Compact enough to take with you and versatile enough to run demanding applications, laptops are the best tool for serious work or play on the go.
However, there is a wide variety of sizes, features, and prices, making choosing the best laptop a challenge. That is why in this post we will explain how to choose a good laptop in 2021, what specifications you should evaluate and what is the minimum you should get in a laptop for each price range .
7 Steps to Choose a Good Laptop
1. Choose a platform: Windows, Mac or Chrome OS?
Most laptops come with one of 3 operating systems: Windows, Chrome OS, or Mac OS. Choosing the right one is a personal preference, but here’s a quick rundown of what each offers so you know how to choose a good laptop.
This is the most flexible operating system and is compatible with the largest number of laptop models and brands (as well as software) . Windows laptops range in price, from S/900 to several thousand soles, and offer a wide range of features, from touch screens, fingerprint readers to dual graphics chips.
Windows 10 laptops are a good option for all types of users, and they are the only option that a Gamer user should consider .
All MacBooks come with Apple’s latest desktop operating system, MacOS Big Sur. Overall, the operating system offers similar functionality to Windows 10, but with a different version of the interface that replaces a dock of apps at the bottom of the screen with Microsoft’s Start menu and taskbar. They can also make transactions with Apple Pay, receive calls or texts from their phones, and unlock their claptops with an Apple Watch.
However, MacOS is not made for touch, because no MacBook comes with a touch screen. The latest operating system, MacOS Big Sur brings iPad apps to Mac, as well as big improvements to the Safari browser.
ChromeOS by Google
Google’s operating system is simple and secure, but more limited than Windows or MacOS . The user interface looks a lot like Windows with an app menu, a desktop, and the ability to drag windows, but the main app you use is the Chrome browser. The downside is that many of the web apps you use don’t work particularly well offline. However, this is changing as all new ChromeBooks can now run Android apps .
If you need a device to surf the web and check email, browse social media, and chat online, Chromebooks are highly portable and tend to offer good battery life at low prices. They are also very popular in schools because they are difficult for children to infect with malware and are more functional than most tablets.
If you need a Chromebook, look for one with at least 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. A resolution of 1920×1080 is preferred, but rare.
2. Decide if you want a 2 in 1
These are hybrid devices that can switch between tablet mode and laptop mode. 2-in-1s generally come in two different styles: detachable ones with screens that extend completely out of the keyboard, and laptops with flexible hinges that fold up to 360°.
However, if you don’t see the need to use your laptop as a whiteboard, we recommend a traditional laptop that will have more power at a lower price.
3. Choose the correct size
Before you look at specs or prices, you need to figure out how portable you need your laptop to be. Laptops are generally classified by their screen sizes, here is a classification of sizes and a recommendation for each use, so that you are sure how to choose a good laptop:
- 11″ to 12″: These are the thinnest and lightest devices, generally weighing between 1kg and 1.5kg and are ideal for students who need more portability than power.
- 13″ to 14″ : Provide the best balance between portability and power, ideal as a business laptop or engineering laptop.
- 15″ to 16″: This is the most popular size and is also ideal for designers and architects.
- From 17″ to 18″: It is the ideal size for a Gamer laptop . Especially useful if you’re going to be at your desk all the time, a 17 or 18″ system could give you the kind of processing power and cooling system you need.
4. Check the keyboard and touchpad
The most impressive specs in the world are nothing if you’re not going to use your laptop because of poor ergonomics , or worse, injuries like tunnel syndrome affecting your forearm and finger tendons.
If you plan on doing a lot of work on your laptop, make sure the keyboard offers solid tactile feedback and appropriate distance between the keys.
Look for a touchpad that’s accurate, doesn’t give you a bouncy cursor, and consistently responds to multi- touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom.
5. Know what you have to see in a laptop before you buy
The processor, the hard drive, the RAM and the video card are the components that you have to see in a laptop before buying ; however, they have so many variants and models that they can be difficult to understand. Do not worry! In the following lines is everything you need to know before buying a laptop! After reading this, he assured you that you will know how to choose a good laptop:
The CPU is the brain of the laptop and it is what influences the performance of your computer, depending on what you want to do, even the cheapest laptop can be good enough. Here is a summary:
- Intel Core i9: It is the ultra high range of Intel and is available in Premium computers and servers. This processor model is only worth paying for if you are going to use your computer as an application server .
- Intel Core i7: It is the high range of Intel, the models with series that end in HQ or K have 4 cores and a higher power, which allows a high level of productivity. It is very important that you look at the series because you will also find Core i7 chips that have less power and less performance.
- Intel Core i5: They have the best price-performance combination , The models with series that end in U are the most common. Those with a Y are low power but poorer in performance, while HQ models use more power and can run heavier programs and games.
- Intel Core i3: Performance and price are slightly below Core i5. IF you can afford an i5, I recommend you do.
- Intel Core Y Series: BEWARE! If you find Core i5 or i7 processors but they have the Y series, it means that they have a very low power consumption which allows them to run without a fan; however, the performance is much worse.
- Intel Pentium / Celeron : It is the most basic processor and is present in cheap laptops, these chips offer slow performance and are intended for basic tasks : surfing the web, editing office documents. If you want to invest in a laptop that will last you a long time, try to buy at least a Core i3.
- AMD Ryzen 4000 and 5000: A new set of chips designed to compete with the Intel Core i5 and Core i7. In models released in 2021 and late 2020, these chips outperform their Intel-brand counterparts . For example, the Ryzen 5 4500U CPU offers roughly the same performance as a Core i7 CPU. Not only do they have better performance, but they are also cheaper than their Intel counterparts.
- AMD A, FX, or E Series: Found in budget laptops, these processors provide slow performance at a low price and are intended for web browsing and office use.
It is a hardware where the data of the works that you carry out simultaneously is stored, so that you can have several programs or several tabs open at the same time. If the CPU is the brain, the RAM is the number of arms you have .
This is a high benefit-cost component, if later on you want to be able to improve the performance of your laptop, make sure that the laptop you buy has the option of upgrading the RAM capacity.
Nowadays, the ideal is for a laptop to have at least 8GB, if you can spend a little more aim for 16GB.
The best combination is for a laptop to have 2 hard drives. A solid state drive (SSD) as your main hard drive on which you will install the operating system and your main programs; and a second larger traditional hard drive where you’ll store your less important files, projects, music, videos, games and programs.
SSDs are at least three times faster than traditional HDDs, which translates to a much faster laptop overall.
The more pixels you have, the more content you can fit on your screen and the sharper it will look. Unfortunately, some budget laptops still have 1366 x 768 screens, if you can afford it I recommend spending a bit more and buying a laptop with 1920 x 1080 resolution, also known as Full HD or 1080p.
High-end laptops have screens from 2560×1600 to 3840×2160 (also called 4K), which will look sharp but consume more power, reducing battery life.
Screen quality is much more than resolution. IPS panels vary in color and brightness. We typically look for an sRGB color rating of greater than 100% and brightness greater than 300 nits.
For the vast majority of users, integrated video cards (which share system memory) will suffice, especially Intel’s latest Iris Xe graphics. However, if you are a gamer, architect, civil engineer, or in general, you are going to use the laptop for gaming, 3D object modeling or high resolution video editing, you absolutely need to buy a laptop with a dedicated video card, either NVidia or AMD brand.
Just like CPUs, there are low-end and high-end graphics chips (called GPUs). Video cards with the GTX series are usually enough to run the vast majority of games, but if you are demanding and want to play in maximum image quality, you will have to invest in an RTX series GPU.
Let’s face it, ports aren’t a deciding factor in choosing a laptop, but it’s helpful to get the connections you need directly from the system. Most laptops have USB 3.0 ports and HDMI output for video. However, an increasing number of laptops use USB Type-C ports.
In the year 2021 you should choose a laptop that has a USB Type C charger input since you will find many chargers compatible with this input.
I’d suggest looking for a laptop with Bluetooth 5, the latest standard that offers enhanced connectivity with enabled devices like headsets, mice, keyboards, etc.
6. Don’t skimp on battery life
If you are buying a large laptop and will be using it all the time at your desk connected to power, you don’t need to worry about the battery. However, if you’re going to be constantly moving your laptop around, whether it’s on your lap, on your bed, on your dresser, in your office, or out in the field, you’re going to need a laptop that lasts at least 7 hours.
7. Find out the market prices before buying a laptop
These are the minimum specs you should get in a laptop for each price range. Make sure you make the best investment knowing how to choose a good laptop at a good price:
Up to S/ 1,200: Laptops to browse the web. The cheapest laptops are Google Chromebooks and Windows laptops that will have minimal storage and slow processors.
Up to S/ 2,400: In this price range you should get laptops with a Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB HDD. These are already respectable specs for office work, however, you won’t get an SSD, no Full HD screen, and no long battery life. Of course you can find some exceptions with higher specifications, but by no means buy a laptop if they offer you less things than recommended.
Up to S/ 3,900: In this price segment we will find laptops with a premium design and metallic finish. For this price you should buy at least a Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD or 256GB SSD, and a GTX-series discrete graphics card (mid-range GPU).
Up to S/ 6,000: In this range you should at least get a 1920x1080px Full HD screen, independent RTX series video card (high-end GPU), Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD hard drive. These laptops are lighter, more portable and more durable.
More than S / 6,000: They are high-end laptops normally specialized for intensive gaming, these laptops have the best specifications and must be prepared for continuous use of many hours, long battery life and optimal cooling system for the most demanding games.
Now that you know the features of a good laptop, make sure you make the best possible investment and get the best specs for the budget you have. A hug.
What is the most important thing when buying a laptop?
Here are the 5 most important things to consider when choosing a new laptop:
- The 12.5″ and 14″ screens offer the best balance between usability and portability. The larger screens are fine if you don’t travel much and the smaller models are ideal for students and college students.
- If you are spending more than S/ 3,900, aim for the following minimum specifications: Core i5 or Ryzen 5 CPU, 8GB RAM, SSD storage instead of HDD (more price ranges at the end of the post).
- 9+ hours of battery life is ideal if you plan to take your laptop anywhere.
- Consider a 2-in-1 laptop only if you want to use your laptop as a tablet. Otherwise, a standard laptop is always a better option .
- Chromebooks are good for kids and students, and their functionality is expanding. Both Windows 10 laptops and MacBooks offer plenty of features; which platform you prefer is a matter of personal taste.