How to Choose a Laptop

When it comes to choosing a laptop, there are so many options to choose from you may not know where to start! Our Wylie IT Support team offers the following things to consider as you get started looking for a new laptop:

When Size Really Does Matter

If you stroll down the laptop aisle of any computer or technology store, you’ll notice that the size of laptops has gotten increasingly slimmer and lighter over the years. Ultrabooks combine a lightweight design with long-lasting batteries and energy-efficient hardware. Ultrabooks have a quick start up, so you can pull it out of your briefcase and resume your work within seconds even after the device has been idle or asleep for days.

If you’re looking for a laptop for a desktop replacement, you may want something a little bigger than the Ultrabook. These laptops typically have 14-15 inch screens and can handle all of your day-to-day computing needs.

Tablet/Laptop Hybrid

If you tend to carry both a laptop and a tablet with you wherever you go, you may want to take a look at the newer Tablet/Laptop Hybrid designs. You can transform a touchscreen laptop into a tablet and back again, using specialized folding hinges to remove the keyboard and body of the laptop or put it back on. Other hybrid models use Bluetooth keyboards to avoid the need for a docking hinge to convert the tablet into a laptop.

Processors and Battery Life

Buying a laptop is a little like buying a car – it’s important to know what’s “under the hood”! Intel makes the most dominate processor chips and have greatly improved energy efficiency and longer battery life with their 4th generation processors, compared to earlier models. These are ideal when you need a battery that can keep up with you throughout the day when you aren’t near an outlet to power up. They’ve also improved graphics processing.

AMD has a line of processors with enhanced performance, although they don’t quite meet the 4th generation Intel processors. Compare battery life hours among different laptops and think about how you will typically use the laptop to help you rule out which models will not meet your needs and find the laptops that will.

Features and Capabilities

In today’s age of “being connected”, connectivity is the key for choosing your laptop. All available laptops offer Bluetooth connectivity for wireless peripherals and internet connectivity with 802.11n Wi-Fi. Some provide mobile broadband options that you can pay for when there is no Wi-Fi available, but they are becoming harder to find as most users are using their smartphone personal mobile hotspots instead of paying for multiple mobile contracts.

USB ports are a necessity, and preferably USB 3.0 for greater bandwidth and faster data transfer than the USB 2.0. Some USB ports will also double as eSATA ports for connecting external hard drives or charging handheld devices when the laptop is powered off.

Most models no longer offer the optical drive because many software and game purchases are taking place online and the cloud is taking over for many local applications. This allows slimmer and lighter designs over all. If you still want to enjoy movies via DVD or Blu-ray, you’ll have to do a little more hunting to find a model offering the DVD drive, or get yourself an external USB DVD player.