Laptop Guide Holiday 2018: How To Find The Perfect Laptop For You


Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are over, which means nearly all gadgets are back at full price this coming holiday season. Scouring websites might lead to some lucky finds, although most of them are going to be duds or clearance-bin quality.

Fear not. Take this as an opportune time to make smarter choices about buying electronics, especially laptops. Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are great, but because they happen only once per year, they're steeped in frenzy and mania. Most people just buy whatever discounted item they find, oftentimes without even thinking about things such as specs, build quality, reviews, and other important aspects.

Luckily, we've written a handy guide that includes a list of things customers need to consider before buying electronics. In this case, a laptop. Make sure to go over the following steps to find the perfect one.

What To Consider Before Buying A Laptop

Laptops are highly personalized devices, so one model can't possibly fit all kinds of users. There are those who value video editing over simple functions such as sending emails or browsing the web. Obviously, the former needs a more powerful machine, and perhaps the latter would be suited to a low-powered but still capable machine like a Chromebook.

Before purchasing a laptop, it's important to know what the customer would be mainly using it for. Is it for gaming? If so, what kind of games do they play? Smaller, indie titles or CPU-intensive AAA blockbusters? Are they into editing? What kind of videos do they make? Simple YouTube vlogs or complex animations? Knowing these things is crucial.

Below is a list of other considerations:

Screen Size — There are laptops with 9-inch screens, and there are ones with a whopping 17 inches. Smaller screens toe the tablet territory, and they're great for people who like carrying their laptops around. Bigger screens, on the other hand, are better suited for those who want more immersive movie experiences or want more screen real estate when editing movies, color-correcting photos, and such.

Display Quality — Screen resolution on laptops weren't such a big deal until Apple decided to come out with a Retina Display MacBook. Since then, manufacturers have all been trying to outpunch each other with high-quality and high-resolution displays. They're great. They're clearer, more vivid, and offer more detail than traditional options. The only downside is they consume more battery. But that's a small price to pay to ensure things look sharp and crisp all the time.

CPU — This is one of the most crucial aspects of picking the perfect laptop. It's ridiculous to give a laptop with the latest-generation Intel i7 processor to someone who would only use it for browsing Facebook. It's equally horrendous to give someone a laptop with a low-powered chip if they want to play Doom, Just Cause, or Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. For the former, a single-core CPU would be fine. For the latter, a dual-core CPU would be great, or if the budget allows, an even better one. Chips from either Intel or AMD is fine, but people usually go for AMD since it offers competitive models at lower prices.

RAM — A powerful CPU is useless without a sufficient amount of RAM. A machine with the fastest chip in the world will perform underwhelmingly without it. Folks who use their laptop for simple tasks need only around 2 to 4 GB. For gamers, artists, editors, and people who work with large files, the sweet spot is 8 GB and up.

Form Factor — Form factor refers to the laptop's flexibility. It could be a simple clamshell design like most traditional laptops. Or the screen can swivel all the way back and become a tablet. Some screens can also unlatch from the keyboard and be carried around Nintendo Switch-style. Graphic designers will love the flexibility of laptops that can turn into tablets. Others might not appreciate it as much and see it as a mere gimmick. Again, it depends on what type of work the user will do on the device.

Battery Life — Apart from the CPU, battery life is also one of the most important aspects of a laptop. This is pretty self-explanatory. Some laptops can go up to 10 hours on a single charge. Some can't even last more than 5 hours. Things such as CPU, display resolution, and RAM also affect battery life, so finding the middle ground is important.

Ports — Ports are the little holes on a laptop people can plug all sorts of peripherals into. Most still have traditional ones such as USB, headphone jack, HDMI, and others. Others, like the newer MacBooks, only have USB Type-C ports and a headphone output. If the person doesn't mind using dongles, then this isn't much of a problem.

Laptop Guide Summary

A laptop is a huge investment, so getting the perfect one is a must. Apart from the items listed above, readers can also visit different laptop finders online to narrow down choices depending on factors such as screen size, processor, RAM, and other pertinent specs. Landing on the perfect model isn't necessarily the end, however. Make sure to read a ton of user reviews, both positive and negative, to get an overall sense of its quality and potential issues down the line. Don't forget about other equally important things, too, including upgradeability, warranty, and build quality — things that ensure a laptop will last for years.

Feel free to sound off in the comments section below if you have any thoughts!

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