Buying Guide – Laptops
With multitude of models available, consumers are spoilt for choice when buying a Lenovo laptop. However, this also means consumers find it difficult to choose the one that is just right for them. Finding the right Lenovo laptop begins with knowing a little about some of the features that make up a laptop. Let us look at some of these features and how does it affect the performance:
What are the things to look out for when buying a Lenovo laptop?
Size: Lenovo laptop screens come in all sizes. The display size can range from 11 inches to 18 inches and even more in some cases. However, the most popular size in laptops is 13 to 15.6 inches; laptops in this size range are ideal for most normal use cases and are portable enough to be carried in a regular-sized backpack.
Touch screen: Today, many new Lenovo laptops offer touch screen as an input option. New operating systems such as Microsoft Windows 8 and 10 have been designed keeping in mind the touch screen option. Touch screen as an input option seems like an exciting feature to have in a laptop. Consumers have become comfortable with the use of touch screen due to the popularity of smartphones. However, one must remember when buying touch screen Lenovo laptops that the price of these will be higher than their non-touch screen counterparts. The touch screen featured laptops are also a little heavier and consume more battery.
2-in-1: These are hybrid laptops that can serve both as a laptop and a tablet. They convert into a tablet in two ways: the keyboard is either fully detachable or it can rotate 360 degrees on its hinge. The 2-in-1 laptop comes with added touch screen functionality when serving as a tablet. The Lenovo Yoga series of laptop is a good example in this category. With a premium watchband hinge, this Lenovo series can also be used in stand and tent mode.
Important hardware specifications to consider when buying a laptop:
Processor/CPU: This is the brain of a laptop and AMD and Intel are the two choices for processors. While Intel processors are popular ones, AMD also offers similar performance with less cost. Mainstream laptops offer Core i3, i5, i7 processors in the Intel series, while for AMD, its AMD A and E series of processors that are popular.
Storage Drive: There are two choices for the storage drive: a hard disk drive (HDD) and a solid state drive (SSD). SSDs are more reliable and robust than HDDs but can be costly. Among SSDs, the newer PCIe x4 (aka NVME) units offer triple the speed of traditional SATA drives. A 1 TB of HDD or 512 GB of SSD storage is enough for a conventional laptop.
RAM: The Read Only Memory (RAM) can enhance your computing performance and speed. The standard today is 4 GB of RAM, which can handle all the daily computing tasks. However, some higher end Lenovo laptops offer up to 16 GB RAM.
Battery Life: Laptops are portable devices and so battery life is one of the most important features to look at while buying a laptop. You should preferably be looking at ‘all-day computing’ laptops. These ‘all-day computing’ laptops offer 9 hours or more of battery backup. For example, the Lenovo Yoga 900 packs a 4-cell battery which lasts 9 hours and takes only 2.5 hours to fully charge the battery.
Ports and Drives: Optical drives are becoming less important as people are downloading files using USB drives. This means a faster USB 3.0 port apart from the regular USB 2.0 is a useful port to have. Also, HDMI port is a must-have for laptops today as it allows a laptop to connect to display devices such as projectors or digital televisions.
An additional microSD card slot has an added value. In this context, the Lenovo ThinkPad series is highly valuable as it features Lenovo’s proprietary OneLink docking port which simplifies connectivity by delivering data, video, and power through a single connector.
Keyboard/Touchpads: Keyboard still remains the most popular input device for a laptop. It’s important to have a keyboard that is spill proof since it’s fairly easy to spill liquids over a keyboard. Additionally, a backlit keyboard such as in the Lenovo ThinkPad series will help you with typing in low-lit areas or at night.
Touchpads are the alternative to mouse in a laptop. However, to use the touchpad you need to constantly move your fingers away from the home rows. This is where Lenovo’s proprietary TrackPoint becomes useful. These are little red nubs that allow you to quickly and accurately navigate without removing your fingers from the home rows.
Types of Laptops According to Need
Everyday Laptop: These laptops offer essential functionality for everyday use. These laptops can be used at home or in a school setting. Lenovo’s G series laptop is considered as the best laptop in India in this category. These laptops are ideal for:
- BPO staff
Office laptops: These laptops are suited for those who work a lot in the office, without travelling much. In such laptops, priority is given to performance over factors like battery life or weight. A good example of this category is the Lenovo ThinkPad T440P I7 laptop. These laptops are ideal for:
- KPO staff
- Home-based business owners
- HR professionals
- Content writers
Travel-friendly laptop: The lightweight laptop emphasizes on light, slim design with long battery life without compromising on the performance. They are also made tough using carbon fiber to withstand extreme environments. This is ideal for professionals who travel a lot and want to keep their luggage at the minimum. The Lenovo ThinkPad X Series laptops are a perfect example of this.
These laptops are suited for:
- Marketing and Sales Rep professionals
- Travel industry professionals
- Event managers
- Financial Planners
Business Laptop: These are designed for people who use their laptops for business and professional use. Business laptops focus on robustness and provide more usability options. They also offer excellent security options. In this category, the Lenovo ThinkPad E and T Series of laptops are perfect examples.
Built for performance and integrating many business manageability tools, business laptops are ideal for:
- Startup Owners
Gaming Laptop: A top gaming laptop should have powerful graphics card (GPU) and processor as well as a high resolution screen to handle the graphics-heavy programs and games. For the GPU, AMD Radeon Graphics or NVIDIA Geforce are ideal while the latest AMD A Series or the Intel Core i7 series processors are a must have. All of this translates into expensive price tag. The Lenovo Ideapad Y700 in this regard is a good gaming laptop that has all the above features and is also rightly priced. Apart from gaming enthusiasts, these laptops are ideal for:
- 3D Animators
- Graphic designers
- Game developers
- Advertising professionals
Steps in Buying a Laptop:
Step 1: Asking the right question
If you have read this far, then it is fair to assume that you now have a fairly good idea on what makes a good laptop. However, the first step in choosing the right laptop is to answer these two questions:
- What is the budget that I have?
We are usually constrained by our budget, but you need to remember there is a laptop for every kind of budget.
- What kind of work will I use the laptop for?
Much important than the budget in finding the right laptop is the kind of work you will do with your laptop.
For example, if you are a business professional who travels a lot, buying a low-priced entry level laptop will not serve your need, neither will the pricey and heavier gaming laptop be useful to you. Ideally, you should be able to choose the ultralight laptop which has enough security features to protect your sensitive data as well as be portable enough to be carried along.
Step 2: Identifying the Model
Once you answer the above two questions, then you can hunt for the specific laptop that satisfies your work needs and fits in your budget. Shortlist suitable laptops. There are many laptop models in the market that are aimed at different market segments. Choose the one that is ideal for your needs and falls within your budget.
Step 3: Read the Reviews
After identifying the particular model, read third-party blog posts and reviews of the model. This will give you a clear picture on the advantages and the disadvantages of the particular model. You can take the help of your friends who already own the particular laptop model. Your friends will be able to give you an unbiased review of the product.
As with any purchase, it pays to do your own research when buying a laptop. Take your time and if you follow the above steps, you will be able to buy the right laptop that does all your work, is reliable, and fits your pocket too!