Laptop Buying Guide – 5 Important Things To Know Before You Buy
Laptops are those compact devices that we can carry with us anywhere, can use anywhere to run applications. They are versatile enough to meet our demands in a more modern way. Whether we are at school, college, office, or even at our homes, laptops are handy devices to play games, do serious work, play music, and many more such activities that take most of our time in a daily routine. Therefore For these reasons, we’ve assembled a list of things that you need to keep in mind while deciding which laptop to buy that can fulfill all your needs.
Quick Overview Of Necessary Things That Are Of Utmost Importance
12.5 to 14-inch screens offer the best balance between usability and portability. Larger screens are fine if you don’t travel much, and smaller models are great for kids.
8+ hours of battery life is ideal if you plan to take your laptop anywhere at all.
Consider a 2-in-1 laptop and save a few bucks that you earlier decided to spend on a tablet and a console as well since a 2-in-1 laptop can have this functionality.
The Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Laptop
1. macOS or Windows
When it comes to deciding which one to choose, it becomes difficult to pick one, and ultimately, it’s a personal choice. Let’s make it easy for you by specifying what macOS and Windows both offer. Windows is the most flexible operating system and comes in maximum laptops. The price of a windows laptop starts from Rs 25,000 and can go up to Rs 6,00,000. Windows offers a wide range of features, from touch screens to fingerprint readers and dual graphics chips. Windows 10 is the latest operating version by Microsoft. It’s a major improvement over their earlier version of Windows 7 and Windows 8. In Windows 10, a user has the ability to switch between tablet and desktop modes; you can search your email using natural language and use your stylus to scribble almost anywhere.
Apple Macbooks come with MacOs Catalina, Apple’s latest desktop operating system. Apple’s macOS performs more or less the same functions as Microsoft Windows; however, the difference is evident when it comes to interface. macOS apps are docked at the bottom of the screen for Microsoft’s Start menu and taskbar. Macbooks don’t come with a touchscreen because MacOs isn’t made for touch. Those users who have an iPhone or an Apple Watch should go for a MacBook because of its compatibility with Apple devices and offers more features to go with it.
2. Size of Laptop
Before you look for the specs and pricing of a laptop, you should first decide what Laptop size you want? How portable do you want your laptop to be? Below are the various sizes of laptops
11 to 12 inches: The thinnest systems and, more so, lightest ones have 11- to 12-inch screens and typically weigh around 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.
13 to 14 inches: This size provides the best balance of portability and usability, and if you get a laptop that weighs under 4 pounds, then a perfect piece of a machine you got there!
15 to 16 inches: This is the most popular size of a laptop. You will find most of the laptops that fall under this category size. You can consider this site if you don’t plan to take your laptop everywhere and want a bigger screen.
17 to 18 inches: If your laptop stays on your desk every day, a 17- or 18-inch system can be fruitful to you as it can provide you with higher performance, and if you play games, then the bigger the screen, the bigger the graphics. In that case, this site can be best for you.
3. Battery Life
The battery of your laptop depends upon how you plan to use it. If you are buying a big laptop or a gaming laptop and decide to use it on a desk near an outlet, you don’t have to worry about its battery life.
However, if you are buying a laptop and use it more often on your lap at home or even at your work and take it around more often, you absolutely need to be aware of its battery. You’ll want at least 7 hours of endurance, with 8+ hours being ideal. To determine a notebook’s expected battery life, don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it. Instead, read third-party results from objective sources.
Laptop components such as processor, hard drive, RAM, and graphics chip can confuse laptop addicts. Here are the components that you need to keep an eye on.
The brains of a laptop or the processor we call have a huge influence and ultimately becomes the main part of a laptop. There are various chipsets used by Intel and accumulated in laptops. A wide variety of processors to choose from when making a decision makes it tough to choose. Here are the ones you can choose from:
Intel Core i5: If you’re looking for mainstream and an all-weather laptop with the best combination of price as well as performance, then get one with an Intel Core i5 CPU. The most common ones that you will find are those which end with U, like Core i5-7200U. Restrain yourself from going for those which end with Y as they usually have worse performance and have low power. The models whose processors end with HQ usually use more wattage and appear in thicker gaming and workstation systems. Some of the best laptops to have an i5 core processors are:
Intel Core i3: Core i3 processors income in dual-core and some are in quad-core as well. Intel Core i3 systems are less expensive than Core i5 systems. Essentially Core i3 is sufficient for people who want a laptop that’s faster than an Atom-powered tablet or laptop but doesn’t want to spend any more than they have to. As they say, larger cache sizes help to multitask as well; therein comes the difference between Core i3 and Core i5. Core i3 generally has a cache size of 3MB to 4MB, while Core i5 has 6MB to 8MB. Still out, many laptops with i3 perform better and can be sufficient for most users. Some of the examples are:
Intel Core i7: i7 is a step above from Core i5. A Core i7 is typically better for multitasking and media-editing, and when we want to do media-creation tasks, high-end gaming, and similar demanding workloads. It is being said that the more cores you have in your CPU, the faster it will perform. In intel Core i7, models that end with U are the most common ones. To get better performance within each class or core, you should buy a processor with a higher model number. For example, an Intel Core i7-1065G7 generally has better performance than an Intel Core i7-1060G7. Some of the best laptops to come equipped with i7 are as below:
Intel Core i9: i9 is a level above i7. It is for those who are power users and generally comes with inexpensive laptops and high-end gaming laptops. I9 is a top-notch processor for those overclocking trophy-chasers around the globe. Core i9 is for heavy-duty performance, and the recently launched Core X series of i9 headed by i9-10980XE Extreme Edition has mega cores (18 cores). Those processors which end with “H” are equipped with Core i9. If you are not a heavy user, nor are you a gaming enthusiast, I would recommend not spending too many bucks on getting an i9 as you’ll be good and more than satisfied with your i5 or i7 in some cases. Still, there are many out there who crave Core i9, so here are the ones to look forward to:
RAM – RAM in your laptop defines the speed, and the faster your RAM will be, the quicker your processor will be able to access your hard drive. You can get a 4GB RAM laptop within $250-$275 ( Rs 25,000- 50,000), but ideally, you should go for at least 8 GB RAM even if you are on a budget side or 16GB can be the sufficient you can go to by spending a few more bucks. For heavy users, 32GB or 64GB is good. It’s all on your personal choice, so you decide!
Storage Drive (aka Hard Drive): The speed of your CPU is good, but this drive has more importance than what people think; they take it for granted. There are three types of hard drives:
SSD ( Solid State Drive)
SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment)
NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express).
Each of them has its own pros, and cons like SATA is an old one and is only good if you are on a tight budget. NVMe is really expensive and is good for those heavy-duty users and gamers. SSD is fast and more durable for laptops. If you can afford then you can go for NVMe, but personally, I’d recommend SSD for most users; this is the perfect one. Some of the best SSDs are:
Intel Optane 905P
Samsung 860 Evo
Samsung X5 Portable SSD (External)
Intel 760p Series SSD
Displays (Pixels): The more pixels you have, the more content you can fit on-screen, and the sharper it will look. Unfortunately, some of the budget laptops are still offering 1366×768 displays. You should spend some more bucks here, which you saved on the processor, and get 1920×1080 for best quality. This is FHD (Full High definition Display). You can go for an Ultra HD display or a 4K as well, but you have to dig your pocket a little for that. Those have 3840 x 2160, but they consume more power at the same time. My recommendation will be an FHD.
Graphics Card: If you’re not playing PC games, creating 3D objects, or doing high-resolution video editing, an integrated graphics chip/card that comes embedded within your laptops will be fine, especially Intel’s latest Iris Plus graphics. However, if you perform the above-mentioned functions or want high-end top-notch graphics, then a graphic card from AMD or Nvidia is essential. Some of the best inline graphic cards are as follows:
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super
Connectivity: If you need to use your laptop on the go, consider buying a laptop with 4G LTE support. You’ll have to pay for a data subscription plan, but this will allow you to access the internet away from a router. If you want a laptop with the latest and greatest connectivity options, find one with Wi-Fi 6 support.
Above all, everything depends on the budget and your needs. So we have made a list of 5 different laptops that fall under budget and premium segments. You can decide which one you want to buy.
Asus’s Vivobook series offers one of the best laptops to come under Rs 40,000. The Vivobook X507UB-EJ186T comes with a Windows 10 on the board. A Core i3 processor powers it. With 8GB of RAM and 1TB of HDD Storage, this is a power-packed laptop. NVIDIA GeForce MX110 Graphics powers graphics. It is an ideal laptop for the day to day usage, plus you can enjoy some games on it as well with a laptop offering a 15.60-inch screen. Asus laptop supports Fast Charging as well; the figures given by the company suggest 60% in 49 mins. All of this makes it a good laptop in the budget segment.
Xiaomi has finally entered the laptop market in India. This Notebook 14 Horizon is their flagship model. The laptop is fragile and comes in an aluminum and magnesium alloy chassis that weighs about 1.35Kg. It comes in a relatively smaller screen with just a 14-inch display on offer. A Core i5 10th Gen processor powers it. RAM is 8GB, which clocks at 2666 MHz speed, and 512GB of storage comes in NVMe SSD type. Aside from this, the laptop has some smart connect features, like if you have a Mi Band, you can unlock your laptop with it. Mi Smart Share would allow you to transfer your photos, videos, or even your work documents in an instant from your smartphone. With a price range of almost Rs 50,000. This can be a good buy.
Lenovo Legion 5i is a gaming laptop that carries its predecessors’ familiar design, which might look plain to some people. The laptop thickness is comparatively more than what Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 offers. The laptop weighs about 2.45Kg. It is quite similar to Y530 and Y740, which is nice indeed as both of them are built nicely. Legion 5i provides a Full HD display with a refresh rate of 144Hz, and the GPU can push above 60 frames per second on plenty of games. It is powered by an Intel Core i7 H series processor (i7-10750H), which clocks at 2.50 GHz and has 8 Threads and 4 cores, 8GB RAM is expandable up to 16GB, and has 1TB HDD storage. The laptop comes with strong graphic card specs, including NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB) chip. When it comes to gaming, this laptop surely punches its weight above others; far Cry 5, when tested at 1080p Legion 5i, scored maximum points and came out on top in comparison to Asus ROG Zephyrus, Acer Predator Helios 300, Dell G5 15 SE, and Lenovo’s very own lEGION Y740. This has to be up there to compete against Asus ROG Zephyrus G14.
Our only MacOS recommendation in this list is Apple MacBook Air with M1 Chip. For this laptop, Apple has developed its own chip called M1 Chip, specifically designed for Mac. Apple claims that this M1 Chi is not only 3.5x faster than their previous generation, but it is the fastest in the market; therefore, professional editing and gaming would be smooth on it. It’s an 8 Core GPU. The new macOS Big Sur developed to unlock the full potential of M1 Chip is doing wonders. Apple is offering a 13.3-inch Retina display, which has a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels that’s a 6k display, by the way. The battery has also improved, with now up to 18hrs of battery life being claimed on the MacBook Air. For those who are iPhone users, it would be more beneficial for them as it would be part of their Apple ecosystem, but it doesn’t mean that android users cannot go for it. This Macbook Air is the cheapest of the full series, and Apple’s experience with its quality makes it even more appealing.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is the best and excellent gaming laptop currently round the corner. Asus did a great job of optimizing NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Max-Q) with a new AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS processor. This processor is blazing fast across the board, making it easy to edit high-quality videos, gaming, and perform other high-end functions. The touch of the laptop itself provides a premium high-end feel. Asus offers a Full HD 120Hz display with pixels at 1920×1080, the viewing angles are good, there is plenty of brightness at the max, and colors are bold. Asus ROG has proved to be the best among the rest when it comes to various bench tests. In PCMAG’S Maxon’s CPU crunching Cinebench R15 test, which makes use of all available processor cores and threads, Asus ROG came out on top with 1,820 scores, MSI GS65 Stealth came second with 1,158, Acer Predator Triton 500 with 932 came third on the list and rounding of the competition with 906 was Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model. They also ran a custom Adobe Photoshop image-editing benchmark test, and as expected, Asus ROG came out on top. These were the few of the tests run by PCMAG, and Asus ROG didn’t disappoint. RAM and storage onboard are 16GB and 1TB SSD, respectively. With such a powerful package, AMD’s processor, and high-end performance, this indeed is the ultimate undisputed best gaming laptop.