Shopping for Laptops
Laptops are portable alternatives to desktop computers. All laptops can handle light computing tasks such as web browsing, sending emails, watching movies, and creating documents. However, more demanding tasks such as video editing and gaming require powerful laptops and notebooks with fast processors and lots of memory.
Types of Laptops
Standard models have a clamshell design, with hinges that tilt their screens at comfortable angles.
Hybrid models can transform into a tablet PC when required. A hybrid laptop may be a convertible or detachable unit.
A convertible laptop has a 360-degree hinge that allows you to flip the display all the way back when transforming it into a tablet. A detachable laptop has a screen that separates from the keyboard.
Gaming laptops have very powerful hardware components to run demanding PC games. Compared to a traditional laptop, a gaming notebook has a dedicated graphics card, a backlit keyboard with programmable keys, and a more efficient cooling system.
Laptop Operating Systems
The three most popular operating systems for laptops are Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS. Windows is by far the most popular choice for laptop PCs, and is used across many brands, including Dell, Asus, and Lenovo. Apple laptops that run macOS are called MacBooks. Chrome OS is a lightweight, cloud-based operating system from Google. It runs web and mobile apps exclusively, and relies heavily upon the internet. Computers that use this OS are called Chromebooks.
What Should I Look for in a Notebook Screen?
Consider size and resolution. Laptop screen sizes range from 10 inches to 17 inches. Models with 13- to 15-inch displays are the most common because they balance portability with screen real estate. For crisp text and vivid colors, pick a laptop with an HD display or sharper. Full HD, Quad HD, and 4K screens have higher resolutions and are better suited for work, watching videos, and playing games.
How to Choose a Laptop
The most important hardware features to consider are processor, memory, and storage. The most powerful laptop CPUs are the ones in the Intel Core and AMD Ryzen families. Pick a laptop with an entry-level Core i3 or Ryzen 3 processor for basic computing tasks. Mid-range Core i5 and Ryzen 5 chips are fast enough for work and entertainment PCs, while the high-end Core i7 and Ryzen 7 are perfect for gaming and running resource-intensive software.
Unless you're getting a Chromebook, 4GB is the minimum RAM size to look for in a laptop. Models with 8GB and 16GB of memory handle demanding tasks better. The two storage options available are hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). SSDs are faster and quieter. They're more reliable and extend laptop battery life. You'll find them on high-end Windows machines and MacBook Pro models.
Consider how you'll use a laptop when choosing one. Browse the extensive selection of laptops available at B&H Photo and Video to find a model with the right set of features for your needs.