What laptop should I buy?

Article by Megan Tan


Users are often faced with this question. Here is a guide to help you with your decision process.

What are the factors that affects your decision process? Here are some to consider.

  1. Operating System
  2. This should be an easy choice as users typically are more comfortable with one operating system over the others. Traditionally, the choice has been only between Mac and Windows. However, the new Chrome OS can also be taken into consideration.

    Mac OSWindowsChrome OS
    • Good security
    • Integration with other Apple products
    • Can run windows too
    • Good platform for designers and musicians
    • More choices as more hardware companies produce for Windows
    • User upgradable
    • Good for video games
    • Cheaper
    • More software made for PC
    • Catered for people who mainly browse the web
    • Very cheap
    • Boots up very fast
    • Pricier
    • Not good for video games
    • Not user-upgradable
    • More susceptible to virus
    • Higher hardware requirements
    • More difficult to troubleshoot
    • Can’t run many offline applications

  3. Size and Weight
  4. This factor is simple. Do you like big screens? Do you prefer lighter laptops for ease of mobility?

  5. Functionality
  6. What are you using your laptop for? Casual gaming? School and office work?
    This matters because it affects other factors like the hardware specification and battery life. For hardware, the most important things to consider are the:
    1. Processor
    2. This is the “brain” of the computer. Typically, PCs come with Intel Core i5 (reccomended), Intel Core i3 - which is just a step below the i5, or Intel Core i7 - top of the range processor. Other processors include the Intel Atom, Intel Pentium, and AMD processors. These processors generally do not perform as well.
    3. Random access memory (RAM)
    4. This is the temporary memory the computer uses to store running programs. Typically, laptops come with 8GB (enough for casual use), 16GB, or 32GB of RAM.
    5. Hard drive
    6. This is the storage space of your computer. There are two types: Solid state drives (SSD), Hard Disk Drives (HDD), and Hybrid hard drives (HHD). HDDs have been in use for decades. They typically come in large sizes like 500GB and 1TB. SSDs are a much newer technology. As such, they are pricier and have much less space. However, they are three times as fast as the traditional HDD, meaning you can move things, boot, and uninstall things three times as fast. HHDs blend both the capacity of the HDD and the speed of the SSD to bring you the best of both worlds, and are perfect for users who want speed and capacity without having to manually manage a HDD and an SSD.
    7. Graphics processing unit (GPU)
    8. Also known as the graphics card, this component is a consideration for users who are into playing video games, streaming videos, or using highly visual applications for design work. Typically, a PC comes with an Intel integrated graphics card. However, for more intense graphic usage, an AMD or NVidia graphics is recommended.

  7. Budget
  8. Perhaps one of the most important factors, you want to know how much money you are willing to spend on your device. Do note that apart from the hardware specifications, the price of the laptop may also be affected by the software, like the operating system and the applications that come along with the system, like Microsoft Office.

  9. Other Functions
  10. Some other functionalities to think about whilst considering which laptop to buy:
  11. Brand
  12. This is a bonus consideration. Typically users choose a certain brand because they’re used to that brand. It does not affect the performance of the laptop that much as each brand produces laptops of different ranges.
Here are some laptops to that fit different functionalities:

Good for gaming: Asus ROG G752VS

The Asus ROG G752VS
  • Great GPU - NVidia 1070
  • 17.3 inches HD Display
  • 32GB RAM
  • $2199

Good for students: Lenovo Thinkpad 13

The Lenovo Thinkpad 13
  • 128GB SSD
  • Very long battery life - up to 17 hours
  • Many choices for the CPU
  • From $585

Good and cheap: Asus VivoBook E403SA

The Asus VivoBook E403SA
  • Intel Pentium processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB Hard drive
  • From $399

Good overall laptop: Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13
  • Great battery life
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • From $800

Still confused? Here are some quizzes to help you decide!
Laptop mag quiz
Thamply quiz

References:
Carson, A. (2011, May 24). A Look At the Advantages and Disadvantages of Mac OS. Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.brighthub.com/computing/mac-platform/articles/73326.aspx
Chiappetta, M. (2013, January 17). SSDs vs. hard drives vs. hybrids: Which storage tech is right for you? Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.pcworld.com/article/2025402/ssds-vs-hard-drives-vs-hybrids-which-storage-tech-is-right-for-you-.html
Haslam, K. (2015, November 04). Mac vs PC: Ten reasons why Macs are better than PCs. Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/mac/mac-or-pc-ten-reasons-why-macs-are-better-pcs-2015-3493363/
Piltch, A. (2016, January 17). Laptop Buying Guide: 8 Essential Tips. Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/laptop-buying-guide
Prospero, M. A. (2016, November 29). Laptops with the Longest Battery Life. Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/all-day-strong-longest-lasting-notebooks
Raphael, J. (2015, March 06). Is Chrome OS right for you? A 3-question quiz to find out. Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.computerworld.com/article/2893364/is-chrome-os-right-for-you.html
Winius, J. (2010, April 25). Windows pros and cons. Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.rjsystems.nl/en/3200.php