Black Friday is just around the corner, and if a new computer is on your shopping list, you’re in luck. Consumer Reports says there will likely be great deals again this year, but you’ll need their expert advice to find the best laptop for your needs, and budget.
If you’re in the market for a new computer, chances are, you’ll be getting a laptop. That’s because laptops have replaced desktops as the go-to computer for most consumers. They’re portable, more powerful, faster, and less expensive than they used to be.
Want the top speeds? Consider a solid-state drive, or SSD. They’re noticeably faster than traditional hard drives, but they can also be more expensive.
“If you’re buying a laptop and you’re going to hold on to a laptop for like 5 years, let’s say. Over the cost of those 5 years, 100 dollars to get a dramatically better computing experience… I would say you should spend that extra hundred bucks,” said Nicholas DeLeon, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.
As for storage, Consumer Reports says 256 gigabytes should be enough for most people. “That’s enough space for your operating system, all the updates, all your programs, whether that’s photoshop or excel, outlook or chrome or any of those type of things,” said DeLeon.
Storage and memory, or RAM, can be easily confused. Storage is where you keep your files long term, such as documents and photos. Memory houses the apps or programs that you’re currently running, such as your web browser or email. Testers at Consumer Reports say the sweet spot for memory is eight gigabytes.
Processors, also known as chips, are the brains of a laptop. Consumer Reports says the best choice for most people is the Core i-5, which can handle what most users need it to do and more.
Consumer Reports also says when it comes to display, there’s no reason to spring for 4K, which has four times the pixels as High Definition. That’s because the difference in sharpness is so subtle on a laptop’s small screen.