LAPTOP BUYING GUIDE

EVERYTHING YOU
NEED TO KNOW

Laptops continue to increase in popularity due to the increasing need and convenience of accessing documents and
content while on the move. With so many different manufacturers, models and tech on the market, it can be difficult to
look for and decide on the Laptop that is right for you. We break down the key aspects to look for and what
technology will suit your needs.

What To Look For
When Buying A Laptop

Just like a desktop computer, laptops and notebooks can be used for a range of purposes, including for school and university, work, gaming, to listen to and download music and videos, graphic design and video editing, and for general use such as for searching the internet and completing online tasks such as paying bills online.

“Laptops are rising in popularity due to their mobile nature in that they’re able to be carried with you and used wherever you go,” says Jason Tavoletti, The Good Guys Buyer - Computers, Printers & Monitors.

“Even though they’re portable and compact, laptops are extremely powerful and operate just as fast and efficiently as desktop computers.”

For more information about what to look for in laptops for purposes such as schooling, home office and gaming, please read on as we outline the inclusions you’ll need for each.

Types Of Laptops

Laptops

Laptops are designed to be a portable version of your desktop computer, with similar functionality and performance. Laptops are essential for working from home, connecting with friends online, studying at school and university, playing online games and much more.

2-in-1 Laptops

A 2-in-1 laptop is exactly as the name suggests – it’s essentially two products in one. 2-in-1 laptops provide the functionality of a laptop with the portability of a tablet and can be used as either a traditional laptop or a touchscreen tablet.

Gaming Laptops

A gaming PC is like a high powered regular computer, but it’s designed for PC gaming, has more power, can work harder, and has specific gaming hardware. Gaming Laptops contains better graphics, more detailed sound, amazing responsiveness, a lot of extra speed, and more power at every turn.

“Laptops are rising in popularity due to their mobile nature in that they’re able to be carried with you and used wherever you go,” says Jason Tavoletti, The Good Guys Buyer - Computers, Printers & Monitors.

More Tips For
Choosing A Laptop

What is a “modern PC”?

A modern PC is a thin and light computer that is faster, more powerful, longer battery life, efficient and secure than a traditional PC. Modern PCs operate in this way as they are equipped with a solid-state drive (we’ll cover this later on), which is faster than a traditional hard drive.

What is the purpose of a Laptop?

Just like a desktop computer, laptops can be used for a range of purposes, including for school and university, work, gaming, to listen to and download music and videos, graphic design and video editing, and for general use such as for searching the internet and completing online tasks such as paying bills online.

“Laptops continue to rise in popularity due to their mobile nature in that they’re able to be carried with you and used wherever you go,” says Jason Tavoletti, The Good Guys Category Manager - Computers, Print & Monitors. “Not only are devices becoming more thin and light, some laptops are extremely powerful and operate just as fast and efficiently as desktop computers. Laptops are essential for working from home, studying, connecting with friends, and playing online games.”

For more information about what to look for in laptops for purposes such as schooling, home office and gaming, please read on as we outline the inclusions you’ll need for each.

How To Decide Which
Laptop Is Right For You?

Types of Operating Systems

Both Microsoft Windows (PC), Apple (Mac OS) and Chrome (OS) have their own lines of laptop. So what’s the difference?

Windows

Windows laptops are manufactured by many different companies, including Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer, and Microsoft Surface which leads to more competition between manufacturers. That means prices are more competitive and are generally lower when compared with Macs. Windows laptops have more software written for them, including some software people require for work, which is why, along with the cheaper prices, Windows laptops (and desktops) are generally used in workplaces.

Other benefits of Windows laptops include the ease with which they can be upgraded, with separate parts of the laptop able to be upgraded at different times, meaning the longevity of your laptop can be improved. The most common reasons users will upgrade parts of their laptop is for RAM (random access memory), so your computer can run its programs effectively, and storage space. Windows laptops also have better support and graphics for gaming.

Users need to be aware that Windows laptops are more susceptible to viruses and malware, meaning it’s critical that you install virus protection software onto your laptop to keep your personal details and work safe.

Apple Mac OS

One of the biggest benefits of Mac laptops is their close relationship with all Apple products, including the iPhone. Macs can share files with your iPhone and iPad wirelessly using AirDrop and iCloud, while you can also receive calls and iMessages on a Mac and open documents that are open on your iPhone or iPad.

Unlike Windows laptops, Macs are only built by Apple and that control over the hardware means there are fewer problems and more stability in these machines. Macs are very popular among graphic designers and video editors due to the simplicity and usability of the operating system, including the fact updates rarely need to be made to the operating system, and that the visual appearance on a Mac screen is very similar to what is created on a printed page.

Macs are far less susceptible to viruses and malware, however malware can be written specifically for a Mac so installing virus protection software on your computer is recommended.

Chrome OS

Chrome OS is the fast, simple, and secure operating system that powers every Chromebook. It optimises battery performance and keeps your laptop working at peak performance even when you are rebooting, updating, streaming videos or have multiple tabs and apps open. Chromebooks generally come with built-in antivirus protection and Chrome OS updates it automatically, so you do not have to worry about a thing.

Features Of Laptops

Processors

The processor, or central processing unit, is the most important aspect of your laptop as it is the chip inside the machine that enables all functions and programs to run effectively. While shopping for a laptop you might find yourself questioning what the difference is between a cheaper model and a more expensive one, and the answer is usually the processor.

Before you start shopping and getting into what type of processor is in each machine you’re looking at, consider what you’ll be using your laptop for and use that answer to decide how much power you need. Investing in a high-end processor means your laptop will run more smoothly and efficiently, however the price will be more expensive.

“Graphic designers, video editors and gamers generally need the most powerful processors due to the weight of the programs they run, while everyday users and students will find more cost-friendly options are suitable for their needs,” says Jason Tavoletti.

Intel is the market leader when it comes to processor manufacturers, while AMD processors are available in some machines and are more affordable, so if you’re on a tight budget, AMD could be an option for you.

Intel processors include:

  • Celeron & Pentium: Basic processor for users who want to browse the web and send emails. Found in more affordable models.
  • Core i3: Dual-core processor is suitable for casual use. Found in mid-range and budget laptops.
  • Core i5: The most common processor is suitable for business and student users who run multiple programs at the same time. Found in mid-range and some high-priced laptops.
  • Core i7: Available in quad-core, these are perfect for gamers and users who need high-speed processing power. Found in more premium laptops.

Mac Processors

Mac released their first processor designed specifically for Mac computers, the Apple M1, in November 2020. The M1 makes Macs faster and more powerful and makes designing graphics and creating videos faster.

Hard drive, Memory and Storage Space

One of the most important aspects of your laptop, ensure you’re considering laptops with ample storage space for your needs, whether that be to store documents, applications, videos or music.

Hard drive

Laptops have either a traditional hard drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD). Most Laptops have moved to SSD devices.
HDD: Found in some laptops. These are cheaper and have more capacity than SSD devices.
SSD: Although they have a smaller capacity, SSDs run a lot faster, allowing you to transfer, save and access files more quickly. More of the current Laptops contain SSD storage.

Storage

Similar to choosing your processor, consider what you’re using your laptop for and the type of files you’ll be storing, as this will determine how much storage you need.
The sizes are measured as follows:
1TB = 1000GB
1GB = 1000MB

“If you don’t store music and only have a few photos, or store your files elsewhere, such as on a portable hard drive, an SSD of around 120GB to 250GB is plenty.”

Memory

Memory is measured in RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is what programs use to run and determines the speed at which these programs run. The higher the RAM, the quicker your programs will run, and the more programs you can run at the same time. The amount of RAM in each laptop varies but the more RAM, the more expensive the laptop.

Basic RAM guide:
4GB: For general users who use their laptop for web browsing, emailing and playing music.
8GB: For general users who use basic functions, web browsing, emailing and playing music.
16GB: For gamers, graphic designers, video editors and other creatives, as these programs need a large amount of memory to perform at speed.

Picture Quality

Every laptop display is made up of a series of dots called pixels. The more pixels you have, the better the quality of your screen and the more detail, including lines of text, you see. Laptop screen quality is measured in resolution and, unless you’re buying the cheapest laptop you can possibly find, you should always purchase a laptop with at least 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Screen resolution guide:
1366 x 768: HD (not full HD)
1600 x 900: HD+
1920 x 1080: Full HD
2304 x 1440: Retina (Apple Mac only)
2560 x 1440: QHD/WQHD
2560 x 1600: Retina (Apple Mac only)
2880 x 1800: Retina (Apple Mac only)
3000 x 2000: PixelSense
3200 x 1800: QHD+ 3840 x 2160: UHD

Screen Size

Screen sizes vary, but the majority of laptops feature screen sizes between 13 and 15 inches. You can also purchase laptops with screen sizes between 11 and 13 inches, and some larger than 16 inches.

The biggest advantage of a larger screen is that you can view your content from a further distance and it’s easier for users to not only view content but to work efficiently.

Laptops with smaller screens are generally lighter and are carried around more easily, as the overall size of the laptop is smaller. If you need a laptop for travel and to use while on a flight, then a smaller screen size is for you.

Extra Laptop Features
To Look For

Extra Features

Some features you might like to look out for when purchasing a new laptop:

  • Touch screen: Enables you to use the traditional keyboard and mouse or simply touch the screen to operate.
  • Battery Life: Having a long lasting battery life is ideal for any user, especially if you need to access your laptop on the go. Consider purchasing a modern PC so you can perform your tasks for longer.
  • Graphic Cards: Laptops come with integrated graphics cards, which are designed to support a range of general computer activities, such as streaming videos and playing casual games. Serious gamers, video editors or graphic designers, on the other hand, will likely want to invest in a discrete graphics card for a better gaming experience.
  • HDMI port: This enables you to connect your laptop to your TV using an HDMI cable.
  • USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports: To connect multiple devices to your laptop using a USB cable.
  • Backlit keyboard: Light under your keyboard to make it easier to see in darker rooms or at night.

Accessories and software

Virus protection software is the most important accessory to purchase with your new laptop/notebook as it will protect your documents and files from viruses and malware.
Laptop bags are also one of the most common accessories to ensure you can carry your laptop with you and keep it safe.

Other accessories include:

External hard drives: For more storage space outside the memory on your laptop.
Wi-Fi range extender: To extend your Wi-Fi range to ensure you can use your laptop and internet efficiently from anywhere in your home.
USB port hub: To add more USB ports to plug-in devices or accessories.
HDMI adapter: To add an HDMI port to your laptop if it doesn’t have one already.
Mac vertical doc: To open up space on your desk and store your Mac.

“Protecting your files and personal details from harmful viruses and malware is critical, so if you don’t already have virus protection software, purchase it with your new laptop to ensure your online security is up to date and working properly,” says Jason Tavoletti.

The Good Guys has a wide range of virus protection software and laptop accessories. Shop our range in-store and online.

How Much You’ll Pay For a New Laptop

Entry-level Windows laptops start from under $400 and range up to under $4000 for a premium laptop with plenty of RAM and storage. Shop the biggest range of Windows laptops from the best brands, including Acer, Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Microsoft Surface from The Good Guys in-store and online.

There are plenty of options ranging from a MacBook Air at $1499 to the latest MacBook Pro up to $3000+. Shop official Apple Macbooks at The Good Guys in-store and online.

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