Almost everyone needs a computer of some sort these days — even with the sheer popularity of smartphones, they’re still not able to do everything a laptop or desktop can do. Whether you’re an average user, a gamer or a professional, there are a myriad of reasons as to why you could use a laptop.
Today we’re going to show you the ins and outs of purchasing the best laptops of 2018. No matter what you’re goal or computer habits are, there’s a best laptop for you out there. Follow along below and we’ll start by showing you what to look for in a laptop.
What to look for in a laptop
What you need out of a laptop highly depends on what you do on a daily basis. If you’re primarily an Internet user and that’s all you do on the laptop (check email, search Google, browse the Web, etc), then a Chromebook would be an excellent fit. On the other hand, if you’re a gamer or a professional, a Chromebook will hardly meet your needs — you’ll need to find something with Windows 10 or possibly even Linux.
Aside from your operating system choice, there are a few other features you need to look out for:
- Display: First, you need to decide what display is going to be suitable for you. Do you want something with a smaller profile or a large screen? Everyday Internet users might enjoy something small while gamers might want a large 17-inch display. Another thing to consider with your display is the resolution — do you want a regular 1080p display or do you need something like 4K for gaming or design work? It’s worth remembering that your resolution will have an affect on your battery as well — 4K will draw a whole lot more power than 1080p. We’ll talk about this a little more in a minute.
- Hardware: Considering your laptop’s core hardware is extremely important, too. You’ll want to look at the processor first. Regular Internet users may not need something more than a budget dual-core CPU, whereas gamers and professionals might want to look for something with a heavy duty quad-core CPU. You should also look at memory — 4GB is an absolute minimum these days, anything lower will slow your laptop down to a crawl. If you can, you’ll easily get the best speed with 8GB of RAM. Lastly, the video card is to be considered. Most average users will be fine with integrated graphics into the motherboard. In fact, this will do for a lot of gamers, but if you’re a professional or die hard gamer, you might want to look for something with a dedicated video card — this can increase laptop prices quite a bit, but the quality and speed increase in graphic-heavy programs are well worth the price.
- Battery: The last thing to look into is the battery. If you need something long-lasting, are an average Internet user or college student, Chromebooks are a great option, often sporting a battery life of 8-12 hours. Windows laptops usually have considerably worse battery life due to having more power. You can get close if you buy a budget laptop, but not quite as good. And if you purchase a high-end laptop, you’re usually looking at awful battery life, especially if you’re in a game or are working on demanding tasks. After all, it does take a lot of juice to power a high resolution laptop with some killer hardware.
What about warranties?
Warranties are an interesting ball game. Almost any laptop you buy will automatically come with a one-year standard warranty that covers parts and labors, but most stores and companies will want you to buy into their extended warranties. The benefit of extended warranties is that you have peace of mind in the event that there’s a defect or failure. On top of that, usually extended warranties will cover a number of accidents (such as spills or drops). Most warranties will only cover one or two accident-related problems.
Ultimately, it’s up to you if you want to fork over the few extra hundred for a few extra years of “insurance.” If you buy a cheap laptop, it’s most definitely not worth it (what you’d spend on insurance for three years would easily cover the cost of a new laptop). If you buy something like the Surface Book from Microsoft (around a $1500 laptop), you might find that it’s more worth it.
On the other hand, you could avoid extended warranties altogether and save yourself a few hundred, as the chances of something happening are usually quite slim as long as you take care of your laptop.
Surface Book 2
The Surface Book 2 is the latest laptop-tablet hybrid from Microsoft. This is a pretty high-end laptop, at least depending on how you configure it. At some of the higher-end specs, it’ll run professional-grade software and all of the latest video games without any problems. You can configure it (on the high end), with a 15-inch display, an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of memory and at 1TB of storage. This configuration will last you a long time — the laptop will be able to handle anything you throw at it for years to come. Microsoft says the battery can last up to 16 hours, but that highly depends on what you’re doing with it. You’re just not going to get that if you’re using demanding applications.
Even on the low-end, the Surface Book 2 is pretty powerful. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get very cheap with lower specs though — you’re looking at a $1500 base price here. Not ideal for average users and college students, but it’s a great choice for gamers and especially professionals.
Buy it now: Amazon
Razer Blade Stealth
Great for gamers, the Razer Blade Stealth has everything you might need in a small profile. You get a beautiful 13.3-inch Quad HD+ touch display, sporting a resolution of 3,200 x 1,800. It has a powerful Intel Core i7-855OU with 1.8GHz of base processing power (Turbo Boost features can increase this all the way up to 4.0GHz). Of course, 16GB of memory is included. Since this laptop is also designed to be portable, a dedicated graphics card isn’t included; instead, you get integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620.
The laptop is designed for gamers — and it does that very well — but professionals can feel safe buying into this laptop as well. Check it out for yourself below.
Buy it now: Amazon
Dell XPS 13
If you’re looking for something that’s less flashy and not as expensive, but don’t want to sacrifice the power under the hood, Dell’s XPS 13 is an excellent choice. It’s fairly portable with its 13.3-inch display. However, it’s a really good display, featuring Quad HD+ resolution at 3,200 x 1,800. It is a touchscreen as well.
As far as real hardware goes, you get a Intel Core i7-7560U, 16GB of RAM and a SSD slot equipped with 512GB of storage. So, similar power to the Razer Blade Stealth (and even the Surface Book), but not nearly as flashy. It makes it perfect for professionals needing something neutral for a, well, professional environment.
This Dell XPS 13 can be had for just under $1400. Check it out below.
Buy it now: Amazon
Dell Inspiron 15 3000
Perhaps you don’t need a ton of power in a laptop, only requiring enough capability for browsing the Web, maybe using some occasional Office programs and etc. That’s where Dell’s Inspiron line comes in. Looking at the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 specifically, you get a 15.6-inch touchscreen display, an Intel Core i3-7100U processor, 6GB of RAM and a large 1TB hard drive.
It’s easily a budget laptop, but is the best for average users and students that require a little something more than just an Internet connection and a browser. Check it out for yourself at the link below.
Buy it now: Amazon
Samsung Chromebook Plus
Chromebooks are great because they’re small, super portable, and last a long time off of a relatively small battery due to the low-powered hardware. Chromebooks don’t need too much power under the hood, mostly because they’re essentially dedicated web browsers. The same goes for the Samsung Chromebook Plus. It’s fast, efficient, portable, and can last up to ten hours off a single charge.
Of course, nowadays they’re even better as some of the newer Chrome OS versions now allow for the user to download and use Android apps on Chromebooks. This really expands their functionality and eliminates the need for a full blown Windows laptop for a lot of people. In that sense, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung Chromebook Plus — you’ll never have any problems with it. It’s quite a looker as well, resembling a MacBook.
Buy it now: Amazon
And that’s all there is to it! By following our advice above, you should be able to get yourself into a great laptop, whether you’re an average user, college student, gamer or professional.