It’s the most wonderful time of the year again and people will be extra giving for the next few weeks. But being giving doesn’t always mean to others but also to yourself. Since it’s the holiday season, you might be shopping for a new laptop, but with tons of deals everywhere, you’re not sure what to get. Well, let us help by guiding you how to pick the right laptop for you based on your needs and budget.
The Processor/CPU and RAM You Need
The first thing you need to look at is the processor that handles the task like surfing, photo/video editing, and media entertainment. As well as the amount of RAM you need in order to have a smooth experience when navigating through browser tabs, applications, and being able to keep multiple applications running on the background.
The amount of RAM you need is easy to know. Here’s the breakdown:
4GB – watching videos, productivity tasks like creating presentations or writing documents.
8GB – sweetest spot for intense productivity like running multiple applications or tons of browser tabs. Anything above is for professional work such as photo/video editing.
AMD CPUs are as listed:
Ryzen 2300U, 2500U, 2700U – these are quad-core CPUs and best for at least intense productivity tasks.
Intel CPUs are as listed:
Celeron – N3000, N4000 Series — Celeron is the weakest of the family and is suited for watching videos or doing basic writing and presentation for school.
Pentium – N4000, N5000 Series (Silver and Gold moniker) — Pentium gives enough decent boost in performance allowing users to have a smooth experience when browsing and streaming videos at high definition. Best suited for office applications.
Core M – m3-8000 Series — Core M is a low-power class of mobile CPU but found inside smaller form-factor of laptops. Its performance is between Pentium and i3 but the price of the laptop is more expensive due to its slim build. Best partner of travelers.
i3 Series – i3-8000 Series — i3 series is a reliable performance mobile processor. It can handle almost any task including multiple opened applications. It’s a reliable performer for those who’re looking to work at home like online teaching.
i5 Series – i5-8000 Series — i5 Series is a true quad-core mobile processor that can almost handle anything. Starting at this tier, some laptop models pair it with a dedicated mobile GPU(more on that later).
i7 Series – i7-8000 Series — i7 Series is for video editors and gamers on-the-go.
The GPU that you actually (don’t) need
Most processors will come with an integrated GPU which is made for when hooking up an external display. A dedicated GPU, on the other hand, can play games at an acceptable performance. AMD’s latest Ryzen series comes with their own Vega GPU thus making them a good choice for budget-conscious consumers. As for Intel mobile processors, they’ll be usually paired with MX series or GTX 1000 series.
MX 130 and MX 150 – playable games at 720p.
GTX 1050 & 1050 Ti – performs nearly the same as MX 150 with the Ti version being slightly better.
GTX 1060 – playable games at 1080p.
GTX 1070 to 1080 — best for video editors and gaming on-the-go.
Display Resolution & Screen Size
Most affordable laptops will come with (1366×768) 768p display resolution in which regular users are fine with. Laptops with this resolution are usually below Php30k. But if you want to see more from your laptop display, get at least a (1920x1080p) 1080p display. In terms of color accuracy for photo and video editors, you will need to do your own research as the only way to test it out is by seeing them personally or running a paid app for it. But to be safe, it’s best to get at least a 1080p display for color correcting.
Laptop screen sizes also say a lot when it comes to the actual weight of the device. 13-inches is the best spot for travelers while 14-inches is for those who’re looking to strike the balance between weight and screen real estate. While 15.6-inches is best for those who want to see more but seldom brings their work outside.
Two Types Of Storage
In 2018, the amount of storage isn’t really a problem but rather the type of storage. If you’re all about storing files, then the typical hard disk drive(HDD) would work just fine but if you’re looking for speed and by that, we mean like 10 times the speed of an HDD, you might want to get a solid state drive(SSD) storage instead. It typically comes smaller in amount but is blazingly fast — translating to faster boot times, application loading, and overall system responsiveness.
Laptops are mostly entirely made out of plastic. While it’s not really a problem when it comes to day-to-day use, it’ll (sometimes) feel cheap in the hands. All-metal laptop builds are usually found on expensive tier while the mid-tier will have metal and polycarbonate combination. As for the cheap ones, you know how that goes.
What you want to focus instead is the weight of the laptop. Ultrabook will weigh less than 2kg making it the best for mobility while above that threshold will feel bulky like a 300-page book. Ultrabook can get really expensive so if you’re looking to minimize the weight under a budget, make sure to get a 14-inches and below screen size to balance out the weight.
Unlike smartphones, you don’t need to know the specific number of battery capacity. The general rule here is: traditional laptops will provide 5-6 hours of screen-on time while SOME ultrabooks that are above Php40k will give you more than that regardless of the specification.
That wraps up our laptop buying guide. You’ll notice we didn’t tackle keyboard and touchpad. These two will fall down under user preference. Each brand differs in style & feel of a keyboard and touchpad to the extent that users have their own preferences. So long you’re comfortable using it, that should be good enough.
Knowing what you need in a laptop is important. It can get frustrating when you bought a new laptop just to find out that it doesn’t meet your work requirements. Before getting one, make sure to identify your expectations and prioritize functionality above all.