Planning to buy a laptop? Here’s a checklist to help you choose – Economic Times

1. Processor

While the two main names in processors are Intel and AMD, both offer so many different variants that it can get confusing. Ideally you should get an Intel Core i3 processor at the very least (4th generation onwards). If budget is a constraint or your requirements very basic, then opt for the AMD Apu processors.

2. RAM

The bare minimum RAM available on laptops today is 4GB and this is good enough for most users (except graphics editors and gamers). However, the more the RAM, the better the performance. So if stretching your budget by an extra Rs 1,000 gets you 8GB RAM, go get it.

3. Graphics card

Unless you are into heavy-duty video editing and gaming, you won’t need a dedicated GPU. The on-board Intel and AMD GPU are good enough for basic photoshop and light room usage today. If you are looking for a dedicated GPU on your laptop, make sure that it has at least 2GB of dedicated memory available for better performance.

4. Storage space

500GB to 1TB hard drive is what you will get on laptops today. Do keep in mind that these are 5,400rpm hard drives that are meant for basic day-to-day use. If you want faster performance, get a laptop with SSD or at least one that has a hybrid flash storage for the operating system and a 5400 rpm drive for storage. Opting for an SSD will increase the laptop cost, but the performance gain is worth it.

5. Display size

Laptop screen size ranges from 11.6 inches to 17 inches. The maximum options are available in the 15.6-inch screen size and those are suitable also for most uses. 13.3 or 14-inch devices are ideally recommended as they provide the perfect balance of performance and portability. If you want an ultra portable laptop for browsing, multimedia and document editing, then even the 11.6-inch screen size works.

6. Ports

USB 3.0 is a must-have and go for the laptop that is offering at least two USB 3.0 ports for you. Make sure you have at least 3 USB ports in total. Ethernet, HDMI and SD card readers are other things you should definitely have on your laptop. If you plan to use the laptop to connect with a projector for presentations, then you should also check with a D-sub/VGA port as most basic projectors use those.

7. Operating system

Make sure that you choose a laptop with preloaded Windows. The laptops without OS might appear enticing with low prices but if you choose to install Windows later, it will work out to be more costly. Windows 10 is the latest operating system and it’s much better than Windows 8, so go for a laptop that comes with Windows 10 preloaded.

8. Battery life

If the manufacturer has given a claimed battery back-up time, then we suggest you take it with a pinch of salt. The battery life is usually achieved under certain usage scenario and as different users have different usage, the battery life can be drastically different from what it is claimed. As a thumb rule, take the battery life to be around one hour less than what’s claimed.

9. Brand

Almost every brand now has 8 laptops available from Rs 20,000 onwards. The most preferred names are HP, Dell and Lenovo, but don’t count out the other brands. Asus, Acer and Toshiba also have excellent value for money laptops. At times you might get better specifications at a lower price on these brands and they also have a good after sales service network.

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