Choosing the Right Laptop: 2 Things You Need to Know

Choosing the Right Laptop: 2 Things You Need to Know

Storage, RAM, processor… What???

I’m not a techie. Buying a laptop is all pain and no pleasure: what if I get it wrong, and the laptop doesn’t work for me, and I’ve spent all this money, and I can’t get a critical piece of work done, and now I can’t exchange the laptop for another one, and…. ☹

Over time, I’ve been forced to get to grips with what it all means. And it turns out, you need to know just 2 things: 1) what you need the laptop for, and 2) what the options are. You’ve already got the first bit covered – and so you are half way there!

Here are the 3 options that will help you to get the certified refurbished device that’s right for you.

Option 1: it’s all about affordability

You want a decent device that is going to cost you as little as possible. You want to be able to write documents in Word, crunch some numbers in Excel, throw together a PowerPoint presentation. You want to browse the internet, send some emails, and connect on Zoom/Microsoft Teams/Google Meet, and maybe stream movies on your laptop.

You will want to choose an older device (say 5 to 8 years old) with:

  • Processor: Intel i5
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Memory: 128 GB

Your laptop may slow down a little if you have multiple programmes or documents open, but will be a good workhorse for getting your day-to-day work and study tasks done.

Option 2: efficiency is the name of the game

You want a solid laptop that will be responsive and reliable. You spend most of your time each day in Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. You want to stream movies, chat frequently on Zoom/Microsoft Teams/Google Meet, and browse the internet quickly and easily.

Here, you want to find a device that is between 2 and 5 years old with:

  • Processor: Intel i5
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Memory: 128 GB to 256 GB

With these specifications, your laptop will perform well if you are browsing a large number of pages on the internet, or working across multiple programmes at the same time. Unless you have special technical requirements (see Option 3), these specifications will be all your need and more.

Option 3: big computing power

You work on big creative projects with lots of images/videos, run large mathematical or computational models, or are a big gamer. If this is the case, you require a device with greater processing power, memory, and storage. As you might expect, this comes at a cost.

You will need to look at devices between 2 and 5 years old with the following:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB and up
  • Memory: 512 GB and up

In this category, screen size may be pretty important to you. Many higher-spec laptops have larger screens, but you can also use a separate monitor in which case the size of your laptop screen isn’t particularly relevant.