To ease your anxiety, here is our guide to all things laptops; if you are indeed buying your first one.


Pick a platform

The question of choosing between Windows, Mac OS, or Chrome OS is a tough one. There is no set-in-stone answer, but here’s a breakdown that may provide some clarity.



Windows is the most flexible operating system and runs on more laptops than Mac and Chrome OS combined. Windows laptops start off at $150 all the way up to the thousands, offering you a range of features from the most basic web-surfing and email-friendly internals to gaming and content creation powerhouses. Windows laptops also offer a parade of features from touch screens and fingerprint readers to graphic chips. Windows 10 which is the latest version of the Windows software system provides a host of improvements over Windows 7 and 8, including a revamped layout and a very well integrated digital assistant, Cortana


Mac OS

All MacBooks come with Apple’s macOS Catalina. The interface is different from that of Windows, and users get Siri instead of Cortana. Users have the ability to unlock their phones through their Apple Watches, answer texts and phone calls from their MacBook and perform financial transactions using Apple Pay. The latest Catalina brings over iPad app compatibility to your MacBook as well as secondary display support for iPads. The MacOS may seem a bit complicated to use with the double-touch accessibility features and multi-finger swipe shortcuts, but once you get the hang of it, there is no going back. Apple provides users with an undeniable ecosystem, so well integrated that you never even think of switching platforms. If you have an iPad or an iPhone, the MacBook is the way to go. All your devices stay seamlessly connected, backing each other up, so you never have to worry about not having all your data on-the-go.


Chrome OS

The Chrome OS is found on inexpensive Chromebooks and is geared towards being a super budget-friendly laptop for students to use. The specs are halka and you shouldn’t expect a Chromebook to be a workhorse, but it can get the basic jobs done comfortably. Surfing the web, doing research, completing assignments, drafting emails, and streaming your favourite shows shouldn’t be a problem. You will face quite a few hiccups if you try and edit videos or play graphic intensive games on a Chromebook: they simply aren’t built for it. Many apps do not work well offline on Chrome OS, but higher-end Chromebooks like the Google Pixelbook can run Android apps. Being built with parents and students in mind, they are a cheap solution to your daily tech needs. Chromebooks are highly portable and offer good battery life, along with being secure in terms of malware infections. A decent package for a non-power-user.


Choosing the correct size

The size of the laptop you buy will determine how well it does or does not perform, to a certain extent. The size of the laptop (categorised by the screen size) correlates directly to how powerful the internals of the laptops are.


11 to 12 inches: 

The thinnest and lightest systems offer this compact screen size and weigh between one to two kilograms.


13 to 14 inches:

Most 13 to 14-inch laptops weigh around 2 kilograms and offer the best package in terms of portability and ease of use.


15 to 16 inches:

This screen size is by far the most popular amongst users. Weighing in at around 2 to 2.5 kilograms, they aren’t the easiest to carry around but offer ample screen real estate and powerful internals.


17 to 18 inches:

If you plan to keep your laptop on a desk all day, every day, a larger-sized laptop will give you the beefed-up processing power you are looking for.


Think about the specs

CPU: the CPU is essentially the brain of the computer, and processors dictate performance.


Intel 10th gen:

Ice Lake: a 10-nanometer chip that offers improved graphics

Comet Lake: A 14-nanometer powerhouse that was built with raw performance in mind


Intel Core i9:

Core i9 processors provide better performance than any other chip out there, being available only on premium laptops.

Intel Core i7:

These high-powered chips offer better support for gaming and productivity than the Core i5.


Intel Core i5:

Most laptops with a good combination of price and performance sport i5 processors


Intel Core i3:

Power and performance are a notch below the Core i5, but so is the price. It is always recommended to opt for the Core i5 if your budget allows it, it’s worth it.


Intel Pentium / Celeron:

These chips are common in cheaper laptops and can get your basic document editing and web-surfing jobs done.


RAM: most cheap laptops house 4GB RAM, but in this day and age, 8GB should be the amount of RAM you opt for. If you can dish out some more cash, computers with 16GB RAM are the way to go. Gamers should look into laptops that offer 32GB RAM.


Storage: SSDs (Solid State Drives) offer triple the speed compared to normal SATA drives, which is your standard mechanical hard drive. Your laptop should have an SSD in 2020.


Display: we would recommend opting for a full HD (1920 X 1080 resolution) display. Higher-end laptops offer 4K displays, but suck the life out of your battery. If you want the absolute best in screen quality, consider an OLED display.


Graphics chips: if you are looking for a gaming laptop, a gaming graphics processor chip from AMD or NVIDIA is a must-have.


Here are some tips to help you buy your first laptop:

  • 8+ hours of battery life is what you should look for.
  • Plan based on your budget, and conduct research into the best laptops within your price range.
  • Be wary of the brand: Apple, Razer, and Dell have been the recent top 3 laptop manufacturers.
  • Make sure your laptop has USB 3.0 ports or newer, such as USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, or even Type-C, which will allow you to connect to universal chargers and docks.
  • If you are a gamer, look for headphone jacks, Ethernet, and HDMI ports.
  • Consider a 2-in-1 laptop if you want to use it as a tablet, otherwise, a standard clamshell laptop should do.
  • If you are not going for a 2-in-1 laptop, a touchscreen won’t really be of much use.
  • Keyboards: if you plan to milk your laptop, make sure it has a tactile keyboard. For Windows laptops, go for Precision touchpad drivers.
  • 12.5 to 14-inch laptops offer the best bang for your buck, usually. Conduct your research before making a final decision