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LAPTOP BUYING GUIDE

Which laptop suits me?

Whether you're buying a laptop for home, business or gaming, it’s important to find a laptop that suits your needs. You’ll want to find a great deal with the right specifications. Things like the operating system, processor, memory, storage, screen size, graphics and battery life are all worth considering but all the different options can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. Don’t panic though! We've put together this handy buying guide to help you understand exactly what each is, so you can choose a laptop you'll love.

Shop by type

For Everyday

If you just want to browse the web, watch a few films or perform general word processing tasks, you’ll need a laptop you can depend on. The main things to consider will be screen size, resolution and battery life.

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For Business

If you’re a business professional in need of a high-performance laptop, our wide range incorporates excellent memory, security, speed and portability, from renowned brands like Lenovo, HP, Dell and Toshiba.

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For Gaming

If you’re a gaming enthusiast in pursuit of an immersive experience and smooth frame rates, you’ll need a powerful gaming laptop to keep up with the action. Our devices come with superior features like GTX and RTX graphics cards from leading brands, like ASUS, MSI, Alienware and Medion.

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For Students

If you’re at university, college or school, you need a laptop ready for any challenge. For standard coursework, a low priced Chrome-book might do the trick; however, if you’re a Graphic Design student, you might need something more powerful with a dedicated graphics card to power your work.

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Operating system

Windows OS

Windows is the most commonly used operating system in the world, so if you’ve used a laptop before it was probably running Windows. The latest release, Windows 10, has simplified gaming and locating documents while protecting your device from viruses and malware attacks. It is straightforward and simple to use and has the widest compatibility of all the operating systems.

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Chrome OS

Being primarily web-driven, Chrome is a very simple, straight-forward operating system. It’s designed for speed and ideal for people wanting to browse the web, online shopping, send emails and watch videos. It automatically uploads your files to the cloud and allows you to access them quickly and easily through any internet-enabled device – ultimately lowering the risk of losing work. It’s worth noting that Chrome OS can be quite restrictive, as most software is designed for a Windows OS In case you want to know more about chromebooks, you can check out our dedicated chromebook buying guide here.

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Mac OS

Exclusive to Apple devices (e.g. the Macbook Pro and Macbook Air), the Mac OS interface is very user-friendly. It is highly intuitive and works seamlessly with other Apple devices to deliver exceptional performance when transferring files, photos, apps, etc. Apple devices are incredibly popular for manipulating graphics and publishing. However, not all software is compatible with its operating system, and they aren’t great for gaming.

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Performance

Processor

Everyday processors
If your laptop is for normal home use, choosing from AMD A4, Ryzen 3, Intel Pentium, Celeron or Core i3 would be ideal for watching videos, surfing the web and basic word processing tasks. They’re not as powerful as their higher end counterparts, but offer great value for money.

Premium processors
If you need a laptop with more power, we recommend a Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 processor. These fantastic processors are an excellent choice for fast, responsive, affordable laptops; they can streamline day-to-day tasks, and can even support some basic graphic design work and gaming.

Powerhouse processors
For unparalleled performance, Ryzen 7, Intel Core i7, Intel Core i9 and Intel Xeon processors are what you need. These processors allow you to unleash your creativity and are perfect for photo editing, video editing, CAD/CAM, 3D rendering and high-end gaming.


Memory (RAM)

Memory (RAM)


Graphics

Integrated graphics
All modern processors feature built in (integrated) graphics, they share computers RAM and processing power to deliver what you see on screen. Integrated graphics are ideal for everyday use but will struggle when it comes toplaying games or any graphically intensivetasks.

Dedicated graphics
Having a dedicated graphics card (GPU) means that a laptop has its own dedicated graphics chip inside, unlike integrated graphics which are built in to the processor and far less powerful. Dedicated graphics have their own memory (RAM) and are significantly faster, offering up to (and sometimes even more than) 20x more performance than their integrated counterparts, depending on model. You need a dedicated GPU if you intend on using your laptop for gaming, video editing, rendering or design work. Popular graphics cards include NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX and GTX ranges, as well as AMD Radeon cards such as RX560X.


Storage

Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage
Provides a large amount of space for your files – from 500GB to 3,000GB (3TB). However, it is far slower than an SSD, so things like games can take longer to load. In recent years, HDD storage has become less popular with the rise of solid state drives.

Solid State Drive (SSD) storage
SSDs are much faster than a hard drive, meaning faster boot and loading times, but don’t offer as much storage as a standard hard drive. They use less power too, which helps on battery life. They also have no moving parts making your laptop significantly quieter – and, if you’re prone to dropping your tech, this makes it harder to break.


Appearance

Screen

Screen Size
Size is nice and simple, how big (or small) do you want the screen to be. The screen size of a laptop is measured diagonally, from corner to corner. Generally, laptop screen sizes tend to be between 12” and 17”. The size of the screen generally defines the size of the whole laptop, so a 13” screen laptop will be smaller and compact – great fortravelling or taking out and about, where as a 17” screen laptop would be larger and heavier, but would be ideal for those would make good use out of a large screen, such as gamers. The most popular screen size for a laptop is 15.6”, this is because it has a good balance between portability and usability.o think about when choosing a laptop.

Screen resolution
A laptop screen contains millions of tiny pixels, each lights up in different colours and in combination are used to display an image. The screen resolution is simply the total number of these pixels. The higher the number, generally, the sharper and crisper images will appear. Today, most screens come with a minimum of 1920x1080 pixels – also known as Full HD 1080p, but there are laptops available with a 4k display too. Generally, as a rule, the higher the screen resolution, the more battery power the screen will use and also the more processing power it takes to display an image. This is why you will notice a lot of laptops with 4k displays also feature a dedicated graphics card.

Connectivity

USB

Most laptops will include at least one USB port. The main uses are to connect things like memory sticks, hard drives, mice ect. USB 3 ports offer faster data transfer speeds.

HDMI

A HDMI port transmits both audio and video signals, meaning you can connect your laptop to any TV or monitor with a HDMI port.

USB-C

An updated USB port this is smaller, transmits data faster and can be inserted either side up. Futureproof your connectivity options by looking for at least one USB-C port.

THUNDERBOLT

have the capability to transmit data at a rate of 40Gbps (which is really, really fast in non tech-talk), output video to external monitors too, replacing the need for a HDMI port.


Make your life easier

Our essential set up service

Getting a new laptop is exciting and when it arrives you just want to dive straight in and get down to testing it out. But when you switch it on for the first time there’s always a lengthy set-up process and updates to install, which can be quite time consuming and tricky for those unexperienced. We’ve got the perfect solution, our essential set up service and system check. It’ll save you time and give you peace of mind that everything has been done right, so you can get straight down to enjoying your new laptop.

Our system check

Start up and critical updates


Display check


Hardware install


Audio check


Keyboard & touchpad check


Battery testing


Ports check


Connections


Webcam check


How to add to your order

Once you have found your perfect laptop and added it to your basket, simply check the Essential Set Up Service & System Check For Your Laptop box to get it added to your order. This service is £29.99, it will give you peace of mind knowing there will be no problems and your new laptop will be ready to go straight out of the box, fully checked and updated.


Frequently asked questions

» What is a 2-in-1 laptop?

These are personal computers that incorporate the features of a laptop and a tablet, with either a detachable screen or the ability to fold the screen back 360degrees to essentially turn the laptop into a tablet.

» How do i connect my laptop to my TV?

If you're connecting your device wirelessly, begin with your TV switched on; then take your laptop and navigate to 'Settings', 'Display' and then 'Connect' to locate your screen. If you're connecting your laptop to your TV with a cable, see which ports your device has, then see which ones match your TV. [maybe include an image of the named ports: HDMI, DVI, Composite video, S-video port, VGA]

» What laptop brand is the best?

Our three most popular brands are HP, Lenovo and ASUS. However, this always comes back to personal preference, not to mention purpose, innovation, value for money, design and features

» Do I need a touchscreen laptop?

If you plan to bend your 2-in-1 laptop into a tablet, then yes you need a touchscreen. However, if you are buying a traditional clamshell-style laptop, a touch screen will make it chunkier, more expensive and lessen its battery life.

» What screen size do I need?

13-14 inches offers the best usability and portability; however, 15 inches is the most popular size.

» Do I need a thin and light laptop?

The benefit of a slim or light laptop is its portability. If you don't plan to work in different places frequently, you probably don't require a thin or light device.

» How much battery life does my laptop need?

This is dependent on what it will be used for, e.g. simple word processing versus intense gaming. And also, where it will be used, e.g. if it will be stationed in an office with access to a plug, it will need less battery life than one which is permanently on-the-move.