Laptop Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right PC
It’s time to upgrade your dinosaur equipment and invest in the newest laptop as your PC. The idea is thrilling, but the search can be anything but fun.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, the massive list of computers that pop up can be overwhelming.
And everywhere you look, there are reviews that contradict other recommendations. Everyone is sure their favorite brand is the best, so who do you listen to?
Well, it’s always the smartest idea to make your decision using your own research. With this guide, you’ll be able to choose the right PC by narrowing down what you need, not what others tell you to get.
1. Start With the Operating System
If you’re not already on a “team,” your laptop options are vast. Think of operating systems like the iPhone versus Android debate. Most people have a strong preference one way or the other, and they upgrade their phones based on whether they’re Team Apple or Team Android.
With operating systems, you have four main teams to choose from. We’ll summarize each one here so when you see the terms in your laptop search, you’ll know what to expect:
- Windows OS: Microsoft Windows is the default operating system on most non-Mac devices. It’s the go-to OS for anyone who wants to use MS Office, Outlook, PowerPoint, and other similar apps. It’s widespread and well-known, and it’s easy to integrate with multiple platforms. So, it’s kind of like the Android of laptops.
- Mac OS: Apple’s devices tend to be more user-friendly and intuitive than Microsoft. The downside is that a Mac OS, like an iPhone, is not compatible with anything outside of Apple’s hardware systems. But if you already have other Apple devices, you’ll find it easy and helpful to connect them with a MacBook.
- Chrome OS: Chromebooks are found in classrooms and offices everywhere because they’re inexpensive and easy to use. The Chrome OS isn’t overly powerful, but it works well if the main purpose of your PC is the internet. However, apps like Microsoft Office aren’t compatible.
- Linux: The least familiar amongst the general population, Linux is the underdog of operating systems. It can be installed on most hardware systems and is ideal for running open-source alternative apps.
With those summaries in mind, your search is narrowed down to laptops with that operating system only.
2. Determine How Much Power You Need
What you’re mainly using your PC for determines the performance and power options you need. The main component for power is found in the processor, which is the Intel versus AMD feature.
In general, if you’re using your laptop to do work-related tasks, surf the internet, or stream some videos, an average processor works fine. However, if the goal is to do things requiring complex graphics, like gaming, you need a heavy-duty processor and a strong motherboard.
Understanding Intel’s Labels
Intel’s Core processors include two numbers. The first one tells you the generation (similar to Android and Apple phones). So, the higher the number, the newer the processor.
The numbers after that refer to the power, and again, the higher numbers mean there’s a lot of power in that little chip. There are letters at the end, and you want a “Y,” which means the laptop is optimized for battery life if you aren’t going to have the computer plugged in most of the time.
Deciphering AMD Processor Names
When you’re looking at an AMD processor, skip the name and head to the longer number at the end. The first digit is the generation, and the letter at the end refers to performance. An “X” means high performance, and a “U” is low power (longer battery life).
Both processors are similar overall, but if your goal is to get optimal graphics, AMD has a slight leg up over Intel. Any newer laptop marketed for gaming use should have the power and performance specs you need to do video editing, gaming, and other graphics-heavy activities.
3. Narrow Down the Vital Essentials
Once you have the OS and processors figured out, the rest of your choices are based on individual preferences.
What are the must-have features that you need specifically? These could include factors like:
- Staying within your budget
- Hard drive memory
- Specific ports available
- Webcams and speakers
Put these features in order of importance, then narrow down your laptop choices from there. You’ll cross off a lot of options that way and end up with two or three that fit all your criteria.
Look at the official reviews for the remaining laptops on your list, and let those guide your final decision.
Using these tips to choose your next laptop PC is as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Pick your operating system, figure out how much power you need in your processor, and then find laptops that have the optional features you want. Order your next device, and enjoy the perks of having an incredible computer at your fingertips.
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