If you are in the market, then you’ll want to find the best laptop computer for you. Note that last phrase “for you” because it is a critical part of the purchase process. Too often people interpret “best” in the wrong way – most expensive, slickest, fastest, or state-of-the-art bleeding edge technology. The best notebook computers are tools that meet your own needs without unneeded features or expenses. So begin at the beginning.
First, you need to consider your budget. The best laptop computer for a college student is unlikely to be in the same price range as a machine that a graphics designer needs. Most people probably overestimate their needs and end up either paying too much or paying for the wrong features. Before you start narrowing things down, settle on your budget. A college student probably doesn’t need to spend a small fortune on top of their other expenses. You should also be sure you truly need a laptop and, if so, whether it will be your only machine. If most of your work will be done on a desk top machine and you only need a laptop when traveling, you should be able to keep your costs down. But, if it’s going to be the machine you do everything on, you will likely have to spend more.
The only real advantage to a notebook computer is that they are portable. They are more expensive than desktop systems to begin with and they are also harder (and more expensive) to repair or upgrade. For a college student they can be essential if you need to carry one to class and take it with you on vacations or trips home. If you work in multiple locations without desktop systems in each, you also need a laptop. If you travel and need a computer on your trips, you sure don’t want to lug a desktop with you. Weight can be an issue to consider if you plan to do a lot of carrying. But there can be a trade-off – lightweight often means a smaller screen and keyboard and shorter battery life.
In terms of budget you do have some choices you may not have thought of that can reduce your cost or get you more machine than you expected. Discontinued hp pavilion ryzen 5 models, older models, and factory reconditioned notebook computers are often available at substantial discounts. Last year’s best notebook computers are often this year’s best deal. If you do look at reconditioned machines make sure they were reconditioned by the manufacturer and come with the same warranty a new machine has. I’ve used the same factory reconditioned notebook daily for close to 5 years – it was an incredibly good deal so keep the possibility in mind.
Now you need to analyze what you are going to use your laptop for: will you be doing a lot of intensive data applications or graphics applications; do you need it to play high end games; will you be using in places or in ways that may require a ruggedized system; will you just be primarily writing documents, using the internet and doing email; do you need wireless connectivity; what external devices might you connect and what kind of connectors do they need; do you need to be able to write DVDs/CDs or just read them. You may also want to consider whether how the laptop looks is important. That may seem superficial, but under certain circumstances such as high level business meetings, style could be an important feature of your best laptop computer.
The more complex and intense the applications are that you will be using, the faster a CPU and the more RAM and hard disk space you may need. Operating systems and programs are using more and more CPU, memory and disk space all the time so this is not a trivial issue. These days I’d suggest that a minimum configuration should include at least a 1.5 GHz CPU, 1 Gigabyte of RAM and a 60 Gigabyte disk drive. A DVD/CD reader is a minimum and most people will probably want the ability to also write DVDs and CDs.
Before you actually start looking, use paper and a pen, go over your needs and requirements and write them down. Essentially you want to create a checklist to compare to the features of models that interest you. Once you get started, keep your budget firmly in mind. Often you’ll find the best price for your personal best laptop computer online. If you can, before you actually buy, find the same model in an offline store and check the screen size, the keyboard and how the weight feels to you. Weight may be less important but you may also be carrying other accessories. The screen and keyboard are critical components for comfortably using your computer. Don’t settle for a screen that’s too small or a keyboard that feels cheap or clumsy. Take the time and put in the effort to make sure you end up with the model that suits you best.