Laptops Buying Guide

Laptops Buying Guide

Buying a new laptop can be an overwhelming experience, with so many technical features and specifications to consider along with your needs and budget. Our laptop buying guide aims to take some of the hard work out of choosing, and help you decide which laptop best fits your needs.

How do you plan to use your laptop?

At Elite Vision, our laptops are sorted into three categories based on their features and functions. This is to make it easier for our customers to find their ideal laptop.

Everyday/Student

As the name suggests, these laptops are designed for everyday use. While they don't boast high performance power, they're perfect for a wide variety of basic tasks and applications, such as browsing the web, using Microsoft Office programs, sending emails and streaming videos. This type of laptop is great for families, high school or university students, and any household that requires a computer for casual use.

 

Home Workspace/Small Business

Laptops ideal for home office or small business environments are more efficient and have better battery life than everyday models. Designed for more frequent use, these laptops are able to run multiple applications simultaneously without any drop in performance. However, they're not the best option for more demanding applications such as online gaming, video editing and other applications that require fast graphics processing.

 

Performance

These laptops are more advanced models which are capable of running multiple advanced processes at the same time. They are a great option for gaming and video editing as they have powerful processors, plenty of RAM (memory) and excellent inbuilt memory.

 

Shop by Computer Type

When purchasing a laptop, choosing the right type of device is your first port of call.

Laptops/Notebooks

Laptops and notebooks are designed to be a portable version of your desktop computer, with similar functionality and performance. The term 'laptop' and 'notebook' can be used interchangeably, although some consider laptops to be full-size models with screens of 15-17 inches, while notebooks are classed as their smaller counterparts with screen sizes of 11-14 inches. Both are suitable for a variety of tasks ranging from browsing the web to using complex programs.

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MacBooks

There are three types of Apple laptops: the MacBook Pro, MacBook and MacBook Air. MacBook Pros are the most powerful of the three, with advanced processing, fast flash storage and ultra-clear displays. The MacBook Air is a fantastic option to take on the go as it is ultra slim and light, while still featuring powerful processing and great battery life.

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Tablets

While not a traditional laptop, tablets can be a great option if you plan on simply browsing the web, playing mobile games and streaming TV and movies. Featuring a touchscreen display, they are compact, lightweight and highly portable, and perfect for anyone who doesn’t necessarily need the classic clamshell style laptop.

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Hybrid/Convertible Laptops

These versatile touchscreen devices combine the fun of the tablet when you want it with the performance of a laptop when you need it. Convertible laptops often feature a detachable screen or a 360 degree hinge, allowing you to alternate between standing the device up and laying it flat on a surface.

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Shop By Brand

 

 

Operating Systems

The operating system you choose is very important, as your choice will affect the laptop software and hardware you use. Each of the three main operating systems has its own pros and cons, so what it comes down to is your personal preference.

Windows

The Windows operating system is the most widely used system for desktop and laptop computers. As the longest running operating system, Windows has undergone many developments over the years; the latest version is the brand new Windows 10. Familiar and easy to navigate, particularly for previous Windows 7 and 8 users, Windows 10 boasts great built-in security, the new Microsoft Edge browser and an enormous range of applications for your convenience.

Apple/OS X

Designed by Apple to work solely with Apple software, OS X has also developed many versions, including Yosemite and El Capitan. Though not as widely used as Windows, due to its limited flexibility with software, OS X nevertheless has a distinctively clean and minimalist look and feel with super fast startup times that appeals to many users.

Chrome OS

Google's Chrome operating system is fast, simple and efficient, perfect for busy people who regularly need to access their files from different machines. Chrome OS also has great battery life and built-in virus protection, making it a reliable choice. One of its main limitations, however, is that it solely uses web applications such as Google Docs, which means you won't be able to run programs you might be used to from Windows and OS X.


 

Screen Features

Size

Laptops come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 10 to 17.3 inches. The screen size you choose will depend on your needs and preferences. If you require a large, visual workspace, such as for gaming and editing photos and videos, opt for a 15-17 inch screen. Otherwise, a 13-inch laptop should suffice. Sizes are measured diagonally across the screen, and do not include the trim around the screen - take this into consideration when purchasing accessories such as laptop sleeves, bags and filters.

 
 

Resolution

The higher your laptop's screen resolution, the better its display quality will be. Screen resolutions are measured in pixels, horizontal x vertical.

  • HD (1366 x 768) and HD+ (1600 x 900) - These resolutions come standard on most laptops and are ideal for all basic computer tasks.
  • Full HD (1920 x 1080) - This resolution is equivalent to that of 1080p HDTVs, offering crystal-clear picture quality for those who prefer a crisper image for watching films or TV shows.
  • Quad HD (2560 x 1440) - Quad HD gives you four times as many pixels as 720p HD, delivering incredible image clarity with its extremely high pixel density. This resolution is suitable for professional photo and video editors.
  • 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) - 4K Ultra HD is the highest resolution currently available, boasting four times as many pixels as Full HD. This extraordinarily high picture quality makes it perfect for gamers, graphics pros and movie fans wanting the best picture quality.
 
 

Display types

Different types of display technologies will affect the colour, brightness and overall visuals of your screen. The three common display types are TN, IPS and OLED. TN is the standard, entry-level display type suitable for basic tasks, but not for editing photos or videos or playing games. IPS offers better viewing angles and more vibrant colours than TN panels. OLED is the newest technology and features true colours and deep blacks. With OLED, you get perfect image quality from every angle.

 
 

Touch screens

Touch screen laptops allow you to navigate applications on your computer the way you would a tablet or smartphone. They are a great option if you often present or show concepts on your screen, but they're not always practical or often used, and tend to be found mostly on ultraportable laptops.

 
 
 

Processors

Simply put, the processor is the brain of the computer and controls virtually every function. The better the processor, the better your laptop will perform.

Intel processors

Intel and their series of multicore processors can be found in the majority of modern MacBook and Windows laptops.

Core i7 : Intel's leading consumer processor, designed for serious multitasking and the use of complex multimedia programs. The ideal choice for professional power users (such as graphic designers, video/photo editors, and serious gamers).

Core i5 : This mid-grade processor can more than capably handle everyday computing activities and is one of the most commonly used processors today. It strikes a great balance between issuing processing power and conserving battery life.

Core i3 : As the entry-level processor in the Core range, the Core i3 is suited to basic tasks such as checking your email, streaming music and creating documents.

Core M : Specially designed for ultra slim devices, this family of processors is highly energy efficient and provides all day battery life.

Pentium, Celeron and Atom : These processors can be found in smaller and more affordable laptops and are adequate for basic web browsing and other everyday activities.

AMD processors

AMD processors follow a similar patter to Intel. The entry-level E1 and E2 processors are designed for users who perform the most rudimentary tasks on their computers, such as browsing the web and checking emails.

Moving up, the A4 and A6 are great for watching HD content, playing music and editing photos, while the A8 and A9 are suitable for multitasking, casual gaming and running more complex programs.

AMD's A10 and A12 are high end processors, allowing you to use advanced apps simulataneously, play complex games and edit HD videos.

 
 
 

Other things to look for

RAM (Memory)

RAM (random access memory) dictates how smoothly and efficiently your laptop runs when you have multiple applications open at the same time. RAM is measured in gigabytes (GB), and the more you have the better your laptop will be able to multitask. Think of it like a desk, the larger the area the more you can do at once.

Storage space

There are two main types of storage available for laptops - solid state drives (SSD) and hard disk drives (HDD). HDDs provide more storage space and are ideal for anyone storing a lot of music, photos and videos on their laptop. Although they have a smaller capacity, SSDs run a lot faster, allowing you to transfer, save and access files more quickly. Storage space is measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB).

Graphics cards

Laptops come with integrated graphics cards, which are designed to support a range of general computer activities, such as streaming videos and playing casual games Serious gamers, video editors or graphic designers on the other hand, will likely want to invest in a discrete graphics card for a better gaming experience.

Sound card/Speakers

Like graphics cards, sound cards are also built right into laptops, allowing you to enjoy everyday music, video and audio files. Sound capabilities in laptops and computers have greatly improved with technological advances over the years, however, sound quality can still vary from device to device. If sound quality is important to you, ensure beforehand that the inbuilt speakers of your choice of laptop are to your standard. Otherwise, it may be worth purchasing a set of external loudspeakers.

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Ports and Connectivity

The ports on modern laptops and computers allow you to connect to the Internet and other devices in a range of ways. Although the development of Bluetooth and wireless technologies has meant it is not always necessary to use these types of ports, these capabilities are not always available on all computer devices. This is why you should consider what ports from the ones listed below, may be useful for your needs.

Battery life

Having a long-lasting battery is ideal for any user, but it's particularly crucial if you need to access your laptop on the go. This is why ultraportable laptops tend to have the longest battery life, while larger laptops that run more complex software will usually have a comparatively shorter battery life. It also greatly depends on usage(what kinds of programs you're running ad how often you're multitasking) and how powerful your processor is.