The latter, however, are still a rarity on laptops, above all because such a high definition is quite useless on display below 21″ and above all, because they consume a lot of energy, so they would significantly reduce the autonomy of the notebook.
When it comes to your computer’s internal memory, two considerations need to be made. The first is about the type of memory, while the second is about GB of the storage space you will have available.
The type is much more critical regarding the computer’s speed: in practice, you have to choose between an HDD (Hard disk drive) or an SSD (solid-state drive). The former usually offers larger memory capacities and costs much less, but their speed is up to 10 times lower than new SSDs.
For this, I strongly advise you to opt for a computer with SSD, even if the space you will have to save data and files will be much less, your computer will be significantly faster!
There are still some cheaper computers that, to reduce the price as much as possible, mount the old HDD hard drives: if you have basic needs like surfing the internet and writing some documents, they can still be okay, not much more. Thankfully the hard drive can be swapped out relatively easily with a new SSD that is much faster, and you can do it yourself when you need better performance.
While in notebooks for work or study, the GPU is not always essential. If you are looking for a good laptop for gaming, the video card is one of the most critical features that you need to consider.
Video game graphics are more and more evolved and realistic: this requires substantial computing power and PC speed (therefore a powerful CPU and lots of RAM) and a sound graphics card capable of reproducing visual effects in the best possible way.
In addition to gaming, the GPU is also essential for those who work in graphics or design. It is necessary both to create multimedia content, such as photo and video editing and in the rendering of 3D objects and for simulation programs.
Other Key Features
Hardware is an essential aspect, but that’s not all. There are also aesthetic features, budget, and other functions to look at. While some may be considered more subjective than objective, they are often more important than the technical specifications themselves for many of us.
A powerful computer, for example, however fast it may be, if it is too heavy and has little autonomy, it is useless for those who travel a lot and work on the move. Therefore, shape, price, size, and independence become fundamental parameters to look at when choosing a laptop that suits one’s needs.
Shape and Type
With this aspect, we not only mean how the computer is aesthetically, but we also refer to the type of PC. Today, in addition to the classic notebooks, there are many 2 in 1s or computers converted into tablets. These are models in which the screen can rotate 360 ° and adhere perfectly to the laptop’s bottom.
This type is preferred by students who can take notes as if it were a regular notebook, thanks to the touch screen and a stylus. When they then need to write the thesis or draft documents, they can do it by returning the 2 in 1 to the shape of a notebook and using the classic keyboard.
Dimensions and Weight
If you work on the move, you need a truly portable PC, compact and light, with excellent autonomy. The computers called ultrabooks or ultraportable are born for users with this need. These models can provide superior performance in a few centimeters of thickness and just over a kg of weight.
The MacBook Air was the first laptop of this type, and for many years it was the only choice, but today, the variety of models in this sector is continuously growing. The main rival of the Apple notebook is the Lenovo Thinkpad, which has even integrated a SIM slot to have internet everywhere, without having to look for wifi in some bar or restaurant or without always having to resort to the mobile phone hotspot…
Unfortunately, in these models, you often have to give up a sound graphics card and almost always rely on the integrated one, which, as everyone knows, is not suitable for gaming and not even much for editing multimedia content. On the other hand, those looking to choose a laptop with a good GPU know that they have to compromise with size and weight.
The cost of the laptop is also one of the main reasons why compromises are made on the performance, size, and features of the notebook you are going to buy.
When you have a large budget, the choice of models is not lacking. Indeed, it is even more significant than the variety of cheap notebooks that are also good. In the high end, you can look for models dedicated to gaming, graphics, or ultraportable that combine lightness and portability with increased autonomy, good performance, and even an exceptional design.
The computers with the best value for money are usually the mid-range ones with prices between 700 and 1000 €. However, for those who want a Mac, the minimum cost is about 1200 €. Sure, they are good laptops, perfect indeed, but the price is high. The only way to save is to buy a MacBook on the refurbished pc sites.
When you are looking for a PC for the study or at most for daily use, music, and video streaming, an inexpensive notebook with less than 500 € still offers the necessary for home or school use can easily suffice.
Those who often work away from home, or use the PC at school where there is not always a power outlet at hand, must pay particular attention to the battery life. Fortunately, today’s laptops, compared to those of the past, have much better autonomy, and even the basic models can exceed 4-5 hours. Then, notebooks are explicitly designed for those who need high independence and have a battery that can last all day.
The MacBook was one of the first ultrabooks to offer runtimes of over 10 hours. Still, today many other models offer similar, if not better, durability for certain types of use, such as Lenovo… link to Lenovo.
It should be noted that these are still PCs in a medium-high price range, with costs consistently above € 1000.
Operating System of the Notebook
An important role when you want to understand how to choose a laptop is to consider the operating system you want to have. Compatibility with programs, games, and user experience greatly depends on this.
Most computers currently on sale have Windows, which is the most popular in the world. However, Apple’s OSx is also spreading a lot, especially for its ease of use, quality, and security, clearly superior to Microsoft’s.
Alternatives to these two are Linux, which requires more technical knowledge on the user’s part, and ChromeOS. This operating system exploits the full potential of the network and online applications.
If one wants a computer to play, then one should only go for Windows because none of the other OSs can run all the games on the market. On the other hand, those looking for a professional notebook, based on the programs they have to use, can also choose a MacBook or Linux. However, for a student, all four are fine, as they offer all the features and programs needed for the study.
Also Read: How to Choose a Gaming Laptop