Buying a new laptop? We’re sure you’d have a lot of concerns in mind. What brands should I trust? What’s the difference between a netbook and a laptop? What components do I look for? If you’ve decided on the first two questions but got stuck with the third, we can help. We highly recommend you look for these features in your next laptop to be sure you’re getting only the best:
Full HD Screen
Many of us grew up with laptop computers that came with grainy, ill-fitted, and poor screen resolutions, but times are changing. Nowadays, you can easily find a decent 1920×1080 or even higher resolutions on affordable models. We’ve even seen the likes of Acer Aspire E 15 come with a full HD screen at a fraction of the price you’d pay for a Macbook.
Got a little more cash to spare? Give laptops with 4K, ultra-HD (with a ridiculous 3840×2160 resolution) displays a try.
Nvidia Pascal GPU
Perhaps, you’d want to play video games on your spare time. In that case, look for gaming rigs that carry a Nvidia Pascal chip.
Be on the lookout for a Nvidia GTX 1080 or a GTX 1050 chips as they’ll allow you to play AAA games at desktop-class frame rates with the settings turned up. Keep in mind that even the least powerful Pascal GPUs on the market today can easily handle high-end VR applications.
Trust us—these laptops are an absolute beast compared to that high-end, three or four-year-old gaming notebook you own.
We’re lucky we live in a time when 8GB RAM has become a standard on most laptops. Even models with 16GB RAM aren’t lavishly priced either. With that much RAM, you can multi-task better. Imagine opening a dozen tabs on a web browser and playing a video game on the side, all while you’re loading up a movie. We bet you can’t do all these on a 4GB RAM (or less) system without noticing significant lags.
USB Type-C Ports
It may be hard parting ways with laptops having the ever-present USB type-A ports, but there are many reasons why it wouldn’t be such a bad breakup.
To begin with, many of the latest models often come with USB type-C ports and they offer a whole new world of functionality. This connector type can carry data and electricity over a single wire so you can charge your notebook and transfer files all at the same time. You can even use it to output video to external monitors.
Although not all notebooks can power up using USB Type-C, you’d be wise to invest in one that can. You see, this type is an industry standard so you can use the same adapter to charge smartphones and tablets. That’s regardless of the brand.
You should also take note of units that have Thunderbolt 3 ports. They’re fully compatible with type-C devices but support those fast Thunderbolt peripherals. With them, you can readily power up 4K monitors, transfer files to portable backup drives at incredible speeds, and even connect to an external video card. You read that right: laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports can be made into decent gaming machines (if you hook them up with an external graphics solution, of course).
Intel 7th Generation Core CPU
Naturally, you’d want your notebook built with the latest and most powerful processors available. If you’re after an unparalleled performance, get a laptop that comes with Intel’s newest CPUs.
Code-named “Kaby Lake” by the leading PC chip maker, this next generation of processors is capable of playing 4K video and conserving more battery juice. They’re expectedly faster than their predecessors, too.
Not sure if the portable computer you’re eyeing has the Intel 7th Generation Core series processor? Check if the processor serial number shown on the unit’s technical specs begin with 7 (for instance, “Core i5-7200U”)
If you buy a new laptop, it’s most likely built with 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Why? This newer wireless standard gives you speeds three to 10 times faster than older standard even as you move farther from the router.
Although having a notebook with the newer Wi-Fi standard is the first step to boost wireless Internet speeds at home, it’s only half the battle. The other half is to get a router that supports the protocol so you can fully maximize the technology.
Another good reason to get an 802.11ac-capable router? Well, they give your smartphones’ wireless connection an instant speed boost.
Ever owned the latest, high-end smartphone? You probably may have realized how a laptop’s screen quality significantly lags behind that of your smartphone’s. Seems unfair, isn’t it?
Worry not—laptops are slowly catching up in that department. In fact, we’re starting to see models using OLED displays lately (namely, ThinkPad X1 Yoga and Alienware 13). Meaning, their screens are pretty capable of rendering vibrant, crisp, and fine-looking images.
You bet more are headed our way this 2017.
PCIe x4 SSD
Imagine a notebook that rouses from sleep almost instantly, boots faster, and opens programs in a blink of an eye. If that’s the kind of machine you want to lay your hands on, get a new laptop with an SSD (Solid-State Drive).
These aren’t only faster than your mechanical hard drive; they can significantly improve your whole computer experience.
Image Credit: Laineema on Flickr
While scouting for a perfect replacement for your old laptop, see if the one you’re planning to buy come with PCIe x4 SSD. Take note that they may be called NVMe or just PCIe SSD, though.
RealSense 3D Camera
A cool feature you’ll find interesting on Windows 10 is something called Windows Hello. It basically lets you log into your computer just by peering at the screen. You need a new laptop built with an infrared camera (e.g. RealSense 3D camera) for this to work, though.
If the idea intrigues you, search for models that mention such a camera in its specifications. That or see if its label highlights anything like “Windows Hello facial recognition” as one of its features.
By now, we’re sure you’ve heard or seen one. We’re absolutely certain the concept intrigues you as much as it fascinates us, too.
Indeed, these futuristic devices give you the best of both a new laptop and the tablet. Connect it to a touchpad and keyboard and you’d be breezing through desktop tasks (e.g. video editing, Web research, sending emails, etc.) Remove the peripherals and now you have a tablet to tag along with you on your daily commute.
Before you hit the nearest electronics store, keep this list of features in mind. Do that and we’re certain you’ll go home with nothing but the most capable new laptop available.