As we start the year 2019, among some people’s resolutions for the year is buying a new laptop. This becomes very difficult to choose just one laptop among the vast available on the market especially if you can tell whats good enough for your needs.

Am you guardian angel today as am going to tell what factors to consider as you buy yourself a brand new machine. You don’t want to buy a very expensive laptop that has way much capabilities than you will ever need in its life time, neither do you want to buy a laptop whose capabilities don’t satisfy the tasks you perform.

I will be guiding all groups of people, so don’t whether you’re a very technical person who performs heavy tasks, student who does work, business person who mostly manages documents or a home user.

 The capabilities aside, you definitely want a laptop that is durable, I mean who wants to buy a laptop every after a month. As we dive deeper into the guide, hope you will stay with me to the end if you don’t want to regret after making a wrong choice.

The guide is long one but I assure you its worth it. By the end you will have pictured exactly what laptop best suits your tasks, personally and amount in your pocket. And don’t forget to take this guide with you as you go to buy that new laptop. So without wasting any more time, lets start on our guide.

Factors to consider while buying a new laptop in 2019

Stay with me till the end. I have gifts for for you at the end of the Guide. A list laptops that you you can get from Amazon at crazy discounts.

Brand choice

Various laptop brands

I start with brand choice when buying a laptop. This is basically because, even after identifying a laptop with all the right features, it all ends with what you’re heart is comfortable with.

After all, all brands can have any kind of features therefore don’t mind the features at this point .You might have love for a certain brand or might just want to try out something new. So the brand choice is entirely up to you.

You can however choose to look at some of the laptop brand reviews online, but I won’t take a side on this one. I personally mainly focus on the features when buying a new laptop.

I recommend you need to choose a brand that has spend quite some time in market. This is so essential because in future, you might need to make replacements to some your hardware components, stuff like the keyboard, screen and other components.

Model support

You might wonder why I have this on the list. But trust me you need to check for this.

You haven’t bought a laptop that’s no longer supported by the manufacturer. The positive consequence of this is that you may get the laptop at a really cheap price.

The negative consequence is that the laptop you bought is no longer in stock at the manufacturer’s store. So what? if its out of stock! Well, there won’t be any more any more support like manufacturing of hardware components of that specific model, so in the future if you need to replace any of the components, you may find it very hard to find what you actually need because there won’t be any manufacturers for what you need.

So in order to avoid this, before buying any laptop, check the manufacturer’s website and confirm whether that particular model you intend to buy is still supported.

Laptop and screen Size

laptop screen size
credit: laptopscreen.com

The next thing you want to look at is the laptop size. In the past, a single computer could fill a full room, but now generations have passed and the advancement in technology has come with really small sized computers which can be held with just one hand.

This though does not make us completely abandon the somewhat big sized computers. I remember when I used to be a game love, I really liked a bigger screen. Gamers get what am talking about, it gives you that virtual reality. If you’re that kind, I recommend a laptop with at least 15 inches in screen size. The Razor Blade 15 gaming laptop is a nice one.

But for some tasks, there’s completely no need for a very large screen especially if you’re going to be moving around here and there with your laptop.

So for students who will always carry a laptop to class, business men who will always carry the laptop regularly to work, make sure to get a portable laptop in other words a small sized computer. For portability get a laptop with at most 14 inches of screen size. The screen size will reflect on the general size of the laptop.

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This will save you energy to be used while carrying that laptop bag. But as you plan buy a portable laptop, it shouldn’t be too small, long hours on computer of a small will often cause eye strain therefore you should mind keeping your eyes healthy too. Checkout the portable
ASUS VivoBook S15 i5

Graphics and display

Gamers should so much consider this. I’ll start with the video card memory mostly referred to as the GPU. Gaming requires a lot of video memory if you’re to enjoy your it. Opt for at least 4 GB of video memory, if you’re to enjoy smooth loading and playing. The screen resolution should at least be 1920 x 1080 for the clearest experience.

If you’re not into gaming at all, then a minimum of 1GB of video memory should work for. There won’t be much load on the graphics card. The screen resolution should as well be at least 1920 x 1080. You also need clear text and images in the screen.

Processor (CPU)

intel processor
credit: pcadvisor

So we are now diving into the performance bit of it. Don’t worry, I won’t go very deep technically, I know you might not be so technical like me.

So the processor or the Central Processing Unit is the actually the computer, the brain of that desktop or laptop. It does exactly same as the human brain. It does all the logical and the arithmetic operations.

Processors are classified according to how powerful they are. The more powerful the processor, the more tasks that the computer can process at a single time. The processor consists of the clock speed which particularly tells how much many tasks can be run at a time.

There has been advancement in the processors over time all the way from the Pentium processors to the most current i9. As you can tell, i9 is the most powerful processor, but again not every one needs an i9.

If you’re the kind of person who plays a lot of games, do a lot of video of editing or a programmer who will always be running the powerful IDEs like Android Studio, then advise you to have at least a 5th generation i5 processor. It’s exactly what you need to render those graphics, games or the powerful IDEs. With this kind of processor, you can run a number of tasks at the same time.

However if you’re the kind of person who does not do a lot of heavy tasks. In other words, you don’t play games, you don’t do programming, you don’t video editing, then you are well off with at least a duol core processor. A duol core can be very fine for surfing the web, editing documents, playing mini clip games and a variety of other light tasks.

Memory size

RAM chips

In most cases memory will be called RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is memory which temporarily stores data as it is being processed by the processor. RAM is measured in terms of Gigabytes(GB).

RAM determines how fast the the computer accomplishes its tasks. As you can tell, the more memory, the faster the computer’s processing.

A person who performs a lot of heavy tasks like gaming, programming, video editing needs a lot of this. I recommend at least 8GB. but if you can get more, the better. With RAM, you can upgrade even after buying your laptop as most most of the computers these days contain more than one space for RAM chips. So you can upgrade to more RAM by utilizing the extra ports.

However, if you’re a regular user who does surfing, document editing then 4GB memory is just enough for you.  

Storage type and capacity

sandisk hard disk

The other essential thing you should consider while buying a laptop is the storage. As you can guess, the more storage you have, the more files you can store on your computer.

However, unlike in the past where there were only HDD storage devices, there’s is a new kind of storage called the SSD. So there’s to be a choice between the two.

SSD is the newest and obviously it has more advantages over HDD including faster rates of reading data. But the advantages come with a cost, SDD is somewhat more expensive than HDD.

If you don’t mind the amount then SSD is the best but if you mind the amount then HDD should be just fine. The capacity I recommend is at least 500 GB for all groups of people. You can decide to change to a bigger size in future as your requirements expand.

Battery life time

Laptop Battery

This is another crucial factor to consider while buying a laptop. A strong battery should be key while buying a new laptop. You will occasionally be away from power sources especially if you’re to be moving with the laptop.

This applies to students, business people who carry laptop everyday from home to work. A battery which can last for at least 4 hours is great as you can finish work without worrying about power supply.

Wireless capabilities

Having a wireless card is very important because you’ll occasionally need to connect wirelessly to other devices. Wireless connections include support for Bluetooth connections and internet connection.

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Consider buying a laptop that has a wireless card that can connect to wireless networks including Bluetooth devices.

Not to mention that companies are now manufacturing headsets and headphones that connect via Bluetooth so you don’t want to struggle after buying your Bluetooth supported headsets.

CD ROM support

Even though the use of CDs and DVDs is reducing. Some people still use them for supplying software, windows installation and for many other uses.

So if you think you will need to use a CD at some point, consider buying a laptop that has a CD ROM for reading data from your CD in the future. There happens to be a provision for an external CD ROM that you can buy later, so this after all is not a death or life decision.

Ports

Laptop ports

The other thing to consider are the ports. This includes the USB ports, the network ports, audio in and audio out ports.

You should consider buying a laptop that has at least three 2.0 USB ports and at least one 3.0 USB ports.

The 2.0 USB ports will help in the regular tasks of charging, transferring files between a phone and the laptop. You need the 3.0 ports because some devices are not recognized by the 2.0 ports, for example you might want to share files between an external hard drive and the laptop.

Consider buying buying a laptop that has an Ethernet port, this will help in some places where you will need to connect to a network directly. I also recommend making sure the laptop has a provision for an SD card card reader. The card reader can help help transfer photos from a digital camera to the laptop.

Then lastly, the laptop should have both the audio in and audio out ports.

Warranty

A warranty is a written document from the manufacturer or seller to a buyer to guarantee laptop repair or replacement for a specified period of time.

Most of the genuine sellers provide this service and I recommend buying a laptop which has at least a 6 months warranty. In this case you won’t be stressed in case of any hardware failure.

You should however be very careful while handling a laptop that has a warranty, a very small mistake like opening the laptop cover can void the warranty and make it useless therefore make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions for the warranty.

Operating system and Price

Mac or Windows

So having looked at everything you need on your laptop, its time to look the operating system that you can work with. The most distinct operating systems that you’re going choose from are Windows OS and MAC OS.

Don’t mind about Linux at this as you can choose to install it at any time and on any kind of laptop. MAC OS is manufactured by Apple and only runs on Apple machines, so if you’re that person with Apple everything, MAC is for you. The rest of the computers can run all operating systems apart from the MAC Operating System. Something to note is the price, Apple laptops are a bit more expensive than the rest.

Recommendations

Best Laptops below $500

Lenovo IdeaPad 330 – $250

Screen – 15.6″ HD Anti-glare Laptop
Processor – Intel Quad-Core Celeron N4100
RAM – 4GB
Storage – 500GB HDD
DVDRW 802.11acHDMI, Bluetooth, Webcam USB 3.0
Operating System – Windows 10 – Buy now on Amazon

Lenovo IdeaPad 330

ASUS L402WA-EB21 – $250

Screeen – 14 inches HD
Processor – AMD E2-6110 Quad Core
Graphics card – AMD Radeon R2 Graphics
RAM – 4GB DDR3
64GB eMMC Flash Storage
Windows 10 S with 1yr Office 365 Subscription Included- Buy now on Amazon

Asus

HP Notebook – $370

Processor – AMD Dual-Core A6-9220 APU 2.5GHz
RAM – 4GB DDR4
Storage – 128GB SSD
USB 3.1
WiFi, Bluetooth, HD Webcam, Super DVD Burner – Buy now on Amazon

HP notebook

HP EliteBook Folio – $262

Screen – 14 inches
Processor – Intel Core i5-3427U 1.8GHz
RAM – 8GB
Storage – 180GB SSD
Windows 10 Pro – Buy now on Amazon

HP Elitebook

Gaming laptops

MSI GS65 Stealth THIN

Screen size – 15.6 inches
Processor – i7-8750H (8th generation)
RAM – 16 GB
Storage – 256GB SSD
Body – Metal, black – Buy now on Amazon

MSI GS65 Stealth THIN

Razor Blade 15

Screen size – 15.6 inches
Processor – 8th generation core i7-8750H
6 Core – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
RAM – 16GB
Storage –
Body – CNC Aluminum – Buy now on Amazon

Razor Blade 15

Programming laptops

Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop

Screen – 15.6 inches Full HD
Processor – 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U
GeForce MX150
8GB RAM Memory
256GB SSD. Buy now on Amazon

Acer Aspire 15

Apple MacBook Air

(13-inch Retina display, 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 128GB)
Gold (Latest Model) Buy now on Amazon

Macbook pro

Conclusion

This was a long one, but I believe it was worth your time. If you skipped any one factor, kindly go back and read it to avoid regrets after buying. You can now walk into that computer shop knowing that you’re getting exactly what matches your desires.

If you think I forgot something, your complement is welcome in the comments.

Enock Lubowa
A technologist who writes for both the geeks and non-geeks. I am an entrepreneur and Android developer with a Computer Science background. Get in touch with me via my social handles below.