Computers have come a long way since their origins. From what was once a room-spanning piece of machinery, we now have computerized components as small as our phones. However, no matter how multifunctional our phones may become, laptops are still preferable in terms of computing power.
Yet if someone sends you to the store to find a laptop for them, you’re sure to find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. There are so many different types of laptops that you can find nowadays. How can you tell which one is the best for your friend’s needs? Or your own, for that matter?
Never fear! Our handy guide will tell you everything that you need to know.
All About the Operating System
The first thing that you should consider when shopping for a new laptop is the operating system that you want to use. The operating system, OS for short, refers to the core hardware and programming that drives your laptop. This can determine what programs, peripherals, and software are compatible with your computer.
For the longest time, there were only two different types of laptops in this regard: Windows laptops and MacBooks, which ran off of Apple OS. Nowadays, you can find laptops powered by Linux and Android in addition to Windows and Apple. However, products that run off of Android or Linux may not have the programs you need available for easy access.
Another important thing to note: Systems that operate off of Android or Apple OS offer exceptional compatibility with their respective phone brands. So, if you enjoy the convenience of fast synching between your phone and laptop, or the ability to take your work in places where you can’t take your computer, one of these OSes might be a good choice for you.
Now We’re in Business
Business laptops tend to be among the more expensive options on the market. This is due to a number of reasons, not least of which is the added security hardware that some top-of-the-line models add to ensure safe transactions.
A business or workstation laptop, by design, offers more powerful hardware than general-purpose laptops. In addition, they offer more ports for peripherals and an ethernet port for wired connection to a secure network. Many of these business laptops also offer a lock slot to prevent someone who steals the laptop from opening it and prizing all the information from it.
The biggest drawback to business laptops? They tend to be extremely expensive, costing at least $1500 for an entry-level business model. These laptops can also prove rather bulky and heavy.
Writing in Notebooks and Netbooks
Notebooks and netbooks tend to fall under lightweight or general-purpose laptops these days. As their name would suggest, notebook and netbook laptops tend to be designed for writing or browsing the web. They can’t handle too much heavy programming or processing, as they do not have the necessary hardware.
These laptops tend to be budget models and can prove slow or unresponsive if you go too cheap. The notebook/netbook model seems to be the most popular among manufacturers like Samsung and Chromebook. These manufacturers eschew standard operating systems like Windows in favor of Android compatibility.
If all you need is a computer for basic web browsing that doesn’t require too many tabs open, then a notebook or netbook will suit your needs perfectly.
2-in-1 Laptops: Twice the Device, Twice the Fun
2-in-1 laptops sometimes get called convertible laptops when you shop for them in computer stores. Whatever terminology gets used, the basic definition is the same. This type of laptop can be used as either a laptop computer or a tablet.
Certain models come with detachable screens. Others focus on making the laptop flexible enough to bend over backward, letting the keyboard serve as a sort of kickstand for the device. The major downside to this type of laptop? Unless you pay for one of the highest-end models on the market, you’re going to get twice the device at half the functionality.
Cheaper 2-in-1 laptops lack the hardware required to run well as a laptop but also lack the responsiveness to function well as a tablet. So, if you want to go this route, be prepared to spend extra money.
Greetings, Gamers! Let’s Talk Gaming Laptops
Ask a group of gamers whether or not you should invest in one of the many gaming laptops on the market. We dare you. If you do, chances are, you’ll receive some mixed responses.
Some gamers vehemently believe that only a desktop offers the hardware necessary for top-tier performance. Others hold that a laptop’s portability makes it a better choice overall since you can take your games on the go. Regardless of which one performs better, you’re going to need some serious hardware for a gaming laptop to function as intended.
Sure, you can play lower-intensity games on general-purpose laptops. If they have the baseline specs to run the software, you can play the game. However, you will not experience the crystal-clear graphics or fast loading times that users on gaming laptops will.
There are loads of different types of laptops out there for gamers. Yet all of them share a similar profile: Loaded with high-power processors, kitted out with RGB lights, and bulkier than most other laptops.
To Touch, Or Not to Touch, That Is the Question
While browsing the different types of laptops at the store, you’re likely to encounter many that offer a touchscreen option. So, you may wonder if it’s worth the investment to get a laptop that has touchscreen functionality or not.
Touchscreens are everywhere, from phones to kiosks at the store, so having one on your laptop should be a no-brainer, right? Not necessarily. Again, unless you pay the extra money for a high-end model, you may encounter serious lag issues on a laptop with touchscreen capabilities.
However, laptops with a touchscreen can prove quite useful to a budding digital artist who can’t afford a separate graphics tablet. Using a simple stylus pen, a digital artist could draw directly onto the touchscreen. This allows them to gain greater control over their linework than they might otherwise have.
Ultrabooks: What’s New, Now, and Next for Laptops
The absolute latest innovation in the world of laptops comes in the form of Ultrabooks. Intel may have coined the term, but it has since evolved to refer to any and all ultrathin, high-powered, high-quality laptops. This includes AMD-based machines and Macbooks, as well as Intel Evo-certified systems like those you can buy from Lenovo.
Any laptop worthy of the ultrabook name will have a razor-thin profile, making it one of the lightest laptops on the market. However, this thin profile will not come at the expense of internal processing power, as ultrabooks use the latest in processing technology to offer blistering speeds to users.
Many ultrabooks offer exceptional battery life and crystal clear visuals on their screens. Naturally, you can expect to pay an ultra-high price for laptops like this unless you happen to find one on sale.
SSD vs HDD: What You Should Know
During your search for the right laptop, you may encounter the terms SSD and HDD. What do these terms mean? To put it simply, they refer to the type of hard drive that your laptop has inside of it. An SSD, or solid-state drive, uses flash-based memory to store and load files. An HDD, or a basic hard drive, uses disk memory to store its information.
SSDs are by and large faster, less liable to break down, and offer better performance than HDDs. However, to get the same amount of memory in a laptop with an SSD over an HDD, you’ll have to pay a much higher price tag.
These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a laptop that doesn’t boast an SSD. However, HDD models still exist in the budget market, if you’re willing to search for them.
Want to Learn More About the Different Types of Laptops?
There are so many different types of laptops available today that it can feel overwhelming. We hope that this guide gave you a better idea of what’s available on the market, and what will work best for your usage and needs.
Did you find this article helpful? Would you like to dive deeper into these types of laptops and learn about their specs, looks, and price points in greater detail? If so, then check out our blog each day for more handy, informative content like this.