Choos­ing a... Lap­top

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS -

A ba­sic lap­top cost­ing around £300 will run every­day of­fice, multimedia and ed­u­ca­tion soft­ware, but it won’t be suit­able for 3D gam­ing or pro­ces­sor-in­ten­sive tasks such as video edit­ing. Many lap­tops at this price have a 15.4in screen and weigh around 2.4kg, so they’re best used around the house and for oc­ca­sional jour­neys.

If you want to play mod­ern games, you’ll need a lap­top with a ded­i­cated graph­ics chip such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060M. Good gam­ing lap­tops tend to have large 17in screens and weigh around 3kg, so they’re best suited to use at home.

If you want a lap­top that you can take every­where, look for a model that weighs less than 2kg. For the best porta­bil­ity, buy one that has an 11in or 13in screen. In gen­eral, the smaller and lighter the lap­top, the more ex­pen­sive it is, es­pe­cially if it has plenty of pro­cess­ing power.

Bat­tery life is ex­tremely im­por­tant for a lap­top, par­tic­u­larly if you’ll be car­ry­ing it around. We’d ex­pect all but the big­gest and heav­i­est to last for at least five hours on a sin­gle charge, but for an ul­tra­portable that you carry every­where, eight hours and above is more de­sir­able.

Lap­tops use mo­bile ver­sions of pro­ces­sors to con­serve power, and these lag be­hind desk­top chips when it comes to per­for­mance. For a bud­get Win­dows lap­top, an Intel Core i3 pro­ces­sor will do the job, but if you want bet­ter per­for­mance, you should look for an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 model in­stead. We rec­om­mend a min­i­mum of 4GB of RAM, although 8GB is bet­ter for mul­ti­task­ing.

Most bud­get and mid-range lap­tops use a me­chan­i­cal hard disk for stor­age. You’ll want at least 500GB, but 1TB or more is bet­ter. Solid-state drives (SSDs) have faster per­for­mance, mak­ing your com­puter quicker to boot and more re­spon­sive. They have lower ca­pac­i­ties, though. You’ll need at least 128GB.

Net­books are a type of small, low-cost ul­tra-por­ta­ble lap­top. They’re fine for light use, but avoid them if you want to do com­pli­cated tasks.

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