Laptop Buying Guide

Samsung LaptopA laptop is a great way for you and your family to have access to fast and portable computing, but with so many to choose from it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you. There are many different types of laptop, but the best way to get an idea of where they sit in the world of computing is to think of them as occupying the gap between tablet computers and desktop PCs. They are more powerful and flexible than tablet computers, but more compact and portable than a desktop PC, so you could say laptops combine the best of both. Buying a laptop can be expensive, but at BrightHouse our pay weekly laptop plans can help you to afford a wide range of state-of-the-art models without breaking the bank.

What type of laptop is right for you?

There are many different types of laptop to suit different needs and uses, so having a look at what the main styles are is a good place to start.

Notebook: This is basically another name for a standard laptop, and will generally be at the larger end of the scale with bigger screens and more features. Notebooks are usually large enough to accommodate a full-size keyboard, and a DVD drive, as well as extras like high quality speakers. They can also feature powerful processors and more memory, giving you faster performance when running applications. This is the most versatile type of laptop, and would be a great choice for a family computer that everyone can use for surfing the internet, watching videos, and playing games.

Netbook: These are smaller, lightweight laptops designed for great portability and long battery life, and are generally less expensive than standard notebooks. They are less powerful than other laptops as they are designed mainly for surfing the internet (which is why it's called a netbook), but they can perform other tasks just as well, such as word processing. They also usually don't have DVD drives as these are too bulky and heavy. Netbooks have a big advantage when it comes to battery life, meaning they can be used for much longer on the go, so they're great for use when travelling.

Ultrabook: These are among the most high-end laptops, and are designed to be light and sleek in their design without compromising performance or battery life, though like netbooks they often don't feature a disc drive because of their limited size. They are generally larger than netbooks, however, which means they have bigger screens and more comfortably-sized keyboards.. Ultrabook laptops can be quite expensive, but are great if you want fast and reliable performance on the go.

What features?

To make the best choice for your needs it's worth thinking about what you want to use your laptop for. Surfing the web? Watching movies? Playing games? Or all of these? Here are some of the features to look out for when choosing your laptop.

Everyday use:

If you want a laptop to be a good all-rounder for sending email, online shopping, watching a film, or checking Facebook, then a mid-range notebook would be perfect for you. If you're going to be mainly using your laptop at home then you don't need to worry about portability and battery life, and you can enjoy features like a DVD drive, and a faster processor. You can also make use of more storage for photos and videos, and view them on a larger screen with better built-in speakers.

Screen: 15.6" and up
Processor: Intel Dual-Core
Memory: 2GB
Storage: 500GB
Other Features: DVD drive, built-in speakers, webcam, Wi-Fi enabled

Entertainment:

If you want to watch the latest movies on a beautiful high definition screen, or listen to your favourite music through great speakers, then a media-focused laptop would meet your needs. These are generally standard or larger size notebooks, with extra attention paid to high quality visuals and sound. They can even feature Blu-ray players so you can watch your favourite movies on the go in the best possible quality. They also feature large hard drives for storing all your digital entertainment files, and can also have powerful processors for faster performance.

Screen: 15.6" to 18.4"
Processor: Intel Dual-Core or Quad-Core
Memory: 2GB to 6GB
Storage: 500GB to 1TB
Other Features: DVD/Blu-ray drive, high quality speakers, HD screen

Portability:

You might be always on the move and need access to a reliable laptop for work or personal use, or perhaps you want a computer with you when you travel, in which case a netbook or Ultrabook would be best suited for your needs. Netbooks are not as powerful as larger laptops, but if you want to be able to surf the web on the go then their compact size and lightweight design are perfect for your needs. If you want a sleek and portable laptop that is powerful and responsive, then an Ultrabook would be best. Most Ultrabooks feature solid state drives (SSD) for storage, which are faster, but usually smaller than traditional hard drives, and are designed to save space and weight. Both netbooks and Ultrabooks have a long battery life so you can use your laptop away from a plug socket for longer.

Screen: 13.3" to 14"
Processor: Single core up to Intel Dual and Quad-Core
Memory: 2GB / 128GB (SSD)
Storage: 250GB and up
Other Features: Slim and lightweight, long battery life, No DVD drive

Gaming:

If you love your PC games, and want to explore magical lands, fly a spaceship, or blast hordes of zombies with smooth and fast graphics, then a powerful gaming laptop is for you. A gaming laptop would generally be a full-size notebook with a high resolution screen, fast processor, and a separate graphics card.  Modern games can be demanding on laptop hardware, so you need to choose the most powerful processors, and larger amounts of memory. High quality stereo speakers are also great for immersing yourself in the gaming experience.

Screen: 15.6" and up
Processor: Intel Core i5 and up
Memory: 4GB and up
Storage: 500GB and up
Other Features: Full-HD screen, separate graphics card, DVD drive, high quality speakers

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