Laptops nowadays are getting more and more advanced, making it a better desktop replacement than ever before. Companies have pushed the boundaries of their laptops by incorporating higher specs, better materials, lighter weights and more.
When purchasing a laptop, what are the most important things to look for? We’ve got you covered to help you out if you’re looking to get a new laptop, but have no idea where to start.
Here are the things you need to pay attention to when buying a laptop:
Your budget is the most important of the bunch and it is needed to shape what kind of laptop you want and can afford.
For budget laptops used for work, school or multitasking, it’s best if you keep your budget around RM2000 – RM2500 if possible.
If you want to do some heavy load stuff like video editing, photo editing, designing and even gaming, we recommend a budget of above RM4000.
Nowadays, laptops under RM1500 will either have a lot of lag in a few months or don’t have the necessary specs for your everyday needs.
PS: There are better laptops than Macbook with better specs and at a smaller price tag.
2. Portability & Brands
If you would like a rather light and thin laptop, then brands to look out for are Apple, HP and Dell as they have good and light laptops that have great performance as well.
The Dell XPS range is great for video editing and light gaming, and is lighter compared to most of the high-performance laptops out there.
For gaming laptops, with lightness comes a very big price tag. Razer Blade laptops are very light but also very pricey. The Asus ROG Zephyrus is under an inch thick and great for portability too. The new 2017 HP Omen is a laptop that is packed with great performance, not a bad price tag and portability.
Most of the high-performance gaming laptops are about 2.5kg like the ASUS ROG GL553, MSI GL62M, HP Omen 15, Acer Aspire VX15, Dell Inspiron 7567, Lenovo Legion Y520 and more.
3. Processors (CPU Performance)
Intel processors are highly recommended due to their impeccable performance.
For budget laptops, the processors to look for are Intel Core i-3 6th Gen and above or preferably i-5 6th Gen and above.
For gaming laptops, Intel Core i-7 7th Gen is recommended for the best performance.
More cores do not mean better performance, and that is proven by Intel Core i-3 chips working better than some AMD processors. Furthermore, more high-performance laptops have Intel Core chips rather than AMD processors.
4. RAM (GPU)
Most laptops come with a standard of 4GB RAM. If you’re looking to multitasking, work or school, then 4GB should be more than enough.
For task like photo/video editing, designing or gaming, an 8GB RAM and above is recommended.
You can upgrade your RAM for around RM200 (depending on the GB of RAM).
If you are doing heavy, high-performance task, then you would need to get a good graphic card.
Nvidia GTX 960 and above is great but if your task requires a lot of performance or you use your laptop for gaming, then Nvidia GTX 1050 and above the one you want.
The Nvidia GTX 960 and GTX1050 have a big difference in performance, especially in games.
Not all budget friendly laptops have Nvidia or dedicated graphics card. But it is not a must if you are just using your laptop for basic everyday work.
There are two different types, SSD and HDD.
An SSD has the data stored on an interconnected flash memory chips that retains the data even when there is no power present. They are also faster and more reliable compared to HDD.
HDD is great for heavy downloaders and multimedia users (video editors, photo editors, designers and gamers).
SSD are more expensive than HDD. A 1TB HDD can cost around RM200 whereas a 1TB SSD can be about RM2000. Replacing a 1TB HDD will be cheaper than replacing a 500GB SSD.
This is why most high-performance laptops have 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, which is the best option in my opinion.
Some laptops don’t come with a HDD so purchasing one as an upgrade can be done!
7. Hardware (Screen, Keyboard, Touchpad etc.)
The hardware is as important as the software because you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth and your laptop can last you for a long time.
The material of the laptop has to be good – be it hard plastic, aluminum etc. To test the durability of the material, go to the physical shop selling the laptop you want and press the keyboard with your entire hand, open and close the hinge of the laptop and slightly bend the top hinge (don’t break the unit, then can already).
The screen is also important. You want to make sure it’s clear & colors are sharp. For more pricier laptops, make sure the screen is full HD or better yet, IPS. IPS screens are amazing but they come with a hefty price. You need to also decide whether you need a touchscreen or non-touchscreen screen.
For keyboards, everyone has different preferences. Some people would want more travel distance, some prefer the small numeric keypad and some would want a backlit keyboard. Going to the physical laptop shop to test out typing on the keyboard is a great start. Make sure the laptop doesn’t hurt your wrist when you type, or that could be a big problem for those to type often.
PS: RGB Keyboards (the ones that have different colors) are more pricier.
Touchpads with Windows Precision is great and smooth. Test out how they are in the physical shops. Click, scroll and etc. Some of the touchpads have dedicated mouse keys and are loud – but it shouldn’t be a problem if that does not bother you or you have an external mouse.
For speakers, make sure that they are facing upwards and to you. Test out the quality of them in the store.
Know what type of ports you want. Like a DVD Rom, USB 3.0 Type C for faster transfer speeds, how many USB 2.0 ports, HDMI port if it is needed, memory card slot and etc.
Also, make sure most of the USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports are on the left side of the laptop, so it does not clutter up the right side where you would plug in your external mouse.
9. Reviews from other people
Look up reviews from customers, past users, videos, articles and more on the laptop you’re interested in. Nothing more solid than opinions from people who’ve actually used the product.
Know how much is the retail price of your preferred laptop and ask around in shops and check online. Make sure you’re not paying more than everyone else and that you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Try to negotiate the price and ask for gifts when purchasing (it’s not a pasar malam thing to do, it’s only fair if you’re spending thousands of Ringgits on a laptop).
Tell us, what’s the most important thing you look for in a laptop?
Header image is from here