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Overview

In recent times, a laptop has been a necessity, especially if you are a student, employee or a businessperson. With different designs and hardware, it gets complicated to choose a laptop for yourself. Here, we try to help you understand the various types of laptops and their purpose.

Windows, Mac or Chrome OS?

  1. Windows 10

Windows appears as OS in many makes and model than Chrome OS or Mac OS X, thus making it very flexible and widely available. Windows notebooks range from around Rs. 12,000/- Rs. 1,00,000. They offer a wide array of features like touch screens, fingerprint readers, dual graphic card, etc. Windows 10 is the latest version that is loaded with so much more than Windows 7 or 8.It has completely revamped Start Menu with live tiles and Cortana for digital assistance (only available in few countries). Windows 10 also added new features along the notification area for quick updates for new emails or notifications. They give more assistance to the user and in much simpler way.

  1. Mac OS X EI Capitan

All MacBooks come with Apple’s own operating system i.e. Mac OS X EI Capitan. Overall, this operation system is similar to Windows 10 but has a different user interface. All of its apps are docked at the bottom of the screen which makes for Microsoft’s Start Menu and Taskbar. iPad and iPhone users really appreciate features such as Launch Pad, for your apps, superior multi-touch gestures and ability to make and take the call and sent texts to your iPhone. No MacBook has a touchscreen, so Mac OS X is not virtuously designed for the same.

  1. Chrome OS

Chrome OS is found on Chromebooks that are inexpensive. Google’s OS is simple and secure but has limited use. The user interface is similar to that of Windows 10 with an application menu, desktop, drag and drop of windows, but the main application that you have to use is Chrome. There are not many pre-loaded apps and those that already exist don’t work efficiently. Chromebooks are inexpensive, portable and offer good battery life. Google is working to launch Android-enabled apps, which would clearly make it a lot more useful to the users.

Desktop-to-Tablet or just one?

There are many PCs laptops that have been coming with more than the just clamshell top. The new category of 2-in-1 allows your computer to shift mode between traditional clamshell mode to tablet mode with various angles that you can make your laptop rest in. These flexible laptops bend 360 degrees back on their hinges and are also available with detachable screens. Most of these types serve more than one purpose, the flexible ones offer you superior tablet experience. If you do not want to set the trend of using yoga-flexy laptops, you can always make the most of your money worth from clamshell laptops. The bendable ones have good battery life as well.

Select the Right Size

Before you go around asking for specifications or price, you need to know how big your laptop should be. Do you need to carry it around or as you want it as a PC? Laptops are categorized by the display sizes.

  • 11 to 12 inches: The laptop with these display sizes make for the thinnest and lightest systems and typically weight around 1 to 2 kg.
  • 13 to 14 inches: With this display size you get best usability and portability, particularly if you get a laptop that weighs 2 kg.
  • 15 inches: This is the most preffered size, they weight around 2 to 3.5 kg. Consider this display size if you want a bigger screen and you are not planning to lug it around.
  • 17 to 18 inches: If want a machine specifically for your desk, a then system with 17 to 18 inches display size can provide you with processing power that can help you do workstation-level productivity or provide high-end gaming experience.

Feel that Keyboard and Touchpad

If you plan on doing most of your work on your laptop that includes plenty of writing, see that keys have tactile feedback, plenty of vertical distance (distance that keys down on pressing, typically 1 to 2 mm) and space between the keys.

Try out the touchpad to see that it doesn’t give you jumpy cursor movements and responds to multi-touch gestures like pinching to zoom in and spreading to zoom out. If you are getting it for business purpose, make sure you get one with a nub, that is fitted with G and H keys to navigate around the desktop without even lifting your fingers from the keyboard home row.

Choose your Specifications

There are many components of a laptop that can seem confusing even to an expert eye. Here are some specifications you should look into carefully –

  1. CPU

Central Processing Unit is the brain of the computer. The performance of the unit hugely depends on the kind of work you want it to handle, from a simple inexpensive unit to highly integrated ones.

  • AMD A-Series or Intel Core i3/i5 – If you are looking for a mainstream laptop that works well with less heavy graphics and regular office work, then i5 is for you. Core i3 is a step-down and AMD S Series processors are less common, but still promising similar performances.
  • Intel Core i7 – They are efficient for building a gaming laptop with high-end performances for gaming models and rigs. Models having numbers ending with HQ or K, have four cores and use high wattages, thus making them proficient for faster gaming and productivity.
  • AMD E-Series or Intel Pentium/Celeron – These power low-cost laptops have enough power to work on basic tasks such as emails, video streaming, editing documents and surfing the internet.
  • Intel Atom – Often found on smaller laptops/netbooks or 2-in-1s. It is best for giving basic performances. It also offers more battery power compared to Pentium/Celeron.
  • Intel Core m3/m5/m7 – These processors require low power and thus creates low heat, and so they work with fan-less systems. They are a notch below than Core i3, but better performance than Celeron.
  1. RAM

Earlier, laptops would work proficiently even on 2GB RAM, but gone are those days. Now a better laptop in the same amount comes with 4GB RAM that is good enough for your regular work and professional detailing. You can go for a little higher budget and get an 8GB RAM, which works better with Core i7 in making them a perfect gaming rigs. For most users, 16GB or more is an overkill.

  1. Storage Dive or Hard Disk Drive

What’s more important than speed of your laptop, is the performance of the storage drive. Solid Storage Drives are on the costlier side than internal hard disk, but then you can experience three times the speed and faster laptop overall. If you do not need a ton of internal storage then settle for a laptop with SSD.

  1. Display

Most of the mainstream and budget laptops have 1366 X 768 dpi, but if you can increase your budget, then we suggest to go with a panel that runs on 1920 X 1080 dpi, also known as Full HD or 1080p. Anything higher than this looks utterly lucrative but they consume more power and thus lowering your battery life.

  1. Touch Screen

Clampshell laptops have no advantage of bearing touch screens and you will get 1 to 3 hours of less battery life unless you are opting for 2-in-1s, touch screens come standard.

  1. Graphics Chip

If you are indulging in playing PC games, doing high-res video editing or creating 3D objects, then a discrete graphic processor from Nvidia or AMD is required. As with CPUs, there are both, high-end and low-end graphic chips. If you are not going to do any of the above, then an integrated graphics chip, already sharing with system memory, is more than enough.

  1. DVD/Blue-ray Drives

Nowadays, all movies and software are downloadable, so most laptops come with optical drives. However, if there is a need for read/write CDs and your laptop doesn’t harbour a DVD drive, then you can always buy an external one that connects to USB.

  1. Ports & Connectivity

Latest laptops now have many options to maintain the connectivity with the Internet and other devices. Equipped with latest wireless standards and Bluetooth capabilities, it enables your smartphone, speakers, and other devices to easily sync with your laptop. If you belong to frequent-flyer or the traveller clan, look for a laptop that is compatible with 4G LTE network, so that you can be connected to the internet even without wi-fi hotspot.

Keep an eye for the following ports that help in connectivity with TVs, cameras, and other devices:

  • USB 2.0: Connects with smartphones, MP3 players, cameras, gaming controllers, etc.
  • USB 3.0: Faster data transfer, only when connected with USB 3.0 devices
  • USB Type-C: Provides fast data transfer with versatile power. Having connectors with identical ends that plug in upside down or right-side up.
  • Thunderbolt: Enables fast data transfer between devices featuring Thunderbolt or MiniDisplayPort connection.
  • HDMI: Enables connection for displaying HD media on your flat-screen TV or to a projector.
  • Media-card Slots: Helps in transferring media from SD card of a digital camera or camcorder, onto your laptop, via card reading slot.

Know more about Battery Life

If you are planning on buying something bulky that shall make a home on your desk or table-top near an electric outlet, then you do not have to worry about battery life. But, when you opt to use a laptop that is constantly on the move, then you will want, at least some hours of endurance, while 8 hours being ideal. To determine the expected battery life of a laptop, do not just blindly depend on manufacturer’s words, research around, ask the third party. And in this age of Internet, you can have lots of help from reading reviews on consumer review portals.

Brands the Game!

Your laptop is only as good as the company that stands behind its manufacturing and servicing. The main issue is after-sale maintenance and we believe that you need to check about that with your trusted sources or can even opt for warranty time. There are stores that increase the warranty time period on additional payment.

One last note of caution – While shopping for a laptop always know what you need and what are the major components that are required.

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