Make the decision of which laptop to choose may be difficult, with so many models, brands and prices ranging from less than 200 euros to over 2000 euros.
Looking for “best laptop” on Google is not the best way to find the laptop that suits you the most, because choosing a laptop will depend solely on your needs. So the best laptop for me is not necessarily the best for you (you’ll understand by reading this guide).
In this guide, we’ll cover the most important things to check before buying a laptop, and all the information you’ll need to make sure your new laptop will work exactly as you expect.
The criteria you need to know to choose a good laptop
Each laptop has its own criteria and features, which allow it to offer certain features and meet certain needs. The set of criteria determine the format and power of a computer.
For a computer pro, when you ask him for a laptop with a number of features, he can guess what your new computer will look like.
This buying guide will help you determine which laptop to buy.
In the end you will find our best laptop selections that you can buy in 2018 (according to your needs).
What kind of laptop should I choose?
There are several types of laptops, each designed to meet the needs of a certain audience. At first, you have to choose the type of laptop that suits you, here are the main categories:
Netbook: This is a mini laptop, it is the smallest size of laptop available, and is the most suitable for travelers and also for children.
Standard: Computers in this category have a basic configuration and a large screen. It is perfect for basic use at home.
Ultrabook: these are lightweight and fast laptops, as they have a 13 or 14 inch screen, they offer better mobility.
Chromebook: This is a lightweight laptop that runs on the Chrome OS operating system. It is dedicated for internet-based use, a Chromebook is ideal for students.
Laptop gamer: you may know it. It is a laptop with a powerful configuration, it is specially designed for video games.
Hybrid Laptop: These are the new models of laptops, which come with a touch screen and a detachable keyboard.
What is the shape of your next laptop (weights and dimensions)?
The size of the screen, the type and capacity of the disc (SSD / HDD), and the presence or absence of a CD / DVD drive change the overall size and weight of a laptop. Which will determine the format of the laptop and the size of its screen:
11 to 12 inches: this category includes mini laptops
13 to 14 inches: this category is the Ultrabook laptop. They offer better mobility and good battery life.
15 inches: this is the most common size. The 15-inch laptops have the best compromise between weight, size and ergonomics (keypad).
17 inches and up: This is the largest size, a 17 laptop is heavy, so it’s great for replacing the desktop PC.
The technical features to check to set the configuration of your laptop PCAfter you have an idea of the format of your next laptop (is it an Ultrabook with a 13-inch screen, a standard 17-inch PC, a 11-inch mini PC, etc.), then you need to set the internal component characteristics of your notebook, ie processor, RAM, hard drive, and so on.
Note that these components are crucial in choosing a good laptop because they determine its power and influence its price. Do not be alarmed if it seems complicated to understand the data sheet of a laptop. Here are some explanations below:
The processor (also called CPU) is the most important element that determines the performance of a laptop. There are two brands that manufacture processors: Intel the market leader and its competitor AMD, each brand manufactures a wide range of processors.
To make it simple and without going into the technical details, we can consider three categories:
Entry-level: in this category, we find Core M, Celeron, Pentium or Intel i3 or the CPUs of AMD series A, FX or E. They meet a common use (office automation, surfing the Internet, manage emails , to watch movies).
Mid-range: If you’re looking for a laptop with the best price / performance ratio, go for a mid-range processor like Intel i5 or an AMD Ryzen 5. The mid-range processors perfectly meet an advanced use (video games, photo editing and video editing.)
Top-of-the-line: Intel’s Core i7 and AMD’s ryzen 7 feature high-end processor generation that delivers better performance. If you plan to use your laptop to comfortably play demanding video games, do video editing or use heavy software (3D modeling, animation, emulation), a laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor will be the best choice.
RAM is used to temporarily store the data that will be processed by the processor. For a software to work, its data is loaded and stored on the RAM for processing by the processor. The RAM memory capacity also contributes to the speed of the computer, and allows to run multiple software quickly at a time.
Most new laptops come with 4 GB of RAM, which is enough for simple use (desktop, web browsing, see movies). If you plan to work with resource-intensive programs, you will need at least 8 GB of RAM.
The hard drive
With regard to the hard disk (data storage unit), the choice is not complicated, you only have two criteria:
Disc type: There are two types of discs, traditional (HDD) that uses mechanical discs to store data, they are cheaper and have a large storage capacity (up to 2 TB). The other type is the SSD that stores data on a flash memory just like a USB drive, it is allows much faster access to data than a HDD. A SSD is a bit expensive but it is durable.
Unlike the traditional hard drive, SSD does not heat up and does not generate noise.
Disk capacity: how much storage space will you need? If you do not need a large storage capacity, it is better to opt for a laptop with a SSD type drive rather than an HDD.
The graphics card (or video card)
This is the component responsible for the on-screen display. On both laptops and desktops, there are two types of graphics cards:
Integrated graphics: As the name implies, it is integrated with the processor, and uses RAM to generate the display.
Dedicated graphics card: it is an independent processor card, which has its own memory. It is much more powerful than an integrated graphics card.
If you do not need a computer to play video games, do video editing, or 3D modalisation, an integrated graphics card will do the trick. Otherwise, a dedicated Nvidia or AMD card is required.
All laptops have USB, network and wifi ports to connect to the internet and other devices. But, there are other types of connection ports, which you have to check, and that depends on what you are going to connect to your laptop:
For USB ports, some laptops only have two ports. Another thing, there is not just one type of USB port; USB 3.0 is considerably faster than USB 2.0, and USB Type-C, which is more and more used in new laptops, offers a very high speed of data transfer.
The video port is also important, it allows to connect screens, video projector, TV. HDMI is the most common video output on new laptops.
The mini laptops do not come with a DVD player. If you need it, go for a large model, otherwise you will have to buy an external DVD player.
In addition to size and weight, battery life should be a priority if you plan to travel or carry your laptop frequently. The life of the actual battery is totally different from that indicated by the manufacturers.
To get an idea of the true autonomy of a laptop, check out user reviews and do not trust the promises of the manufacturers.