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Here's what to Look for When Buying a Laptop
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Having options is great, but it can get overwhelming when there are too many. And that's what happens whenever you want to buy a laptop. How many reviews can one person go through? You can easily spend half a year doing research, and when you finally buy something, the market changes because of new products being launched, leaving you with the sense of having missed out.

It's difficult enough to keep up with the ever-changing list of specs. Laptops vary substantially in terms of CPU, graphics, size, storage, and RAM, just to name a few. And what you need from a laptop might be completely different from what the reviewer needs.

For some, having a high-resolution 4K screen is essential. Others are looking for a powerful CPU to improve their gaming experience and possibly gain an advantage over their opponents.

Getting the most bang for your buck might be difficult as well because newer technology doesn't automatically imply better performance. That's why it is important to understand your needs and what you should look for when choosing a laptop.

Laptop Size

The right size for a laptop always depends on how you plan to use it. If portability is high on your priority list, then you'll want to go for something smaller and lighter with a screen size of 12.5 inches or 13.3 inches.

Laptops typically start at 11.6 inches and go up to 17.3 inches. Most manufacturers offer three options: - 13.3-inch, 15.6-inch, and 17.3-inch – but you can still find laptops outside these standard sizes like 11.6-inches, 12.5-inches, and 14-inches.

But you should keep in mind that a smaller 13.3-inch laptop usually won't support the same high-performance Intel Core CPU or discrete graphics card that a bigger one can. If the type of work you'll be doing with your new laptop needs a larger display or standalone graphics, consider a larger screen size.

Aside from specific screen sizes, there are various laptop classes to pick from. Ultrabooks are typically designed with a small and lightweight form factor in mind rather than high-end performance. Notebooks, on the other hand, usually provide a good balance of power and portability.

Convertibles or 2-in-1 laptops go a step further by allowing you to fold the keyboard away or remove it entirely and turn them into tablets.  

Screen Quality

Because you'll most likely be looking at your laptop screen for hours at a time, you'll want to make it as painless as possible. Screen quality is not something you should cut corners on. If your budget is tight and you need a new laptop ASAP, search for laptop payment plan no credit check. Your eyes need a screen that's comfortable to look at.

First, decide whether or not you want a touchscreen. Touchscreens are fairly common nowadays and can make certain tasks easier, but they are often more susceptible to glare. This can be a problem if you spend a lot of time gaming, watching video content, reading articles, or editing images. However, not all touchscreen have that extra glossiness that results in glare.

If you're a gamer, it's also a good idea to examine the refresh rate. A faster refresh rate can offer a smoother and more responsive gaming experience, which can often be a competitive advantage. A response time of less than 5ms or a refresh rate of more than 144Hz would be ideal.

Finally, the importance of viewing angles cannot be overstated. An IPS (in-plane switching) laptop screen provides the widest and most comfortable viewing angles.

CPU

When shopping for a new laptop, it's difficult to overlook any of Intel's Core-based CPUs. Even if you're not familiar with the technical intricacies, you've probably noticed the stickers on all new laptops for Intel's Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors.

Core i3 processors are typically found in entry-level laptops, while mainstream laptops use Core i5. Core i7 processors are for people who want high performance. However, keep in mind that with a Core i7-based laptop, heat from the base can be an issue, especially if you plan to actually put it on your lap.

These days, Intel's i9 Core processors are also available in some larger laptops. Although these laptops deliver performance on par with desktop computers, they are typically more expensive as a result.

Some vendors are already offering laptops and notebooks that are powered by AMD's Ryzen Mobile processors. This is an especially appealing option for gamers to explore. Ryzen Mobile CPUs are typically combined with AMD's Vega graphics chipsets, which are currently far superior to Intel's onboard graphics.

Battery Life

The battery life claimed by the manufacturer is almost never representative of what the user will experience when using the laptop. There are far too many factors that influence battery life. It's not just the brightness and quality of your screen that matter, but also how many background apps you have open and whether or not you're actively connected to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices.

The operating system that a laptop runs on can also have a significant impact on how long the battery lasts. This is why Chrome OS ultrabooks and convertibles typically have a longer battery life than their counterparts running on Microsoft Windows 10.

If you stream a lot of video content, play graphics-intensive games, run apps that require a lot of processing power, or send large files over a wireless network, your battery will die far faster than the manufacturer claims. You'll want to check the battery's rating in Watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh). The higher these figures, the longer the battery life.

Look for fast charging as well. Many new laptops have fast-charging capabilities just like modern smartphones, and that's always useful when you're in a hurry.

Keyboard Quality

If you're planning on spending a lot of time typing on your new laptop, then you need a comfortable keyboard. In general, you don't want a keyboard that has every single key and a crammed-in number pad because that might lead to a poor overall user experience when searching for the arrow or delete keys.

Ideally, you'll want a keyboard with a comfortable layout that includes full-sized keys and enough room around the arrow keys. The keys should have enough travel on the downstroke and be snappy when released.

You should also consider if the keyboard is backlit. It may seem trivial, but having backlit keys will make your life so much easier when you need to type in dim light. At the same time, note that backlit keys will cause your battery to drain faster.

 
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