We know that when you’re picking out a laptop it can be tough. There’s so much to think about, how do you know you’re getting the right one? That’s where we come in! Our useful buying guide will take you through all the different types of laptops, their features, and their functions to make sure you find the perfect one for you.
Windows laptops give you all of the features that you know and love in a sleek and modern design. They’re perfect for work and play.
Chromebooks are fast, simple and secure laptops. And when it comes to saving files, instead of blocking up the hard drive, you can store everything online in the Cloud. Simple.
2-in-1 laptops give you the best of both worlds. Use the laptop as normal or fold it flat and use the touch screen like a tablet.
Get a premium experience with our range of MacBooks. Coming in a stylish design, they give you next-level performance.
Want to game on-the-go? It couldn’t be easier with our range of gaming laptops. Filled with the latest tech, you can play the latest games wherever you are.
If you’ve ever used a PC before, then chances are you’ve used Windows. One of the most common operating systems, it lets you explore your documents, use applications and browse the internet with ease. It’s also the preferred choice for gaming.
MacOS is an operating system that’s exclusive to Apple, so you’ll only find it on Apple MacBooks. Coming with a sleek interface that has a simple layout, it’s perfect for professionals. Optimised for design with Photoshop and InDesign seeing improved performance, it also works seamlessly with other Apple products.
One of the latest operating systems, Chrome can be found on all Chromebook laptops. It keeps things simple while being speedy and secure. If you’ve ever used a smart phone before, then you’ll have no problem getting used to the unique operating system.
When looking at screen size, it’s all about finding what’s best for you. The compact 12-14” screens are great for when you want your laptop to be ultra-portable. The screen size might be smaller, but it means the laptop takes up less space while still letting you work. If you want a laptop to use daily, then a 14-16” screen is perfect. You can see more on screen, so it’s ideal for browsing or watching shows. If you’re into gaming or you need a laptop for work, then you might want to consider looking at 16”+ screens. By seeing the most, you get an advantage in game and it allows you to have more work open at once without losing track. It comes down to what you’d prefer.
How do you get the most from your laptop? By making sure it has the best possible specs for you. If you don’t know much about specs or tech, don’t worry. We’re going to cover the main areas you need to focus on when picking out a new laptop: the processor, the memory, the storage, and the graphics.
The processor, sometimes called a CPU (Central Processing Unit), works to carry out every task your computer does. It’s essentially the laptop’s brain. The aim of the processor is to run programs as quickly as possible. Inside each processor are ‘cores’, and the general rule is the more cores it has, the more tasks it can handle at once.
Intel are processor heavyweights that let you multitask with ease. Their Core™ i9 processors are their most powerful and are perfect for handling the latest games or video editing software. If you’re looking to future proof your laptop, the Core™ M, i3, i5, and i7 processors are a must-have for years of multitasking performance. For quick web browsing and smooth app use, the Pentium & Celeron processors are ideal. For smaller devices, the Atom® is the perfect entry level processor with fasting loading speed and prolonged battery life.
Most of AMD’s processors are APUs (accelerated processing units), which means they are a processor and graphics card in one. That means you can enjoy clear visuals without the need for a separate graphics card. Very handy. The most popular AMD processors are from the Ryzen series. They give you amazing performance that can keep up with gamers, professionals and content creators.
Memory is often referred to as RAM (Random-access memory) and works by storing requests before the processor picks them up to be carried out. If you’ve ever had a program struggle to run, or stutter at times, that’s usually because the laptop doesn’t have enough RAM. If you’re using a laptop for general tasks like browsing the internet, watching videos or using a word processor, you’ll be fine with between 4 to 6GB of RAM. But if you’re using your laptop professionally or for a creative purpose, 8GB is best for editing software and gaming. You’ll only ever need 16GB or more for running ultra-demanding, state of the art programs.
Want to optimise your memory? Learn about Intel® Optane™
An HDD, more commonly known as a hard drive, gives you plenty of space to store photos, videos, games, and important system data like your operating system. Almost all laptops will have a hard drive in some form. A 1TB (terabyte, 1,000 gigabytes) hard drive will allow you to store millions of photos along with plenty of films, games and much more.
An SSD (solid-state drive) functionally does everything that a hard drive does, but it’s much quicker and more reliable. An SSD doesn’t have any moving parts, unlike the HDD, so it’s less likely to wear down over time. The trade off with an SSD is that they have a smaller storage space than an HDD.
Ever wanted the best of both worlds? Then you need an SSHD (solid-state hybrid drive). Combining the best features of an SSD and HHD, you can get quick and reliable data access while still getting the most storage space possible.
An eMMC falls in between HHDs and SSDs. It is a more affordable and slightly slower version of an SSD, but it has the benefit of having more storage space than regular SSDs.
Laptops will have a graphics card or chip that works to give you the visuals you need for playing games, watching films, or just using the computer in general. There are two types of graphics card, integrated and GPU. An integrated graphics card will let you carry out regular tasks such as web browsing and using Office applications – it’s the minimum that every computer needs. However, if you’re a gamer, designer and video editor, a GPU graphics card will be needed to give them more power to handle more demanding tasks with ease.
While hardware is the physical parts of a laptop, software is the programs and operating information used by it. One of the main bits of software that you will use every day is the operating system. This will come pre-installed on every computer and allows you to use the laptop from the moment you turn it on. Every laptop will also come with anti-virus protection pre-installed, but you may want to buy some additional security software to make sure your desktop is covered. Another bit of essential software that comes in handy for both personal and professional use is Microsoft Office – with Word, PowerPoint, Excel and much more. You can now get Office through the Microsoft 365 subscription service.
Whether you’re at home or on-the-go, it’s always good have a set up for your laptop. You can get the surround sound experience with speakers or a headset, while having a mouse that gives you more control when you have the space. Then you can take it all with you wherever you go with a case or bag. If you want to find accessories that will work seamlessly with your laptop, trying shopping by brand.
We’ve listed some of the main reasons why an ultraportable laptop is the way forward
This guide covers all you need to know about Asus Chromebooks
This guide covers all you need to know about Samsung’s Galaxy Book laptops
This guide covers all you need to know about Intel® Evo™ laptops
This depends on what you will be using your laptop for, but in general it’s best to look specifically at the processor, memory, storage and graphics. If you’re looking for a laptop for general use, you only really need to focus on the processor and storage space. But if you want a laptop for gaming or creative tasks, you’ll also need enough RAM and a powerful enough graphics card to run certain programs and games.
All of our laptops offer different things, so it’s just about finding the one that does what you’re looking for. Windows laptops are very familiar to most people; Chromebooks can be great for students who enjoy the mobile-like interface; 2-in-1 laptops are perfect for those that like to get creative; Macbooks give you a premium experience in a sleek package; and gaming laptops are quite literally made for games.
This depends entirely on what you want to do with your laptop. Generally, a larger screen is better as it allows you to see more, but there are benefits to different screen sizes. A 12-14” screen is quite compact and is useful if you need a laptop that’s ultra-portable. If you want a laptop for general day-to-day use, then 14-16” is the standard, but if you need a laptop for creative work or gaming, 16+” allows you to see more and fit more on screen at once.
A 2-in-1 laptop combines a laptop and tablet into one device. They can be really powerful, while still being portable and flexible, so they’re ideal for working on-the-go. Usually, they have detachable keyboards or a touchscreen that folds all the way back. That means it’s easy to hold, and you don’t need to be sat at a desk to be productive - you can walk and still do what you need to.
With a laptop, ideally you want the battery that will last for several hours at a time. Battery life on laptops can range from 4 hours up to 20 hours, but it depends on what you’re using your laptop for. Battery life will drain quicker when gaming as opposed to browsing the web, for example. If you need to stay portable for longer, its worth getting a laptop that can last for around 10 hours.
The amount of storage you need depends on what you use your device for. 128 GB is good for a phone or a tablet, but for laptops, it’ll slow down if you start to fill it. 256 GB is plenty for general use on a laptop, while 500 GB is better for work or gaming. If you use your laptop/PC for heavy duty work like video editing and digital art or you’re serious about gaming, then you would be better with 1TB.
There are several ways to do this. If your laptop and the device you want to connect is Bluetooth compatible, then you can transfer files and information wirelessly. Another way to keep connected if by having your device and laptop both connected to the same cloud storage – allowing you to easily access files on both. The most common way to physically connect a device to your laptop is by using the USB port, as this port is on nearly all laptops.
The most common port to look out for is USB. Most other devices such as mobile phones, MP3 players and memory sticks will all come with USB attachments, so it’s very useful to have a laptop that you can connect them to. Another port to look out for is the Thunderbolt. It can be used for high speed data transfer and for transmitting high-definition video. A useful port to have because of how versatile it is.
A little bit of this depends on what you’re using the laptop for, but if you’re looking for a workhorse then it can be broken down into a top processor & RAM, high amounts of SSD storage, and a high-quality screen.
A good indication of these things is the number included. Processors go up i9, while RAM goes up to 32GB (though anything from 8GB onwards is good). It’s the same with SSD storage, the higher the number, the faster your laptop will be and the more it will store. As for the screen, WQXGA is a good resolution while LED, IPS or OLED are indicators of a quality screen too.
A Chromebook is a new type of laptop that uses the Chrome operating system from Google. The interface of the laptop is highly accessible and can be compared to the look and feel of a smart phone. Chromebooks are also internet-based so all tasks are done and all data is stored online. This makes Chromebooks perfect for students who want something that’s accessible and modern.
Both Chromebooks and laptops look very similar, but you can see the differences when you turn them on. Most laptops use Windows as an operating system and have a hard drive, but a Chromebook uses Chrome from Google for a unique experience and doesn’t have a hard drive. Chromebooks are internet based, and so all tasks are done and all data is stored online.
A notebook is a type of laptop that is smaller, more portable, and more focused on the basics than regular laptops. Notebooks are ideal if you want to do basic computing without having the weight, size and complexity of regular laptops.