9 Common Errors in Picking Laptops and How to Avoid Them

Are you looking for a new laptop?

You’ll see most reviews and product descriptions focus on the spec sheet. Most of that information will be jargon you don’t understand and a whole lot of numbers. This can be daunting, and there are many pitfalls that you could face if you’re not careful.

Don’t worry though, we’re here to help! Keep reading for these common errors in picking laptops so you know what to avoid.

  1. Going For the Cheapest Laptop

There are great budget laptops out there for sure, but don’t let price rule your decision. Their low price doesn’t mean they’ll be able to handle what you want them for or have the features you’ll need.

Like a dual-core and a quad-core processor for example. Whether it’s work or leisure, you may want to run many applications at once. You go for the dual-core because it cost less but it has less power.

Likely, your new laptop won’t keep up with the demands you have for it. It’ll be a source of frustration until it’s time to buy again (either when it wears out or you’ve had enough of fighting it).

Don’t let those low prices lure you in. It’s good to get a great deal but make sure the laptop can cope with your needs. Start with the laptop you would like, and compromise from there until you reach one in your budget. Comparing laptop prices is a must, as some places offer deals from time to time.

  1. Going For Something too Expensive

In the same vein, the most expensive laptop might not tick all your boxes either. While it’s likely to have the latest laptop features, you’re likely to end up paying for features you won’t use.

In most cases, if a laptop is pushing your budget it’s got something you don’t need. A new MacBook Pro can cost over $3,000 but few people need 4TB worth of storage on a laptop device.

For less than half the price you could get the same machine with the same specs, only you have less memory. Some laptops also come with a spare SSD slot where you can install an SSD card for more memory. Or there are plenty of cheap external storage devices you can get.

Gaming laptops are a niche that’s well known for being pricey but knowing what you’re using it for will help. You won’t need the latest, most up-to-date hardware if you’re only into indie games for example. And even most of the AAA games don’t need the top-of-the-range specs.

Check the games you want to play and what they recommend, using that as a guide. This will help prevent you from going overboard, spending more money than you need to.

  1. Only Considering Today

Unless you’re a tech enthusiast who always has to have the latest gadgets, think a few years ahead. Don’t buy a laptop that only serves your needs right now, think what you might need it to do 3-4 years down the line.

It might be tempting to pick a base model with a low price tag as we said. Likely it’ll have specs like 4GB of RAM and a solid-state drive of 128 GB. That’s not a lot of space when you’re talking longevity.

Something with those specs might not be able to handle large applications either. So, if you want to future-proof yourself, it’s worth it to step up a level to something with more RAM and a bigger drive. Also, look at the intel Evo platform if you want highly-portable laptops that play and work hard.

  1. Opting For the Highest Resolution Possible

It’s now a growing trend for higher-end laptops to boast the 4k screens you’re now used to for TVs. While it’s worth a look, it’s not always the best choice though. Smaller screens don’t always give the full benefit that higher resolutions can provide.

You also have to consider the impact a 4K screen will have on your laptop’s battery. For many 4K notebooks, they don’t have the endurance to be off the main power cord for long. As such, you need to plug into the mains, not getting the benefits of a portable device.

Unless you’re going for a large screen laptop or a high-end gaming one, you don’t need 4K. It’s best to stick with 1080p which will be enough resolution for your needs. It’ll bring you savings on your battery life and your wallet.

  1. Not Trying the Laptop Before You Buy It

Online customer reviews and research is vital, but nothing is better than trying it out. Most large stores offer everyday laptops on display for you to try out.

You can move the touchpad, check the interface, keyboard, and other components. These vary between models, so this is something you want to test out.

These features aren’t on the spec sheet but they go a long way towards how comfortable a laptop is to use. Matte screens are anti-glare for example, which is ideal if you’ll be in direct sunlight.

Remember, you don’t have to buy from a large store. If they stock a laptop you’ve got your eye on, go in and try it. If you like it, you can still buy it from the online store you found with the better deal.

  1. Thinking Size Doesn’t Matter

Small and large laptops, what’s the difference? When it comes to types of laptops, the size is something you want to consider.

A larger screen will make things like gaming and watching Netflix more enjoyable. But, this will cut into how portable they are. On smaller laptops, the trackpad and keyboard are smaller too, so this can feel cramped at first.

Think about what laptops you’ve used before and which ones you liked the most. If you’re always traveling, a small ultrabook might suit you best. If you want a standard leisure laptop you can take on the go, 13.3-14 inches is about right.

For those who won’t be taking their system outside of the house then you can consider 15-17 inch laptops. You’ll be able to make the most of that prime screen real estate without the need to pack and carry it around all the time.

  1. Fixating on One Spec

Fixating on one spec is a recipe for disaster when laptop hunting. It’s easy to get bogged down comparing spec sheets, but you can end up overwhelmed by the choice.

Likewise, it can cause you to get tunnel vision, meaning you compromise too much to get that one feature. And in the end, you have a laptop that might have one spec you like, but it won’t do the job you need it to.

Keep baseline specifications in mind but prepare to trade up and down a little. Don’t obsess about maxing everything out, focus on the whole picture for what you want the laptop to do. Make sure you have the software and hardware you need, any added extras in your budget are a bonus.

For example, it’s easy to think that 16GB RAM must be worth the extra price tag. Most people don’t need more than 8GB though. You’d only want 16GB+ if you’re a gamer playing AAA games. And even then it’s to future-proof yourself, as 8GB is still enough for most major titles.

  1. Thinking Laptops and 2-in-1’s Are the Same

Tablets, 2-in-1’s, and laptops are different categories offering unique features. These aren’t interchangeable terms. While you can do many basic tasks on all 3, you’ll see the similarity end soon.

Tablets still have issues with things like:

  • Using complex apps
  • Running powerful, demanding software
  • Multitasking functions
  • Fast web browsing

You can find that the keyboards are small too, and most are touchscreen only. 2-in-1’s have the same issues, even though those come with an actual keyboard you can use. Here you want to pay attention to the specs a little.

You don’t want to get hung up on it, but you need to be aware of what the device can do. If you assume it’ll do what a laptop does, you get yourself into some rocky, dangerous tech waters.

  1. Not Understanding Laptop Graphics

If you plan on using your laptop for entertainment or gaming, graphics are important. But, if you’re not an expert they can be tricky to understand. Don’t look at only the memory in GB as this isn’t giving the full story for graphics cards.

Instead look at if there is an integrated, discrete, or (rarely) combination GPU. Integrated GPUs connect to the processor in the laptop and will cope with most average tasks. It’s commonplace in more affordable laptops.

For the best performance, you want a high-powered discrete GPU. You’ll find these in desktop computers with popular options including AMD and Nvidia. Check on the VRAM allocated to the discrete GPU.

Also, look for if the GPU is a special edition. Usually, this means it’s a lower power version. For example, this is the case with the Max-Q series from Nvidia. This should be fine if you’re playing indie games or if you’re not using it for gaming.

Errors in Picking Laptops You Won’t Make

So, there you have it! Now you know what to watch for, these are errors in picking laptops that you won’t make.

Make sure you know your budget and don’t get lured in with the cheapest or most expensive laptop. You want a device that will do what you need it to do, you don’t want to miss something vital or pay for features you won’t use. Think about your needs, work out your spec requirements and be willing to compromise.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out our other blog posts for more tips and tricks.