There are so many variations on the types of laptop these days, there really is something for everyone. So the first step is to determine what you really need. Is this a laptop for work, for gaming, for browsing, for kids, or for a little bit of everything?
The basic factors you need to take into account are storage, speed, portability and – of course – battery life.
The first, storage, comes down to a difference between HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid state drives).
The former is the older style, which is slower and more power intensive. The latter is faster, smaller and more battery friendly.
An SSD is what you’ll find on most modern laptops meaning you’ll see the speed and performance increase immediately when you upgrade from the older style.
Speed isn’t just affected by that drive though so you’ll need to take into account how much you want to spend on the processor and RAM, which both affect performance.
If you’re upgrading, you’ll likely see an increase, even with a base level machine, but if you need more juice simply upgrade your power. The result should be faster load times and smoother use even when multitasking.
All this now comes in far slimmer and lighter form factors too. The more you spend the more portable the laptop will be, generally. Spend a little more for a premium metal and glass finish that’s reassuringly solid in the hand.
If battery life is your main concern then you can focus on the most efficient processors, smaller screen and largest battery combination to get what you need.
So which is the best laptop for you? There are three categories that you should look into to find your future laptop. Lots of these are found on AO.com where all the above factors are super-charged, meaning you get the latest and greatest when you buy your new laptop.
If you need lots of raw power, for video editing, image manipulation, gaming or intense multi-tasking, then you’ll need a powerhouse.
These generally come with the latest Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, the latter being the more powerful of the two. That means multi-threading of processes for the most power efficient as well as high-speed performance.
The Asus Zenbook S, for example, offers the latest quad-core 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor running up to 4.6 Ghz and backed by a whopping 8GB of RAM – plenty to handle most tasks you throw at it.
Alternatively you can go for a more flexible machine, literally, with the Lenovo Yoga C930 which folds back on itself to act like a tablet. This still churns out the power with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM.
This is where the portability combined with power is a nice balance which the HP Envy 13 manages, offering a lightweight build, Intel Core i5 processor and 16GB of RAM plus 512GB of storage.
Or go for the Acer Swift 5 for 8th gen Intel Core i5 performance backed with 8GB of RAM and an ultra-lightweight portable build – all without costing you too much.
It’s now possible to get high-end specs and quality build but without blowing your budget entirely. Premium laptops like the Microsoft Surface Go with Platinum Keyboard offer a high-end experience without the top-end price.
This tablet with keyboard gives you the best of the tablet experience with all the powerhouse features of a laptop, at a sub-£500 price. A Full HD display, 9-hour battery, Intel Pentium Gold processor and 4GB of RAM make this a perfect portable partner.
The HP Pavilion 15 is a classically designed laptop that crams in a 10-hour battery life, massive 1TB hard drive and AMD Ryzen 5 CPU with 8GB of RAM for a decent price. This proves you really don’t have to blow the budget to get enough power to do what you need.
Other options include the Acer Swift 3 for 8th gen Intel Core i3 performance with 256GB of storage and portability on a budget, or the Lenovo 330s for 8GB of RAM with 16GB of Optane memory backed up an 8th Gen Intel Core i5.
If you don’t want to spend too much, may not always need loads of power, but like to have enough to make sure you’re covered should that need arise, then an everyday laptop is your best bet.
This will cover you for decent battery life and portability while keeping the price down yet still offering a processor and RAM combination to handle most tasks.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 330s is a good example of this combination of features as it offers a top-end 8th gen Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM plus 128GB storage and a wallet-friendly price.
Or save more with the Acer Aspire 3 which still offers an AMD A6 with 4GB of RAM and 4GB of RAM plus a hefty 256GB of storage at nearly half the price.
Or find a sweet spot in the middle with the HP 14, which deals out a 7th gen Intel Core i3 but which is backed by a hefty 8GB of RAM and pushes the battery to an impressive 12 hour life – all without blowing your budget.