5 questions to ask before buying a laptop
Do you need to stay connected on the go? Are you an Adobe-using creative or a multitasking mum? Find a laptop that fits like your favourite jeans with these 5 questions…
1. Do I want a laptop that can travel with me?
As more of our life (and work) moves online, it’s become important to stay connected with a laptop that can travel with you – whether that’s on your commute or on holiday.
Look at portable 13-inch laptops. Things to consider…
- Magazine-thin laptops wrapped in aluminium for a sturdy but head-turning design
- SSD storage for super-fast booting of your laptop and speedy loading of apps and copying files
- Long battery life and fast charging for all-day working
- Edge-to-edge display that packs more screen into a smaller laptop
The Dell XPS 13 is simply stunning. Fashioned from a single piece of aluminium, it’s sleek and slender and is the world’s smallest 13.3-inch laptop.
What if my laptop will stay at home?
If your laptop will be desk-based, you can save money with a design that’s less about premium materials and slick design and more about the specs. The HP Pavilion 14 has a huge 1TB storage for your movies and music and an Intel Core i3 processor for everyday computing.
What about connectivity?
Whichever size you choose, be sure it has the right connectivity options for your needs. For example HDMI to hook up to a TV, SD Card reader for memory cards and USB 3.0 or USB Type-C for cameras and hard drives.
2. How much power will I need?
Are you a basic-browsing-and-word-processing type? Or a serious multitasker who needs Spotify, PowerPoint and messenger on the go at the same time? Perhaps you’re a creative who works primarily in Adobe Photoshop?
Each of these types of user demands a different amount of power. And power is controlled by your laptop’s processor and RAM.
- Intel Core i3: Great for everyday computing - use Microsoft Office, surf the web and stream video
- Intel Core i5: Run Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Multitask with Spotify, web browsing and Word simultaneously
- Intel Core i7: Heavy-duty creative work such as 3D modelling, and advanced video editing
What about RAM? Your computer's internal memory. The more you have the more efficiently it will run. For an everyday laptop a minimum of 4GB, if you’re working in Photoshop or in big Excel spreadsheets look for no less than 8GB.
3. Should I invest in a laptop with SSD?
Put simply, yes. More than any other spec, SSD can make your laptop so much easier to use. It makes everything you do faster. From booting up your laptop each morning to launching Photoshop or Word.
SSD is a type of storage. It replaces the traditional hard drive, that clunky old thing making your laptop noisy, heavy and slow. Older hard drives are made up of spinning ‘platters’ but SSDs have no moving parts. As well as being fast, they’re thin, light and quiet. Just ask YouTuber Ash Tailor...
‘What you’ll notice straight away is just how quick it (the laptop) starts up,’ says Ash.
‘You’ll notice this speed immediately when copying files, loading programs and much more.’ Read more from Ash.
The Dell XPS 13 combines SSD and an Intel Core i7 processor for incredibly fast performance.
4. Operating systems: Windows, Mac or Google?
Laptops come with different operating systems. Choosing the right one for you is really important.
Windows is familiar and easy to use whether web browsing or using Word, and works on laptops from numerous manufacturers.
This only runs on Apple laptops and desktop computers. Its intuitive design is easy to use and to work your way around. Other Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads can be synced for sharing calendars, music and video.
An operating system built around Google's online services. It runs on lightweight Chromebook laptops. You work in online apps for word processing and creating spreadsheets, and save your files online. What is a Chromebook?
4. Will I be watching Netflix or editing photos?
If you're planning Netflix binges on your new laptop then you want one with a high-resolution screen. The same goes if you’re a designer or a photographer working in Photoshop or Illustrator.
A screen resolution describes how many pixels are on the screen - the more pixels you have the clearer, sharper and more defined your picture will be.
The Dell XPS 13 has one of the best screens around. Surrounded by just 5mm of frame, this edge-to-edge Full HD screen is vibrant with deep backs and accurate colours.