What to Look for in a New Laptop: the Hardware [Complete Guide]

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When you are in the market for a new laptop, it can be difficult to know where to start.

There are so many different specifications and features that go into making laptops and they all have their own set of pros and cons.

This blog post is going to break down what you should look for hardware wise when buying your next laptop.

We’ll explore things like processing power, screen size, battery life, storage space and more!

buying a new laptop

What things do you liked from your previous or current laptop?

This is your best starting point to look for a new laptop, you should know what are the features you like from you current laptop and these can range from screen size materials and even keyboard feedback.

Why are we doing this?

simply because you need a base to start your search from.

This means that the things you like from your current laptops are a must have on the new one you are going to buy.

Some examples of things you might like from your current laptop can be:

  • Screen size 15″ or more
  • Weight of my laptop : This is important if you do a lot of work on the road.
  • Storage capacity
  • Battery

What thing do you hate about your current laptop?

We also have to weight in the bad! yes those things that really annoy you and the reasons why you are probably going to upgrade to a new machine.

Some examples of things you might hate:

  • Slow boot times
  • Staling while rendering
  • Uncomfortable keyboard to type on

After knowing what you want and what you don’t want you have about 80% of the specs and qualities you would want on your laptop.

Remember to outline your non negotiables these are the specs that you are not willing to compromise on because you know you are going to want them.

So now lets start narrowing down your options.

Select Your OS of preference.

Knowing what operating system you are going to run on your laptop is clearly one of the simplest ways to niche down on the laptops you are willing to go with, for example if you are a Mac user the options are more limited than in the other operating systems.

Here are the most common OS (operating systems) that you can find. there are multiple versions of and its really up to the user what os they prefer to use.

Windows

Windows OS is still the most widespread operating system in use today. It comes with a variety of preinstalled applications and some really cool features that you can download from their app store, or even have automatically updated by Windows update.

Windows 11 has a minimum of specs requirements, click here to check out.

Mac OS

Mac computers run on an operating system known as Mac OS. This operating system is specially designed for the hardware it runs on, and therefore has very few compatibility issues with other applications or devices.

Linux

A Linux based laptop would be a good option if you are comfortable using the terminal command line to install software and drivers instead of installing them from an app store like Windows or Apple computers do. Linux also gives you more control over your computer than any other os out there that doesn’t require coding knowledge which can sometimes come in handy especially when troubleshooting hardware specific problems right down to replacing old parts.

Chrome OS

This operating system is mainly seen on Chromebooks and is a lightweight version of Linux that uses the Chrome browser as its main interface. It’s built for speed and simplicity, but like I mentioned earlier if you need to install proprietary drivers or software it won’t be possible on this os.

What type of Laptop do You Want?

You can find multiple styles of laptops today, and they have different characteristics, OK there are not a ton of types but we could narrow it down to 3 types of laptops you can opt for.

2 in 1 Laptops

They are a great option for those that want to have both laptop and tablet functionality.

They come with touchscreens, styluses, detachable keyboards, etc.

They can be expensive but they do offer good value when you factor in their multiple uses as well as durability (you don’t have the keyboard getting smashed if it is detached).

Light weight Laptops

These laptops have portability in mind and as such are very light.

They also have small screens which is a perk when you are travelling and want to carry your laptop with you without it taking up too much space in your bag.

The downside of these laptops can be their durability as they might not hold up well if dropped or mishandled by the user (or someone else). Gaming Laptops

Gaming Laptops or High Performance

these being the most bulkier of the lot have the longest battery life.

They also come with more powerful processors and graphics cards which makes them suited for gaming enthusiasts who want to play games on their laptop without really compromising on performance level.

The downside of these laptops is that they can be expensive as well as bulky so you might not always carry it around easily if needed (unless your backpack has a lot of space).

What size of a laptop do you need?

In the laptop world size does matter, but it matters depending on what you need your laptop for. Laptop monitors range from 11″ to 17″ inches, with 14″ or 15″ the most popular sizes. However, keep in mind that the best size for a display is determined by your demands as a user.

Here are 3 example of task and screen sizes for them.

  • Writers: Since they use text editors like MS Word and others a their main applications screen size takes a back seat while portability and weight and keyboard are the most useful specs in these machines.
  • Graphic Designers: these users like their screen real state to be larger and if it has a touch screen well its game on for them since their work mainly revolves around this type of work
  • Gamers and Video Editors: these users are looking for a powerful machine that can handle these tasks with ease so the screen size is not as important but graphics and RAM is what they’re mainly concerned about.

Screen quality

Depending on what you will be using your laptop for you should search the specs on the screen accordingly, currently there are 3 types of screens on laptops but we are sure there will be more in the future as technology advances.

If you are a Video Editor or Gamer you should opt for the highest resolution and higher refresh rate and so on, to make it easier on the user.

Twisted Nematic (TN)

These is the oldest of all the screen types.

Advantages

  • Generally cheap
  • High Refresh Rate
  • Fast Response Times
  • Better for competitive and professional Gaming

Disadvantages

  • Poor Viewing Angles
  • Bad Color reproduction and Accuracy
  • High-Quality is expensive

In-Plane Switching (IPS)

These panels are the most used currently in laptops

Advantages

  • Excellent viewing angles
  • Excellent color reproduction and color accuracy

Disadvantages

  • Slower response times
  • Lower refresh rates
  • Expensive

Organic Light-emitting Diode (OLED)

Advantages

  • Excellent viewing angles
  • Excellent color reproduction and color accuracy
  • Excellent contrast

Disadvantages

  • Display Burn-ins
  • Expensive

So be sure to pick the right size and type of display for you.

Pick Your Keyboard and Track Pad Carefully

Your keyboard and trackpad or mouse pad is one of the most important aspects you should take in to account when buying your new laptop. lets be host these are the ones that are going to take most of punishment a laptop incurs on a daily bases.

If you are buying online there is no way you can try or feel the responsiveness of these 2 specs so we recommend you view comments and feed back online.

What should you take in to account when looking for the best on these aspects of your laptop?

Types of trackpads:

  • Pointing stick: you can find these on ThinkPad laptops, they are powerful and the to go to machines for corporate America.
  • Traditional touchpad: these are the most common trackpads found on multiple laptops and have great responsiveness and 2 buttons added for your right and left click options
  • Buttonless touchpad: like the name implies its buttonless and you mainly use them by tapping the trackpad to enable the click options. algo 2 finger options are available with these.
  • Static/Haptic Feedback touchpad: Unlike a typical touchpad, which has a spring to indicate whether or not the user has clicked, this one does not. In a tactile touchpad, pressing the right/left buttons has no effect, yet one may click on the trackpad.

Keyboards on laptops

  • Traditional style: A typical keyboard features keys that are close together and have each key’s edge sloping down away from it. The expense of new keyboards varies significantly based on the manufacturer, but they generally have more surface area and travel key as well as being easier to replace since the entire keyboard is mounted on a replaceable tray.
  • chiclet style A chiclet style (or island style) keyboard has keys that appear to pop out of the laptop’s body through separate cut-outs for each key. Keys are usually flat and don’t slope off around the edges. So it creates an impression that there’s more space between the keys. It also makes cleaning the keyboard much easier. The chiclet style keyboard is gradually eclipsing the traditional keyboard in laptops today. It’s thinner and more versatile in design; so it’s becoming the keyboard of choice for thin-and-light laptop makers.

Build Quality

This is a must -have for laptops nowadays as they are portable and prone to being dropped or mishandled. Buying a laptop with good build quality will ensure that it lasts you longer without the screen shattering, keypads falling off etcetera.

Another point of consideration is how easy it is going to be to upgrade the memory capacity in order make sure your computer can handle multiple programs at once which require more resources than what’s already available on the device itself. This could mean having less space for photos and other files if not enough memory has been provided so keep this in mind when making your purchase decision too.

Pick Your Specs

You will have to do a bit of research for yourself when deciding on what specs you want your machine to have.

If you want to get a better idea of what specs you should go for, we have previously posted some articles on laptops for some categories, there you can get the best specs setting depending on your work load and tasks at hand.

Best Laptops For Cyber Security and Hacking

Best Laptops For Engineering Students

Best Laptops Under 200 Dollars

Best Laptops for Data Science Students

Best Laptops for Video Editors

Best Mac Laptop Options

Pick the best CPU for your work

there are hundred if not thousands of processors you can pick from, but to get the one you need check out your most used applications and do a google search for minimum specs to run the program these should give a good base of what processor you should go for.

Processors: Intel vs AMD?

Intel Core processors are considered among some as the most advanced available right now because they have shown great results both in terms performance compared to their competitors manufacturers but also when it comes down to energy consumption! Buying one is pretty safe bet that will not disappoint you especially due to its compatibility across multiple components.

check out our post on the best laptops with i7 processors

What Ram do You Need?

Ram is very important for your computer and for it to run without any lag or stalling, you need to get the correct ram for your computer.

You can use this website for checking out what type of Ram you will be needing, they have a great tool where it shows you exactly how much ram is needed per program and even recommends the best brands that are compatible with your laptop or workstation model.

you should opt for a minimum of 8GB of RAM and if you can upgrade to 16 or 32GB even better.

Storage Drives: HDD vs SSD?

SSD (Solid State Drive) drives are faster than their slower counterparts but offer less storage capacity on average compared to an HDD drive. Buying an SSD only make sense if speed is really important to you as well as access time since most programs load quicker from these types of drives! You also want to check before making any purchases regarding compatibility between motherboards and hard-drives

What GPU Is Good?

these is one of the most expensive specs you are going to encounter and even more with the world wide chip shortage. A GPU is a graphics processing unit and it’s what handles all the visuals of your laptop.

This includes the user interface, images, movies, games etc that you see on screen so if this one part were to break down or become faulty then it could lead to more serious problems with other hardware too. Buying from trusted brands for GPUs will help alleviate such issues in most cases but we still recommend doing your research before making any purchases here as they can be expensive depending on how high end yours needs to be (the higher number usually gets pricier).

So unless you are a top gamer you should not worry a lot about this spec.

Battery life

the battery should reflect in its performance your needs, and should be able to last, at least, a few hours of work. For example, if you mostly use your laptop on the go and need it for short periods of time (less than two hours), then you might want to prioritize battery life over speed or screen size. On the other hand, if you’re frequently using your computer away from an outlet and/or in long sessions with multiple apps running simultaneously.

What ports should you Get?

there are different port configurations on laptops, and you should check for them and rate them on speed and usability.

The most common ports on laptops include USB, Ethernet and HDMI.

Remember that there are different types of USB connectors some are faster than others and even in type C ports that can give you a speed advantage.

if you are not happy with the ports that the laptop provides you can always opt for a Hub this will increase the types of ports you need.

Laptop Extra Features

Biometric security in laptops

If you are a security nerd and you are concerned about security of your data and files, then it is worth looking into laptops that have biometric security. This means fingerprint scanners and facial recognition software to allow for quick access when you want to get into the laptop without having to remember passwords or pin codes.

Best Laptop Options for Beginners

The HP Envy 13 provides all the latest features of a modern laptop. It is nicely crafted, powerful, and looks sleek in electric blue (just like the water it was forged from!).

Product description: The HP Envy 13 Laptop is perfect for serious work and photography or video editing as well as media consumption-including writing your Novel in Paris with just one hand on your keyboard? No problem!

The XPS 15 is a laptop that stands out for being not just stunning to look at, but powerful and fast. It’ll keep up with whatever you want to do, so whether it’s video editing or gaming…this is the one laptop for any occasion. So if you know what kind of computer you need – this could be it!

Acer is a company that just makes things easier for you. We can’t get much simpler than the Acer Nitro 5, which combines powerful 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H processors with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics to give you power and speed—plus amazing value. The screen gives you rich visuals despite being an affordable 15.6′. Still want more? Alexa built into our own voice assistant means convenience at your command without even needing to touch the computer!

Conclusion

We’ve just given you the information needed to make a more informed decision about your laptop. You now know what questions to ask yourself, how much power you need for everyday tasks like web browsing and emailing, as well as some of the features that can help reduce eye strain and other health issues related to long hours in front of a screen. Once you have an idea of which criteria are most important for your needs, it will be easier than ever before to find that perfect machine without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated by all the options available on store shelves! If this sounds too daunting still then don’t worry – we’re always here with more posts coming soon. Check out our blog page every week for new updates from us at nodevelopers.com

Marco Ballesteros

I'm passionate about everything tech but lack the technical knowledge to be a coder or developer. But I have learned how to work around that issue hope you enjoy all the content I have created to help you.

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