Finding the right laptop can seem like an overwhelming task. There is just so much on offer, most of which flaunting itself with such an array of technical jargon that your research time is doubled attempting to navigate through the landscape of technical language. However, it is very important – as a laptop is an investment that can have a big impact on your life. You will use your laptop for hours a day if you’re like most Americans, so finding the perfect laptop is not a decision you should take lightly. This guide is here to help you understand more about how to find the right laptop for you.
The first thing that can intimidate people who are finding good laptops is technical language. This is most often used in terms of specs – the specifications that give you an idea of what your computer is good at and what it isn’t as good at. The most common specs you will encounter are the following:
• CPU – this means the central processing unit. Most people refer to the CPU as the brains of your computer. It processes all the different calculations that are the essence of how your computer works. You need to look for the clock speed (in gigahertz), as this will tell you how fast your computer runs. Another important factor is the number of CPU cores that your computer has. The more cores, the more simultaneous ‘thinking’ and the better your computer will perform.
• RAM – this means the random-access memory and can be simplified to relating to how much your computer can think about and do at once. The more RAM your computer has, the more webpages and apps you can have at one time without hearing your fans flare up and your computer stopping completely. The minimum RAM you can get is 4GB, but you almost definitely need higher if you are an average user.
• GPU – this is the graphics processing capability of a computer. It is most important for gaming and video editing – if you do these, you should pick as high a GPU as you can afford. If you don’t, it isn’t as important.
• Hard Drive Size – this indicates the amount of room you have on your computer – if you need lots of space for files, videos, music, apps, and more, you should pick a nice big hard drive. Another option is using the cloud, but you will need consistently good internet for that.
• Input and Output ports – these are the holes on the side of your computer that allow you to connect to other devices
There are several OS options for a laptop. The most common are Windows, macOS, and Linux, though Linux is more for expert computer aficionados. Another good option is Chrome OS if you are looking for a very limited but fast laptop. There are endless pros and cons to these operating systems, so there’s no way to rank them. A good way to go is to stick with what you’re used to.
Windows is better for tinkering around with advanced programs like app building and gaming; it tends to have more apps available to users, but it is the biggest target for viruses and malware.
Mac brands itself on being better for ‘creatives’, and it does do well with music software and graphic design software, but a MacBook Air will still struggle.
Chrome OS is basically just chrome’s web browser crammed into a computer that can do almost nothing else but browse the internet. Good if you don’t use many apps, but not great if you like apps like Photoshop or even Microsoft Word.