Things to look for when buying a laptop


I’ve bought many computers, and I’ve helped friends shop for many more. They don’t always take my advice, but when I do, they’re generally happiest with the following things:

Must Haves

  • 8GB+ of RAM
  • Newest or 2nd newest generation Intel processor
  • More than 1366×768 px display
  • Battery life rated for more than 4 hours (preferably much more)

Important but I guess not critical for all people

  • 256-512 GB SSD (So worth the slight extra money)
  • 1080p or better display
  • Backlit keyboard (this is such a crucial feature more laptops should have these)
  • HDMI port is really convenient unless you’re all about the wireless
  • Get a light computer, weight is pretty important unless you plan to just plunk it on a desk
  • Touch screens are pretty affordable and they will be nice to have in the future

Other Tips

  • Spend $100-200 more than you think you should (you’ll thank me in 4 years when you’ve spent $50 a year on a better computer)
  • Buy from a place that will accept returns, and preferably a place that will service the computer in their store (man the Apple Store is great for this)
  • Don’t be afraid to return a computer if you don’t like the way it feels
  • Start a backup plan for your important files today. If you computer falls in a lake, you should be sad/angry, but you don’t need to lose anything
  • Talk to your friendly neighbourhood tech guy. Odds are he’s bored of his computer and will have fun looking at what’s new and talking to you about it.

One response to “Things to look for when buying a laptop”

  1. Love your guide.
    Agree with the “Must Haves”
    I think 8GB is still low. 16GB would be enough for a gaming machine.
    Do you have any recommendations for a gaming laptop?

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