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Choosing the right laptop

Updated on January 22, 2015


When you want to buy a laptop, you would never want to buy one which is not suitable for you or your child. Getting the wrong one can be really troublesome. It gets on your nerves and you can hardly replace it with a new one. Even if you can, the money could have been better use on some other things which you desire. A laptop does not work its way like a desktop computer. There are not many things which you can upgrade, especially its graphic card, motherboard or processor, as these are integrated within its main board.

Reaching the current technology, laptops have been separated into a few categories - laptop, notebook, netbook and ultrabook. Generally, netbook is smaller than notebook, and notebook is smaller than laptop. Ultrabook, on the other hand, is a slimmer laptop. Nevertheless, it would be easier to just refer all as laptop. There are many aspects to look at when you plan to buy a laptop for yourself, or maybe for someone whom you love and care. It is not just the price that matter.

What is RAM?

Random-access memory(RAM) is a form of computer data storage. It is a volatile memory that is used by the computer's system to run a process.It is not similar to read-only memory (ROM). For RAM, it stores the data which tells your computer what to do, unlike ROM which stores the data which tells your computer how to work. To make this simple, let me give you an example. When you want to kick a ball, you use RAM to order your body to do so. Whereas for ROM, it is the process occurring in your leg - tendons, muscles, nerves,etc.

When you turn off your computer, all of the data stored in the RAM will be lost. This is because it is different from hard-disk, where the data stays permanently unless you delete it intentionally. RAM is mainly used to help in running your computer. The higher the RAM, the better your system will be improved, enabling you to have a smoother performance in multitasking and free of lags!


What is Processor?

A processor is also known as Central Processing Unit(CPU). It interprets computer program instructions and processes data. Also, it determines the importance of each task in your computer and prioritise them according to your computer needs and capabilities. A processor's speed is measured in Hz (hertz). So, if your processor has higher frequency/hertz, then this means that your computer will run in a higher speed.


What is Graphic Card?

A graphic card(also called a video card, video adapter, display card, graphics card, graphics board, display adapter or graphics adapter) is required for everything you do on your computer. If you do not have any graphic card in your computer, then you would not see anything.The memory capacity of most modern video cards ranges from 128MB to 8GB. Since video memory needs to be accessed by the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and the display circuitry, it often uses special high-speed or multi-port memory. Video memory is typically based on the DDR technology. Manufacturers now move towards DDR2, GDDR3,GDDR4,GDDR5.


What do you do with your laptop?

To game? Work? Enjoy movies and musics? Photos editing and design? The answer will affect your decision the most. Different activity requires different specification of laptops.These specifications mainly revolve around the RAM, processor, graphic card, size, weight, battery life, design and warranty.


Games now are becoming quite graphic-heavy. The high competition in gaming industry is causing games to be improving tremendously, mainly the graphics. Most games now, allows you to customise almost everything - shadows, texture, character quality, etc. So, a good graphics card(the main thing for gaming/designing) is required. Gaming graphic cards are normally Nvidia and AMD. Also, the size for gaming laptops is normally 15.6'' or 17''. However, 17'' may be too big and a little of inconvenience - it will be fun though, with such big screen. A generous amount of RAM and a good processor is highly recommended too to ensure the smoothness in playing games. The reason designing falls under the same category with gaming is that designs courses like graphics art and computer design do need a good graphics card. So, normally you can just opt for a gaming laptop if you are designing.


Movies and Music

If you are a movie fan and mainly use your laptop for this category, then it would be advisable to search for a laptop with DVD/Blu-ray drive. You don't really need an extremely good graphic cards or a 16GB RAM laptop as you're not into gaming. Getting a moderate laptop with a Blu-ray drive would be good enough for you to lead a smooth routine of movie marathon. You may need to choose a good processor for a smoother system performance on your laptop. It is also no harm for you to get a laptop with a good sound system, like beatsaudio in ASUS laptops. Nevertheless, you can always get a good speaker to enhance your movie and music experience.


Work and Travel

For a smoother work experience, it is definitely encourageable for you to have a high-speed processor. However, the main thing I would suggest to be set as the main priority for this category would be the battery life of the laptop. This is due to that working and travelling involves a lot of situation where you would be using your laptop without plugs. Therefore, a good battery will prevent you from any undesirable disruption of your work. It is highly suggested for you to choose a laptop that has at least 6 hours battery life. Furthermore, it would also be convenient to have a lightweight laptop - be it a netbook or an ultrabook. The weight of the laptop definitely plays a big part in your life if you are always carrying your laptop with you.

Specification priority
High RAM(16GB), High-speed processor, good graphic card, large screen
Movies and Music
DVD/Blu-ray drive, large screen, 1TB HDD, high-speed processor,
Work and Travel
Long battery life, lighweight, small screen, high-speed processor
The basic priority of the respective categories

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