What to evaluate before buying a notebook?

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Choosing the right notebook is not an easy task. All brands that offer this type of product have broad lines with devices aimed at different types of use, and the technical specifications do not always clarify the correct model for each need. However, with the basic knowledge about some essential aspects, it is possible to make assessments that will lead to the purchase of a laptop that will deliver a satisfying experience.

It is important to understand that there is no one product that definitely represents the best purchase. Depending on the case, the best cost-benefit may be in a more basic model, but the same device may not be so interesting if you need to run heavier programs, such as video or photo editors, software that render 3D animations, among others.

Screen

The screen is one of the essential components that can determine whether a notebook is worth it or not. The main aspects that need to be evaluated in order to choose a product with the right display are mainly four: size, resolution, refresh rate and available color gamut.

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The current notebook market includes products with dimensions that fall between 13 and 17 inches, but sizes that fall outside this range can also be seen, less frequently. In this aspect, the choice is simple: smaller models are more practical, and can be easily placed in backpacks or purses. On the other hand, larger screens will bring more possibilities of use, better productivity and a more satisfying experience when consuming content, such as series and movies.

However, the most important aspect for the general public is the resolution. Some more basic notebooks will bring HD screens, which can detract from the experience at various times — it’s worth remembering that cell phones and other much smaller devices already bring displays with higher resolution. Therefore, it is recommended to buy laptop computers that have at least a Full HD screen, as long as your budget allows.

More specific goals may require some extra assessment: screens with a higher refresh rate (90 Hz or more) are geared towards people who tend to run games, or other fast-moving content — this type of display prevents blurs or “ghosts” from appearing on certain situations. However, these features don’t usually offer great advantages in productivity tasks.

Color fidelity is essential technical information for artists, editors and others who care about the accuracy of the tones displayed by the notebook screen. In simple terms, standards such as sRGB, Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 represent the capabilities related to the depth and volume of the colors presented by the display.

Another feature that can be very useful for productivity is touchscreen support, as tasks such as illustration production, annotations and general navigation can be done more quickly by tapping the screen with the corresponding finger or stylus.

Full HD display notebook options: Dell Inspiron 14 and 15, Samsung Book 15.6′ 2021′, Notebook Lenovo V15 2nd Generation.

Performance

For most users, performance is the most important aspect to consider when buying a notebook. It is important to have at least a basic knowledge of what each component does, in order to understand what priorities are needed so that its use takes place without crashes or slowdowns.

As it can be considered the “brain” of the notebook, the processor is the first point that demands attention at the time of purchase. In general, most notebooks available on the market have chips from three companies: Intel and AMD are present in products that run the Windows or Linux operating system, while Apple puts its own components in MacBooks.

Intel’s main lineup of processors is Core, whose i3, i5, i7 and i9 models show increasing levels of performance — it’s also important to consider the chip generation, as the company is currently starting an upgrade process for the Alder Lake series , 12th generation, but models with 11th generation chips are still expected to deliver high performance for a few years. The brand’s intermediate line is Pentium, and Celeron is geared towards more accessible products.

In the case of AMD platforms, the most powerful components are currently part of the Ryzen 9 5000 line, where the first number identifies the CPU family (which varies between 3 and 9 depending on the line), and the following number contains related information generation of chipsets, as well as performance levels.

For both brands, the processor model number can also indicate relevant information about power consumption and the presence or absence of an integrated graphics card, factors that also need to be considered when buying a notebook.

Apple notebooks manufactured until 2019 came with Intel platforms, but the brand decided to start using its own components from the 2020 MacBook Pro. Both the M1 chip and the latest M1 Pro and M1 Max have better performance and lower consumption compared to older models, but on the other hand models with CPUs from Apple are still considerably more expensive.

It is also very important to make the right choice regarding file storage components. Laptops that come with an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) will have considerably lower performance than those that ship with an SSD (Solid State Drive).

The speed difference is noticeable in basically any task performed by the product, as read and write speeds are at least twice as fast on SSDs — on the other hand, the price difference is also relevant. Of course, component capacity is also important, as products with 128GB of storage support the installation of a few lightweight programs, while 1TB models will be able to store games and other larger software.

However, it’s no use saving games if you can’t play them. For this, you need a notebook with a dedicated graphics card if this is your purpose, as they bring their own memory (VRAM) and greater performance for 3D renderings. The market for these components is largely dominated by Nvidia (with GPUs from the GTX 1000 and 2000 and RTX 3000 lines, among others) and by AMD (with the RX 5000, 6000 series, among others).

There is no rigid rule for defining which components are better: in fact, it is necessary to analyze the individual usage goals, and only in this way arrive at a hardware that is satisfactory and compatible with what is planned, without spending more than necessary.

Notebook options for gaming and heavy-duty: Acer Nitro 5, Dell G15, Lenovo Legion 5i.

Flexibility and construction

Some time ago, brands decided to invest in notebooks that run away from a more basic construction, in which the product can be opened in only one direction. Several companies also offer so-called 2 in 1, in which it is possible to use the device also as a large tablet, through touches on the touchscreen and even the use of stylus pens, when possible.

This type of product is recommended for people looking for an extra level of productivity, as tasks like managing spreadsheets and creating notes are even easier. On the other hand, this type of construction restricts some performance capabilities because of the difficulty in dissipating heat, and 2-in-1 notebooks can be even less resistant to drops and other physical shocks.

Even for “common” notebooks, it’s worth comparing data such as dimensions and weight, since few differences in numbers can represent greater ease when placing the device in backpacks and other less spacious compartments.

Another relevant aspect in the construction of notebooks is the availability of inputs for wired connections. Thinner models may come without important ports such as Ethernet, HDMI or USB Type A — in which case, you’ll need to purchase a hub that supports that type of interface, which will be an extra cost and inconvenience.

2-in-1 notebook options: Dell Inspiron 14 2 in 1, Lenovo Yoga 7i, Acer Spin 3 Touch, Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360.

Operational system

Anyone looking for a laptop to buy has certainly come across a vast majority of advertisements related to products that run Windows. In fact, Microsoft’s operating system is the most popular on the planet, with approximately 70% of the PC and notebook user base.

However, there are two versions currently available on the market, as the company recently announced Windows 11, a system update with a renewed look and some extra functions, such as the possibility of installing Android applications directly on the computer (a feature that will be available in the future) .

When it comes to usability, there are no big differences between Windows 10 and 11. In addition, Microsoft will provide automatic and free update to the latest version for all computers that have compatibility, ie, most new notebooks that are produced at the moment. That’s why the OS version shouldn’t be considered as a crucial factor — however, it’s always good to buy a device that’s already as up-to-date as possible!

A more important topic to consider is the presence of products that run Linux. Despite being comparatively as efficient as Windows in most situations, this operating system requires a certain period of adaptation, something that the casual user is not always willing to spend. Therefore, it is necessary to be careful with this detail, as internet advertisements do not always make it clear that this is a notebook that comes with Linux installed.

MacBooks come with macOS installed, Apple’s own operating system. It also has several features that are distinct compared to Windows and can generate some kind of awkwardness, but overall users report good experiences, especially due to the integration with other company products (such as iPhones and iPads), and lots of it of relevant updates, that is, those that bring new functions and aesthetic differentials.

Options for notebooks with macOS: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro.

Drums

For users who tend to study or work outside the home, having a notebook with a large battery capacity is essential. In addition, if you need to run heavier programs, they can drain the energy tank more quickly, which can be a headache if the autonomy is less than necessary.

In general, manufacturers often significantly increase the battery life in their advertising materials, so it is always interesting to be wary of official data that are released. According to a battery of tests carried out by the Laptop Mag portal, only Apple and Microsoft announce usage times compatible with reality, before the product requires recharging in a power source.

The main reason for this inaccuracy is the fact that companies disclose this information based on minimal energy usage — that is, with a low-bright display, keyboard lights off, and no heavy programs running. However, the real-life experience includes activities that are much more complex, and that pull more loads.

Notebook options with lots of battery: Lenovo IdeaPad 3i, Samsung Galaxy Book S, LG Gram 2021.

Conclusion: research is worth it

Choosing the right notebook doesn’t require the consumer to be a technical expert, but knowing at the very least what each component is for is essential. Each user profile may require more of different parts — for example, heavy use of productivity will require more RAM and processor, while some games will cause the graphics card to be the so-called “bottleneck”, meaning what it does with performance is limited.

However, with Kenyannews’s tips, it is possible to find the best models from all the main brands. Also, to stay completely up to date, it’s always good to check out the video and text reviews, not only for notebooks, but also for a wide variety of products.

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