Remember back in the late 1990s when everyone was buying desktop computers for school? While they were ideal for kids, it was a rare sight to have a laptop, and if you did, they would have been phenomenally expensive.
Indeed, laptops are almost as old as desktop computers, but they were almost grouped among the businesspeople who worked in areas like Wall Street or Canary Wharf. Today however, they have become exceedingly popular, with most families owning a transportable device like a tablet, netbook, or laptop.
Of course, the price of laptops varies, and you can even get specialist options designed for graphic design, gaming, and writing. But these are usually costly, due to the additional features such as higher RAM and graphics cards.
So, if you’re a student looking for a brand-new laptop, or a parent looking for a laptop for your child, how do you choose the most suitable one? What are some of the terms you are going to come up against in your quest? Read on for some things to consider when buying a laptop.
There are so many laptops you can buy, that you can group them into categories based on their price – budget, moderate and high-end.
Budget laptops are more popular with students, and those who want to give their children a laptop to play around with and browse the web on. Lenovo makes some very good budget laptops to help young children learn their way around the device.
But like so many things, it’s best to look at the budget you’ve set aside to buy a laptop and consider the features that most of the laptops in that range have. For example, budget laptops usually have around 8GB of memory, a 1080p display, and a screen between 12-14 inches and are very vague in their specialties- almost like a blank board that is yet to be written on. Luckily, most budget laptops are easy to upgrade (provided you know how to do a bit of welding) and you can easily add RAM or more memory to them.
New or Second Hand?
This is the next big question that you should consider, especially if you’re on a tight budget. If you go on the internet to find a laptop, you will undoubtedly come across a lot of second-hand or refurbished options. These can be as good as new, but in most cases, you risk losing out on the more modern features of the newer laptops on the market.
Also, even if it’s only a few hundred dollars, there’s a lot to be said about getting a brand-new laptop over a second-hand one. It’ll come with a warranty, and there’ll be no history of the laptop glitching or lagging, so there’ll be no old issues to keep an eye out for. It’s also likely that when you buy a new laptop, you’ll be able to get it insured against damage, whereas second-hand options don’t often have this feature when you buy them.
Next, it’s time to ask some questions about the device itself. What are its specs? Specs are, as the name implies, specifications, like the RAM, the memory if the CPU is new or has been replaced, and of course, the battery life.
The battery is important and can be an issue with a lot of second-hand machines. When you buy a laptop, you’ll want it to have a battery life of at least 10 hours for it to be a worthwhile buy. The memory should be at least 8GB (but the higher, the better) and the CPU should be fully functional. If you’re not sure, and the model is second-hand, ask for a test run on it in the store. If you are buying online, ask for a video of it performing.
Ask about its upgradeability. A lot of more modern laptops can easily be upgraded, which is ideal if you want to buy a general laptop and specialize it. But be aware that when you’re performing any upgrades, you need to ensure that they’re compatible with the machine, or you risk damaging it.
Next, why are you buying the laptop? Are you going to use it for work, school, as a means of completing coursework, or do you want to upgrade it to a gaming laptop?
For most people, a laptop is a more affordable device that enables them to browse the internet, complete work, and chat via apps with their friends at the same time. If you’re buying a laptop to upgrade it, as before, make sure the upgrades are compatible. Also, if you want to build a gaming laptop from scratch, make sure that the laptop has a graphics processing unit (GPU) that can be built on without causing lagging. Oh, and if you are upgrading the GPU, make sure it works in sync with the central processing unit (CPU).
Laptops are transportable, but some are more transportable than others! It goes without saying that if you are buying a laptop for a child, you’ll want it to be on the lighter end of the spectrum, and it shouldn’t weigh more than 900g. But, there are lots of factors that impact how much a laptop weighs, such as the RAM, the casing, and any additional memory cards.
If you want to lighten a laptop, this can be tricky without a bit of insight into which bits can safely be removed, so it may be worth investing in a carry case that allows you to spread the weight.
And finally, if you are buying a second-hand laptop, does it come with all the security that’s needed? New laptops will usually have built-in antivirus software that will turn on automatically, but it’s always worth checking with refurbished models that they have the same security options to keep your files and your identity safe when you are on the internet.