These days, a laptop shouldn’t just be compact enough to carry around; it must also be versatile enough to run the demanding applications and work processing tools needed at the workplace, whether on the road or at the office. While tablets and smartphones are taking the tech world by storm, a smart businessman or employee knows that only a laptop can do the real work when it comes to researching and writing up marketing and sales reports, crunching instructional videos of your products, and generally doing other heavy office works. So, in choosing the laptop that’s right for you while having affordability and user-friendliness at the back of your mind, you need to first figure out what your real work needs are to make the right call. Pick Your Platform Many simply ignore this because most laptops already come pre-installed with the Microsoft Windows operating system (OS). Naturally, Windows is the most flexible OS for any business and the Office applications serves everything well. For personal preferences, some go for the Apple OS in MacBooks because it has fewer bugs than Windows and has a simpler interface. Chrome now has an OS but only comes in selected smaller notebooks good for starting out the kids on laptops. Choosing the Right Size Before even delving into prices and specs, figure out how portable you want your laptop to be:

  • 11 to 12 inches – The thinnest and lightest systems around have 11- to 12-inch screens and typically weigh 2.5 to 3.5 pounds. These are generally called notebooks.
  • 13 to 14 inches – Provides the best balance of portability and usability, particularly if you get a laptop that weighs less than 4 pounds.
  • 15 inches – Probably the most popular size because they weigh only 4.5 to 6.5 pounds and is great if you need a larger screen but you’re not planning to carry around often.
  • 17 to 18 inches – If you plan to stay at your office more often and only need go out less, a 17- or 18-inch can provide you with the kind of processing power you need to do workplace-level productivity without suffering on portability.

Picking Your Specs Don’t feel bad if spec sheets look like the Latin language to you. Here are the main components to keep an eye on:

  • CPU – The “brains” of your computer, the processor has a huge influence on performance, but depending on what you want to do, even the least-expensive model may be good enough. You need to look out for:
    • AMD A series or Intel Core i3/i5
    • Intel Core i7
    • AMD E Series or Intel Pentium/Celeron
    • Intel Atom
    • Intel Core m3/m5/m7
  • RAM – Some laptops come with only 2GB of RAM, but ideally you want at least 4GB on even a budget system and 8GB if you can spend just a little more.
  • Storage Drive or Hard Drive – Even more important than the speed of your CPU is the performance of your storage drive. If you can afford it and don’t need a ton of internal storage, get a laptop with a solid state drive (SSD) rather than a hard drive, because you’ll see at least three times the speed and a much faster laptop overall.
  • Display – The more pixels you have, the more content you can fit on-screen, and the sharper it will look. Most budget and mainstream laptops have 1366 x 768 displays, but if you can afford it, we recommend paying extra for a panel that runs at 1920 x 1080, also known as full HD or 1080p, 2560 x 1600, 3200 x 1800, or even 3840 x 2160, but may consume more power.

In the end, you’ll naturally need to consider your budget limitations and the brand. For the latter, you need to study product reviews online for the best and worst affordable laptops today based on performance, battery life, and servicing. For your budget, as long as you know your needs and stick to the basics above, you can’t go wrong.


This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 5:23:30 AM and is filed under Tech Tips & Tricks.

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