Laptop Buying Guide
Till few years back, desktop computers used to dominate the PC market but laptops have an added advantage of portability, mobility and design. They can be carried anytime, anywhere for work as well as for entertainment purpose as well. With the wireless card, you can easily access internet while on the go and check your email also.
Want to buy a new Laptop and still confused ?
With the availability of wide variety of laptops in the market according to size, features, power, graphics, brand and price, choosing the right laptop suiting your requirement is a big challenge. Check out our laptop buying guide which will show you what to look for while picking out the perfect portable computer.
What is the purpose/usage of buying a laptop ?
Ask yourself two simple questions before you begin your search – Why do you want a laptop? and what will be the estimated amount of usage? Once you have identified the purpose of buying a laptop whether it is for business, gaming or web browsing, it becomes a lot more easier to shortlist 8-10 laptop models and compare them rather than mindlessly surfing numerous laptop models.
If you are buying laptop for basic work like internet surfing, checking emails, organizing images and using text documents, then you can opt for budget or entry-level laptops which will come in the price range of Rs 15000- 25000. However, in case you want to play music or videos and store multimedia files, then you can check out mid range laptops. For heavy graphic designing, watching HD movies or gaming, highly priced or premium laptops (also referred to as gaming laptops) are advisable as they have high resolution display, large RAM and good processing power to give a rich gaming experience to user.
If you are die hard fan of Apple brand and prefer Mac OS X over Windows, then it becomes very easy to choose among Apple MacBooks but the budget rises significantly. Apple’s Mac OS laptops such as the MacBook Airs and the MacBook Pros are popular for their graphical abilities and surpass Window based laptop models when it comes to industrial design and the touchpad. Windows PCs offer more software choices whereas Apple only permits to install programs available with the Mac App Store.
Choosing the Right laptop ?
Screen Size :
Laptops have compact design and are very easy to carry, especially while travelling. It is very important to analyse that how portable you want your laptop to be. The two major deciding factors are Screen Size and Weight.
Slim and compact laptops are very handy and comfortable as they are light in weight as well whereas thick laptops are heavier. Ultrabooks are ultraportable, super thin, light laptops with long battery life and powerful processor and speed. Convertibles (also known as hybrid laptops) allows the screen to swivel around and is being used as a tablet as well as laptop. However, both Ultrabooks and Convertibles are more expensive than a laptop having similar specifications.
Laptops come in various screen sizes ranging from 11 inch to 17 inches. Smaller the screen size, more compact and lighter will be the laptop. 11 to 14 inches laptops are thinnest and ideal for students and business travellers. Though at this size, these ultraportable laptops offer cramped up screen and keyboard for the users. Laptop models with 15 inch to 16 inch screen size are the most popular and cheapest. They are little heavy but you can occasionally carry it. They are suitable for general daily use as they offer bigger keyboard and screen. Laptop models with 17 inch screen are considered as desktop computer replacement and are best suited for gamers or other heavy tasks like graphics, CAD etc. Depending on the usage, the user can take a call and decide accordingly.
You should always prefer a laptop with a good display for better viewing as you end up spending several hours working on the laptop. Screen display with high pixel resolution will result in sharper images. Most of the reasonably priced laptop models come with HD (1366×768) pixel resolution. But if budget is not a constraint, then you should opt for higher pixel resolution of 1600×900 or 1920x1080 (Full HD) for a better and faster viewing experience.
Keyboard and Touchpad :
Having great specifications and hardware is not enough, a laptop should have good ergonomics also. A good and user-friendly keyboard can increase your work output whereas uncomfortable keyboard can slow down your work and even lead to injury. A keyboard with enough space between keys, strong tactile feedback without flex will offer much improved typing experience. Touchpad is a most effective replacement of mouse and should be smooth to operate. It should provide satisfying clicks. Dell and HP provide good, reliable keyboards and touchpads after Apple and Lenovo which are the best in this category.
Hardware Specifications :
Laptop specifications like Processor, RAM, Graphics, Storage, Hard drive can even confuse notebook experts. The specifications depend upon why you require the laptop? For tasks like 3D animation or HD video editing, you require upgraded and more expensive components.
We provide you with the list of components while deciding the laptop configuration :
1. CPU :
Always go for latest and updated version of processor with higher speed for better performance of computer. More the number of cores in the processor, smoother and better is the performance of laptop. You can invest in processor (mostly Intel Pentium CPUs or AMD series dominate the market) depending upon your requirement. For more intensive tasks like 3D gaming or video editing, go for Intel core i5/i7 or AMD FX series. You can settle in for Intel Core i3 or AMD’s new A series APUs for basic operation and internet surfing as they provide sufficient power and battery life.
2. RAM (Random Access Memory) :
RAM is the most important component to be considered while selecting a laptop. More RAM leads to efficient working of various tasks simultaneously. Minimum 3GB memory space is required to provide hassle-free performance. For graphics oriented work like video editing, 3D animation and gaming, 4GB RAM is a must. For professional users, one should go for 8 GB/16GB RAM in case of 3D/2D graphic designing and other high-end applications. You should always opt for laptop models which comes with RAM upgrade option so that it does not get outdated for next few years.
3. Graphics Card :
All laptop models come with integrated graphics card which is sufficient for basic tasks like web browsing, emailing, watching videos etc. Go in for models which have dedicated mobile graphic cards by ATI or NVIDIA, the top two graphics card makers. It is very important to note that mobile graphics cannot be upgraded like RAM, so dedicated card option should be there . Graphics card of 1GB video RAM is enough for playing games and viewing full HD videos.
4. Storage :
All medium priced laptops come with traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) of 250GB, 500GB or 1TB capacity. HDDs with 7200 RPM (Rotation per minute) are little expensive but they offer better performance. Nowadays, latest high-end laptops like Apple’s MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are equipped with Solid-State drives (SSD) to provide much superior performance. SSDs are slimmer and come with less capacity (usually 128 to 256GB) but are much faster and reduces turn-on time of computer to seconds as they do not have any movable parts. Window based Ultrabooks and premium laptops also come with SSD or Hybrid (SSD and HDD) storage which reduces the loading time of operating system, games and applications drastically , hence providing much improved and efficient performance.
5. Battery :
Battery of a laptop is very important to ensure that you are on-the go all the time. Although laptop manufacturers mention the battery capacity of the device but the actual battery life differs in reality depending on brightness of screen display and what tasks you perform. An average laptop offers a six-cell battery and delivers up to 5-6 hours of battery life depending on the usage. Very few selected models offer a bigger nine-cell battery pack.
Entry-level/Budget Laptops :
These laptops are ideal for students or at home and for this price less than 25k, you will only get free operating system like DOS or Linux . You will have to seperately install windows or MAC.
Price range: Below Rs 20,000
Specifications : Screen size upto 13 inch, Intel Core i3 CPU, 2GB/4GB RAM
Popular Models : Lenovo G50-70 Notebook, Dell Inspiron 3541, HP 14 r113TU Notebook.
Business Laptops :
Price range: Rs 20,000 to Rs 45,000
Specifications : 4GB RAM, Intel Core i3 processor, 13-15 inch screen, 1366×768 pixels
Purpose: Internet surfing, Accessing Emails, transferring images and videos, creating text documents and using basic applications.
Popular Models : Lenovo G50-45 Notebook, Dell Inspiron 15 3542 Notebook, HP 15 r250TU, HP 15 r249TU Notebook.
Price range: Rs 45,000 to Rs 75,0000
Screen size: 13-inch to 15.6-inch
Purpose: Basic operation like web browsing, organizing digital media, office related work, image editing, Audio and Video editing and other business purposes.
Popular Models : HP 15 ac052TX, Dell 5548 Inspiron, HP Pavilion 15 ab032TX, Apple MacBook Pro MD101, Lenovo Ideapad Z510 Notebook.
Premium Laptops :
They are ideal for professionals like photographers and designers.
Price range: Rs 75,000 and above
Specifications : 15.6-inch to 17-inch screen size, Intel Core i5, 4 GB DDR3, Nvidia GeForce GT330M GPU.
Purpose: Best suited for Gaming, video/audio editing, 3D modelling, graphic designing and software development.
Cons : Bulky, heavy (approximately 3kg) and low battery life (less than 5 hours).
Popular Models : HP Envy 15-k204tx Notebook, Dell Inspiron 5558 Intel Core i7 Notebook, Apple Macbook Pro 2015 MF840HN/A.