Understanding Tech Features of Laptops

By May 6, 2018Laptops

To make the best purchasing decision for yourself

Laptops are the go-to choice for the majority of people today. They can now hold their own against desktop computer models. Paired with their powerful processing abilities, they bring a multitude of additional benefits with them.

What features and can-do capabilities should steer decision-making when it comes time to purchase your first or next device?

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The All-in-One Device

Portability is top of the list and is increasingly important to today’s travel-ready, globe-trotting, busy professional or student. The workplace has moved beyond the cubicle.

Most people want an all-in-one device ready to fulfill a variety of shifting functions. It should be able to keep up with one’s professional needs, be at ease with personal life management tasks (i.e. budgeting, fitness & scheduling Apps etc), provide entertainment on-demand, and facilitate communication in its myriad of forms.

Here are some handy pointers to help. If you know what your shopping for, you can get what you want, but more importantly get what you need in your next tech device.

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1. Two-in-One Options

When checking out what is on the market, be aware that 2-in-1 devices are often marketed in the same category as laptops.

These devices can switch between a traditional laptop as well as a tablet that comes complete with touchscreen.

This might be a good option if ultra-travel friendly size is a must or if you enjoy utilizing lots of Apps – as the touchscreen feature can make the experience simpler. One can pay a bit for the added touch-screen convenience and one may lose a little when it comes to battery life and processing power when compared with a traditional laptop.

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2. Decide your Size

Knowing what size you will benefit most from – will really help to narrow what devices to compare with each other. So determine this tech-feature before looking further.

Only you know how likely your device is to stay-put on a desk versus roam coffee shops, lecture halls, and business conferences. Let your needs and the way you envision yourself using your device be your guide. Screen size is directly correlated to keyboard size and device weight.

Ideally, you want enough screen to work behind without strain, paired with a keyboard that suits, at a weight that is conducive to your intentions. Consider whether you will require a dedicated laptop-bag, or whether the device can slip into your everyday-bag.

• 10″-12″ inches and smaller screens are easy to “tuck and go” but might not be as comfortable to use for long hours behind the screen. They weigh in under 1.5kgs.
• 13″-15″ inch screens can combine ultra-portability with easy-viewing convenience and usually tip the scales and are between 1.8kgs -2.7kgs.
• 15″-17″ inch screens can be great for viewing but bulky to carry around and heavy at up to 3.6kgs.

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3. Prioritize Basic Features

All laptops are going to come with their own recipe of basic features. Features are a large part of what you pay for – so it is worth knowing what an ideal match to your priorities is.

Screen Regardless of what you plan to do with your device. A decent screen is considered a must. Quality in this department will make a big difference to how you experience your device everyday. From document creation to enjoying video series, correctly saturated colours and well-defined edges and borders are something you never tire of. Try for a minimum of 1366 x 768 resolution but if possible 1920 x 1080.

More on understanding screens here.

Computing Power: The CPU/Processor hardware component is largely responsible for the speed of processing in a device. It controls how fast the computer can perform actions & tasks. Processors range from basic to super powerful.

Although it might tempting to be drawn in by claims of ultra-speed, in truth most lower and mid-range processors are adequate for normal use i.e. you are not coding, creating digital animations or professional video editing.

Core 3 and above is sufficient for basic document creation and web-browsing.

RAM: Most users will need somewhere between 2 and 8 GB of RAM. More than this will most likely go to waste.
Operating System All laptops come with a pre-installed Operating System OS. The three options are Windows, Chrome OS, or MacOS. You could choose based on what OS is familiar to you, or you could learn a new OS – see which features are available & discern if there are any functions that you really don’t want to give-up on.

Ports: These offer connections to external devices. Knowing how many you are likely to require should be taken into account. However, don’t forget that multi-ports are available to increase the number of plug-in sites available so don’t go over budget for this feature. A note on speeds: 2.0 USB ports are still fairly standard but 3.0 USB ports offer users quicker processing time when they plug-in external storage options.

Drives: It is increasingly uncommon to find laptops featuring CD/DVD drives – as they add weight and are being used less and less with Downloads&Streaming becoming the trend. If you have a need for a this, it might be more cost-effective to purchase an external drive that can dock via a USB port.

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4. Battery Life is Important

Battery-life is a feature worth not skimping on! If you want to ensure that your device can keep-up wherever you roam, take battery life into consideration. Aim for at least 7 hours of battery life but 8 or more is even better.

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5. What do you need to Store?

How much information you can store is often marketed as a big-selling point for many devices but it shouldn’t be your main determiner unless you are in a profession that demands mega-storage such as video-editing.

These days a device’s internal storage might be minimal but the option to add additional storage through an SD card can expand the storage 5 to 10 fold or even more. Remember that external storage and/or Cloud Storage is an excellent way to store media files and more without having to shell out for a huge internal storage capacity. Look for at least 8GB of storage in a laptop but the option to add more. There is also the option of using an external harddrive via USB ports.

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6. Budget Friendly Choices are Real Options

Modern tech is often a status-symbol as much as anything else and the logo-buy and over-buy is common! Determine what you can afford and then compare devices in that price bracket to avoid going over-budget. Save yourself the splurge and instead get the most for your money.

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7. Does the Company offer product-support services?

Tech goes through rigorous quality control tests before it gets let loose in the world but that doesn’t stop there being the occasional ‘lemon’. It’s worthwhile comparing warranties before you purchase and getting an idea of how a brand will back their product up in the event that they need to.

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