Whether you’re loyal to Windows, or a Mac fan, or willing to try something new, you should know what to look for in a laptop before purchasing. What kind of screen does it have? Is there a port that supports the peripherals? Is it capable of playing 1080p games?
There’s definitely a lot more to buying the best laptop than just looking at its specs or operating system. Even though individual laptop reviews and the spec sheet play an important role in the laptop buying process, there are still common pitfalls.
In this guide, you will learn the top 10 things to keep in mind in order to avoid mistakes when you are looking for your next laptop. In addition, it also mentions what you need to look for in 2021 to find a plethora of options. Find out more by reading on!
Here are the 10 things to keep in mind to avoid buyer’s remorse:
Buying The Cheapest Available Laptop or Paying too Much?
Although there are many great budget laptops available, just because they’re inexpensive doesn’t mean that they’re going to perform as well as you expect or come with all the features you need.
Consider a scenario in which you’re deciding between dual-core and quad-core processors. You want to run several applications simultaneously, but you chose the dual-core processor since it’s a little cheaper.
It means you have a system that’s not as powerful as your needs require, and that problem will plague you until it’s time to upgrade. As opposed to just looking for the cheapest price, you should search for the laptop that will actually meet your needs and then compare that price to your budget.
On the other hand, even the most expensive laptops might tick all the boxes, but if you pay for features or hardware you don’t need, you’re wasting your money. There’s a good chance that if a laptop strains your budget, it has something you don’t need.
New MacBook Pros with top specifications cost over $6,000 – but few people need 4TB of storage space on their laptop. With an external drive, you can get plenty of cheap storage and the same machine with the same specifications for half that price. Gaming laptops can be extremely expensive, but if you only play indie games, all that hardware isn’t necessary. Don’t buy more than you need, and don’t go overboard.
Are You Purchasing a Laptop “For Today”?
This is an old piece of advice, but it still holds true. It is unlikely that a new laptop will last more than five years unless you are obsessed with getting the latest and greatest in the market. Rather than buying a laptop exclusively for what you need right now, you should buy one for where you think you’ll be in a few years.
Based on its low price tag, you might be tempted to choose a base model with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive. The problem is that it won’t be able to handle multiple applications well and will quickly run out of storage space, so its long-term appeal is likely to be limited. It’s probably a good idea to get a model with more RAM and a bigger drive.
You should always test drive a laptop you are considering before buying it. It is possible to test many everyday laptops in large brick-and-mortar stores, including Apple, Best Buy, and the Microsoft Store, where you can play with the touchpad, keyboard, software interface, and other components that significantly differ between models.
You can easily overlook features that aren’t listed in the specs, such as the touchpad’s responsiveness or the visibility of a glossy display in daylight, and there’s just no substitute for trying it out for yourself. If that’s not possible, buy from an online store that offers a strong return policy.
What About Ignoring The Necessity Over Extravagance?
Some laptops lack the ports you need. Modern laptops, such as the Dell XPS 13, have only Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports. Be sure your laptop has the USB-A or SD card reader you need before you buy it, or budget for an adapter if you need one.
Additionally, it’s certainly worth more than a cursory glance if a device has a 4K display, but smaller screens may not let you fully enjoy the higher resolution. Even worse, 4K screens can have a negative impact on your device’s battery life. Generally, 4K notebooks aren’t that durable with higher-resolution screens, so you won’t see much benefit. In most cases, the best laptop for saving money on your wallet and battery life is one with a 1080p screen.
Does Size of The Laptop Matter?
While a larger display often provides a better viewing experience, it also decreases the portability of the device. When you opt for a laptop smaller than 13 inches, you’ll likely find the keyboard and trackpad cramped.
Think about how you’ve used laptops in the past to determine what you need. For frequent travelers, a smaller ultrabook may be a good option, but those looking for a standard laptop will probably opt for one with a 13.3- or 14-inch screen. If you rarely leave the house with your computer, you may want to consider a 15.6-inch model for maximum screen space.
Are You Obsessed With One Specification?
Buying a laptop with tunnel vision is a bad idea. While it is fun to pit spec sheets against each other, avoid picking out one particular aspect as your favorite and only considering it. Don’t obsess about maximizing any single specification – you should have a baseline specification in mind so you can be sure you get the performance you need.
If you plan on using some serious software for work, you won’t need more than 8GB of RAM, for example. It’s easy to be excited about double the RAM, for example. Similarly, don’t become obsessed with battery life, resolution, or processor speed. Most people are on a budget, so they must learn to balance a variety of hardware. Any laptop that comes in under budget should have the features and hardware you need.
Do You Buy Too Much Power?
There is a tendency to assume that ultrabooks are the best choice for everyone because they have become one of the most popular types of laptops. They’re lightweight, small enough to fit into a briefcase or backpack, and many models – especially Chromebooks – are relatively inexpensive.
For creatives and professionals who work with intensive software, workstation-class hardware might be necessary. Most people will find the performance to be more than adequate. You may want something with a powerful graphics card, since most ultrabooks have integrated graphics.
Do You consider a Laptop to be The Same as a 2-in-1?
Laptops, 2-in-1s, and tablets are distinct categories. The three are not interchangeable. Tablets and keyboards can often perform many of the same tasks as laptops, but the similarities end there. Tablets remain far less capable than smartphones when it comes to multitasking, fast web browsing, using complex apps, or running demanding programs. The keyboards on these devices are often cramped (this is a problem with Microsoft’s Surface Go).
The mere fact that something has a screen and a keyboard does not mean it can perform every function a laptop can. It’s the opposite of focusing too much on one spec – if you ignore all the specs, you’ll start to make assumptions about what the machine is capable of, and that’s dangerous territory.
Is The Laptop Graphics Getting Ignored?
Laptop graphics are crucial if you intend to use your laptop for a lot of entertainment or gaming, but their systems aren’t always well understood. Comparing graphics cards shouldn’t just be based on the number of gigabytes (GB) of video memory because that doesn’t tell the full story.
Instead, check if the GPU is integrated, discrete, or (rarely) a combination of both. Integrated GPUs are fine for the majority of laptop tasks, and you’ll find them in more affordable laptops as well.
However, if you want the best performance, you’ll need a discrete GPU, and just like desktops, Nvidia and AMD are the most popular options. Make sure to consider how much VRAM is specifically allocated to the discrete GPU when comparing, as well as whether the GPU is a special edition (lower power) version, like Nvidia’s Max-Q variant.
Are You Focusing Too Much on Storage Space?
There are still laptops kicking around with traditional hard drives at your local Micro Center or Best Buy, even though most companies offer SSD storage now. You can often find laptops with more storage space for less money if they have spinning hard drives. However, an SSD with a lower capacity is almost always better.
Choosing an SSD over a spinning hard disk is important because SSDs are much faster and can significantly reduce the time it takes for your computer to boot up and improve its responsiveness. By opting for less storage, you’ll get a laptop that feels modern and won’t slow you down, whatever you’re doing.
External hard drives are plentiful, and there are plenty of cloud storage options for storing videos, photos, and music. With an external hard drive or cloud storage, 256GB or 512GB SSDs should be enough for most people.
What is Important to Remember?
Remember, however, that the “best” kind of laptop varies from person to person. What laptop is right for you depends on your preferences, needs, and even aesthetic preferences. However, you should still do your research, read some reviews, and compare any available data before you make a buying decision. In this way, when you finally do get a new laptop, you’ll know which products will work with your budget and make sense for you. Taking the time to shop around for the best price or deal can also help you save money.