What’s in this laptop buyer’s guide?
Are you in the market for a new laptop computer? Then I’ve got just the thing for you: take a look at my brand new buyer’s guide to learn everything there is to know about buying a laptop and make the best choice possible.
Don’t forget to take a look at our great selection of laptops on sale!
If you’re not familiar with the different types of operating systems available on the market, you may need to do a little bit of research before setting off to buy a new laptop. You’ll probably have to choose between Mac, Windows, and Chrome OS. Alternative, open-source platforms do exist, such as Linux, which you can download for free. However, when buying a laptop in the shop it’ll run on one of the three OS mentioned earlier. Let’s go through what you can expect from them:
One of the most well-known platforms, Windows is found on the majority of laptops from many different brands – which can range from £100 to thousands. It’s fairly easy to use, and its latest version (Windows 10) incorporate many new exciting features, such as a digital assistant named Cortana and a more intelligent Start menu.
Mac OS X
Apple’s operating system comes pre-installed on every MacBook. While it offers the same general functionalities as Windows, it has a cleaner look and more streamlined features, as well as fantastic touch functionalities if you tend to use the trackpad. Existing Apple fans and iPhone users will appreciate the design, but gamers will stick to Windows.
While it looks a lot like Windows, the Chrome operating system (found on a wide range of inexpensive Chromebooks) lacks a few of its functionalities. With less applications available, a laptop running on Chrome OS will be better suited to those only looking to surf the Internet, check emails, and so on.
Unfortunately, size does matter – at least when it comes to your laptop. Especially if you’re planning to carry it around with you! The bigger the display gets, the heavier your laptop will be. You can usually find laptops in the following sizes:
- 11-12 inches: Small, thin, and light – these laptops are perfect for those who need to work on-the-go or travel a lot, but don’t want to have to only use a tablet or smartphone. You can expect a laptop this size to weigh around 2 to 4 pounds.
- 13-14 inches: Still very portable, but they can reach up to 5 pounds in weight so might not be suited to everyone who needs to carry their laptops around.
- 15-16 inches: This is the most popular display size, perfect for using a laptop at home or for those who don’t need to carry it around often: if you drive to and from work, go ahead. If you take public transport or walk, maybe think about downsizing as these sized laptops can weigh up to 6.5 pounds.
- 17-18 inches: This laptop will be almost impossible to carry around. However, such a large display coupled with more processing power means this is the perfect laptop size for those looking to play computer games or use many applications and programmes in their work. Just make sure to leave it on your desk at the end of the day.
Not sure what a processor, hard drive or display resolution is? Don’t worry – our guide is here to help you make sense of it all! Here’s what you should keep an eye on when shopping for a new laptop.
Processor (or CPU)
This is the brain of your computer – the more advanced your processor is, the better your laptop will perform. Depending on what you want to use your laptop for (Internet browsing, work, gaming…), you might want to go for a super-expensive, super-performant CPU, or a basic low-cost one.
Intel Core are widespread and some of the best processors on the market: go for an i7 if you’re a gamer or will use your computer for work, while i3 and i5 will be more suited to casual users – they’re cheaper, but still provide very good performance.
How much storage do you need? Storing too much on your laptop can cause it to run slower, so you’ll have to consider this if you’re the type of person who downloads plenty of films or music (or simply buy an external hard drive.)
SSD drives (solid state drive) are slightly costlier but perfect if you don’t need much storage, and they’ll enable your laptop to run faster and give overall much better performance.
Most laptops will have a 1366 x 768 display – which is perfectly reasonable, but if you intend to watch a lot of videos, TV or films (like if you’re a Netflix aficionado) you might want to consider splashing the cash on a 1080p or full HD display.
The more pixels you have (the higher the resolution), the sharper and clearer the image on your screen will look, so look out for good ratios such as 1920 x 1080, or even 2560 x 1600 for some higher-end, more expensive laptops – perfect for the gamers among us!
One of the most important things about a laptop – especially if you need to work on the go, where you’ll less likely to find a power outlet – is a good battery. Make sure you purchase a laptop with at least eight hours of estimated battery life.
How much should a laptop cost? From the cheapest notebooks to the most high-end gaming laptops, there’s really no right answer. However, if you’re looking to use your laptop for light work and leisure (surfing the Internet, streaming videos…) then mid-range is probably the way to go. Expect a good laptop to start around £200-£300 – although it’s possible to get a decent laptop for as little as £150. Take a look at our fantastic discounts if you’re after a high-range laptop at a more budget-friendly price!