These Are The Things I Look Out For When Buying A Laptop
As An IT Engineer
Many of you may not know this, but Tech With Dom is only a part-time side project, I do alongside my full-time Job as an IT engineer.
With that being said, I often get asked questions about what laptop I recommend or whether a specific brand is worth the purchase.
That got me thinking, that instead of answering all these questions individually, I could write up a blog post that a wider audience may find useful and my friends and family may turn to for advice.
As someone who used to work at a computer shop, I know too well that choosing a laptop suitable for your needs can be confusing and even a hassle at times, particularly if you have a lot of choices to pick from.
Laptops come in all shapes and sizes, some have some pretty cool features such as audio by Harman or Bang & Olufsen and some come with some free goodies such as a laptop bag or a mouse. However, I wouldn’t really concentrate on things like that because what’s the point of buying a laptop that sounds better than most if it doesn’t perform the way you want it to?
Just a side note, if you are an advanced user, some of the information in this post may seem basic.
So, without any further ado, here are the four main things to look out for when picking a laptop…
The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the first thing I look for when choosing a laptop. This component is effectively the brain of your laptop that provides the instructions and processing power your laptop needs to function.
The more powerful, the processor is, the better your performance will be. However, whether you need that performance is dependent on the types of things you will be doing with your computer.
For example, if you are planning to use your laptop for 3D Modeling, video or photo editing you will need a more powerful CPU. But if you are only writing basic word documents, browsing the internet or checking your email, you don’t really need a powerful laptop and Chromebooks such as this 14-inch ASUS C423NA are perfectly adequate for the task.
For higher-performing tasks, I recommend looking at laptops with Intel i7, and i9 CPUs and if you are looking to go with AMD, I would recommend looking at the Ryzen 7 and 9 Processors for best performance.
For everyday laptops, I recommend looking at either Intel i3 CPUs or the slightly more powerful Intel i5s. If you are looking to go with AMD, the Ryzen 3 and 5 are perfectly suitable alternatives.
Intel and AMD are CPU manufacturers and the only real difference is that you may find laptops with AMD CPUs cheaper than Intel laptops.
For my everyday laptop, I decided to go with an Intel i5 as the not only way it a good price, it’s actually quite a powerful CPU.
It’s important not to get confused between memory and storage space when buying computers. This is something, I used to get a lot of confusion about when working in a computer shop.
The memory or RAM (Randon Access Memory) is where your computer holds instructions and data it needs to access quickly to enable computer programs to run. Your personal data such as your documents and pictures aren’t stored here.
Storage space is the area your computer uses to store your personal items such as documents, pictures and even program files.
There are two types of storage devices used, mechanical drives contain spinning disks inside with a handle that reads data. This is an old-fashioned approach, as not only are hard drives slow, but they can also be loud and fragile.
I recommend going for a laptop with a Solid State Drive (SSD), which is basically a chip with no spinning disk. Not only are SSDs faster, but they also don’t have a spinning disk making them harder to damage.
The one thing to bear in mind about SSDs is that if you are looking for more storage space, SSDs tend to be more expensive than hard drives so if you are looking for more storage space, you may find that it will be cheaper to buy a laptop with a hard drive containing more space. But this will sacrifice performance.
In general, I don’t tend to recommend storing things like photos on your laptop’s hard drive anyway, Portable Hard drives such as this Toshiba Canvio Basics are perfectly adequate.
Windows tends to use up a lot of storage space these days, therefore I don’t recommend getting a laptop with less than 240GB of storage space, in fact I would be looking more towards a laptop with 500GB of storage space which is what my Huawei MateBook D15 has.
Memory or RAM is the third thing I look for in a laptop and I want to keep this section simple as we have already discussed what it is in the previous section.
For everyday laptops, I recommend finding a laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM as modern-day software tends to consume a lot of it.
If you are looking for a higher-performing laptop, I recommend looking for one with at least 16 GB of RAM.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a basic laptop for browsing the internet and checking your email, 4 GB of RAM is perfectly suitable, but I don’t recommend going below 4 GB.
Another very important thing I look out for is the overall build quality of the laptop. It’s no secret that the build quality of some laptops is simply terrible and I’m not just talking about budget laptops, I’m talking of laptops at all price ranges.
If you can, I recommend visiting a computer shop where they may have the model you’re after on display. I can’t stress this enough! It really is worth going in to have a play with the laptop to see if it’s what you’re after or not. it also gives you the perfect opportunity to test the keyboard and the feel of the laptop.
What about the other things?
There are other things that are important when it comes to choosing a laptop, but from my experience, they are nowhere near as important as the four points I mentioned above.
Things like screen size are important deciding factors, but they don’t really determine the speed, performance or functionality of the laptop, therefore not essential.
The Operating system is also an important deciding factor, with three main contenders including ChromeOS, Windows and macOS. ChromeOS is great for basic tasks such as browsing the internet and Windows and macOS are great for most other things.
To summarise this article, there are a number of things to look out for when picking your ideal laptop. I just wanted to summarise the main things I look out for when picking a new laptop or even computer.
I also wanted to give you a bit of an insight into how I’m coping with my current laptop, the Huawei MateBook D15.
It’s a laptop that I picked up at a bargain price to use for basic video and photo editing as well as writing blog articles. With 8 GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and an Intel i5 11th Generation CPU is coping extremely well with its purpose. I would honestly recommend one of these laptops.
Hopefully, I was able to help you in picking your new laptop, if you have any questions, tips or suggestions, let us know in the comments!