Laptop for Christmas?

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Christmas can be a good time to purchase a new laptop.  Retailers often provide great offers to tempt you into buying a shiny new laptop.  But as with everything, price is not the same as value.  Buy cheap, and you may find your purchase to be anything but of value to you.  It’s important that you think carefully before making what can be a very expensive purchase.

In addition, with the Covid 19 situation, more and more people are having to work from home and having the best equipment for your requirements is becoming more important.

So what are the important things to consider when purchasing a new laptop?

  • Memory (or RAM): the more memory a machine has, the quicker the machine will run.  If you are someone who likes to have many tabs open on your browser, or several programs running at the same time, or work with graphic programs (eg Photoshop), then you will need to consider laptops with NO LESS than 8 GB of RAM.  If you are someone who uses their laptop to browse the net, write the odd email and not much else, then you could get away with a laptop with 4 GB of RAM.  But be aware, the performance (speed) of this machine will never be particularly great.
  • Processor: the processor is like the engine of a car.  A bigger engine, generally means a faster car and the same applies to processors.  There are many different types of processors and for this article, I will only be mentioning the Intel type of processor.  The Intel family of processors of interest start with the i3, then there is the i5, i7 and the i9 processor. Within these processors are “generation” of i3/i5/i7/i9.  The later the generation, the more efficient the processor is (this will impact your battery – the more efficient a processor, the longer it will run on the battery alone).  Generally speaking, I recommend people look at i5 processors as an entry level, unless your budget is very low.
  • Hard disk: There are 2 types of disk that you need to consider when buying a laptop: a standard hard disk or a Solid State Drive (SSD).  Generally speaking, the SSD will have less storage space than standard hard disks.  However, the distinct advantage the SSD has over the standard hard disk is their speed.  Booting up with an SSD is lightening quick.  The costs of SSDs are coming down as more people choose this option, and with this, their storage capacity has improved.  An SSD also allows users with small budgets to purchase a laptop that can still be fairly fast.  Previously, low budget users often had to compromise on speed.  Now, it is possible, if you don’t need much storage space, to have a nippy machine on a low budget.  Some laptops will come with 2 disks: a small SSD for the operating system (meaning the machine will boot up quickly) and also a 1TB standard hard disk for user data.  The other benefit of this setup, is that rebuilding the operating system (Windows), is much more straightforward as your data is stored on a different disk to the operating system.

If you would like some advice before making your purchase, or you would like me to source you the best laptop for your budget, please give me a call and we can have a chat and talk through your options.  0785 509 2227 info@jennysys.co.uk.  Remember: a laptop is not just for Christmas, it can be for a number of years if you make the right decision now.

2 thoughts on “Laptop for Christmas?”

  1. Really helpful article Jenny.
    The other element to address is not so much the make of computer but the type.
    In other words, choosing between Windows, Apple or, as I have done, the fast growing Chromebook sector.
    Each one has its pros & cons of course. After decades with Windows, I went to Chromebook for speed, security and reliability.
    Now that more of us are online, and with faster wi-fi, it is a more than acceptable choice.
    After a year, I haven’t really found any downsides – apart from getting used to a very different environment. Fortunately, Google support is blisteringly good.
    Regards, Richard

    1. Hi Richard

      Many thanks for taking the time to write a comment Richard. And you are absolutely correct – I had forgotten about the different types of computers that people can buy. To be honest, though, I would never recommend Apple equipment unless the user was a high-end graphics person as otherwise, they will be buying a piece of equipment that is very expensive for what it does. I’m not a huge fan of Apples and only work with Windows. Chromebooks are good too if you have a low budget. However, they do have their restrictions on what can be downloaded and what can run on the devices. But agree, they are very quick and stable machines.

      Regards

      Jenny

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