Now more than ever, it is essential to have a decent computer. Whether it’s for school, work, or even just to chat with your friends, a computer that you are able to work on for hours on end is crucial for interaction with the rest of the world in these uncertain times.
But what if your current computer isn’t up to the task? What if it’s too old, or just too slow? If you do find yourself in need of a new laptop, the large quantity of different choices can seem a bit overwhelming at first. It can be really easy to overpay for a system that you don’t need, or miss out on the features that you do. Well, fear not, because we’re here to help!
Today, we will be briefly going over exactly what you should look for when picking out a new laptop.
Part 1 - Windows Laptops
To start things out, let’s go over the wide range of different Windows laptops. These are easily the most popular choice, and for good reason. They are often relatively inexpensive, and are usually fairly versatile. However, with so many choices available, picking out the right Windows laptop can prove to be quite the challenge if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
To simplify things a bit, let’s break down what you should expect based on your budget.
Budget Laptops ($500 or less)
If you are short on cash (or if you simply don’t want to spend a lot of money on a new computer) then don’t fret: there are still plenty of laptops available for you.
You may not get the power or feature set of a higher-end system, however a budget laptop does not necessarily mean a bad one. When looking for a laptop in this range, cost is obviously the main concern, and specifications are probably not the first thing on your mind. However, if you’re looking for something that’s at least fairly decent in this range, then try to find a system that meets these specifications:
Processor: Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 RAM: 4GB – 8GB Storage: 500GB – 1TB HDD (for more storage) or 128GB – 500GB SSD (for much better performance)
Mid-Range Laptops ($500 - $1000)
If you have a bit of extra money to spend on some additional features, but you don’t want to pay full-price for a premium laptop, then you have several options.
While laptops in this range usually include things like touchscreen, some might forgo this in favor of other features, or some additional horsepower. All in all, it really depends on what your needs are, and what features are important to you. In general though, try and make sure a laptop in this range meets at least these specifications:
Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 RAM: 8GB – 12GB Storage: 1TB – 2TB HDD (for more storage) or 250GB – 500GB SSD (for much better performance) Screen Resolution: 1080p – 1440p
High-End Laptops ($1000 or more)
Finally, if money is not a concern to you, and quality is the main thing that you’re after, then there are plenty of premium options available for you.
These laptops are perfect if you plan on playing games, doing some more intensive work, or if you just want a super reliable system that will last you for years with the right care. Here are the specs you should look for:
Processor: Intel Core i7, Intel Core i9, AMD Ryzen 7, or AMD Ryzen 9 RAM: at least 16GB Storage: at least 500GB – 1TB SSD Screen Resolution: at least 1440p
If you plan on using your computer for heavy gaming or more intensive 3D work (such as CAD), graphics may also be something to consider when looking for laptops in this range. There is a wide array of graphics card options, and you should make sure that the one you pick meets the minimum requirements of the software you are planning to use.
Part 2 – Apple (MacBook)
Apple has always been known for their top-tier, reliable computers. However, this quality comes at a price, and you should expect to spend at least $1000 for the least expensive MacBook Air. If you’re looking for the best laptop that Apple has to offer, then the most expensive MacBook Pro can cost close to $2,000!
Even so, what you’ll end up getting with Apple is a premium product with few other comparable laptops on the market in terms of quality.
You may also find that picking out the right MacBook is generally much easier than trying to find its PC counterpart. This is because Apple has a much more streamlined selection, and it’s much easier to pick out the laptop that best suits your needs. Still, let’s briefly go over some of the options that Apple provides.
MacBook Air ($999 - $1,300)
Starting things off, the MacBook Air is a lightweight, portable laptop that is easy to carry around. You may remember the famous, original advertisement of the MacBook air from around 2006, when the system was shown to be able to fit in an envelope.
Even though the MacBook Air has changed quite a bit since it was first released, Apple has stuck to the same, lightweight design philosophy with it; while still improving and refining it over the years.
This line of laptops is a great option if you want maximum portability, while not forgoing the full laptop experience. Even with its slim design, it still proves to be quite durable, and equally reliable.
MacBook Pro ($1,300 - $2,000)
If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of portability for some extra horsepower, then look no further than the MacBook Pro. This is Apple’s flagship line of laptops, and their tried and tested design has proven to be consistently excellent over the years. It’s hard to go wrong with this computer, so pick the one that best suits your needs.
Part 3 – Chrome Books
Finally, let’s briefly discuss Chrome Books, and whether or not they are a good option.
On the surface, a Chrome Book may look quite appealing. With a low price-tag, and an easy to use operating system, it’s hard to deny that the Chrome Book certainly has its place. But how do you know if it’s right for you?
All Chrome Books run Chrome OS, which is based heavily on the Google Chrome web browser (as its name would imply). They all have access to Google Docs, as well as the wide array of Google Chrome extensions. However, this is about the limit of what they have to offer.
If this is all you need, they can be a great option for you. But if you need access to full desktop applications, then you may find the Chrome Book to be quite limited in its capabilities.
Chrome Books can work very well as school laptops, especially for younger children. They can also be great if you just need a computer for checking your email, basic document processing, and light web browsing. If you have greater requirements than these, however, then a low-end Windows laptop might be a better option for you.
While it can be difficult to pick out the right laptop, we do hope that this guide has made things at least a bit easier for you, and helped you navigate through the seemingly countless options. If you do have any questions, feel free to let us know. We would be happy to help you however we can.