Buying the best laptop for you can be an exciting experience, but you want to choose the right one – and there are some serious pitfalls to avoid. Getting the best features is tempting, but it's more important to have a laptop that you can use and that suits your needs.
The buyer's repentance is real, and it is often an expensive lesson to learn. Keep these mistakes in mind to avoid them when purchasing your next laptop.
Buy the cheapest laptop available
There are some inexpensive laptops out there, but just because they're cheap doesn't mean they do the job you want or have all of the features you need.
Let's say it's you Decision between a dual-core and a quad-core processor. You want to run a lot of applications at the same time, but you chose the dual-core processor because it is a little cheaper. Now that you have a system that is not performing as well as your needs require, this problem will plague you until it is time to buy again.
Rather than jumping in to the lowest price, it's best to find the laptop that actually fits your needs and then compare that to your budget.
Pay too much
Conversely, the best laptops in the world can tick any box. However, if you pay for features or hardware that you don't need, you are wasting your money.
Chances are, a laptop that is on your budget has something you don't need. A new, top-spec MacBook Pro can cost up to $ 6,000 – but very few people need 4TB of laptop space. You can buy the same machine with the same specs, except for less storage at half the price, and you can get a lot of cheap storage from an external drive.
Gaming laptops can be notoriously expensive, but you won't need all of the hardware if you're just playing indie games. Buy what you need and try not to go overboard.
Buying a laptop "for today"
It's old advice, but it still applies. Unless you are obsessed with the latest technology, a new laptop should last a few years and probably more if you want to save money on another purchase. Instead of buying a laptop exclusively for your needs now, consider buying one that you think you will be in a few years.
You might be tempted to go for a base model for its low price, with around 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive. However, this will limit its long-term attractiveness as storage space quickly becomes tight and multiple applications may not be able to handle well. Opting for a step-up model with a larger drive and more RAM is probably a good idea.
Ignore ports and compatibility
Bill Roberson / Digital Trends
Not all laptops come with the ports you depend on. Many modern laptops, like our favorite Dell XPS 13, only have Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports. If you need a USB-A or SD card reader, make sure the laptop you choose has these specific ports before buying, or plan on using an adapter.
Choose the highest resolution available
A device with a 4K display is certainly worth more than a cursory glance, but it's not always the right choice because smaller screens won't let you take full advantage of the higher resolution.
Worse, 4K screens can have a huge impact on your device's battery life. Many 4K notebooks have poor lifespans with higher resolution screens, and you really won't see many benefits. Unless you're buying a super high-end gaming laptop or a large screen laptop, we recommend 1080p to save your wallet and battery life.
Don't try before buying
If you can, always give the laptop you are considering a test drive before buying it. Many everyday laptops can be tested in large brick and mortar stores like Apple, Best Buy, and Microsoft Store. This allows you to experiment with the touchpad, keyboard, software interface, and other components that vary significantly from model to model.
It's easy to overlook the importance of features that aren't on the datasheet, such as: For example, the responsiveness of the touchpad or the visibility of a shiny screen in daylight, and there is no substitute for getting a real feel for how it's being used.
If that's not possible, buy from an online store that has a strict return policy.
Thinking size is not important
Oleg Magni / Pexels
A larger display enables a more expansive and often better viewing experience, but it also reduces the portability factor. The size of a laptop often determines the size of the keyboard and trackpad. This means that if you go for a laptop that is less than 13 inches in size, you are likely to get tight.
The best way to find out what you need is to think about how you've used laptops in the past. A smaller ultrabook might be a good option for frequent travelers. However, if you're looking for a standard laptop, go for one with a 13.3- or 14-inch screen. If you rarely leave home with your system, consider a 15.6-inch model for maximum screen real estate.
Obsessing about a specification
Tunnel vision is bad news when buying a laptop. While it's fun pitting datasheets against each other, avoid picking a particular specification as your favorite and just looking at that factor. While you should keep an eye on a base specification to make sure you are getting the performance you need, you shouldn't be looking to maximize any single specification.
It's easy to get excited about paying a little more for double the amount of memory, but most people don't need more than 8GB unless you use serious software for work purposes.
Also, don't be obsessed with battery life, resolution, or processor speed. When you are on a budget – and so are most people – you need to learn how to balance a variety of hardware. Make sure the laptop you want has the features and hardware you need. Anything else that falls under the budget is just a bonus.
Not buying enough electricity
Ultrabooks have become one of the most popular types of laptops, and it can be very tempting to assume that they are automatically the best choice for you. They're light, small enough to fit easily in a briefcase or backpack, and many models – especially the Chromebooks – are among the lowest in price. What is not to love
While most people find the performance more than enough, creatives and professionals alike may need workstation-class hardware to handle the intense software required for their job. In particular, you might need something with a powerful graphics card, while most 13-inch ultrabooks use one built-in.
For example, suppose a 2-in-1 device is the same as a laptop
Kyle Wiggers / Digital Trends
Tablets, 2-in-1s and laptops are different categories. They are not interchangeable. While you can do many tasks using a tablet and keyboard just like a laptop, the similarities soon end. Tablets are still much tighter when it comes to multitasking, surfing the Internet quickly, using complex apps or running sophisticated software. Your keyboards can also be overly tight.
Just because something has a screen and keyboard doesn't mean it can do everything a laptop can do. This is the opposite of the mistake of focusing too much on one specification. If you ignore all of the specs, you will make assumptions about what the machine can do, and that is a dangerous area.
Misunderstanding of laptop graphics
Laptop graphics are important if you plan to use your laptop for a lot of entertainment or gaming, but their graphics systems are not always well understood. When comparing graphics cards, don't just look at the size of the video memory in gigabytes (GB) as this will poorly tell the whole story.
Instead, first check whether the GPU is integrated, discrete, or (less often) a combination of both. An integrated GPU attached to the processor is good for most average laptop tasks and is particularly common on cheaper laptops. However, if you want the best possible performance, you need a powerful discrete GPU – and as with desktops, the most popular options are Nvidia and AMD. When making comparisons, pay attention to how much VRAM is specifically allocated to the discrete GPU and whether the GPU is a special version (with lower performance), such as the Max-Q variants from Nvidia.
For more information, see our guide to PC and laptop graphics.
The final result
Buying a laptop is complex, but if you do it carefully, you should get a great piece of the kit. Our reviews here at Digital Trends are a good place to start. We'll walk you through every feature of a notebook and its performance in our hands-on tests, from display quality to performance. We take a close look at and evaluate every laptop we receive, including everything from the user interface to the display, performance and overall design.
But remember, buying the right laptop for you means just that. Read everything there is to know about a potential purchase. However, when it comes time to break into your credit card, make the purchase that makes the most sense to you. And browse at the best price too. You might be surprised what kind of offers you can find.
We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we carefully and independently select what we cover. The prices, details and availability of the products and offers in this post are subject to change at any time. Make sure they are still valid before making a purchase.
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