Guidelines to Buying a new Laptop.
A lot of people who are buying a laptop often do not know what the most important features they should look for in a laptop. This makes it difficult to find the right machine.
Laptop computer buyers don't always know which specific features they should focus on. They may not know about things like processor speed, RAM, and hard drive space. As a result, they spend more than they need to and wind up with a machine they don't really need. Too often they wind up paying more than R20000 for a computer they could have gotten for R5000.
This is why we have created a quick and useful guide for anyone looking to buy a new computer. By knowing what to look for and what to avoid.
For some, a flashy 4K screen may be important. Others may want a high-performing CPU, like AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 processors, to give them a competitive edge in games. Getting value for money can be tricky too since newer technologies don’t always mean better performance. For example, older-generation CPUs can sometimes outperform newer products in benchmark tests. For these reasons it pays to do your homework before you purchase a laptop.
It may seem laborious to delve into each category, but there are a lot of things to consider. At the end of the day, taking time to research your new device will mean you avoid making a costly mistake and get a laptop that’s just right for you.
Size and Form-factor
When it comes to laptops, size matters.
Depending on what you plan to be doing with your next laptop, you’ll want to make sure you pick the size that’s the right fit for you. Size isn’t like the RAM or ROM of a laptop; you can’t upgrade it later. You’re locked into whatever form-factor you select up-front, so choose wisely.
While a few laptops have 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) displays, most have low res, 1366 x 768 panels. If you care about display quality — and who doesn't — pay for a panel that's 1920 x 1080 or higher and offers an excellent range of colours — the closer to 100 percent of the sRGB colour gamut the better. A 2K (2560 x 1440) or a 4K display (3840 x 2160) screen provides optimal image quality but will be overkill for most users.
When you’re searching for keyboard accessories designed to make your typing experience more pleasant and effortless, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. A good accessory will provide an overall experience that is pleasing and provides comfort without sacrificing too much in terms of practicality.
Right now, there are many options to choose from, there’s AMD’s Ryzen line up and Intel’s Core line up. For a normal user, any CPU from either manufacturer would be more than enough to meet their daily needs. If you do happen to need workstation level, then you would need to look at either Intel’s Xeon W line up or high-end Ryzen CPU’s or Intel CPU’s such as the i9 or Ryzen 9
In the old days, you rarely needed more than 4GB of RAM or more to get the best out of your system.
These days, you’ll probably want to think about 8GB as a minimum. If you’re a power user, 16GB is the way to go. Meanwhile, gamers should look at dialing things upwards all the way to 32GB (or beyond) if they want the best experience.
More RAM allows for more applications to be run at the same time and for more data to be quickly accessible by the system at any one time, which comes in handy for tasks such as editing photos or video content.
Hard drives used to be all the rage, but these days they’ve mostly been out of favor, especially for thin and light laptops. This is because they can be slow, somewhat bulky, and produce noticeable heat and noise.
A solid-state drive (SSD), on the other hand, offers a lot more speed than a hard drive, runs silently, and can be installed in a form factor that doesn’t add too much to the weight and bulk of a laptop. As a result of these clear benefits, most OEMs have embraced SSD storage as the standard for laptops.
If you want to get the most out of your laptop, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the best SSD there is. Here at weable.co.za, we’re experts when it comes to all things tech, and we know that an SSD is the best way to get the most out of your laptop and enjoy a smooth and speedy experience with your system. With an SSD, you can work more efficiently and get your tasks done faster, and the best part is that it can be incredibly affordable if you choose the right one for you.
Manufacturer-quoted battery life is almost never indicative of what the real-world experience of using a laptop is like.
There are simply too many variables that affect battery life. There is the screen brightness, the screen resolution, the number of applications you have running in the background plus whether you actively remain connected to Wi-Fi networks or Bluetooth devices.
If you run programs that need lots of processing, stream lots of online videos, play graphics-intensive games or if you transfer lots of files over a wireless network, then your battery will drain a lot sooner than what the vendor has quoted.
If you want to read up more on this. You can have a look at our “Why Does My Laptop Battery Not Last As Long As The Manufacturer Says It Should”
USB Type C
These days, if a laptop has only one USB Type-C port on it, you probably ought to look at buying another laptop. Ideally, you should look for a laptop that has at least a couple of these ports. They're the most common connector port in the industry and, while you can find a dongle for anything on Amazon, it's usually a better bet to just make sure your next laptop has them.
In addition to the baseline utility, you get from USB Type-C ports (which allow you to plug in an external hard or SSD drive and backup your data or use the conventional mouse or a fancy keyboard with your laptop), USB Type-C ports are substantially faster than USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports. This means that data transfers over USB Type-C ports take significantly less time.
Fingerprint readers are great for logging into mobile devices and the latest Windows 10 Operating System makes further use of them with its Windows Hello system. People can guess your password, but few can fake a fingerprint. In order to keep the contents of your laptop secure, a portable PC with a fingerprint reader is usually the best way forward.
Thankfully, this feature is a pretty common inclusion on many modern laptops from major OEMs like ASUS, Dell, and HP. Some have even integrated the fingerprint sensor into the keyboard, making it feel like a more cohesive part of the package rather than a bolt-on.
What's more, some brands have even gone one step further and introduced FaceID-style facial recognition tech allowing you to unlock your laptop with a glance. As with Android phones, there's a distinction to be noted here between devices that rely on a 2D model of face unlock versus those that offer full 3D biometrics.
No matter how careful we are, most laptops are inevitably going to find themselves, dropped, thrown, and knocked around by the rigors of everyday use. For that reason, it's worth checking out how much testing a laptop has undergone (the manufacturer usually crows about it) or whether there's any sort of certification that you can put your confidence behind.
Modern laptops are often ruggedized to withstand rain and dust. Some are built especially for the brutal educational environments - and come with military-grade protection certifications. The most common of these you're going to see is MIL-STD 810G.
MIL-STD-810G is a standard used by the US Military to indicate a guaranteed minimum level of durability. Compliant products have made it through a gauntlet of 29 separate tests that measure resistance to shock, heat, cold, humidity, and more. Though originally developed to win government contracts, MIL-STD-810G has become increasingly common in consumer tech in recent years.
It's cool to see the modern laptops continue to raise the bar on this particular front even if the degree to which it matters is largely personal preference. For most people, a standard fingerprint sensor is going to provide more than enough peace of mind.
LTE, Wi-Fi, or Ethernet?
When it comes to purchasing a laptop, a big question you should ask is: Should I buy a laptop with LTE? Unlike laptops with built-in network cards, laptops with LTE can connect to mobile data signals. That means instead of having to connect to a wireless network at home, in the office, or at Wi-Fi hotspots, your laptop can connect directly to a mobile ISP for internet access. The main benefit of this is you can use your laptop just about anywhere—when outdoors, traveling on the bus, or even on the beach. If that convenience sounds good, this option may be perfect for you. However, there are a few caveats.
Wi-Fi speeds are determined by many different factors, such as signal strength and the level of interference between your laptop and your router, but the one factor that you should think about when purchasing a new laptop is the Wi-Fi speed of your laptop’s network card.
The speed at which your laptop transfers data from an internet router to your laptop and back is called its link speed and it is measured in bits per second (bps). Even if your internet connection is fast, if your link speed is lousy, your Wi-Fi speed will struggle.
Most laptops with network cards connect to wireless hotspots on either the 2.4GHz (Wi-Fi 4) or 5GHz (Wi-Fi 5) frequency band, meaning they are capable of maximum link speeds of 1Gbs (Wi-Fi 4) or 3.5Gbs (Wi-Fi 5). When it comes to Wi-Fi generations, Wi-Fi 4 is getting a bit old now, but Wi-Fi 5 will perform well for almost anything you'd need to do online, such as browsing webpages, watching videos, and running browser-based applications. For that, network cards that support Wi-Fi 5 will do nicely.
Meet your Needs and Budget
Of course, you need to balance these features with your budget and your needs, and you might have to make some compromises. Rarely does a laptop come along that ticks all the boxes, especially when it comes to price.