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The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide!

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Weighing in at 5.4 kgs with two floppy drives and 256 Kb of memory, the world’s first laptop was considered revolutionary.

Today, over three decades later, laptops have evolved to become sleeker, faster and more powerful than they ever were before. The unmatched portability and convenience that laptops offer is one of the biggest reasons why most of us have switched to laptops with no looking back.

But recently, your old favourite laptop might not be performing at its best anymore. Files take too long to open, newer programs don’t run on your old software and the whole system comes crashing down if you have more than five tabs open. As much as you love it, there’s no denying the truth: your laptop has seen better days.

With technology constantly advancing and with the help of laptop buying guide, there are always newer laptops available on the market, offering better specs and faster performance. While this abundance of choice is great, it can soon also become very confusing if you aren’t sure exactly what to look for while buying a laptop. Most of the customers would end up confused about “which laptop should I buy?”.

 

Making the Decision:

Laptops vs. Desktops

When the time comes to look for a new system to invest in, we are confronted by two main options: laptop vs desktop performance. Contrary to what most people believe, there is no clear winner between the two. Your unique browsing habits, work-related needs and hardware requirements help you decide which is better, a laptop or a desktop. If you prefer a large screen, you might want to purchase a desktop. But on the other hand, if you like to work on-the-go, the portability of a laptop will suit you best. The answers to the questions below can help you decide how to choose a laptop or desktop.

Here are a few factors to consider before making the choice between a laptop and a desktop.

1. Do you need a system that is portable?

Here are list of laptop vs desktop advantages and disadvantages: If you want a high-performing system with impressive specs for laptop vs desktop performance, you might have to compromise on portability. As these features consume a lot of energy and need to be plugged in continuously, they are mostly available in desktops alone.

However, if your work doesn’t require many power-consuming features and you need a portable system, a laptop would be hands down the best option for desktop vs laptop comparison. The easy portability they offer makes laptops the go-to choice for many.

2. What is your budget?

Laptop vs desktop pros and cons: A high-level processor with high-end components requires more space to fit everything in and to avoid overheating. Desktops are generally available at a marginally lower price than laptops because their size can accommodate regular-sized components, however, there are still many budget laptops available in the market.

Laptops, on the other hand, can offer the best configurations without compromising on portability. For this, they require smaller versions of components, which can cost more. When you take into account the convenience that laptops offer, however, it justifies the higher price point for laptop vs desktop price. Although laptops cost more than desktops, there are still many budget laptops available in the market that offer convenience at a great price point. The laptop purchase guide below will help you understand how to choose the best laptop.

2. What is your budget?

Laptop vs desktop pros and cons: A high-level processor with high-end components requires more space to fit everything in and to avoid overheating. Desktops are generally available at a marginally lower price than laptops because their size can accommodate regular-sized components, however, there are still many budget laptops available in the market.

Laptops, on the other hand, can offer the best configurations without compromising on portability. For this, they require smaller versions of components, which can cost more. When you take into account the convenience that laptops offer, however, it justifies the higher price point for laptop vs desktop price. Although laptops cost more than desktops, there are still many budget laptops available in the market that offer convenience at a great price point. The laptop purchase guide below will help you understand how to choose the best laptop.

3. What screen size do you need?

Desktop monitors often start at 17-inches and go up from there. If your work requires a large screen, then a desktop might make more sense for you.

A laptop specifications list compromise of sizes that generally range from 11-inches to 15-inches. While some might even go up to 21-inches, these are not very portable, defeating the purpose of a laptop. For most users, the regular laptop screen sizes are more than sufficient and these work perfectly for laptop specifications for gaming too.

4. Do you want to customise your system?

The major advantage that desktops have over laptops is the flexibility they offer in configuring your own system. With a desktop, you can upgrade your processor, memory and other units.

At the same time, best budget laptops in India come with more sophisticated hardware and software to deliver the best results. The advanced configuration features they come with make it unnecessary to have to upgrade the system yourself.

4. Do you want to customise your system?

The major advantage that desktops have over laptops is the flexibility they offer in configuring your own system. With a desktop, you can upgrade your processor, memory and other units.

At the same time, best budget laptops in India come with more sophisticated hardware and software to deliver the best results. The advanced configuration features they come with make it unnecessary to have to upgrade the system yourself.

5. How frequently do you game?

Laptop vs Desktop gaming: Desktops are the traditional choice for hard-core gamers as they offer a high-powered system capable of running various kinds of video cards. However, if you want these specs without compromising on portability, a desktop isn’t your only option.

Laptops today have advanced and offer features that are on par or even greater than a desktop. The Dell Alienware range of laptops are built specifically for heavy-duty gaming. With high gaming-graphics performance and next-level processors, these laptops offer portability and power which give them a clear edge over desktops.

Unless your work requires a specific set of features that only a desktop can provide, laptops are the obvious choice. Their practicality and advanced technology make them the perfect choice if you’re on the market for an upgrade.

Feel like you need to do a bit more research before choosing between a laptop or a desktop? Read our blog on Laptops vs. Desktops: Which is Better for You?

Laptop Specifications You Need to

Look Out For

When you begin your search for the perfect laptop, the first thing you have to do is prepare a laptop specifications list. Laptops these days come with a number of different features, but the truth is, you don’t actually need all of them.

The Ultimate Dell Laptop Finder Tool


- Find your ideal laptop in 5 easy steps!

1. My budget range is:
2. I plan to use my laptop for:
3. My screen size should be:
4. My laptop weight should be:
5. I leave my laptop unplugged for:

The key to narrowing your laptop search lies in separating the specifications that actually add value from those that you will pay a lot for, but might never use.

To do this, you need to first understand what purpose you require a laptop for. In general, laptop users fall under three broad categories:

The laptop specifications for a Dell laptop will largely depend upon which of these categories you come under.

The answers to the laptop specifications you require will help you decide which is the best laptop to buy.

Professional/Business Users

Gamers

Students/Regular Users

Here are the most important specifications you need to look for during your laptop search and exactly what they mean.

Which CPU is best for you?

Think of the CPU as the brain of your computer. A fast CPU means faster-running programs but could also mean a higher cost. When it comes to CPUs, it is important that your system has the best laptop or desktop RAM. The RAM is the part of your laptop that stores data and machine code. Most PC laptops today are armed with either an Intel Core-based CPU or an AMD processor. However, with 90% of laptops today coming with Intel processors, you will most likely be considering one of these for your purchase.

The generation of CPU you require comes down to your purpose of use.

For work:

If the nature of your work requires a fast processor, then an Intel i5 or i7 processor would work best. As these are quad-core processors, your system will be able to perform and multitask very fast which would be the best laptop for business. You should ensure your device has the best laptop RAM, so you can store large amounts of data that is quickly accessible.

Read our review on Dell XPS 13, an ideal laptop for working professionals.

For gaming:

Laptop specifications for gaming require fast processors to run heavy games smoothly and with no lag. The Core i5 8400 is an excellent choice for those on the lookout for a gaming laptop that can also perform a range of other tasks. The i7-8086K is the ultimate gaming CPU and is currently the most powerful as well. If you need a system for heavy-duty gaming, this is the best option.

To learn more about gaming laptops, read our blog on What to Look for In a Gaming Laptop.

For gaming:

Laptop specifications for gaming require fast processors to run heavy games smoothly and with no lag. The Core i5 8400 is an excellent choice for those on the lookout for a gaming laptop that can also perform a range of other tasks. The i7-8086K is the ultimate gaming CPU and is currently the most powerful as well. If you need a system for heavy-duty gaming, this is the best option.

To learn more about gaming laptops, read our blog on What to Look for In a Gaming Laptop.

For regular use:

If you plan on just using a laptop for regular browsing, an entry-level i3 processor will be more than sufficient and the best laptop for college.

 

How do you pick the best display size and specs?

The display of your laptop will depend upon the size of laptop you want. Most users will only have to focus on the display size and the screen resolution.

For work:

Display size is usually a personal preference and depends upon the type of work you do. If you tend to work on-the-go, ultra portable displays of 13.3” or less works perfectly and would be the best laptop for business and personal use. If you work with video or photo editing, 17” and higher might be more suitable. A TN LCD panel also works fine for regular work, while an IPS panel is recommended if you work with pictures and videos.

For gaming:

Display sizes of 17-19” and higher work best for gaming, while an IPS display can do full justice to the graphics of a game.

For regular use:

Regular users can choose display specs according to their preference as it isn’t likely to affect their usage in any way.

Apart from these broad specs, you can also choose from added features like touchscreen capacity and OLED display. However, these will raise the cost of your laptop.

What size RAM do you need?

The size of RAM determines how many programs you can run simultaneously. Choosing the right size comes down to your budget and the type of usage you expect to do.

For work:

An 8 GB ram is usually more than sufficient for regular work. If you have more demanding work, you can even choose a RAM of 16 GB or 32 GB.

Read our review on the Dell Workstation Laptops if you’re looking for a powerful workstation with a large RAM.

For gaming:

16 GB of RAM ensures that even the heaviest games run smoothly with no lags.

For regular use:

You can find budget notebooks with 4 GB RAM, however, 8 GB is a good amount of RAM for regular use.

How important is battery capacity?

When buying a laptop it is important to check the laptop battery capacity, you cannot always trust the number of hours quoted as is it often an inaccurate measure. The size of your display and programs you are running are the main factors which determine the battery capacity of your laptop.

Battery life isn’t usually much of a concern unless you tend to work while commuting. If this sounds like you, then you could choose a laptop with a battery life of 15 hours or higher.

Does your laptop need a graphics card?

A GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is inbuilt into every laptop and is integral to its function. Today’s laptops come with GPUs that are capable of handling most programs. However, if you plan to run graphics-heavy tasks, then you might need a dedicated laptop graphics card.

Laptop graphics cards do come at a higher task, so you should check if you actually need one.

For work:

For regular work, an integrated GPU is more than sufficient. However, you would require one of the best laptop graphic cards available if you work heavily on Photoshop or other advanced editing software.

For games:

Laptop specifications also require a graphics card for laptop gaming. Advanced 3D games almost definitely require a graphics card. If you are a hardcore gamer, it will be an excellent investment.

For regular use:

You almost definitely won’t need a graphics card for regular browsing. Save yourself some money and skip this feature!

What ports do you need to look for?

The sides of your laptop are home to a number of ports, some of which you might not even recognise. The basic ports you need to look for in a laptop are:

  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Ethernet cable
  • HDMI port
  • MicroSD card slot

Apart from this, modern laptops might also come with:

  • USB Type-C port
  • USB 3.0
  • Micro USB port
  • Thunderbolt 3

These additional ports are a personal preference and depend upon your budget.

Is DVD/Blu-Ray drive important?

An optical drive is usually absent on most modern laptops and is unnecessary. The absence of this features means lighter, slimmer laptops and more space for features that improve performance.

Your answers to these questions will help you filter through the many laptop categories and find the one that matches your needs perfectly.

How Do You Find a Laptop

Within Your Budget?

Laptops today are slimmer, faster and smarter than ever before. However, this technology comes at a cost.

After you shortlist a few laptops that match your requirements, there’s one final filter you need to run them through: the price.

If we had no budget, we could purchase virtually any laptop available on the market. However, for most of us, the price of a laptop is going to be the final deciding factor before we finalise on a system.

Since laptops are a big investment, purchasing one can seem intimidating, especially if the laptops that match our requirements are completely out of budget. However, with the right techniques, you can still find a laptop within your reach. Here are a few ingenious ways to save money when buying best budget laptops in India.

Don’t ignore mid-range options

Laptops that get the most hype are usually the highest-range ones with the latest specs and sleekest designs. As a result, most of us are only aware of these laptops, while the mid-range category is largely ignored. However, mid-range laptops deserve to get your attention. Many of them come with good specs and can handle most types of usage. They are also available at a much lower cost. This way, you can find an efficient system while spending less than you might otherwise have to.

Go for second-best

Getting the timing right can be all the difference between breaking your budget and saving your money. When a new model is launched, previous laptops in the series usually become cheaper. The preceding laptop model will also have impressive specs, but will become available for a much lower cost because it isn’t the latest one. By choosing it, you will have to pay a lot less to enjoy almost the same specs.

Buy only from an authorised dealer

Purchasing a laptop from an authorised dealer should be the obvious choice because it’s the safest way to ensure that you get a genuine product. However, the benefits go even further than that. Authorised dealers usually offer excellent deals on laptops since they are direct suppliers. They can also guarantee that despite the lower price, products are still genuine and in excellent condition. Third-party suppliers might offer attractive low prices, but there’s always the risk that the products might be fake or damaged.

Shop for a laptop online

Online stores often have products at a lower price because they don’t have to pay additional overhead costs like lease for a showroom or maintenance costs. Many authorised dealers also have online stores where you can purchase a laptop directly. Searching for  best budget  laptops online also helps you compare products easily and read customer reviews.

Buy at the right time

Be on the lookout for flash sales, special deals or discount seasons for best budget laptop 2018.  During these times, laptops are usually available at a marked down price, making them more affordable. Holiday seasons are a great time to buy a new best budget laptops because most dealers offer discounts around these months.

For more great money-saving tips, read Tips to Save Money When Buying a Laptop.

Choosing the Right Accessories

for Your Laptop

When you go to a store to purchase your laptop, chances are you won’t be leaving it with just the laptop. Laptop accessories aren’t just optional add-ons, many of them are essential to the working of your system.

Without the right accessories, your laptop might not be realising its full potential.

Dell laptop accessories also help you maximise your productivity by keeping your laptop working smoother and faster. They can add to the final cost of your purchase, so choose ones that you know you will actually need.

Here is a laptop accessories list to help guide you in choosing the best add-ons for your laptop.

Bluetooth or USB mouse

Laptops do come with a trackpad, however a mouse offers better comfort and feedback. A physical mouse is one of the best laptop accessories for gamers because they give you better control and are more sensitive.

Cooling pads

Using your laptop for long hours or playing games heavy on graphics can heat up your laptop. Overheating can cause serious long term damage and reduce its lifespan. Portable cooling pads can prevent your laptop from overheating.

External speakers

If you love playing music or watching movies on your laptop, external speakers are a must-have accessory. Laptops have a comparatively low speaker output which can affect the audio quality. With bluetooth or wired speakers, on the other hand, you can enjoy an immersive experience.

USB charger

If you work on-the-go very frequently, you might not always be able to find a socket to plug your charger into. Investing in a USB charger is very important because it ensures you will never run out of charge, no matter where you are. If you work from remote places, a USB charger is a must buy on your laptop accessories list.

USB flash drive

USB flash drives these days can store up to 2TB of data. You might not need as much storage, but investing in a flash drive is important if you need to carry data or transfer files. Usually, an 8GB pen drive is more than sufficient for most users.

Cleaning tool kit

Keeping your laptop clean adds to the lifespan of your laptop as dust can create serious issues. Cleaning kits help you maintain your laptop with minimal effort. They usually come with a soft cloth, cleaning solution and blower.

Laptop bags

One of the most essential accessories for your laptop is a laptop bag. To keep your laptop safe when travelling, make sure you choose a durable laptop bag prevents physical damage and safeguards your laptop from moisture and scratches.

External hard disk

An external hard disk is one of the best ways to backup and transfer your data. It also helps you free up space on your laptop, which can help it run faster. These laptop accessories are the perfect companion for your brand new laptop! You can also read our blog on The Best Laptop Accessories to Upgrade Your Experience.

Do You Actually Need

Laptop Insurance?

When you spend your hard-earned money on a new laptop, the last thing you want is to see it damaged in any way. Unfortunately, you might not always be able to protect your laptop.

The portability of a laptop, which is one of its biggest advantages, is also to blame for why they are prone to damage.

Accidentally splashing water or knocking your laptop while moving it can damage its performance. Because of this, a laptop accidental damage insurance policy is always recommended to protect your system in the event something happens to it and is the best laptop insurance for students.

Here’s what you should know about laptop insurance before purchasing a plan.

How does a laptop insurance plan work?

For a small annual charge (in addition to a deductible), you can insure your laptop in case of a robbery or unplanned harm. Certain insurance plans also cover fire damage or issues caused by power surges.

But laptop insurance doesn’t cover everything. Some of the things not included under an insurance policy include:

  • Viruses
  • Wear and tear
  • Software problems
  • Mechanical issues

When do you need laptop insurance?

Someone breaking into your home and stealing your laptop is an obvious scenario in which laptop theft insurance would come in handy to replace your expensive gadget. Knocking a cup over and spilling liquid over your keypad will also be less worrying if you have laptop theft insurance India.

However, as with any type of insurance, you do need to read the fine print closely to understand exactly what comes under the scope of your plan and detect any loopholes.

How do you apply for laptop insurance?

Many laptops have the option of purchasing laptop insurance provided by the brand. Dell laptops, for example, come with accidental damage protection, making it easier for users to purchase insurance. It offers laptop users coverage for up to 1 year and can even be extended.

What are the conditions for claiming laptop insurance?

Different insurance providers have specific procedures to claim insurance, but there are certain guidelines which most have in common.

  • You need to call your insurance provider within at least 24 hours of the damage taking place.
  • In case of theft or damage due to fire, you will first need to file a police complaint and present it to your insurance agent.
  • Insurance cannot be claimed on a pre-damaged laptop. This is why you need to take a plan as soon as you purchase a laptop.

Paying a small extra amount at the time of purchasing your laptop can protect your system in the long term. Find out more by reading All You Need to Know About Laptop Insurance.

Where Should You

Buy a Laptop From?

When you need to buy a laptop, there are a number of places where you can buy one from. However, not all of them are the right choice.

The best laptop centre offers a combination of the right price, highest value and authenticity of products.

Choosing the wrong dealer can often mean that you pay a higher price for a defective product. This is why, you need to be extra-careful and extensively research a showroom before buying a laptop from it.

If you aren’t sure how to go about selecting a centre, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

Ask friends and family for advice

Friends and family are your most trusted source of advice. If you know someone who has purchased a laptop recently, ask them where they got it from and what their experience was like. This can help you decide for or against a centre.

Read reviews online

Online customer reviews come in handy if you don’t personally know someone who can advise you. Make sure they are verified, genuine reviews so you can actually trust them.

Make sure they are authorised

Only authorised dealers can offer a complete guarantee of genuine products. Lower prices can make lesser-known stores seem appealing, but they aren’t a reliable option. Authorised dealers, on the other hand, offer excellent quality products with genuine certificates of warranty.

Check if sales personnel at the centre understand your needs

The quality of salespersons can tell you a lot about the quality of the showroom in general. When you actually visit the centre, they should be attentive and try to understand what you are looking for. They should also be able to provide you with good recommendations based on your needs. If the sales personnel tick all these boxes, then you can be assured that you are choosing the right dealer.

Ask if they offer servicing as well

A showroom that also has a service centre can come in very useful. Laptops do need to be professionally serviced from time to time to ensure that they run smoothly. You should also have a service centre readily available if your system faces any issues.

Learn more by reading 7 Things to Look for When Choosing a Service Centre.

Best Service Centres in Chennai

The easiest way to zero in on the best service centres is by conducting a quick search for the best centres in your city and reading the reviews for each of them.

If you reside in Chennai, you have a number of options from where you can purchase from a laptop showroom in Chennai. Dell laptop showroom is the best place to buy laptop in Chennai  as we are authorised dealers of Dell products. This way, you can be assured that you are getting a genuine and high-quality device. Dell Laptop showroom in Chennai have a range of laptop accessories and a dedicated service centres so you can take care of all your laptop needs under a single roof.

Buying a Laptop Abroad vs. in India

One of the most common myths about buying a laptop is that buying one abroad is the cheaper option. In reality, buying a laptop abroad has almost no advantages. The final price of the laptop abroad (when converted into INR) is around the same as buying one domestically. In fact, buying a laptop abroad, from the US for example, can work out to be more expensive in the long run. The warranty of the laptop is usually only valid in the country that it is sold in. If you buy a laptop from the US and want to get it serviced in India, you will have to pay for it even if it is under warranty. This is why, if you are weighing the pros and cons of buying a laptop abroad vs. in India, there is no doubt that buying it in India is the best option.

What Do You Do With

Your Old Laptop?

When you come home with your brand new laptop, you are usually faced with an unexpected dilemma: what to do with old computers that still work? Knowing how to safely  dispose of a laptop is very important.

In 2018, an estimated 49.9 mn. metric tons of e-waste will be produced. Most of this waste is comprised of small electronic gadgets like laptops.

If you aren’t taking proper measures to dispose your laptop, you could be contributing to this waste and damaging the environment.

Here are a few tips on what to do with old laptop computers and how to safely  dispose of a laptop in a responsible, environmentally-conscious way.

Backup your data

Backing up your data prevents loss of any important files. If you already use a cloud, backing your files on a physical hard drive might seem redundant. However, it is still recommended because it can ensure your data doesn’t get lost under any circumstances. It is very simple to do as you just need to plug in the USB and move your files.

Encrypt your device

Before recycling or selling your laptop, it’s important to encrypt the files for safety. Since most of us save sensitive, information on our laptop, encrypting it prevents misuse. For Windows systems with SSD drive, go to settings>about and you will find the encryption option at the bottom.

Deauthorize programs

Some programs like iTunes and Microsoft Office allow you installation of a number of softwares or computers to access your files. Deauthorizing all accounts connected to your old laptop can prevent misuse.

Reset the system

After backing up files that you need, perform a factory reset to ensure everything is deleted. If you have Windows 8.1, go to settings>change PC settings>update and recovery option>get started. Then click next to reset your system.

Sell/exchange/recycle

What to do with old computers that still work? Once your laptop is wiped clean, you can dispose of your laptop safely. If your laptop is in good working condition, you can sell it to a buyer. You can also exchange it when you are purchasing a new laptop and get a reduction in the price of your new one.

But if your laptop is not working, you should recycle it safely. A quick search for e-waste disposal centres in your city will show you how to safely dispose of a laptop.

Once you part ways with your old laptop, you can get to the fun part! With a brand new laptop, you can explore different programs, work much faster and enjoy the latest features!

To learn more, read How to Safely Dispose of Your Old Laptop.

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