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How To Pick Your Next Laptop – Review Geek

  A slender laptop hovering in front of a yellow background.
ittolimatar / Shutterstock

If you're looking for a new laptop, this can be a fun, but strangely stressful experience. If you choose the wrong one, hang on for a while. And nobody likes a slow, unreliable laptop.

You do not have to commit yourself. And you do not have to spend a fortune to get a laptop that suits you. You just have to know what to look for to find the perfect laptop for your needs.

What to look for in a laptop.

  A woman looking through binoculars.
n_defender / Shutterstock

When looking for a new laptop, you have a lot to consider. Let's first look at the different aspects of a laptop. Imagine this as a cheat sheet and use it later as a refresher:

  • Operating System: Windows laptops are all-round computers and are available in every price range. MacBooks run on macOS and are premium devices for Apple fans and professionals. Chromebooks run on Chrome OS and are better for entertainment or browser-based work.
  • Size and Portability: Small laptops are obviously more portable than larger ones. But super slim and powerful laptops can be expensive. Try to find a balance between portability and performance, and look at some 2-in-1 laptops or Surface tablets.
  • Internal Specifications: We recommend laptops with at least 8 GB of RAM and an i5 CPU (or better) and an SSD (they are faster) instead of a hard disk. If you want a Chromebook, get one with at least 4GB of RAM. Chromebooks also work best with Intel CPUs, but an ARM processor works well for lighter tasks (like surfing the web).
  • Display Quality: 4K and OLED monitors are good, but they are expensive, and 1080p displays look fine. In both cases, make sure your screen is about 250 nits in size and has a refresh rate of 60 Hz.
  • Ports and Drives: We recommend that your laptop has at least one USB-C port. USB-A ports, SD card slots, HDMI ports and DVD drives are personal preferences. In most cases, a USB-C hub eliminates the need for additional ports and drives.
  • Battery Life : Avoid laptops with a terrible battery life. We recommend that you search for one that offers at least four hours.

Now it's time to get to the point. First, find out what operating system you want, as it determines which laptops you can buy and what specifications you should focus on.

Windows, MacOS, or Chrome operating systems?

  Windows, MacOS and Chrome operating systems logos.
Microsoft, Apple, Google

As you probably know, an operating system (OS) is the primary software that manages your computer. Everyone has pros and cons, but not all operating systems work best for you.

Let's look at the pros and cons of each operating system and explain why you might prefer another:

  • Windows [19659022]: Especially good for gamers or professionals. Windows is also great for everyday work, homework, watching videos, or surfing the web. However, they also need a great anti-virus program because Windows is vulnerable to malware.
  • macOS: This clean, hassle-free operating system is ideal for artists, programmers and professionals. This is a particularly good option if you already own an iPhone or iPad. Remember, however, that Macs are not very good for games and a new MacBook costs about $ 1,000. If you're considering a MacBook, be sure to check out Apple's handy MacBook comparison page.
  • Chrome OS: A lightweight operating system that lets you watch videos, surf the web, or do web-based schoolwork. However, it does not work with most professional programs. Compared to Windows, Chrome OS works very well on cheap computers (up to $ 150) and is lightning fast in shape and portability on laptops worth over $ 450.

    (By the way, some laptops have Linux operating systems.) It's a fantastic platform, but best in the hands of programmers and computer professionals.)

    The best Chromebook

    Physical shape and portability

      A MacBook Pro on a table next to his box.
    thanmano / Shutterstock

    Portability and price go hand in hand. Ultra-thin laptops and 2-in-1 laptops usually cost a lot of money – especially if they are equipped with high-speed CPUs and smart displays. Before you look at the technical data, decide what your laptop should look like.

    If you want a MacBook, you can skip this section because they are all incredibly thin. If you are not particularly interested in the size or weight of your laptop, you can also move to the technical specifications and quality. However, if you are not sure, consider the following in terms of laptop size:

    • Dick: These laptops are usually relatively inexpensive, even if they are equipped with powerful hardware. In addition, they typically have multiple ports (USB, Ethernet, etc.), reliable keyboards, and durable plastic enclosures.
    • Ultrathin: They look awesome and are super portable, but these laptops are usually more expensive. Some people also think that thinner laptops have poor keyboards. Due to their small size they usually have only a few USB ports. You can also overheat sometimes when performing intense tasks (such as a 10-hour hardcore game session, not a homework assignment). These small laptops work well with Chrome OS, but Windows laptops with such small screens are almost always underloaded.
    • 2-in-1: Although practical, we recommend avoiding cheap models. Again, thin laptops are more expensive to produce than thicker models. This means that cheap 2-in-1 models are usually full of unreliable components. Avoid Windows models that are cheaper than $ 400 and Chromebooks less than $ 200.

    Keep in mind that ultrathin and 2-in-1 laptops with great specifications tend to cost a lot. If you want more for your money, look at thicker, less portable laptops.

    Now that you know what form factor you want, it's time to think about specifications.

    The Premium Windows Laptop

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    Pawarun Chitchirachan / Shutterstock

    The speed and performance of a laptop depends on its specifications, and while you may be tempted to buy a cheaper laptop with poor (or random) specifications, we recommend that you look for something A bit more money can lead to a much more reliable and future-proof device.

    MacBook fans have it easy again, there are only a handful of different MacBooks on the market, and it is easy, to compare their technical data.

    However, users who prefer Windows or Chrome need to make additional efforts. To help you, we have compiled a list of computer specifications to help you choose the right laptop:

    • CPU (Processor): The brain of your laptop, the CPU, executes programs. This is partly responsible for the speed of your laptop (or the lack of speed). For Windows and MacOS computers, an Intel i5 CPU or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU should work properly. If you want extra performance, look for an Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPU. If you want a laptop with Chrome OS, an ARM processor is fine for most day-to-day tasks, but an Intel processor is faster.
    • GPU: Most laptops have built-in GPUs that can handle anything but hard drives. Core gaming, 3D rendering or multi-monitor setups. If you plan to do one of these things, you should buy a laptop with a 3 or 4 GB GPU. If you plan to purchase a Chromebook, you should not worry about it.
    • RAM (Memory): This way your laptop can perform various tasks. We recommend a Windows laptop or MacBook with at least 8 GB of RAM or a Chromebook with at least 4 GB. If you are planning a lot of multitasking, you should get a device with 4 to 8 GB of RAM.
    • Memory: Buy a laptop with an SSD. Hard drives are fine if you need to store a lot of data (and they are cheap). But with an SSD, your computer boots and loads much faster.
    • Battery Life: There is no point in buying a laptop if it does not have a real battery life of at least four hours. Manufacturers often state the best battery life scenario. So check some reviews to get an idea of ​​what it really is. You can also search the name of the model you are interested in using the term "battery life" in Google for more information.

    If you plan to use your laptop for resource-intensive applications such as games or 3D rendering, you should also think about the thermal performance. Search here only for the name of the desired laptop and the "thermal performance" in Google. Check for problems with overheating the laptop during games or other heavy applications. This is especially a problem with ultra-thin laptops like the MacBook Pro or 2-in-1 laptops like the Surface Tablet.

    Now the hard part is done. You know which operating system you want, you are set to a form factor and have your specifications set. Let's look at screens and ports.

    The best MacBook in total

    4K or OLED screen?

      A man's hand on a laptop keyboard as words like
    ra2studio / Shutterstock

    You'll spend a lot of time staring at the screen of your laptop. So it's worth making sure you like what you see.

    It is not the same as a television. On a laptop, the latest and best display usually costs more than it's worth. If you are not an artist or quality lover, a simple 1080p LCD should be fine. It's not the latest technology, but it's cheap, it looks good and it works well.

    Of course, the resolution is not the only thing. Here's a list of things to consider when viewing your laptop:

    • Brightness: Expressed in nits, the screen looks so crisp and pretty. It also makes it easier to see outside or under a glare. In general, a 250 to 300-nit display is ideal. Screens with more than 300 nits sometimes appear washed out.
    • Refresh Rate: Most laptops have a refresh rate of 60 Hz, and for most people, this is fine. However, if you are a player, you can achieve a more intense and immediate feel with a 120 Hz display. Gamers should also look for laptops with G-Sync or Freesync technology that eliminate wear and tear (this is usually a package with any laptop that includes an NVIDIA graphics card).
    • Resolution: Again, a basic 1080p LCD is fine. Sure, you can get a 4K display and you'll probably love how it looks – especially if you're an artist. However, 4K displays are expensive and manufacturers tend to reduce the refresh rate to keep costs down. If you want a 4K laptop screen, make sure it is 60 Hz as well.
    • OLED: No backlight is used for this screen type. Instead, it controls a ton of LEDs individually, resulting in a high-contrast, super-sharp image. Gamers do not like these because the images look blurry at a frame rate of 120 Hz. For everyone else, they look fantastic! They are definitely more expensive than an LCD.
    • Touch Screen: These features are best for 2-in-1 laptops. However, you can disable the touchscreen feature at any time if you do not want or need it.

    What USB ports do you need on your laptop and how many do you want?

    The Chromebook with the Best Total


      A USB-C cable next to the port of a MacBook.
    kontrymphoto / Shutterstock

    Ports and drives give more space to a laptop with fewer USB ports. Connections.

    USB-C is the modern standard for power and data transfer, transmitting video signals (such as HDMI), audio (such as a headphone jack), and charging devices faster than USB-A. Of course, it is difficult at the moment to convert to USB-C.

    If you do not want to use a hub, look for SD card slots and USB-A ports.

    Some ultrathin laptops, such as the MacBook Pro, do not have Ethernet ports. If you need it, you might want to look at thicker laptops or get a USB-C hub.

    The Best Budget for Windows Laptops

    Where to Buy

      A man looking at laptops in a store.
    Igor Kardasov / Shutterstock

    While you can only ask a seller on a Best Buy to find a laptop that meets your specifications, searching online is much easier (and cheaper).

    Selling websites has filters that let you choose the laptop of your dreams. We recommend that you keep the search as wide as possible and look for good offers on various websites.

    Some Websites That Sell Laptops:

    • Best Buy : The website is easy to navigate and you can even pick up your laptop at the store in your area today. Reclaimed laptops and showroom laptops are also available at discounted prices.
    • Newegg : This company stocks a large selection of laptops (including remanufactured models).
    • Amazon : Oh, of course. It's hard to find laptops in the Amazon market, but it's usually full of attractive deals. We recommend that you use Amazon as a price verifier.
    • Apple Store : This is not always the cheapest place to buy MacBooks, but the Compare page is very helpful to find the MacBook of your dreams.
    • Google Store : You can buy Chromebooks directly from Google. You can find them cheaper on other websites, but with Google you can easily compare different models.

    Now you can buy your new laptop.

    We recommend that you personally watch a laptop before purchasing it. That way, you can see the screen, feel the trackpad, and make sure the keyboard feels right. The most popular laptops are usually in the showroom of Best Buy or Walmart.

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