Things to consider before buying a laptop
The variety of laptops available in the market these days can be very confusing for the average buyer. The different types of processors, graphic cards, ram configurations, display options, and the like can be an overwhelming prospect for anyone buying a new laptop. There’s a wide variety of things you have to consider before buying the perfect laptop for you. We hope with this guide we can narrow down your choices to a few models so you purchase the laptop you really want.
Mac or PC?
This REALLY narrows down your list. If you prefer to run MacOS then your choice of laptop becomes so much easier. You only have a handful of Apple products to choose from and most of them do their jobs well, especially the newer M1 Macbooks.
But if you decide to get a PC or a Windows laptop then you have a plethora of things to consider before purchasing a laptop.
The first to consider is your price range. Is it from PHP 20,000 to 30,000? Or PHP 40,000 or higher? Consider a price bracket first for your laptop then that will narrow down your choices to a certain tier of laptops at that price point. Most entry-level laptops are at the PHP 20,000 to 30,000 range, while things get more complicated after that. Windows laptops offer more flexibility based on your budget. If you’re going for Apple MacBooks you might want to start with a bigger budget, or be prepared to go with 2nd-hand models if you have a smaller budget.
Choose the right size of laptop for your needs. 11-12 inch laptops are the smallest of the bunch but usually are reserved for the entry-level segment for laptops. Most consumer laptops come in at 13 inches. These laptops provide the best balance of power and portability most of the time. 15 to 16-inch laptops usually have the power for heavy multimedia or gaming as they come with graphic cards and more storage options. While 17-inch laptops are called desktop replacements because they have the power to be workhorse laptops but at the same time you sacrifice portability and weight.
Pick your specs
Not everyone needs a Core i9 or even an i7 processor inside their laptops. If you just need a laptop that can do basic office work and a bit of editing here and there then an i5 laptop may just be for you. i5 laptops give you the best price to performance ratio, a lot of them aren’t that expensive and they have the power to do almost all of your day-to-day tasks without any hiccup. Newer 11th generation Intel i5’s come with 4 cores and future-proof features such as Wi-Fi 6. I7 laptops on the other hand offer you more power, so if you are in the market for a laptop that can do video editing or photo editing while at the same time able to play games at high frame rates then an i7 processor is for you. Then we come to the i9 processors, which are very useful for people who need the processing power for rendering videos, or engineers and architects who need all that juice.
You can also go the Ryzen path as AMD’s latest offerings offer a very good price to performance ratio. Cheaper Ryzen processors can actually outperform some higher-priced Intel ones. The Ryzen 5 4500u can outperform 10th generation Intel i7’s in some benchmarks. You get a lot for your money when it comes to Ryzen 4000 and 5000 series processors. It also comes with the same principle as buying an Intel processor. Ryzen 3 is entry-level, Ryzen 5 is mainstream while Ryzen 7 and up is for enthusiasts and professionals.
This is where some people can get cheaper deals on laptops as some manufacturers lower the amount of storage in a laptop to bring the price down. So determine how much storage you need and if you need a laptop with expandable storage. Some laptops have the storage baked or soldered onto the motherboard so you won’t be able to upgrade in the future. Most laptops though allow you to swap out the storage for a bigger or faster one in the future and some even have a second drive bay for an NVME SSD or a memory card slot for extra storage space.
Also make sure, as a pro tip, to have a laptop that uses an SSD or Solid State Drive. They are much faster than traditional hard drives and make your laptop really feel snappy. Most laptops these days come with an SSD, I just advise you guys to make sure it does.
Get at least a laptop with 256GB of storage as a big chunk of that will be taken by the OS already. You’d want to have at least some space for your personal files.
The higher the resolution of your display, the more things you can fit on a screen. So on a 4K panel, even on a 13-inch laptop, you can actually fit in more things on your desktop than a 1080p display. Budget laptops start at 1366 x 768 resolution. You might want to stay away from these if you’re aiming for display quality as they won’t give you the best experience when using your laptop. Try to find one with a 1080p display. If you want the best visual experience though a 4K display is your best bet.
You also have a choice of finding a laptop with a touchscreen. If you have a need for that then go for it, but sometimes they just add on to the cost of a laptop especially when you don’t need it anyway.
Laptops also come with varying types of display technologies. IPS display laptops offer good color accuracy. OLED laptops are a thing these days but come with a price tag to match.
High refresh rates are also the norm when buying a gaming laptop. Displays with 144hz and above refresh rates offer a smoother experience when doing your day-to-day tasks as well as gaming.
All laptops come with some sort of graphics processing unit. Most processors have their own integrated graphics card that comes with them and some have dedicated graphics cards of their own. The key here is what you’re gonna use the laptop for. If you need something for multimedia editing, like photo and video work, or for gaming, you would need a dedicated graphics card for that.
There are different levels to graphics cards too. Newer laptops with dedicated cards start with a GTX 1650 or 1650 Ti. The next level would be RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti laptops and then higher end ones have a 3060 and above. What does this all mean though? Lower numbers like 1650 mean they are more of the entry-level variant of dedicated graphics cards, though they are definitely more powerful than integrated ones.
So you have to determine what you will use the laptop for, if you’re a heavy gamer then you will need a higher-powered graphics card for your use case.
Again, like processors, AMD has its own line of graphic cards that are really powerful. The newer AMD RX 5600 and 5700 graphic cards compete very well with the latest NVIDIA cards. So if you’re a fan of team red, then you should definitely consider their cards. These graphic cards also pair very well if you buy a laptop with an AMD CPU, as the company has made a lot of optimizations for the combination of both in laptops.
RAM or Random Access Memory is very important in any laptop or desktop. This is the device’s short-term memory, your computer accesses RAM when it needs to do something very quickly. The real use case is when you have a lot of tabs open, more RAM allows your computer to have more tabs open and lets you open them much quicker. The old standard would be 8GB of RAM but a lot of people say that 16GB should be the norm today. Most smartphones have 8GB and they say your laptop should at least have more than that.
Make sure the laptop you are buying has enough ports for your needs. Some laptops only come with one or two USB-C ports and no old USB 2.0 or 3.0 graphic cards. If you need an SD card for your files from your camera then find a laptop that has a port for that. You wouldn’t want to always be bringing a USB hub wherever you go just so you could plug in all your peripherals and gadgets.
A lot of laptops have since come out that include 4G or 5G connectivity wherein you can plug in a SIM card so that you’re always connected to the internet wherever you go. However, these are not always necessary as you can easily use your smartphone as a hotspot. Better look for laptops with WiFi 6 for better connectivity to your home internet. I also suggest finding a laptop with Bluetooth 5.0 for better connectivity with your wireless devices.
Consider the design of the laptop you want to purchase. There are thin and light laptops already that have beautiful designs like the Dell XPS line. Some have the gamer-y design that people like with all the RGB lights built-in.
Thinner and lighter laptops with powerful specs, or ultrabooks, tend to be way more expensive, while laptops with similar specs to these but without the small form factor are usually cheaper.
The keyboard also comes into play as some people like having a numpad on their laptops while some don’t. Newer laptops have their own mechanical switches to mimic a mechanical keyboard on their devices.
The design usually makes a laptop more expensive depending on the material used as well. Laptops that are mostly plastic are cheaper than laptops built with aluminum or other metals.
So which one is right for you?
The perfect laptop they say doesn’t exist. The perfect laptop for you just might! It just has to check all the boxes that you are looking for then you are all set, as long as you have the budget for it. My suggestion is to try to find a laptop that will last you for 3 to 5 years as you can’t upgrade most of the parts inside the laptop. You’re stuck with that device for the long haul and would want something that you like looking at long-term and one that will work for you for years to come.
If you’re wondering what kind of laptop you should get based on your needs, read our article below.