There are 3 common Operating Systems (OS) -
Microsoft Windows - It is most popular because of its ease of use and support for most hardware and software.
Apple Mac OS - It is installed only in Apple laptops. It has great UI and is very secure. But has limited set of user applications.
Ubuntu Linux - It is a free open source linux based OS. It is quite robust and secure.
Decide screen size based on your usage. If you are a frequent traveller smaller screen size (10-13 inches) would be easy to carry. For mostly stationary users, graphics work and gaming usage, large screens (16 inches +) suite better. Mid size screen (13-15 inches) is good if you have to carry your laptop sometimes and for basic usage.
Battery is of more concern for portable use of laptops. Other than the battery specifications by manufacturer, also read reviews to get better idea on battery life based on experience of users.
Processor is the most important part of the laptop. AMD and Intel processors are the most popular. Intel Pentium and Core i3 are good for normal usage. For advance uses and gaming Intel Core i5 and Core i7 are better choice.
AMD A4 and A6 are good for normal usage and you can opt for AMD A8 and A10 for high-end use of laptop.
Random Access Memory (RAM) is responsible for loading programs, files etc. More RAM makes operations faster. For normal routine use, 2-4 GM memory is good enough. However, if you use your laptop for work which includes working on several memory extensive programs simultaneously, image and video editing, gaming etc, you should go for 6 or 8 GB RAM. You can opt for 12 GB or more if your work demands more memory extensive operations for long duration.
Graphics card is responsible for rendering of image frames to display it on the screen. A graphics card is inbuilt in the motherboard of the machine which is sufficient for watching normal multimedia videos, images and basic use. For high-end gaming, video editing, animation design etc. you should go for a dedicated graphics card of 1GB - 3GB.
It is the hard drive size of the laptop. It decides how much data you can store on your laptop. Laptops come in various storage capacity ranging from 60 GB to 1.5 TB. You can choose it based on your data storage requirements. For normal use, 256 - 500 GB is good enough.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard of the laptop should be ergonomically designed. Specially in case of small laptops, the keys should be spaced out properly for efficient use.
The touchpad of laptop should be sensitive enough to sense the gestures like pinch to zoom and multi-touch. It should give correct cursor position on touch.
Do consider the brand of the laptop before buying it. Check the availability of service centers of the brand in your area and reputation of the brand for the product and well as its maintenance support. You would not want to end up travelling 3 hours to reach a service centre for your laptop.
NetBook - Small and lightweight laptops which are good for normal use like surfing on internet, watching movies, photos etc. They are cheaper.
UltraBook - They are lightweight, sleek and stylish in design and come with high-end specifications. They are expensive and good for executive use.
ChromeBook - They come with Google Chrome OS and are specially designed for browser based online operations. They do not support many windows capability but are good if you mostly use it to access social networks, internet surfing etc.
NoteBook - Medium or high-end configuration machines which are as good as desktops in functioning. They are good for work or home entertainment purpose.
Convertible - They usually come with a detachable screen which can be used stand alone with its touch screen or a rotatable screen which can bend back up to 360 degrees. You can use it as a laptop or a tablet.
TouchScreen - Touch screen laptops like smartphones, are more intuitive to use. However there are very few options available for touch screen laptops. Currently, only Microsoft Windows supports this feature,
Fingerprint readers - Fingerprint readers offer higher security to your laptop as it will unlock the laptop only if the fingerprint matches. If you keep lot of sensitive information in your laptop and travel frequently, you may choose this feature.
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