There is a big difference between a £200 laptop and a £900+ laptop! It may be surprising but a lot of people think all laptops are equal and therefore the lowest price is best, but read on.
1. The first thing to consider is the processing power this is called the CPU and is the ‘brains’ of the computer. The faster the CPU and the more cores it has the faster the computer will run. Intel Celeron processors, Atom processors and AMD Sempron processors are particularly low performance and therefore it wont surprise you to find these are used in the lowest priced laptops.
2. Then there is the amount of RAM this is the memory of the computer when it is running. If you like to have multiple applications running at the same time then you need more memory. Generally 4GB is a minimum you should consider.
3. Then there is the hard disk drive size. The hard drive holds all of your programs and data i.e. all your photos, documents and music etc. If you have a lot of photos or videos then you need a larger hard drive to store all this information. Typically these are from 500GB to say 1TB (1,000GB)
4. The hard disk drive is a mechanical device which has disks which rotate at 5,400 rpm and since its mechanical it will eventually fail. Since laptops get moved around a lot even when they are switched on they are far more likely to suffer from hard drive failure than say a desktop computer which is not moved around.
5. An modern alternative to the traditional hard disk drive found in computers is an SSD or Solid State Disk drive this is an electronic device and has no rotating parts they are also 10 – 30 times faster than a traditional hard drive this means the computer runs far quicker when you are loading programs or data off the drive. But beware they can still fail.
6. Currently SSD are considerably more expensive than the same size of hard disk drive though they are dropping in price all the time. So beware that there are laptops for sale with ridiculously small SSD in them i.e. 32GB by the time you have loaded Windows and some programs that’s it you have no space left to store any of your important data !
7. Given what we have said about disk drives failing you should consider either backing up your data to another hard drive or signing up for a cloud backup service such as Dropbox.
8. Next there is the laptop screen size 15.6” is the standard size used on most laptops but larger screen up to 17” exist as do smaller screens from 10” to 14”
9. Is the weight of the laptop important to you, if you travel a lot and carry your laptop with you then weight may be important, but remember that smaller size laptops with smaller screens generally cost considerably more than a standard 15.6” screen laptop.
10. Finally battery life, if you are out on the road all day working on a train or from your car then battery life may be important to you whilst if you mainly use it on your desk at home it may not be important to you. Again smaller laptops with good battery life cost more that your standard 15.6” laptop which may give you 3 – 4 hours between charges.