Laptops: 8 Things to Know Before Getting a New One

New Year, new laptop! The second semester is rapidly approaching, if it hasn’t already arrived for some. The turning of a new academic page is the perfect excuse to upgrade to a new computer or get your first if you’re tired of camping out in the university library. Here’s what to look for when you're buying a new computer and a selection of the top laptops for 2019.

 

Features of laptops

Price

Though not a technical specification of the laptop in question, the budget you’re allocating towards buying a new computer does determine and greatly limit the type and caliber of computer you’ll have available. Despite the plethora of new models flooding the market every couple of weeks, a computer is still an investment purchase. A cheaper laptop may come at the expense of smooth design or more extensive operative system.

Memory

Memory is pretty straightforward: how much space is there on the computer to store the various documents, programs and files you plan on having. If you can, opt for a solid state drive instead of a physical hard drive. Though SSDs don’t offer a lot of internal storage, they’re great for performance and the overall speed of the device. Large SSDs do tend to be more on the pricier end. Look for at least 4GB of RAM and ideally 8 GB if you’re planning on editing videos or photos.

Weight and portability

You’re probably going to need to take your laptop with you to class or around campus. Naturally, you should gravitate towards lighter models between 1-2kgs. Anything above 2 kgs becomes a serious burden for your back and completely impractical to carry around with you all day. Not to mention the fact that most heavier models tend to have wider screens which means that on top of being heavier they also take up a lot of space. Another important spec that factors into portability is battery life. More performance heavy laptops tend to have shorter battery life and longer lasting batteries tend to be on heavier models, though this isn’t always the case.

Screen size

Though most computer screen sizes span from 10 in to 17in, the golden mean for laptop screen size tends to be between 13 and 15 inches. 11in screens are small and have to be adapted to but come with the added bonus of ultraportabiity and being on the cheaper end of the price spectrum. On the other hand, 17in screens are definitely too large to be comfortably carried around and are staples of most heavy-duty gaming laptops. Mid-sized screens are a comfortable alternative as they are both versatile and easily readable.

Connectivity

Depending on the size of your laptop you’ll get more or less options for connecting additional devices to it. Are you looking for a CD/DVD player? Most ultra-portable models don’t have a built-in drive, so you’ll probably have to get a USB player.

 CPU for laptops

Processing power

The most common processors are Intel. You should settle with at least an Intel Core i3 chip, but ideally find a model with the i5. Models that end in U combine low voltage with efficiency and are the best value for how long they’ll keep your computer running up to speed.

What will you use it for?

Chances are you’re not planning on simply writing a couple term papers and using only Word and your internet browser of choice. The functions your computer will serve largely determine and define its possible specifications. Are you a neither hardcore gamer nor studying game design? Then a state-of-the-art gaming computer might not be the best fit. Planning on doing some hardcore photo and video editing? Then you should pay attention to the graphics and range of colors the computer can display.

Operating System

Apple

Whether or not you’re an Apple fangirl (or boy) largely determines your laptop budget and the choices you have available to you. Apple isn’t necessarily the most financially accessible brand out there though both the 2018 Macbook Air and Macbook Pro are some of the best computers of 2018.

Chrome OS

Though they are limited to web-based apps, Chromebooks are easy to use and hard to infect with malware. Some models like the Asus Chromebook Flip combine affordability with the premium offerings of higher end chromebooks.

2 in 1 tablet laptops

Windows

Windows doesn’t really need a presentation. Most laptops run on Windows and it has the added advantage of offering both entry-level and premium computers.

 

Best Laptops for 2019

Without further ado, here are our recommendations for students laptops for 2019! This list was compiled in reference to the evaluations of the following tech review magazines: Cnet, Tech Radar, PC mag , Trusted Reviews and Wired.

 

You can check all of the recommended laptops out on Coolblue to learn more about them.

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