Laptop Buying Guide, Page 5
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Pick Your Operating System
Windows is the most common choice, but Mac and Chrome OS offers breathe of fresh air. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of each platform.
Asus Zenbook UX305 image from Amazon
Windows is the most common and most flexible Operating System. Notebooks of this OS range from $200 to thousands of dollars, and they come with wide range of features, from touchscreen, fingerprint readers, even dual graphics chips.
Windows 10 is the latest installment of Windows Operating Systems (OS), and it is Microsoft’s flagship OS, as it provides a number of improvements from Windows 7 and 8, especially the ability to switch from desktop to tablet modes, and vice versa. Windows 8 was the first one to make use of the touchscreen function, and it featured an improved Start Menu, with live tiles and Cortana voice assistant.
Notebooks with this OS is generally affordable than Mac, and there are over a dozen of computer brands out there that offer this choice. Some brands with this OS give users the freedom to transform their laptop to tablet.
Generally, Windows laptops provide more professional and business-friendly features like biometrics, Intel vPro system management, and Smart Card verification. Also, Windows have millions of desktop programs available, including full versions of major productivity graphics, video development and software.
Apple OS X El Capitan
Apple MF839LL/A MacBook Pro (image from Amazon)
All Mac laptops come with the brand’s very own OS, the Apple OS X El Capitan. It offers almost similar functionality as Windows 10, but with different interface that substitutes the Start Menu of Microsoft with an apps dock at the bottom of the screen. Those who love their iPhones and iPads will surely appreciate the Mac laptop, as the iOS like features provide easy and intuitive operation. Unlike its mobile version however, this OS is not made for touch, as MacBooks don’t have touchscreens.
Apple’s MacBook Pro and MacBook Air offer nice and user-friendly operating. This OS comes with an iOS-like Launchpad to organize your apps. It also comes with an interactive Finder Tabs, Notifications and multiple-monitor support to help you in multitasking.
Also, MacBooks Pro and MacBook Air outclass most of its Windows counterpart in terms of display quality, industrial design and touchpad. Though Windows computers offer more software options, Mac’s App Store makes it easier for its users to find and install software. Apple laptops however, can be very expensive as price starts at $999.
Google Chrome OS
ASUS C201 11.6 Inch Chromebook image from Amazon
If you’re not going to do heavy computing tasks with your laptop, and you just want something to work with for emailing, web surfing and checking your social media, then a portable computer with Chrome OS (Chromebook) could be a solid choice for you. It’s the most inexpensive choice, and they usually come with great sleek design, good battery life and very portable. Google Chrome OS is a great system for online centric tasks, especially those filled with web apps. You can get an 11-inch Chromebook for as cheap as $200. However, Chrome laptops have very limited offline capabilities.
Most laptop reviews you find online usually bogged down into the specs, list of categories with subcategories. While this is good for understanding the technical aspects and qualities of the computer, it doesn’t always justify the needs of most users. Here are the three rules you can stick with to find a good laptop for you.
Don’t Spend Too Much for A Laptop
Several years ago $1000 was considered reasonable price for a decent laptop. Today however, that amount of money can give you a premium laptop. Unless you’re into high-end gaming or you do a lot of media stuff on your computer, such as HD video editing, multi-tasking heavy programs, etc., you can save your pockets from spending $2000 types of laptops. As a matter of fact, you can get good quality laptops for around $600 to $800. There are a lot of brands out there with Intel Core i5 CPU, 128GB SSD, sleek and slim body and high quality hardware for this price range, and can be more than adequate for average daily use. You can also get touchscreen systems, hybrid or excellent premium laptops for $999 or less.
Think Light Weight
What type of laptop do you want to get? How many days per week you plan to carry it around with you? How many hours per day you want to use it? Answer these questions to determine the size and weight you want for your new laptop. Of course you want a device that is compact and light enough to put inside your bag carry around, but you also want to have something that fits your computing needs.
The most commonly used screen size is 13-inch, as most products in this size are compact and with decent performance good enough to handle basic computing tasks. 11-inch Hybrid laptops (tablets and laptops in one) are perfect if you want to leave the keyboard on your desk or at home.
Common mid-size varieties like 15-inch can sit nicely on your desk, while 17-inch or larger are high performance varieties that can work as workstation computers.
Hardware and specs wise, a lot of laptops are awfully similar. Many models in the same price range use similar processor, graphics card, RAM capacity, hard drive capacity, etc. This is the reason why many brands make elegant, sleek, and innovative design to put their products above their competition. And this is what you should take advantage of.
Consider your laptop as an extension of your personality. You may have to carry it around and use it in a coffee shop while having your breakfast, put it on your lap while you wait for your plane in the airport lounge, etc. A good-looking laptop is fun and pleasant to carry around and use. Thus, choose a design that works well for you. The same goes with the feel of the keyboard and touchpad, you want a responsive and easy-to-use hardware for all your computing needs. This is basically the biggest selling point of Apple laptops. Though MacBooks are expensive, they get away with their crazy price simply because of innovative designs with fantastic interface and ergonomics.
Asus ZenBook UX305 (image from Amazon)
The biggest craze right now is the ultrabook, they are thin, light weight, and beautifully designed. Dell XPS 13 is considered as a masterpiece, while Asus ZenBook UX305 is also a great ultrabook with a reasonable price tag.
Use this guide to help you find the best laptop that fits your budget, needs and preferences. Before you decide on which laptop to get, make sure you understand what you really need and want for a laptop and know how your prospective choice can help you with it; check its specs and hardware, read reviews and compare the device to its closest competition.