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Laptop Buyers Guide

Updated 5th July, 2017

We’ve written this guide to answer some common questions that customers have when purchasing a laptop.

Typical questions include:

Which Operating System Should I Choose?

Windows

The one you know.  Any laptop you have ever used at home or in work probably ran Windows.  It is the most user friendly operating system available.  Over 90% of all laptops sold are still running Windows because of its popularity & ease of use.

Chrome

The newest operating system.  You will find this installed on a lot of  cheaper laptops.  Unfortunately a lot of software will not work with Chrome due to its simplicity so choosing a based Chrome laptop is only for those who are looking for a laptop that will be used for web browsing only.

The Chrome OS also give you full access to the Google Play store.

Apple OS X

Apple’s operating systems are extremely stable and reliable.  They do not tend to crash much and also there are currently very few viruses written to target Macs.  If you are used to Windows we recommend finding a good tutorial such as www.macforbeginners.com to help get you started.

Linux

Operating systems built on the Linux kernel are well known for being reliable but can be difficult to use. Depending on your expertise, you’re probably best going for Ubuntu or Linux Mint. It’ll take a while to get the hang of it and there can be driver issues with video cards, network adaptors and printers. It normally takes a little bit of configuration.

Which Processor?

It is no surprise that the most expensive laptops use the fastest CPU’s.  Here is a list of the most popular processors from the cheapest to most expensive and who they’re primarily aimed at.

Budget Processors – Aimed at First Time Users

  • Intel Atom
  • Intel Celeron – Pentium – AMD E1 A4

Mid Range Processors – Aimed at Home Users & Students

  • Intel Core i3 – AMD A6 A8
  • Intel Core M

Mid/High Processors – Aimed at Advanced Home Users, Business, Gamers & Students

  • Intel Core i5 – AMD A10

High End Processors – Aimed at Business Users & Gamers

  • Intel Core i7

Screen Size

One of the most important things to consider will be your screen size.  These can vary from as small as 11” to as large as 17”.  The smaller the screen the more portable and (generally speaking) the longer battery life you will get.

Larger laptops have a bigger display area and therefore will have a bigger drain on the battery.

11” screens can be a great option for children, first time users or those of us who require a laptop with them while they’re on the go.

13” – 15.6” screens are by far the most common.  These sizes offer a good medium between portability and working screen space.

17” screens are often the choice of Gamers or people who need to use art & design packages.

Available Brands

Today the most popular brands sold in the UK & Ireland are Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, & Lenovo.

Acer

Based in Taiwan.  Well known brands of laptops by Acer are the Aspire, Predator, Travelmate, & Chromebook.A company that specialises in making laptops, desktops, tablets servers, monitors, smartphones and more recently has stepped in the VR market.  Acer are a well experience manufacturer and have been around for the last 40 years.

They are often seen as a cost effective solution.  Their products do not tend to hold up well to every day long term use but are ideal for the casual home user.

Apple

Based in USA.  Well known brands of laptops by Apple are Macbook, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air.

A company name synonymous with quality & style.  Apple make some of the most expensive laptops on the market and for your money you get a machine made from quality robust materials, the finest HD displays and an incredibly secure operating system.

Asus

Based in Taiwan.  Well known brands of laptops by Asus are Zenbook, ROG Series, Asus N, Asus X, Chromebook.

AsusTek to give them their full name not only build their own laptops, they also build many components such as motherboards that you will find inside other brands. They are in the top 5 by vendor sales of computers worldwide.

Asus laptops are known for their reliability & robustness.  They offer a good choice of mid priced laptops.

Dell

Based in USA.  Well known brands of laptops by Dell are Inspiron, Latitude, XPS, Alienware, Vostro & Chromebook.

Dell is currently the 3rd best selling laptop maker in the world and have been producing computers for the last 33 years.

They are one of the most well known brands in the world.  Dell sells laptops for just about every corner of the market.  From the casual once a week user to multinational corporations there is a Dell laptop for everyone.  Prices will vary from £200 to £2,000 with laptops that can make Apple Macs look affordable.

HP

Based in USA.  Well known models by HP are Pavilion, Elitebook, Probook, Envy, Omen & Chromebook.

Founded in 1939, Hewlett-Packard have only recently been knocked into 2nd place in worldwide laptop sales by Chinese firm Lenovo.

HP laptops tend to be a lot more affordable than Dell with no reduction in performance.  However the one draw back is the build quality may feel slightly less solid in the Pavilions but when you take the cost savings into account then it’s barely a factor for most people.

It should be noted that the Probook & Elitebook range of HP’s are some of the most solid & robust laptops available with strong metal chassis capable of taking thousands of hours of usage.

Lenovo

Based in China.  Well known models by Lenovo are Thinkpad, Ideapad, Yoga & Legion

Lenovo purchased American owned IBMs computer business in 2005 and has gone from strength to strength since. They have been the market leaders since 2013.

Lenovo laptops tend to be reliable & durable, with even their cheapest laptops having a well built feel about them.  It has taken thee company a long time to become a household name in the UK with many people even today still not recognising the brand & therefore seeing it as somehow inferior.  This is a rapidly changing opinion as the latest sales figures show.

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