The ABC guide to finding a new laptop

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It may not seem like it at first, but buying a new laptop is as easy as A-B-C. You just need to know how to start your search, and which filters to put on to find the best possible fit for your needs.

This article helps you do just that, and go back to basics with your search for a new laptop.

It’s all about the $$$

You may be tempted to start looking at RAM, technical specs and flashy features first, but this is a mistake. If you are shopping from about $1,000 or above, a laptop is a reasonably significant purchase.

Even if you are shopping at the lower end of the market, it pays to define your budget first, as there really is no value in overspending. Such is the choice of laptops for sale today, you can get what you need without creating credit card chaos for months to come.

The next step

With your budget in mind, figure out if you prefer a Windows, macOS or Chrome OS device.

If you are OS-agnostic, your choice may be determined by price. Windows laptops are solid choices for the majority of users, while Chrome OS is an entry-level OS designed for simpler processing tasks.

Going through the process

The reality is that laptops are technical devices, so you should have at least some awareness of what is inside your machine. Relax, you do not need to become an IT technician overnight, but a little knowledge of what’s under the hood can help guide your choice.

To run the Microsoft 365 toolset and some other software programs, you are best advised to look for a processor (CPU) such as a generation 8 Intel chip. This will make for smooth running of your machine, and ensure you do not become frustrated by a whirring sound and slow performance.

For light users, AMD chips are generally a good option, while providing a good compromise between battery life and performance.

Memory is another key feature of your laptop. This holds the data that is being used to run active programs. Simply put, the more RAM you have, the more concurrent tasks you will be able to run. For standard laptop users, about 8GB of RAM is a great place to start. You can always increase your RAM later if needed.

The last technical aspect you really need to be concerned with is storage. This deals with data that is not in active use to run programs. SSD drives do not involve any moving parts, but lower-end laptops sometimes use spinning disks.

Narrowing the field

Once you have looked into these technical aspects, you are in a much better position to consider your use case. Which aspects are most important to you?

Ask yourself whether you value a larger screen, or a more compact, lighter device. Do you plan to take your laptop away from home a lot? If so, you will want to look at battery life, especially if you work in areas where charge points are not easily accessible.

Finalize your search

The next step really is down to you, and how much you can find out about your shortlisted options.

Some people like to go into a store to get their hands on their preferred models, to see if they like them up close. Sometimes you can factor in all the technical aspects in the world, but you may simply not like a laptop up close.

Test out the responsiveness of the keyboard, the touchpad, and, if it has it, the touchscreen functionality. Is the laptop as light as you expected it to be? Does it feel satisfactorily robust? Or will you always be fearing for its durability?

The screen size is generally something that is in direct contrast with portability and battery life. Generally speaking, the larger the screen, the heavier the device and the quicker it will drain battery life. This may not be a factor if you leave your laptop in one place more often than not, but it will become a problem if you take a different job and have to commute with it for instance.

Funding your purchase

This is not to say you are stuck with your laptop for life, as indeed many manufacturers offer trade-in programs. These allow you to swap out your old laptop for a newer model. There are also other creative financing options available for most laptops.

Above all, consider your use case carefully, and you cannot go wrong in your search for a new laptop.

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