Laptop Buying Guide, Page 4

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Hybrid vs. Traditional Laptops

Since Windows 8 was launched to the market, we’ve seen tons of hybrid laptops that can double as a tablet (detachable display that works as a tablet). Microsoft Surface Book, which is one of the first brands to bend the display all the way back and turn the laptop into a slate. HP Spectre x360 on the other hand, gives you the freedom to use the display as an independent tablet.

Microsoft Surface Book and HP Spectre x360 (images from Amazon)

 

Battery Life

Laptops provide the freedom of portability, which is why last thing we want from it is to be chained to a power outlet. A good 15-inch laptop can last at least 4 hours of endurance. If you want something fairly mobile, you can opt for notebooks, which can last 7 hours or more. The best laptop in terms of battery life today is the Lenovo ThinkPad T450, which can last more than 15 hours in one charge.

Lenovo ThinkPad T450 (image from Amazon)

 

To know the laptop’s battery life, make sure you don’t just refer to the information from the manufacturer. Rather, read third-party results, such as laptop reviews. Also, you should know that actual battery life depends on a lot of things; the tasks you do with your computer, brightness of the display, etc. Of course, watching videos consume more battery than web surfing.

You can also invest for extra external battery such as Power Banks or mobile chargers. Also, keep in mind that there are some laptops out there with sealed batteries (MacBook Air for example), which you can’t easily upgrade yourself.

Your Budget

These days, you can get a decent budget laptop for as cheap as $400. But if you’re looking for something that will fit your needs; build quality, long battery life, stronger performance and sharper screen, then you may need to invest more. Here’s what you get for each price point.

 

$400 to $600

For under $600, you can get a decent notebook with Core i5 or AMD A8 CPU, 4GB to 8GB RAM, and a 500GB hard drive capacity, which are all respectable specs.

Asus Chromebook Flip (image from Amazon)

 

Some of the best laptops around $500 price range are the Asus Chromebook Flip ($272 USD in Amazon), Acer Chromebook C720P ($332 USD in Amazon), and Dell Inspiron 17 5000 Series ($449 in Amazon). Chromebooks are Chrome-based laptops, which means they are inexpensive, but may not offer full Windows experience. Great designs, with minimal hardware, perfect for web-based productivity, simple tasks, and social media.

 

The Dell Inspiron laptop on the other hand, is a nice-looking laptop that offers good performance with decent battery life.

 

$600 to $800

Obviously, you get more premium designs for this price range than the previous one. It includes metal finishes and better hardware like improved audio, backlit keyboard, a flash cache and a 1600x900 resolution or even  higher.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series (image from Amazon)

 

 Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series ($698 USD in Amazon) sports sleek build, with strong set of specs and a set of generous features can be helpful for any type of users. Specs-wise, this laptop is undoubtedly impressive, as it is simply built for anyone and anything. It runs with 5th generation Intel Core TM i7-5500U 3.0 GHz processor, with 8 GB DDR3L memory and 1 TB hard drive (can be upgraded to support 2 TB storage). Considering this beastly feat, it can run on a 3-cell removable battery pack with countless other built-in features; Intel HD 5500 graphics, a webcam, Bluetooth 4.0 as well as dual band of 2.4 and 5 GHz.

 

Above $800

MacBook Air (image from Amazon)

 

Expect more portable and/or powerful notebooks for this price range with higher resolution screen, discrete graphics and faster processing power. Two of the lightest, long-lasting and powerful models in the market today are the Surface Pro and MacBook Air. Both cost more than $1000. High-end gaming laptops and mobile workstations tend to cost more, from $1500 to $2500.

Brand Matters

Laptops may get their CPUs, graphics card and other crucial hardware pieces and components from popular companies (Intel, AMD, Nvidia), but the overall performance still varies from their brands, and laptops are only as good as the company that manufactured it. Accurate and timely customer support, and this is where Sony, Apple and Samsung rise from their competition.

Of course, customer support is only a part of what makes a laptop worth its price. You also need to consider how the brand stacks up against its competition in terms of performance and design quality, value for money, selection and other criteria important for your use. Apple, Lenovo and Asus are just three of the many names that offer quality laptops in almost all areas.


In Page 5, we will talk about the different laptop Operating Systems



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