Steve Flannery

Steve Flannery

Do you know someone who is buying a laptop for the first time? We came up with these 7 excellent guidelines for the beginner who is buying a laptop.

To start, when a customer comes in our shop and asks, “How do I know which laptop is best for me?” we tell them it depends on many factors, like needs, purpose, function, budget, size, quality, and speed. We will discuss these factors with them, eventually hand them a list and leave the ultimate choice up to them.

So how exactly do you choose a laptop?

Guides To Buying a Laptop

Instead of listening to the personal biases of others, it is much more beneficial if you go through a list of factors important to you. The information that follows will get you started.

Purpose and Function

For our guides to buying a laptop, let’s begin with purpose and function. It may be a truism you’ve heard before, but it bears repeating, Never buy something without knowing your purpose for buying it. Never! You have to know the reason why you need an item to purchase it in the first place.

Are you a student who needs to use a laptop for paperwork or your thesis? Or maybe you need a laptop to do some serious editing for your videography business or photo editing jobs.

Perhaps, you are a producer who needs to edit your music on the fly, or a professional writer, a graphic artist, web site designer, an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist, or any number of other work-related reasons. Purpose matters because it will ultimately dictate and shape the specifications you need for your purchase.

Budget Availability

An important part of the guides to buying a laptop is your budget.

The availability of funds is a serious factor when considering a laptop. People differ when it comes to how much they can afford. You can’t buy a core i9 processor if your budget is only suitable for a Core i5 unit. Knowing how much you can spend will also determine how you might optimize your options.

Screen Resolution and Body Size

Size of the laptop matters. Keep in mind that after you have purchased it, you are stuck with it. Choose wisely. Also remember that while you can always upgrade your laptop’s RAM or ROM, you can never change its body size. To find a size you are comfortable with; it will be with you for a long time.

Now let’s get down to specifics concerning screen sizes and resolutions. The people at have created an excellent article and comparison chart showing screen sizes and corresponding resolutions. I recommend that you read their article at

Here is Why Laptops’ chart.

From the chart you can see that as the screen size differs so does the screen resolution. The higher the screen resolution is, the better display you will have.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a smaller and thinner laptop will offer better portability, that is, they are a lot easier to carry around. However, a bigger laptop is less portable, but it offers better screen resolution.

Keyboard and Touchpad Quality

You will be using your laptop keyboard a lot, so having an excellent overall user experience is important, and part of that depends on the responsiveness of your keyboard. Make sure that it has snappy responsiveness and travel on down-strokes. All of the high-end specs of your device are useless if your keyboard is responding poorly.

Be aware of the distance when keys are pressed; it should be about 1 to 2 mm. Also check if you have enough space between keys when you place your fingers.

In addition, consider having a keyboard that is backlit because it will significantly enhance your experience when typing in a dark environment. In particular, backlit keyboards when used in the dark will help let you know where the keys are to place your fingers.

As for touchpads, look for one that is not giving you a jumpy cursor and consistently responds to any series of multitouch gestures. Also, try using pinch-to-zoom to check if your touchpad reacts appropriately.

CPU Speed

CPU stands for the Central Processing Unit. It is the core of your laptop’s speed and capacity to process or calculate data. There are many manufacturers out there to choose from, but this article will focus mainly on Intel processors.

It is tough to ignore Intel’s core-based CPUs when in the market for a new laptop. They offer the best-performing CPUs sold today, especially when it comes to multitasking and multimedia tasks. Rendering is also a solid point of Intel processors, making them a perfect fit for any multimedia editors out there.

More Core Means More Speed

When shopping for an Intel core-based CPU, you will see terms like Core i3, Core i5, and on up to the latest, Core i9. Of course, numbers may change as computers get more and more powerful when it comes to processing powers.

Just know that a single core can only process a separate thread. Wait. . . “What on earth are cores and threads?” you ask. Threads are a single line of commands being processed. Every application has at least one thread, but most have multiple threads.

A core is the physical hardware that processes these threads. Generally speaking, a core can only process one thread per core. The more number of cores you have, the more threads you can process. Hence, the faster the calculation speed is for your device.

RAM Speed

In addition to knowing the guidelines for buying a laptop, you should understand RAM speed. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It used as temporary, high-speed storage for data so that your computer’s CPU runs more efficiently.

Every time you open a program, your hard drive will send the related data of that program to your RAM instead of sending it directly to your CPU. This set-up makes it easier and faster for the processor to access everything.

Second Hand or Refurbished Laptops

Buying a brand new laptop is not your only option. Depending on your budget, a second-hand or used laptop is also a viable option to consider. And simply because a laptop is used, doesn’t mean it is weak or performing poorly. Refurbished ones make some of the best laptops.

Here are a few interesting facts to consider when buying a used laptop.

  • Cost is less

Lower cost is the number one reason for buying a used laptop. Much like buying a car, a refurbished laptop is an entirely sensible option; it is light on the pocketbook. You can pick up a well-known brand for a drastically reduced price.

  • No add-ons needed

If you buy a brand new laptop, most sellers will tell you that you need some add-on features, and sometimes it may be true. However, this is not the case for refurbished laptops. Most of the add-ons that sellers offer for used laptops are unnecessary.  

  • Used doesn’t mean old

You can find a lot of used laptops for sale that were only used for a month or two, or even less. They are still in pristine condition. Buying one of these is much like buying a brand new laptop.

Also, the majority of second-hand laptops come from companies that have upgraded them on a regular basis. Consequently, as a consumer, you can expect to get a well maintained, high-end laptop at a very good price.


Buying a brand new or refurbished laptop is totally up to your personal preference and availability of funds. We hope that these guidelines for buying a laptop help you when making your choice. What matters is that you are equipped with the critical knowledge of how these items should be working and how they should fit your needs.

Here at Steve’s Computer Repair Shop, we offer quality, refurbished laptops at an affordable price. As always, we aim to make sure that customer satisfaction comes first, and business second.

Until next time, have a good day!

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