How to Choose a Laptop as a Home Computer?
Today’s laptop market is flooded with models with prices from 300$ up to 5000$, with a huge amount of varying components, so choosing one is not so easy task. Here are a few tips on how to choose a good laptop for your daily tasks at home such as browsing the web, low-end gaming, watching movies and maybe a little work. We’ll start from the most important things as performance, price, battery and go down to less important stuff like resolution and size.
For a home computer, you don’t need a high-performance laptop, but it still has to perform good enough for your daily tasks. We’ll point out a few tips for every component so you can choose wisely without too much knowledge and details.
- Cores count – today most cheap laptops will come with dual core CPU’s, but for a few more dollars you can get a Quad core CPU which will perform much better.
- Don’t get a laptop with an Intel Atom CPU or AMD E Series CPU– those may seem like a good deal as they’re cheap, but it’s a real pain using such laptops as those CPU’s will struggle with every a little more demanding software.
- AMD or Intel – for a home computer (laptop) it doesn’t really matter so much.
- CPU Speed – try to avoid processors running below 1.6Ghz.
The only thing we can say here is to get a laptop with at least 4GB of memory. More is better, but 4GB will be enough for your daily tasks.
If you’re not going to play any more demanding games than it doesn’t matter what video card the laptop will arrive with.
If you wish to be able to play some of the more demanding games, you must look for a dedicated video card instead of an integrated one. This will, however, bump the price a little bit.
In 2017 an SSD hard drive is a must for every computer, whether it is a laptop or a desktop. The other option is to search for a laptop with an SSHD which is a Hybrid drive.
- If you choose one with an SSD – the SSD needs to be at least 120GB, anything less is not enough for your windows installation and some software
- SSHD – it’s a little hard to find a laptop with SSHD at the moment for some reason. You can get a laptop with a normal HDD and buy an SSHD to replace it. SSHD’s are pretty cheap – 1TB costs around 60$ and will boost the overall performance of your laptop significantly.
- HDD only – if you don’t want to spend a little more, at least look for a 7200rpm hard drive as 5400rpm ones are a little outdated and will slow your system a lot.
All the performance factors above are affecting the price a lot. If you’re following our advice about them, you can get a decent laptop for around 400$-450$. You can spend less if you want, but cheaper laptops are really good enough only for browsing the web and watching movies. They’ll struggle with everything else. A laptop is not a one-day investment and just like every other technology, it’s better to spend a little more to get a decent laptop which will work good enough for all your daily tasks.
The performance is the most important thing if you ask us. But most people care about other factors even more, so here are some tips.
Screen size & Resolution
For good usability and experience, you need at least 13″ laptop. Everything smaller gets uncomfortable for usage.
When it comes to resolution, most cheaper laptops are using 1366 x 768 which is ok. Full HD (1920×1080) is entering the market strong as well, but everything looks too small on this resolution on laptops under 15.6″, so consider that when you’re buying. Of course, you can choose a smaller resolution if everything is too small for you.
If you’re going to use the laptop a lot on battery it has to be good enough. There are laptops for everything and every laptop has different battery life, so check out what the manufacturer says about the life. Here’s what affects battery life the most:
- CPU – today most low-end CPU’s are very power efficient, but let’s mention the i3 / i5 / i7 series here. If you have chosen a laptop with such processor, there is a letter “U” (like i5-5200U for example) at the end of the model which means that the CPU is very energy efficient, but have in mind that the performance of those CPU’s is lower
- AMD or Intel CPU – generally Intel’s CPU’s are more energy efficient than AMD’s
- Memory – in the last 1-2 years there’s a new type of mobile memory with a letter “L” after the type (like DDR4L). This letter just like the processors stands for low power memory.