How to choose the best for you

Heading to low-cost Chromebooks? Take out Google Translate to decipher the signs next to Windows machines? Or go to the “Honey, I Shrunk the Apple Store” area to check out MacBooks?

No pressure, but a wrong move and BAM! You type an error for the next three to five years.

Don’t worry, we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen. Plus, I have good news: now is the perfect time to buy a laptop! The surge in sales and the increase in usage fueled by our home lives ultimately allowed laptop makers to improve on what was a fairly stagnant selection.

Take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 introduced in April. It has a beautiful OLED display and a quiet keyboard so that you don’t disturb your dog’s nap. It also features a very timely video call upgrade: “We responded in real time to product changes,” said Hassan Anjum, head of IT products at Samsung Electronics America, explaining that engineers have been working for improve microphones, camera and speakers.

But there are at least four different configurations, and then there are, you know, hundreds of other laptops that might tempt you.

This is where my new list of laptop buying rules comes in. They’re designed to help you find the right laptop, buy it right, and then use it right, whether it’s back to the classroom or the boardroom. You can do it.

Make sure you really need a new laptop.

Too many laptops in perfect condition end up in the landfill. So before starting the buying process, have you tried repairing your current laptop? Is this something that a tune-up, part replacement, or software update could fix? If not, just make sure to properly erase your data and recycle the machine. Here is a search tool to find a recycling location.

Choose your operating system.

Chances are, you know which operating system you want based on your past experience, other gadgets, or the needs of your school or business. Here’s an overview of your top three choices:

Microsoft Windows: Still the most used laptop operating system, it is your best choice if you need Microsoft applications like Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. as well as other types of job specific software . It also syncs well with Android phones.

All systems currently on the shelves ship with Windows 10, but Windows 11 is expected to release before the end of the year as a free update. Before purchasing, make sure the laptop is eligible for an upgrade to Windows 11 by checking the manufacturer’s website. Windows laptops typically range from $ 300 to $ 3,000.

Google Chrome operating system: Very popular with students, a Chrome laptop (aka Chromebook) is a good choice if you primarily need the web. They can also run Android apps. These systems tend to be the most affordable of the bunch, typically under $ 650.

Apple Mac OS: If you’re already in Apple’s Walled Garden and own an iPhone and / or iPad, Apple’s $ 999 and up MacBook Air and Pro are worth considering for their integration with iMessage, Safari. , AirPods and more. All MacBooks currently ship with MacOS Big Sur, but the next version, Monterey, will be a free upgrade this fall for all systems currently on sale.

Choose your material.

Ultrabooks, 2-in-1s (aka tablets-laptops), gaming laptops, business laptops, there are categories of laptops that are more arbitrary than the seasonal flavors of Starbucks coffee.

Instead, when considering a laptop, remember my three Ps: power, portability, and price. More power and more portability usually means a higher price tag. (If you have a lot of peripherals or work with digital media, you should also consider a fourth P: ports.) I’ve long evaluated laptops with this in mind. And although I haven’t tested all the laptops out there – someday, someday! – here are a few that I really like:

The Windows: Meet Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4. Starting at $ 999, it’s thin and light, and has a comfortable keyboard and responsive trackpad. I also like the Galaxy Book Pro 360 at $ 1,200 and above from Samsung. Unlike the Surface Laptop, its screen rotates 360 degrees and comes with an S stylus, so you can use it as a full tablet. Both of these laptops come with 13 and 15 inch screen options. I’ve long preferred 13-inch laptops for their portability, but others prefer more screen space.

Chromebook: I’m a fan of the 13.3 inch Pixelbook Go from Google. The keyboard is quieter than anything I’ve tried. It has a 1080p webcam and a touchscreen, and it’s very compact. At $ 649, it’s expensive; if you want to spend less, check out these recommendations.

MacBook: The new MacBook Pro with the M1 chip has been my primary computer for the past few months, and I’m still blown away by its quiet and cool operation, even with dozens and dozens of browser tabs open. If you’re in the market for a Pro, maybe wait, as there are reports of a redesigned version slated for this fall. But even the M1-powered MacBook Air, which starts at $ 999, has excellent battery life and daily performance, and no fans.

Choose your specifications.

Oh, did you think I was done? MDR. If you are buying direct from a manufacturer’s website, you will likely have the following options to choose from:

Processor: On the Windows side, you will see the Intel and AMD options. The Surface Laptop 4, for example, offers both. (I’ve long gone with Intel for its longer battery life, but here’s more info if you discuss both.) The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 features the all-new 11th Gen Intel processors, which promise better performance and better battery life, and faster wake-up times. How can you tell? It lists Intel Core i7-1165G7 on its website. The first digits — 11 — refer to the generation. (For more decryption, see Intel’s Explainer.)

Chromebooks are also available with a selection of processors. For better performance, opt for an Intel Core chip. With MacBooks, avoid having one with an Intel processor. Apple has said it will be making full use of its own chips in a year or two.

RAM: For everyday tasks, 8 gigabytes of RAM should be enough for a Windows PC or MacBook. But if you run a lot of apps and are a website tab hogger, it won’t hurt to go up to 16GB, or even more if possible.

Storage: On low-end systems like Chromebooks, storage often starts at 32GB. If you plan to upload photos, videos, and documents, 64GB or 128GB will be more secure. On high-end Windows or Mac models, 256 GB is standard. If you need more storage, before paying hundreds for an upgraded laptop, consider a cheaper, portable SanDisk or Samsung external SSD (aka SSD).

Adopt the accessories; resist guarantees.

Typically, I would recommend buying direct from the laptop manufacturer’s website, but there are currently too many great deals at retailers like Best Buy and Newegg. Shop around to find the best deal, but be sure to match the specs to make sure everything is equal. Also beware: the global shortage of chips is already pushing up the prices of some manufacturers.

Many sellers will push for an extended warranty, often around $ 250. It will cover things like accidental damage etc. My coworkers and I never found it to be worth it, but only you can judge the likelihood of you spilling coffee on your new keyboard.

Something you should buy? A USB-C dongle. Most newer laptops have USB-C ports (goodbye, big old USB port!). This means that you will need an adapter to plug in old cords or devices. Apple will try to sell you one for $ 19 at checkout. Do not do it. Anker’s cost the same but has three USB ports.

If you follow all of these rules and still find a bad laptop, don’t blame me. Blame the insane number of choices.

This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing.

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