Best Laptop Interactive Buying Guide 2024

Choosing the right laptop can be tricky. There are so many choices in terms of size, setup, design, and cost, making it hard to decide. You don’t want to rush into buying one because it’s an important investment that should last a long time.

This guide will help you understand what’s important when picking a laptop. We’ll also give you some suggestions to make sure you choose the right one from the start.

We’ll talk about some important things to look for in a laptop, depending on how you plan to use it. Here are the main features we’ll cover:

  • The operating system
  • The processor
  • The amount of RAM (memory)
  • Storage space
  • The size of the screen, its resolution, and how heavy the laptop is

Key takeaways:

  • Get a processor that suits what you do, like Intel Core i3 for basics, i7 for regular stuff, or i9 for heavy tasks.
  • Make sure your laptop has enough memory (RAM) to run smoothly—4GB for basics, 8GB for normal stuff, and 16GB or more for extensive jobs.
  • If you play games or design stuff, you might want a laptop with better graphics, like Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon.
  • Go for a solid-state drive (SSD) over a regular one if you want your laptop to work faster and not break as easily. SSD laptops are 2 to 35x faster.
  • If you can, get a laptop with better specs, it stays useful for longer as software updates and needs change.

If you pay close attention to these details, this guide can help you find the perfect laptop for your needs.

Operating System

Each and every notebook that you buy will definitely have an operating system (OS). This is the software that makes the laptop function and enables you to use other applications, such as web browsers and apps.

Microsoft’s Windows 11 powers most of the laptops. You can get it on a wide range of laptops, from cheap ones to expensive premium products.

Apple’s MacBook laptops use macOS. Like other Apple products, they’re known for their style and high prices. In the past, there were more apps for Windows than for macOS, but nowadays, it’s not as big of a difference, except for gaming.

Google’s ChromeOS powers Chromebooks. They mostly interact with web apps and some Android apps. They are great if you need something simple, especially when you have so many Google services like Google Drive on your hands.

Linux is not very common on laptops. It’s great for business purposes, but you can’t really use it for browsing the internet or playing games personally. Even though it’s popular for internet servers worldwide, there aren’t many laptops that come with Linux already installed.

Processor:

The processor is like the “brain” of your laptop, but figuring out how much power you need can be tricky. Newer processors are usually faster than older ones. For example, a 13th generation Intel Core i7 is faster than a 10th generation Core i7.

If you just need a laptop for basic stuff like browsing the web or checking email, a laptop with an Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 5000 chip is enough. If you need to do more, like for work or fun, you’ll want something like an Intel Core i7 13th Gen or AMD Ryzen 6000/7000 chip.

For heavy tasks like video editing or gaming, go for an Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 7000 system, but they might cost more.

Intel’s chips are labeled like “Core i7-11390H”, where the first two numbers show the generation. So, “11390H” is an 11th generation chip. AMD chips work similarly; “AMD Ryzen 5 7600X” is a Ryzen 5 chip of the 7th generation.

Apple’s MacBooks all use Apple’s own processors, called “M” silicon. The M1 is the first generation, and the M2 is newer and faster. M series processors with names like Max, Pro, or Ultra are even more powerful but cost more, mainly for professionals.

RAM:

When you’re searching for the best laptops in 2024, another important thing to think about is RAM. RAM holds temporary data for the apps you use on your laptop. The bigger the RAM, the more data it can handle, so your laptop runs smoother.

You can think of RAM as your workspace. If your workspace is small and cramped, things can get messy. It’s the same with RAM; with less RAM, you can’t do many things at once. You can’t open lots of tabs on your web browser, and your laptop might freeze up.

For home use, 4GB of RAM will suffice. Anything less would make your computer very slow, especially for Windows users. On the other hand, 8GB would be good enough for general-purpose use, while 16GB RAM works better on things like large spreadsheets, videos, or games.

If you do things like coding or video editing, you use powerful tools and apps. So, if you work with these kinds of software, you should have at least 16 or 32 GB of RAM. This helps your computer run smoothly without any problems.

ChromeOS and macOS require different amounts of RAM. Since ChromeOS does much online work, it usually requires less memory. For normal tasks on macOS, however, you can easily get away with only having an 8GB RAM system; however, if you decide to edit videos or undertake other heavy tasks, then you might require a 16GB one.

Some laptops, especially thin ones like MacBooks, have RAM that’s stuck to the system. That means you can’t add more RAM later on.

Graphic processing unit (GPU):

Gamers and graphic designers need the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). In case you are a user of these types, choose the right graphics card. This may be done by upgrading the Graphics Processing Unit to suit your requirements.

Laptop GPUs can come in two clear categories, depending on budget and need. Integrated GPUs will be available on both Intel and AMD-based laptops; these are good enough for everyday use, low-end gaming, and video work.

Most of the Intel-based systems come with GeForce or Nvidia graphics cards, which are known to be energy efficient and also perform well. AMD’s GPUs, commonly referred to as Radeon, come into play too. The latter is renowned for reliability.

Storage:

Think of storage as your computer’s memory. It’s where you keep all your stuff, like files, photos, and videos. But don’t confuse it with RAM, which is temporary memory.

Laptop storage these days is usually measured in either GB (Gigabytes, or 1024MB) or TB (Terabytes, 1024GB).

Simply put, a normal phone photo saved on your laptop can be within the range of 2-4MB. Therefore, you would assume that any size would do as far as laptop storage is concerned.

Like an operating system for instance, Windows 11, which requires about 27GB, and other files and apps, all this has to be stored on a laptop’s hard drive to facilitate its operation.

Decide on what kind of hard drive you want. Inexpensive laptops frequently come with mechanical hard drives that have moving parts and tend to be slower.

However, solid-state drives (SSDs) are becoming more popular because they’re faster and less prone to failure. For instance, as we discussed in the article, how to make laptop fast, upgrading from HDD to SSD can make the laptop 2x to 35x faster.

But, these are generally more expensive but provide improved performance. In this guide, you can also understand how much storage you need for your laptop.

Choose the right size, color and design:

Screen sizes are pretty easy to understand. They’re measured in inches diagonally across the screen. Smaller laptops usually have screens around 12 to 14 inches, while bigger ones can be 15 to 17 inches or even bigger.

The color of your laptop is important because it affects how it looks overall. You want a color that matches your style and job and looks good to you.

For example, gamers often like black or grey laptops with cool designs. But you don’t have to pick those colors if you don’t want to. It’s all up to what you like.

Resolution is another thing to think about. It’s the number of tiny dots on the screen, like pixels on your TV. Cheaper laptops might have HD screens with 1366×768 pixels. Spending a bit more gets you a Full HD or 1080p screen with 1920×1080 pixels. If you’re really splurging, you can go for a 4K screen with 3840×2160 pixels.

What’s best for you depends on what you use your laptop for. If you just do basic stuff like documents and web browsing, HD is fine. But if you work with photos, videos, or games, you might prefer 1080p or even 4K. Gamers also need to think about how fast the screen refreshes.

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