Up For Debate - What Do You Look For in a Laptop?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Sep 9, 2018 5:07 PM

Despite sharing one universal rule, laptops come in all different shapes and sizes, and for a whole lot of uses. Hopefully, they do all fit on your lap, although some of the larger gaming laptops probably have some folks’ manhood screaming for cover.

As for what we look for in a laptop, this is going to vary massively depending on our needs, whether that’s gaming, work, some light web browsing, or a sordid evening on ChatRoulette.

For some, a laptop is where they’ll do literally all their gaming. Only a few years ago, gaming laptops were massively underpowered. These days they’re extremely comparable to desktop PCs, albeit with a more sobering price point. That’s the trade-off though for being able to game where you want, when you want.

For others, a laptop is nothing more than a glorified browsing device. Good for going on the net, but unthinkable as a gaming device. For the price of a gaming laptop, you could arguably pick up a decently-specced desktop PC and a budget netbook, making for a strong combination.

Once the use case has been sorted it out though, this opens up a whole different kettle of fish - quality. Believe it or not, there are Chromebooks which cost upwards of $1000. Their entire function is run a Chrome web browser, and that’s it. You’re paying for the build quality, for good audio, and for a vibrant, high-definition display. No one wants a laptop with a shoddy keyboard, although somehow, somewhere, people are actively buying laptops with those weird nubs on them. There’s no helping some people, there really isn’t.

You’re also paying for size. A high-spec laptop in a tiny chassis is going to end up disproportionately expensive and probably pumps out enough heat to fry an egg.

Basically, there’s a whole lot to contemplate, particularly when there’s a considerable cost involved. Even the cheapest laptops aren’t just bought with throw away cash, they’ll still set you back the cost of a pretty decent graphics card.

So over to you now then, what do you look for in a laptop? Do you even own a laptop at all? Have you found yourself using laptops less with the rise of smartphones? Let us know!

What's the most important things to look for in a laptop? - 2 Votes

Our favourite comments:

Being a laptop gamer, I would say other than Performance & Value one should also look at cooling system if you want to game on it for more than 2-3 years. If a new laptop crosses 90C (CPU or GPU), it will throttle after 3 years or so.

anupampb

Performance will always be #1 for me and #2 is portability, i want something i can bring anywhere so i could work anywhere, and probably play on it too.

decanus

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17:47 Sep-11-2018

I think that thwe seet spot for a laptop is U$S600, more than that and its simply better to opt for a desktop PC.
So, i will search the best performance for that price (+-).

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05:27 Sep-11-2018

Build quality, price to performane, kb backlighting. However I use my laptop as lab pc for linux.


I use my desktop for gaming.

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22:55 Sep-10-2018

Price... Cos we all know that gaming laptops are not worth it but, maybe, one day...
Maybe one day we will have cost effective laptop.

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22:23 Sep-10-2018

A few years ago i bought my lenovo y50, i think it was around 2015 or so, and back then i was looking for raw power to either use 3d model programs or game on it, so i bought the lenovo, then realized it was really heavy to carry around and now i somewhat regret hving bought this laptop so my next one will be a lightweight dell xps with a i5 and probably gtx 2150 with 16 gb of ram and a better battery life as this laptop can barely make 3 and a half hours in power saving mode

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19:35 Sep-10-2018

I originally bought a laptop for school thinking I would need the portability, but it sat on my desk for years. At the time I bought it, it was the best I could do price/performance wise in that form factor. The GTX 970m is about as powerful as a GTX 960, but the GTX 980m was only slightly better for a much higher cost.


Definitely building a desktop in the near future. While they can match desktops now, I don't need the extra cost of portability any more.

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20:51 Sep-10-2018

heeh im kinda in that same situation now i sold my gaming rig of i5 4670k oc to 4.4 ghz 16 gb of ram 2 290x in crossfire for a asus rog with i7 7700hq 1050ti and 16gb of ram cause i went back to school but i didnt need a laptop for school so now its essentially a desktop replacement :/

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21:09 Sep-10-2018

It really depends on usage case and finances I suppose. I had an aging HP Pavillion 4200U and intel 4000hd intergrated graphics that I used for 4 years for work(2years as a mechanic and then 2 years of school) My major is Network Engineering so I needed something more powerful. The Dell 7567 I got early this year with 7700HQ and 1050Ti beats my old HP by miles and allows me to game mobile and do my work at school and when I come home, I have the desktop I built for 4K Ultra 60 gaming/rendering

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18:47 Sep-10-2018

Being a laptop gamer, I would say other than Performance & Value one should also look at cooling system if you want to game on it for more than 2-3 years. If a new laptop crosses 90C (CPU or GPU), it will throttle after 3 years or so.

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07:21 Sep-10-2018

something that didn't burn my belly too much for playing such non demanded game like Slay the Spire , Dead Cells and such.

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07:06 Sep-10-2018

For me its always value. E.g their are several DELL laptops that can compete with and win over Apple products despite a major difference in prices. Likewise I always failed to see the selling point in Alienware laptops, as most if not all could be outclassed by a cheaper yet better HP or Inspiron laptop

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17:04 Sep-10-2018

For the most part, Alienware is all branding and lighting(and other cosmetic/niche features). Yes you can get an overclockable HK processor and yes you can get top tier video cards(1070, 1080) in them compared to the inspiron gaming series but the price to performance just isn't there. Alienware makes even less sense for someone that needs a desktop.

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06:39 Sep-10-2018

Performance will always be #1 for me and #2 is portability, i want something i can bring anywhere so i could work anywhere, and probably play on it too.

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05:49 Sep-10-2018

desktop cpu
mxm slot gpu
4k screen
2 or more hdd slots
m.2 slot
thunder bolt
usb c
lots of usb 3 slots
backlit keyboard
great battery life 12hrs wifi/video
light and slim
professional loooking
durable build quality

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07:20 Sep-10-2018

You lost me at the last 4 haha. The rest sounds kinda like the best of the best gaming laptops that look ugly af (like almost every gaming laptop)

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14:55 Sep-10-2018

sounds like your describing some of the high end razr laptops they have alot of what you mentioned

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02:21 Sep-11-2018

except the gpu & cpu

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04:55 Sep-10-2018

Honestly, a laptop is essential for me, but is never my primary computer. For me, a laptop should have a significant amount of power and good cooling. It needs to be able to code, web develop, provide network engineering capabilities, provide virtualization capabilities, and game at at least 1080p while I'm out(when I'm home, I have my 4K TR2 2950X/1080 Ti rig for all these things+rendering). My current Dell 7567 with an i7 7700HQ/1050 Ti does all these things well enough. While it doesn't***

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04:59 Sep-10-2018

***have nearly the power of the desktop I built for home use(there really is no comparing 4c/8t to 16c/32t and a 1050 Ti to the monstrous 1080 Ti), it gets my by when I'm at university, working, and out and about. It's cooling is excellent for a gaming laptop and it has an IPS display for my photo editing and web development.
The i7 and 16GB of RAM provide enough resources to run the host OS and virtualize Linux/Windows simultaneously while the 1050 Ti allows me to smoothly game at 1080p.

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23:29 Sep-09-2018

Personally I look at performance and then I usually look at the price and battery life.I definitely want laptop to be capable to do good amount of time on the battery, as well as decently perform,it deosn't need to be high end,but you know snappy with capability to also occasionally run games, even if bit older titles.

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23:01 Sep-09-2018

Value before price & performance.


I can't speak for others but I always check the value of something before I buy it.

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21:51 Sep-09-2018

performance and build quality. If it performs great but the laptop feels flimsy then its a no from me

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21:37 Sep-09-2018

a balance between performance , weight and battery

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21:03 Sep-09-2018

Financial stability, confidence and a sense of humor

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21:45 Sep-09-2018

xD

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21:00 Sep-09-2018

i like performance.

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20:58 Sep-09-2018

Lets say the xiaomi notebook pro with the i5 8300u and a gtx 1050 for -700 euro. Other laptops with similar specs have that price already, so why not this one.

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20:41 Sep-09-2018

only for programming and work stuff no gaming just excellent specs.

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20:01 Sep-09-2018

15" FHD or above, i7 and a dedicated GPU to run the latest games at least on low (and/or lower res). Nothing too fancy. For example, I have a Lenovo Y700 from 2016.

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Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Core i5-9400F 6-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II 2GB OC Edition 16GB
0% No [2 votes]
Pentium Dual Core B960 2.2GHz Radeon HD 6950M 4GB
0% No [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
| High, 720p
Core i5-2400S 2.5GHz Radeon R5 340 (OEM) 4GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 10GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i3-8100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 32GB
100% Yes [5 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-4770K 4-Core 3.5GHz GeForce GTX 980 4GB 32GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-10400F 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti MSI Ventus 2X 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [9 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-10700F 8-Core 2.9GHz GeForce GTX 970 Gigabyte G1 Gaming 4GB Edition 16GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-11400F 6-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-3770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB 16GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-4770K 4-Core 3.5GHz GeForce GTX 980 4GB 32GB
66.6667% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 7 5800H 8-Core 3.2GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]