Shopping for a laptop can be stressful and intimidating with so many available on the market many people can sometimes become overwhelmed with what is a good laptop to buy. This includes picking a brand and delving deep into which specific laptop to go for.
You have the giants of Lenovo and its fierce competitors of HP and Dell along with Apple who have plunged themselves into the market with a great selection of MacBook Laptops.
Whether you’re looking to buy the finest and highest quality laptop on the market, need something sturdy and high functioning for college or school, or want one that looks very cool and sleek, we’re here to help you out!
Below we have created the ultimate laptop buying guide from where we have broken down the top companies to choose from. This includes some of our favorite laptops, the best laptop bags on the market, some key specs to look out for and so much more.
Which Company Should You Choose?
There are so many laptop brands on the market which can make it difficult to choose which one is for you. Below we have listed 4 of the biggest and best companies and best places to buy a laptop giving you some advice on what the company’s laptops are like along with picking some of our favourites.
If you’re looking for reliability in a laptop, then Lenovo is probably your best bet. They constantly have 4* + reviews, and most laptop users have had their laptop for years making them highly dependable.
Lenovo arguably also has the widest range of laptops on the market from gaming to business and just everyday use! However, one downside to Lenovo is its customer support is meant to be a tad more challenging than other competitors on the market.
Top Pick for Lenovo Laptops: It was hard to choose just one laptop from the tech giants of Lenovo, but ultimately it had to go to the Lenovo Think Pad X1 Carbon Gen 9!
With arguably the best keyboard in the market, a slim and lightweight design, and an awesomely long battery life, it’s just a great device throughout!
If you’re not too sure what you’re looking for and want to scout a plethora of laptops, then HP is a great option. It is the company that provides one of the highest variety of laptops, all of which are at different budgets and some include two-in-one systems. It’s also a great brand to go to if you want a budget-friendly laptop with plenty available around R5,000!
Top Pick for HP Laptops: One of our favorite HP Laptops is the HP Probook 450 which is a powerful and highly functioning laptop at a decent price. It has a smooth and sleek design and lots of different options in the series in which they keep improving the model.
If you’re looking for a laptop you can customize, this is also a great option with the HP Probook 450 being designed for hybrid work styles.
Consistency and reliability are what the company of Dell Pride itself on with year after year the brand coming out with durable and high-quality laptops. They also have a great range of laptops for gaming so if your primary use for your new laptop is gaming, you should definitely check out Dell.
However, one area that Dell falls behind in is innovative ideas, their laptops are very similar and aren’t branching out as much as some of its competitors.
Top Pick for Dell Laptops: The choice for our favorite pick for Dell Laptops is the Dell XPS 13 which has been in the ranks for best windows laptops over the past year or so! The device has excellent customizable specs, is lightweight and portable with a powerful processor, and has a bright, modern display. It is on the pricier end of the Dell laptops, but it is certainly worth it especially if you’re a tech fanatic.
Apple is well-known for being user-friendly and once you’ve got in the habit of using a MacBook it’s quite hard to switch to another. So if you’ve been with Apple for a while, it’s probably best to stick to them!
MacBooks have some of the sharpest displays on the market and are great for those creatives out there with brilliant software programs available including Final Cut Pro for video editors. However, if you’re a gamer, it’s probably best to stay clear of Apple as you’ll find a much wider variety of games on alternative systems such as windows.
Top Pick for MacBooks: In terms of MacOS devices are top pick has to go to the MacBook Air M2. The MacBook offers some of the best laptop performance on the market and has a slick and futuristic look and design. The MacBook is equipped with a gorgeous Retina display and an ultra-smooth Magic Keyboard.
What Key Aspects Should You Look for in a Laptop?
Choosing the right operating system is an important part of buying a laptop and there are three main ones on the market: Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Windows is the first and the most popular in the world with over 70% of laptop users using it. This is mainly due to its being compatible with most devices. It is also very easy to use and is arguably the best platform if you’re working or studying.
Next up we have MacOS which is Apple’s software system and is only compatible with apple devices. It’s great for creatives and is awesome for multi-tasking. It also has one of the strongest security systems on the market.
Probably the least well-known out of the three on our list is Linux. Linux is ultra-secure and reliable and is the ultimate operating system for coders.
Laptops come in all shapes and sizes, and this is an extremely important factor for some people, especially those who are on the go a lot such as backpackers, digital nomads, college students, and those who travel a lot for work.
If you’re just looking for a laptop that is easy to use but doesn’t have the highest specs, you can get yourself a great 11–12-inch laptop which is extremely portable and light.
The next size up is 13-14 inches – this is also another great portable option, and you can get yourself some pretty high-functioning laptops at this size. The most popular option in the market is the 15-16 inch, it’s our overall recommendation for a laptop because it is still very much portable, but you can have some of very best powerful and high-functioning laptops at this size.
If portability doesn’t matter to you, then this is where you can start looking at the powerful big boys at 17-18 inches this is great for gamers and coders.
You’ll also want to check the size of your laptop, so it fits in your everyday bag. There are also an awesome selection of laptop bags on the market that are perfectly designed to fit your laptop and its size. They come in all shapes and sizes, and some are specifically designed for your brand and type of laptop.
There are a variety of specs you will need to consider when buying a laptop, we are going to run through a few of them for you.
CPU: In plain English, this is basically the brain of your laptop so the higher quality your laptop has, the smoother and quicker it will function. You’ll either have an Intel or AMD processor on your laptop, and each will vary in importance and have different rating scales. You can find this out easily and research to see how high quality it is.
GPU: This is the graphics card in your device which will alter the display and quality of images on your screen. The main ones on the market are Nvidia and AMD chips. Like the CPU they will vary in scale, so you’ll need to do some research into how high-quality your chip is. This is mainly important for creatives and gamers if you’re just looking for a day-to-day laptop it won’t matter too much
RAM: 8GB Ram tends to be the most common for everyday laptops and certainly does the job for most programs. However, if you’re using intensive applications and especially gamers, you’ll want to look for a laptop with at least 16GB ram or more!
Storage: This one is pretty self-explanatory but the higher the storage on your laptop the more you can store. So if you’re looking at storing a high number of videos and photos or perhaps lots of games, then you’ll need a laptop with at least 1TB of storage.
Display: The first thing to look at with display is the pixels. The typical options you will have are HD, Full HD, 3K, or 4K resolution. With the level of screen quality increasing as you go through the list. IPS displays are also an option and great for most users however, if you want the very best you should opt for an OLED display.
Of course, budget is a big part of picking a laptop because not everyone has unlimited funds to spend on a MacBook. Here’s what you can expect in 3 broad price range brackets.
In this day and age, you’ll find some decent laptops for around R5,000. Some of the most popular include Chrome books and some Windows laptops. These laptops have 8GB of RAM maximum and limited storage, however, they’re great if you just need an everyday laptop that does the job perhaps for school or college or just to book things and browse the web!
On the upper end of this budget, you can get a laptop with an Intel Core i5 and be able to download some high-end gaming and video programs!
In this budget range, you should be able to get yourself a high-functioning laptop with up to 16GB RAM with high-resolution displays. You’ll get high-quality performances and be able to use most software.
However, if you’re into either gaming or high-end video editing, you’ll probably have to invest in a slightly more expensive laptop.
If you’re in this budget range, you’ll have some fierce laptops to choose from. You’ll find if you pick the right one, you’ll have fast processing speeds, lots of storage, and lots of room to customize the laptop to your needs. If you’re an avid gamer this is the bracket you should be looking in.
Added Touches to Look for in a Laptop
Now we’ve gone through all the key aspects you need to look for in a laptop, we’re just going to run through some added touches which are always nice to have.
Wi-Fi: If you’re looking for the highest speed Wi-Fi where possible, then check to see if the laptop is built with next-gen Wi-Fi6 rather than your standard 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Touchscreen: Not a necessity for most people, but having a touchscreen can come in very handy for those who work in an artistic field. Also, it’s just pretty cool to have a touchscreen laptop in general.
USB Ports: USB Ports come in all shapes and sizes, but the one that offers incredibly high speeds and functionality is type C, so if your laptop has this, it’s always a bonus.