Laptop Features You Can Skip If You Are On a Budget


Buying a laptop.

There are many kinds of laptop in the market. In fact, we are flooded with laptops with amazing features. You may be bewildered by them, but one of the big factor we need to consider is your budget. If you just need a laptop for everyday tasks, you can pass on these features.

Here is the list of laptop luxuries you can skip:

  • Backlit Keyboard – Most laptops come standard with this kind of lighting. If you are the touch typist type, you do not need lighting to write in your keyboard. If you like games, then this will help you play in the dark. Yes, it is so cool, but not good for your eyesight, and totally unnecessary. Aside from this, you may have to pay extra.
  • Higher than 1080P screen – You can save money by not getting a laptop with a “full HD.” True, that a screen of a 3840 x 2160 (4K) resolution can give you sharp images, but if the display is small like 13 to 15 inches, the sharp resolution will not matter. This is only ideal if you have a bigger computer monitor. Pushing more pixels demands more electricity and will affect battery life on your laptop. You can allocate your battery to more important things.
  • Core i7 CPU – is needed for intensive tasks like transcoding videos or giant spreadsheet formulas. But if you are not doing that kind of job, there is no need to spend more. An Intel Core i5 processor balances price and performance.
  • Discrete Graphics – When all you do is research and browse the web, you can pass on high-end video cards. If you do not do professional-grade video editing, 3D modelling or play the current games, then you do not need this feature.
  • Infrared Camera/RealSense 3D – this feature works with Windows OS, and it is called Hello.  It logs you in your laptop via your facial recognition. It is nice but again, not a necessity.
  • Fingerprint Reader – it allows you to log in via Windows Hello. Putting your finger on a sensor is easier than typing your password. The latter is safer. Besides, Window 10 still needs to have a password.
  • Touch Screen on a Clamshell Laptop – if what you want is 2-in-1 that either flips back or detaches itself to become a tablet, a touch screen is necessary. But, on a standard clamshell laptop, it is not necessary. It also lessen the battery life span by a few hours and this may cost extra. (Read more on: why it is not a good buy.)
  • More than 256GB of Storage –Well, it is good to be able to multitask and launch app faster compared to a mechanical hard drive. However, based on the cost per gigabyte, SDD is more or less, 5 to 10 times more expensive as compared to hard drives. With the different services like the cloud storage, most people do not need more than 256 GB of storage.
  • 16 or more GB of RAM – Most people only need 8 GB unless you are a graphic designer, or a professional video editor. Also, it could be costly to configure your laptop to more than 8 GB.

How to Pick the Best Portable PC?

computer devicesThere are lot of portable devices out there. It has become a trend worldwide. People are gradually giving their desktop computers up. There are endless of choices presented, and buying one device that fits your needs is tougher than you think. You have to choose between an all-purpose laptop, netbook, ultrabook, and a hybrid. Choosing the right device can be so confusing. This guide will help to decide on what device you should get.

  • Hybrid (or convertibles, 2-in1 PC, laplet.) If you are after mobility, go for a fusion between a PC and a tablet. Know that these hybrids are mostly “tablet-first” meaning they are basically tablets with optional keyboards. They are usually detachable like the Microsoft Surface series and the ASUS Transformer Book series. These additional accessories – keyboard, pen, tablet cover – are not free with your purchase. They may have limited apps depending on their respective app stores, and limited storages options.
  • Chromebook. If you want an operating system that is NOT Windows, you might want to give Chromebooks a chance. This devices runs Google’s ChromeOS. Like the Microsoft Surface Pros, they are dependent on the web apps available at its app store. They are not compatible with third party applications and you can only rely on the Chrome Web Store for applications. It does not support expandable memory and storage. You cannot find a Chromebook with a storage more than 32 GB. Instead, you will have a free cloud storage of 100GB. The only good side with these web-centric Chromebooks is that they are cheap. Notable examples are HP Chromebook, Samsung Chromebook 3, and Acer Chromebook 11. Both brands have them under $200.
  • Netbook. These are small, highly portable, lightweight computer. It is a perfect choice for people on the go and on a tight budget. Most of the manufacturers discontinued netbooks because of the new ultrabooks, but you can still see online deals. Netbooks might not be as powerful as an ultrabook, but they can handle daily computing tasks, and perform the majority of the functions of a laptop. Another good feature is that they have a long battery life, and definitely better than most laptops. They can last over 5 hours on daily use.
  • Ultrabook. If you are looking for fast, and sleek computers, this is it. Ultrabook is a high-end, elegant, and ultraportable notebooks. The most notable example is Macbook Air. In recent years, various PC manufacturers released their own line. If you are a Windows fan, you can choose from ASUS Zenbook, HP Envy, Toshiba Protégé, and other popular brands. Like netbooks, they are lightweight, and they can last long in terms of battery life. Ultrabooks are powerful and can handle Full HD videos, and some heavy games. On the downside, they may have limited ports due to the slimmer design and they are really expensive.
  • Laptop. If you need a more flexible computer, you better spend your money on a standard laptop. If you need to plug in different USB devices, SD card reader, HDMI port, and you need a CD/DVD drive, look no further. Others might be portable and great for travelling, but this is your all-around computing machine. You can check out laptops from the Acer Aspire E, and Toshiba Tecra C series.


Mistakes to Avoid in Buying a Laptop (Part 2)

businessman, coder, computerBuying a laptop is not an easy task. There are numerous factors to consider. Previously, I have indicated the importance of trying the laptop before buying, and checking the compatibility. (You can review part one here.) Here are more tips that will definitely help you in choosing the right laptop:

  • Not researching. Always try to research and make sure you are buying what you want. All these companies have official websites. Browse through their products and look at the technical specifications. Do not let the sales person sweet talk you in buying a laptop you will not be needing. You choose want you want and do not solely rely on the sales staff’s opinion. They are there to sell the products and not to give an expert opinion. Use the internet and read reviews of the laptops of you are considering to buy. These reviews will surely help you narrow down your choices.
  • Extending Warranties. It is only ideal to extend warranties if you travel a lot. In case your laptop gets stolen or damaged, you are still covered by the warranty you bought. If you are not traveling most of the time, there is no need to purchase additional warranty. It will just cost you money. To be honest, problems will likely occur when your laptop is five years old or so. The warranty is long gone by then. Just save the money for your next target laptop.
  • Buying the newest and most expensive ones. Just because a device is new does not mean it is better. People will always rave for the latest laptop out there. Do not get too excited and assume that it is going to be the “best” for you. Furthermore, the best laptop does not need to be expensive. These expensive laptops have something you do not need. For example, you do not have to get the latest version of Windows, or MacOS. These built-in operation systems might not be for you. Plus, some applications will not be compatible with them. You can go for a lower one instead of paying more for a feature that you will not be using. Plus, if you are not planning to play online games, additional RAM is not imperative. 2GB of RAM is enough when your purpose is just to do school assignments, office work, and other basic tasks.
  • Thinking that every portable computer is a laptop. A tablet equipped with a detachable keyboard is not a laptop. This hybrid of both a tablet and a laptop is getting popular these days. Yes, it looks like one because of it has a screen and keyboard, but it is not. You might think you can still type so no need to bother if it is a tablet or a laptop, right?  These convertible devices will be restricted in terms of multitasking, web browsing, and complex applications capabilities. You will be left with a device that is next to nothing if your goal is to do different tasks simultaneously. If you want faster browsing and you need to use heavy applications at work, go get an actual laptop. If you still think you need a tablet, buy one. Invest on a laptop and tablet separately. These devices are not interchangeable.

Mistakes to Avoid in Buying a Laptop (Part 1)

researching on a laptopWhat should you look for in buying a laptop? Do not get too excited when buying for a laptop. Do not let your eyes deceive you. Avoid making these mistakes. Know what you need in a laptop, and find one that suits your needs. Here are tips that will surely help you in finding the right laptop:

  • Neglecting the ports and compatibility. Now, laptops are getting thinner and ports are slowly getting removed from laptops. You cannot just ignore these ports especially if you are going to use your laptop for various tasks. If you are doing a lot of presentations, printing, and editing, you should consider the ports for flash disks, Ethernet cable, video output (i.e. LCD projectors) , keyboards, printers, and other external devices. You will be having a hard time finding cables to convert your existing port to fit whatever device you want to plug in. Not all files can be sent online, some are transferred using a flash disk. Most importantly, not all places have WiFi, so make sure your laptop has an Ethernet port. You may need more USB ports for your mobile broadband stick.
  • Not trying the laptop before buying. Every laptop is different. A hands-on experience is needed. The keyboard, screen, and touch pad vary. You have to try these parts yourself, assess if it suits your needs, and they are comfortable for you to use. What is the purpose of a high-end laptop if you find it bulky and unfriendly to use? Like buying a car, you need to do a test drive. If you cannot avoid buying from an online store, make sure that the store has a substantial return policy. If not, you better go out and try all your options.
  • Looking at design instead of the specifications. The front end of a laptop is what you call the user interface and this is everything you see. However, what is inside your laptop is a totally different story. Do not get enticed by good looks. Yes, a light and thin laptop would be convenient to bring anywhere with you. It is important to consider the function first and then, the design next. You would want a laptop that performs. Are you going to need a lot of storage space for your projects? Are you planning to use this laptop in five years or so? Consider the hard drive space. If you want a laptop that will allow you to play games, go for a laptop with a higher Random Access Memory (RAM). Remember that the more programs you will use, the more RAM is needed. Additionally, a laptop with less than 1GB graphics will not allow you to play massively multiplayer online role-playing games.
  • Ignoring the size. When you are constantly traveling, always consider the laptop size. Smaller laptops are a perfect choice for mobile users, but know that these laptops will most probably have smaller keyboards and touch pads. Typing in small keyboard would be very inconvenient. A standard laptop measuring from 13 – 14 inches would be a great choice. If you are looking for a desktop replacement and you barely bring it with you, try the larger laptops that are bigger than 15 inches.
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