In the information-driven world of today, a laptop can be the centerpiece to your digital life. Laptops allow you to combine and manage your work, school and personal life all within one portable computer. Though many people stay connected with smartphones and tablets, laptop computers maintain far more functionality in both personal and business settings. The availability of a physical keyboard and touch pad are features you will find on a laptop that you won’t find on a tablet or smartphone. A laptop also has far more connectivity options than a tablet.
We wanted to give you a less expensive alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro. Our top-rated laptops are every bit as fast and powerful as the MacBook, but you won’t need to empty out your life savings to afford one of these Windows based PCs. Out of our top 10 laptops, the Dell XPS, HP Envy TouchSmart series and HP Envy series have everything you need to maintain your professional and personal life and feature all the extras you might want from your laptop. Be sure to take a look at our articles on laptop computers for more in-depth information.
The best laptops are going to have a fast and efficient processor, plenty of memory and storage for all of your multimedia files and applications. A solid feature set such as a high definition webcam, video card and plenty of ports for multiple connectivity options are also important to consider when finding the right laptop for you.
When you're deciding which laptop is best for you, you need to determine the type of tasks you will most frequently perform with your computer. If you plan to use your laptop to check email, browse the internet and listen to music, you don’t need anything too powerful. However, if you plan to edit videos, design graphics, store HD media files or play video games, you want a device with adequate hard drive space, enough RAM and a strong processor. On all the laptops we reviewed, you can choose to customize certain features – such as adding RAM, a bigger hard drive or a faster processor – if you decide to upgrade from the base model.
Below are the criteria we used to evaluate laptop computers.
The best laptops feature a fast, powerful processor. You also need an operating system that performs well and is user-friendly. If you plan to play games on your computer, a powerful graphics card is essential. Be aware, though, that graphics cards in laptops are integrated, and while they are powerful enough to run the most basic graphics when playing video games, the card can't be removed if you want to upgrade it.
Look for laptops with at least 6GB of RAM (more RAM equals quicker loading times), because you don’t want to wait around all day for files to download or applications to open. Some laptops give you the option to install either an HDD or SSD if you have a preference on hard drives. In addition, a long battery life will let you spend hours on your laptop without having to plug in. The best laptops offer up to nine hours of battery life on a single charge, even with moderate use.
The main purpose of laptop computers is portability, and each computer offers different physical dimensions, so it is vital that you make sure it is portable enough for you without sacrificing the desktop functionality. A mini laptop with a high definition webcam and different screen size options is the most desirable.
The top laptops on the market generally include several connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These take portability to the next level. You can use the Bluetooth for listening to wireless earphones and Wi-Fi for accessing the internet in places like coffee shops and other locations with wireless connections. Several laptop computer models also include a few extra features like HDMI, multiple USB 3.0 ports and SD card readers if you want more options to use and store media.
Help & Support
Wear and tear happens to electronic devices no matter how well you take care of them. Before you buy, look at the warranty for the device. Most computers feature a one-year warranty, but some may offer more, along with extended warranty options. Also, if problems occur, you need a company with customer service representatives who will help resolve your issues. Many manufacturers offer email, phone and live chat support to help you when technical problems arise.
If you combine all of these elements into one computing device, you will have the ultimate laptop computer. Portability, design, power, speed and hard drive space will all come together to give you the laptop that is the best fit for you needs.
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