By Tare Youdeowei
FOR the contemporary tech-smart population, a laptop is often regarded as more than just a work tool. Many rely on the laptop for many purposes spanning social, entertainment, educational and business-related needs. This makes it imperative for the right decision to be made when shopping for a new device or a replacement unit for your old laptop.
Though some things may weigh more than others depending on the purpose for which you are getting your laptop, here are six basic things to look out for when getting you next laptop.
Size: Gone are the days when laptops weighed a tonne and took up so much space. On-going advancements in the sphere of computer manufacturing has seen a lot of refinements in laptop sizes. For students and busy executives, portability is a core requirement. The easier it is to fit your laptop PC into a small bag, the better. Therefore, a laptop with a screen size between 12.5 – 14 inches and weighing between 1 – 1.5kg fits the bill.
When shopping for such a portable device, it is often best to go for a notebook. A notebook is a personal computer that foregoes some functionality to remain light-weight and small. Notebook computers are sleek, typically weigh less than five pounds and are small enough to fit easily into your briefcase or a back-pack. An Ultrabook also falls into this category as they are portable and light-weight.
Processor Speed: Most computer applications require that the computer system meets minimum requirements in order for the installation to run. One of those requirements is processor speed. Processor speed measures (in megahertz or gigahertz; MHz or GHz) the number of instructions per second the computer executes. Intel’s Core-based processors including Core i3, Corei5 and Core i7 are usually the best bet for computing power as these processors deliver top performance.
Screen quality and Resolution: Considering the length of time the average user spends working on a laptop, screen quality is a factor worth taking into cognizance when buying a laptop. The harsh glare from grainy laptop screens may pre-dispose users to side-effects as constant staring at the screen may result in redness, itching and blurring of the eyes, or headaches and migraines, in extreme cases.
Touch-screen laptops, many of which are glossy, may also not be a good choice as these throw back a lot of reflections, thereby putting the eyes under considerable strain. Closely related to this, you must consider the resolution of the laptop before making the buying decision. If you fall into the class of heavy users who work on their laptop for upwards of eight hours in a day, it is more advisable to go for a High Definition (HD) screen with resolution of 1600 x 900 or higher.
Random Access Memory (RAM): This is a form of computer data storage which stores frequently used programme instructions to increase the general speed of a system.
Depending on the type of laptop you wish to buy, a RAM of between 2G – 4GB and upwards will be required to get your system working optimally. Memory speed refers to the amount of time that it takes the RAM to receive a request from the processor and then read or write data.
Generally, the faster the RAM, the faster the processing speed of your laptop. In other words, with a faster RAM, it is easier for you to use the laptop for your multimedia or multi-tasking activities. RAM speed is measured in Megahertz (MHz), millions of cycles per second, so that it can be compared to your processor’s clock speed.
Battery: Bearing in mind the peculiar power supply challenges in the country, you are better off investing in a laptop with a strong battery that can guarantee at least up to 10 hours of battery life on average use.
For a notebook, a battery capacity of 10,000mAH/3.7V or higher is adequately sufficient to begin with, especially as both the total charging capacity and life of a laptop computer’s battery will diminish as you use your computer.
Price: Laptop prices are often predicated on the features of the device, especially the ones listed above. As such, a laptop with a faster processor speed and RAM would likely cost more than a model with less speed.
However, increasing competition in the market and more attention to research and development of new products makes it possible these days to find moderately-priced devices boasting features that would naturally be found in more expensive models.