Thursday, 13 June, 2024

Things to consider before buying a laptop


Pratima Adhikari

Laptop is an essential part of almost everyone’s life. If you are a student or a gamer or a businessman, you would relate to this a lot. And getting a laptop for yourself is not as easy as it may seem. They are far more complex than smartphones or presumably any other gadget. And the confusion is not just about which brand’s laptop to get because, one particular laptop might have more than five configurations.
So, well you’ve got to think about a lot of things before going in a store to buy yourself your new workstation. Here are a few tips which can help you choose better.
Purpose: What do you need a laptop for is the first thing you need to think about.
If you are someone who needs a laptop for doing assignments, or writing papers or in general, the things you do with Google Chrome and a Word document, then you absolutely don’t need anything powerful. In fact, an Ultrabook with the modest of specs will do for you.
On the other hand, if you require a laptop for purposes like making designs, editing videos, creating animations or gaming for that matter, you need something more powerful (more on it later in the article).

Well, budget could have been the most important thing on this list, but its significant that you think about the purpose first because that is going to give you a direction to spend. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t need powerhouse of a laptop and a simple one with modest specs will do for you, you can cap your spending to eighty thousand. However, if you are looking to get yourself a gaming laptop than the most budget starts from around one lakh here in Nepal.
Similarly, there are ones for the content creators that are expensive as well. They too, start from over a lakh. Generally, people who are engineers or gamers or video editors go also for slightly more powerful ones as they have to run various heavy programs.
Now, size is a totally subjective thing. Generally, if you carry around your laptop a lot, you need something light, something that weighs under 2 kgs so that it is portable enough for you to take it to office or college or anywhere else. But if you don’t need to carry your laptop around a lot, you can go for something more prominently heavy. Plastic-build laptops are lighter in comparison to metal or aluminum. Apart from the material, size can also make your laptop heavy or light. For example, if your laptop is above 15-inches in size, its going to be heavier than something that is 13-inches.
Usually gaming laptops are thick, bulky and heavy because they need to pack a lot of stuff inside to keep the laptop from heating much. A normal laptop is not heavy, generally because it only has what’s necessary. There is a middle ground to this as well, because some laptops are powerful enough for editing stuff but not very heavy as well like the Dell XPS 15 or the MacBook Pro 15, etc.

Now this is one of the most important aspects that no matter if you are buying a laptop for general usage or professional usage or gaming, need to be thought about. In a smartphone, the CPU, the GPU, the RAM, everything is on a single chip, known as the SoC. But in laptops, things are slightly different. All of them have their separate space and don’t function as a single unit.
Processor is the main part of a laptop, also known as the brain of a computer. There are various iterations of processors from different manufacturers, namely, Intel and AMD. But Intel is the one that is the most popular. There is Intel i3, i5, i7 and i9, where each iteration is a successor. In layman terms, you can understand this as, each successor is better than its predecessor, because the company ensures better efficiency with every new generation.
The second thing is a GPU. Not everybody needs to do powerful tasks, hence, not everyone needs to have a separate GPU in their laptops. Usually GPU comes integrated in the CPU in non- gaming laptops, which works fine for normal tasks. However, gaming laptops need a separate GPU to handle the gaming and graphics department. GPUs also have different generations, the one that has been there is Nvidia’s GTX graphics. The company also has updated those to RTX graphics that support features like Ray Tracing (it enhances gaming performance by making shadows and movement look more prominent).
Next, we have RAM. Usually, there can be single or multiple slots for RAM in a laptop, but it’s always advisable to get a dual-channel RAM, which means that you put RAM in two slots of equal caliber. For example, if you want 16GB of RAM in your laptop, its advisable to go for 8+8GB combination rather than a single stick of 16GB. For normal usage, RAM up to 16 GB is quite enough, but if you do something that needs a lot of multitasking at once, you can go for more.

Just like your smartphone, you need storage in your laptops as well. Traditionally, Hard disk drives (HDD) were very popular, but they have lost their popularity these days mainly because of the fact that they are mechanical in nature and are more prone to damage. To replace them, we have Solis State Drives (SSD) that are non- mechanical and offer faster speeds than HDDs. However, SSDs are very expensive in comparison to HDDs because of which some people still go for HDDs. But, if you want things in moderation, you can choose to have both in your laptop, provided that the laptop comes with a M.2 slot.

You cannot overlook the fact that, your laptop needs to run on power and that is fulfilled by a battery. To understand simply, the bigger the battery size in laptops, the better. But the battery life does not only depend on the size particularly, it also depends upon the processor (how power hungry your processor is) and your usage. Usually, gaming, rendering, watching movies and editing consume more battery than browsing the internet or preparing reports. So, sometimes, even if you have a relatively smaller battery capacity, it can give you better battery life.