Published On: Wed, Nov 12th, 2014

7 Things to Look for in Your Next Laptop

One of the best things about the technology hardware market is the choice available to the consumer. It’s also one of the worst things. Where do you start when you want to buy a new laptop? How can you possibly decide which one’s right for you?


Even with a picture of what you want from a laptop, there are many variables. Most technology stores, or even stores with a technological goods section, will have advisers who can take you through the different features of the machine. They can help you to pick out the right machine from a range of portable computers, such as Dell laptops, for the appropriate prices.

But in the meantime, here are the seven areas of main importance.

1. Price range

Only you can calculate what you can spend on a laptop and that won’t just depend on your finances but also on why you’re buying a laptop. For instance, a piece of hardware to use in your business will presumably have a higher premium than something to keep your children away from your current computer. As long as you know which features you’re prepared to make savings on, you can still have a laptop that does a great job, even if it squeezes your budget.

2. Processing power

It probably seems a little obvious, but the amount of processing power you need really is determined by what you’ll use the laptop for. If you’ll be watching films or even editing them, faster processing capabilities will be crucial — less so if you might click on an occasional funny cat Vine but mostly want to use it for writing reports for work. Although a single-core central processing unit (CPU) can have adequate processing power for many needs, you should consider whether a dual-core or larger CPU serves you better, particularly if you’re likely to be playing large media files, gaming or multitasking.

3. Memory

Random access memory (RAM) is the kind of storage in which the information can be directly accessed at any point. To a certain extent, additional RAM increases the speed of applications on your laptop, although the power of the CPU plays such a large part in this, the effect is limited. As more people use their laptops for gaming and downloading large chunks of data, laptops with greater amounts of RAM, from 4GB upwards, have become commonplace. However, if you don’t plan to access large media files or to use many applications, a smaller amount of RAM may be quite sufficient and will certainly save you money.

4. Graphics capabilities

For buyers who will play games or watch films on their laptop, a reliable graphics processing unit (GPU) is vital, together with significant processing power and memory. The GPU is contained on the laptop’s graphics card and you may see both items described as integrated, dedicated or discrete, with the last two descriptions meaning the same thing. The cheaper integrated card is likely to use less power and will prolong battery life but is less efficient for gaming or extensive design purposes. The integrated card accesses the laptop’s RAM, using up to 5 per cent of the total available memory, whereas the dedicated card can access its own store of memory, which means it won’t slow down the system as you use it. This makes the dedicated GPU more suitable for gamers.