A laptop can be used both for work and entertainment. Here, we are going to show you what parameters you should pay particular attention to when choosing your device, how much RAM you need, and answer your most frequently asked questions. We can advise you on how to navigate the different types of laptops and what parameters to look out for - whether you are looking for a new gaming machine or just a simple laptop for browsing the web.
The processor is the brain of the laptop. It’s where most calculations take place and it is the key component that decides the laptop’s performance when working with challenging programs, but it also influences the framerate (number of frames per second) in games and the laptop’s multitasking capability (ability to simultaneously process multiple tasks).
Frequency is given in GHz and indicates the number of clock cycles the processor can perform per second. A higher frequency means a more efficient CPU performance.
A normal frequency is within the range of 1.6GHz to 3.3GHz, with the most powerful CPUs having a base frequency of up to 4GHz. To ensure high performance during demanding activities, go for a value closer to the upper limit. Intel Turbo Boost technology 2.0 works on the same principle, achieving an average of 2.8GHz, with the most powerful models reaching up to 4.4GHz.
Technology that enables each CPU processor core to run faster than the base frequency, if required. The higher the value, the better. For an average active gamer, 3.5GHz laptop models are fully sufficient.
The most important part of the processor, which is responsible for all computing operations. The more cores a processor has, the more tasks it can process at one time. Most laptop processors are equipped with two cores. Once again, the general rule is the more cores, the better. Multiple cores can split the task among themselves and shorten the processing time. However, quad-core processors have a higher power consumption than dual-core processors, which negatively affects the battery life.
At present, the most popular processor manufacturers are Intel and AMD.
Series with less power, suitable for performing simple office tasks, but not for gaming.
The new series of energy-saving chips used in some ultrabooks. They are more powerful than Celeron and Pentium processors and provide passive cooling, making devices with this type of processor absolutely silent. They lack sufficient power, however, to play graphics-intensive games.
These series are designed for performance at a higher level. Core i3 processor are sufficient for routine and moderately intensive tasks, whereas Core i5 and Core i7 processors are recommended for powerful gaming laptops. The most demanding users should opt for quad-core Core i7 models.
Each processor of the i3, i5, and i7 series is marked with four digits and a letter. The first digit indicates the generation it belongs to – each new generation improves the performance parameters over the previous one. If you want your laptop to be futureproof to some extent, you should always choose the latest, or at least the second newest generation, because with each generation there is an approximately 15% increase in performance, plus they all come with a host of new technologies.
In the case of the latest generation known as Kaby Lake Refresh, is has also doubled the number of cores in U-series processors, which means they are now quad-core processors. This has boosted multi-core performance by as much as 75% while maintaining the power consumption typical to dual-core models, so their battery life is similar to that of their predecessors’.
Equivalent to Intel Atom processors. Used in basic laptops; not suitable for playing games or working with computationally demanding programs.
Relatively powerful processors, but with higher power consumption. These offer performance at the AMD A10 processor level and the integrated graphics card is comparable in performance to less powerful dedicated graphics cards.
The series of processors that is roughly comparable to the competing Intel Core processors, though their performance is somewhat below the powerful Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. AMD's most powerful AMD processors are at the level of Intel Core i3, which should change soon with the advent of AMD Ryzen mobile processors. We expect the first laptops with AMD Ryzen at the end of the year. The AMD A series has an interesting advantage in that it has a stronger integrated graphics card compared to the competition.
The graphics card is used to render the laptop’s visual output on the laptop display or an external monitor or TV. Its performance is crucial for gaming and work in graphics software and video editors.
These cards are placed in the processor housing and work with the processor's memory. Today's generation of integrated cards is relatively powerful, but they are still more suitable for office work and multimedia consumption.
Separate graphics cards with their own vRAM. Suitable for graphics-intensive games and work with graphics software.
The greater the capacity, the more performance potential in challenging 3D games. Cheaper graphics cards can manage with 1GB, whereas gaming models can have 8GB or more. Insufficient memory capacity can hinder the graphics card when playing games in high-resolution.
More expensive laptops and especially gaming models include powerful, full-featured graphics cards, but casual gamers should probably opt for the graphics cards marked as M. These are trimmed down but still powerful laptop variants of standard desktop graphics cards.
The popular processor manufacturer also makes its own range of graphics cards. Not so long ago, the common wisdom had it that integrated graphics cards were good for browsing the web and watching videos, but very little else. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. The latest integrated graphics have performance comparable to modestly equipped dedicated graphics cards. They are often used in Apple’s MacBooks and iMacs. Their special construction makes these cards less battery-intensive and they don’t take extra space inside the laptop.
System memory is a key factor for any laptop. It is used for the temporary storage of data and running programs. The more memory a laptop has, the more comfortably it can perform tasks in multiple programs or browser windows.
The hard drive (HDD) or SSD (a drive without any moving parts) is used to store all the data in your laptop. The type of storage has a big impact on the overall speed of a laptop. We strongly recommend buying a laptop with a SSD or a SSD combined with a classic hard drive.
A classic hard disk. Data is stored on circular rotating platters and read by hard drive heads. The main advantage of this type is its higher capacity for the same price, which is not the case with SSDs. Commonly found in gaming laptops, which require large data capacity.
The SSD does not contain any moving mechanical components and is much faster than the HDD. With their speed and shock resistance, they are the perfect choice for travel laptops and gaming machines, where they provide faster game booting. The disadvantage of SSDs is that they offer smaller capacity for the same price.
A laptop like that contains two drives, taking full advantage of both types – HDDs with their high capacity and SSDs with their excellent speed. A suitable solution for gaming laptops.
A combination of a classic HDD with SSD flash memory. Smaller NAND flash memory (SSD) is used to speed up most commonly used software applications, such as the operating system, and the SSHD provides higher data capacity, which is typical for classic HDDs.
The greater the capacity, the more programs, photos, videos and other data you can store. When it comes to storage, larger capacity is always better, with no exceptions. Typical HDD capacities are 500GB, 1024GB (1TB), or 2TB. Because of the higher price, SSD capacity in laptops tends to be lower, typically 256GB to 512GB.
|Capacity||Video (DVD)||Music (mp3)||Photos (JPG)|
|120GB||25 movies||24,000 songs||30,000 shots|
|500GB||106 movies||100,000 songs||128,000 shots|
|2000GB||425 movies||400,000 songs||512,000 shots|
The display is an essential part of any laptop. Its quality and size strongly affect your overall satisfaction with your laptop.
The display size is the key factor that decides the physical dimensions and weight of the laptop. Laptops with smaller displays are easily portable, but playing multimedia content on them does not exactly deliver a stunning experience.
Resolution indicates the number of pixels displayed in an image. The more pixels, the higher the resolution, and thus the sharper the image. For laptops, Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) or higher is recommended. While higher resolution brings better picture quality, it also places higher demands on the graphics card.
|Display resolution||Number of pixels|
|HD (720p)||1280 × 720 pixels|
|HD Ready||1366 × 768 pixels|
|HD+||1600 × 900 pixels|
|Full HD||1920 × 1080 pixels|
|WQHD||2560 × 1440 pixels|
|WQXGA||2560 × 1600 pixels|
|3K||2880 × 1620 pixels|
|WQXGA+||3200 × 1800 pixels|
|4K||3840 × 2160 pixels|
Laptops, mobile phones and televisions currently use LCD (liquid crystal display) technology, which can be further divided into TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) and STN (Super-Twisted Nematic) displays. Today's laptops are equipped exclusively with TFT displays, which are divided into the following types:
An older LCD technology that is still widely used. Compared with IPS, TN displays are cheaper to produce, have higher brightness, faster response times, and slightly lower demands on battery life. The downside, however, is worse viewing angles.
A cutting-edge technology that offers true colour reproduction and wide viewing angles of 178°. IPS displays are more expensive to produce, and so are often found on laptops in higher price ranges. Compared with TN displays, they have lower contrast and slower response times.
VA displays combine the advantages of TN and IPS technology. They feature high contrast, wide viewing angles (although not as good as IPS), and true colour reproduction.
Glossy displays offer more striking colours compared with matte displays, but they are less suitable for travel and work in direct sunlight, where they are almost unusable. In an appropriately lit room, however, they provide rich colours and vivid images. Glossy screens are common on touch-screen laptops.
If you travel frequently or sometimes work outside, choose a laptop with a matte (or anti-glare) display. While they can't compete with glossy displays for colour intensity, they come into their own when used in bright sunlight and don't act as a glorified mirror.
Used to connect a mouse, external keyboard, flash drives, external drives, optical drives, etc. For convenience, go for a laptop with at least two USB 3.0 connectors.
On laptops, you can usually find USB Type-A connectors (the most common, older square type, one-sided) and USB Type-C connectors (oval shape, dual-sided). USB Type-C allows you to both transfer your data and charge your notebook.
USB connector shape
The most widely used digital connector for transferring video and audio simultaneously in high definition. Used, for example, to connect a laptop to a television, external monitor or projector.
Digital connector used to transfer video and audio in high definition. Common on professional and office laptops.
Analogue connector used to transfer images. Used, for example, in older projectors.
For connecting your laptop to a wired network (local as well as Internet). We recommend a fast gigabit LAN (1000Mbit/sec).
Wireless technology that comes as standard with every laptop. In cheaper models, expect to find the 802.11b/g/n standard. The more advanced 802.11ac. provides higher data bandwidth at 5GHz.
Used to connect wirelessly to other devices and equipment, e.g. headphones or speakers.
For connecting headphones, speakers or microphones.
Allows you to easily transfer a large amount of photos from your camera or mobile device.
On PCs today, you'll mostly find the Windows 10 operating system, the latest Microsoft OS. In addition, Windows 8, Windows 7 or MAC OS are also available on the market. So what are the differences?
Windows 10 is the latest Microsoft operating system. This means, among other things, that it currently receives the most updates and will be supported the longest. Specifically, it should receive support until 2020, if nothing drastic changes. What does Windows 10 offer? It combines the innovations with the interface of the older Windows 7 and 8 operating systems. There were many people who did not like the new tiles, leading Microsoft to come up with a compromise of the appearance of the Start menu.
Windows 10 offers access to the Windows Store where you can download and purchase various applications, many of which are exclusive to this operating system. The advantage is also touchscreen optimisation that Microsoft builds on newer operating systems. The disadvantage of this operating system is the fact that its optimisation is still not perfect today. It may happen that you occasionally encounter a bug or a subprime.
Windows 8 was the first time Microsoft released device optimisation for touchscreen devices. This is visible with the tile-style Start menu but users did not received it too warmly. When used specifically on touch devices, however, the system works great. The main Windows 8 support ended on January 9, 2018, but extended support will run until 2023. So, if you want to get updates, surely do not forget to download version 8.1, which comes with a slightly altered look, new features and better security.
For years, the Windows 7 operating system, despite its age, had almost the same percentage of users as Windows 10. Many praised it for its simple yet tasteful design, security and good stability. The operating system is not designed for touch devices, but whether you're looking for a notebook to work or play, Windows 7 is definitely not a bad decision. On the other hand, extended support ends on January 14, 2020, and so is the question of whether it is better to choose a newer operating system.
MacOS is an operating system from Apple, so it's no wonder you'll be meeting it in MacBooks and iMacs. This system goes a little different. In many ways it is similar to the Windows operating system, but it is all dressed in a different graphic coat. The design is definitely not unatractive, but the main pride of the system is performance. MacOS is generally considered the most advanced operating system ever and is used by musicians, graphic artists and office workers. But MacOS is not suitable for gaming and many applications do not offer macOS support.
An integral part of the laptop selection is the price. Laptops range from extremely affordable to incredibly expensive. Where makes their price tags so different?
More expensive laptop models are powered by more powerful processors and graphics cards than cheaper models in the same category. Higher-priced models can handle more demanding operations in less time, run more smoothly, and allow you to play in high resolutions and with higher frame rates (fps).
The price is also reflected in the display quality. More expensive laptops are usually fitted with high-quality panels with wide viewing angles, high resolution, and excellent colour rendering.
Higher-priced laptops typically have a metallic construction that not only looks good, but also protects the notebook while on the go. A laptop like that can handle frequent travel with little to no trouble.
More expensive, mostly professional laptops often come with special warranty services, such as next business day service or repair right at the customer's home or office.
Many more expensive models contain a fingerprint reader for extra security. The reader also makes it very easy to sign into the operating system without having to enter a password (and probably messing it up a couple of times in the process).
For the notebook to have good WiFi reception at a greater distance from the WiFi router, more expensive models generally contain a powerful WiFi adapter.
Few products reach the premium quality of Apple MacBooks. Their all-aluminium construction, which is one of the slimmest in the world, provides a traditionally clean and minimalist appearance while maintaining high performance. MacBooks boast premium battery life and newer product lines also feature the beautiful Retina display. All MacBook series run on Mac OS, which is optimised for MacBook hardware. Individual series differ in performance and display size.
Twelve-inch MacBooks are your ordinary everyday laptops. They are very lightweight and designed for casual users who require easy portability and decent performance. The new MacBooks are designed to be almost silent. At the same time, thanks to the special graphite layer, you don’t have to worry about overheating them. They are equipped with a universal USB-C connector that simultaneously serves to power the laptop and for connection of peripherals. The 2017 laptops feature the new generation of Kaby Lake processors that has been upgraded to further reduce power consumption and extend the MacBook’s running time on a single charge. These laptops are also equipped with a very fast SSD and an integrated graphics card.
If you are looking for an affordable, light, and thin notebook with long battery life and MacOS, we recommend the MacBook Air series. Due to its size and excellent battery, it is a very popular choice among students. Apple also has the latest version of MacBook Air equipped with 1.8GHz Core i5 processors, so performance is definitely not an issue.
A professional MacBook series for users and professionals looking for a powerful computer to work with graphics software or other demanding applications (especially the 15" model). This laptop series is equipped with the beautiful Retina display and the Intel Core i5 or i7 processor series. You can choose from two versions, namely Macbook Pro 13” and Macbook Pro 15”. In addition, the new MacBook Pro (with the exception of the basic 13" model) comes with the Touch ID fingerprint reader. In 2017, there were marked improvements in the design of the iconic Apple touch pad, the use of Intel's 7th generation Kaby Lake processors, and dedicated graphics cards (in 15" models).
It all depends on what you are planning to use your laptop for. Comparably powerful Windows laptops tend to be cheaper, but their build quality is inferior compared to MacBooks, they usually have shorter battery life, and the Windows operating system is not as well optimised. It also depends on what software you will use. Usually there are alternative programs for Mac OS and Windows, but this is not always the case.
There are games that can run on the MacBook, yes. If you are a gamer, however, you should probably buy a laptop with the Windows operating system, which has significantly better gaming support. Gaming laptops also have more powerful hardware.
There is no clear answer to this question. Mac OS is perfectly optimised, making MacBooks wonderfully responsive and mostly immune to the gradual slowdown and bloat you may know from your Windows machines. At the same time, Mac OS is very simple, to the point it’s easy to grasp even for a complete layman. On the other hand, it provides less freedom than Windows. The key factor is therefore your personal preference and the software you want to use, because not all applications are available for both operating systems.
Whether you are a hardcore gamer or simply like to occasionally play a game or two, you will undoubtedly appreciate the performance of gaming notebooks that combine the power of the gaming desktop computer with laptop portability. Unlike regular laptops, these are often equipped with full-fledged desktop processors and a dedicated graphics card. They also feature useful extras such as a high-quality sound system or a backlit keyboard.
The graphics card is the most important component in any gaming laptop as it determines its graphics performance. When choosing, it is a good idea to choose the most powerful graphics card that your budget allows.
If you want to play games with a reasonable level of detail, make sure to choose a laptop with the Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card at the minimum.
For games, it is best to choose a notebook with a memory capacity of at least 8GB. Having more RAM never hurts, though.
For optimum performance in games, we recommend choosing quad-core processors. However, gaming laptops feature rather powerful processors by default. This is why we recommend paying more attention to the graphics card model when choosing.
On the SSD, you have an operating system, games, and applications installed, so everything works as fast as possible. You can use a high-capacity classic hard disk to store music, movies, photos, or other data. You get the storage capacity and speed packed in one notebook.
A desktop computer will give you better performance for the same price. However, the monitor, keyboard, and speakers also cost something, so you have to keep that in mind. The laptop is also inherently mobile and portable, so you can also play on the go. Therefore, the answer to your question primarily depends on whether you need to have your computer with you all the time or not.
Choose the screen size depending on how often you travel with your laptop. Graphics look better on bigger displays (over 17"), but these laptops are also quite large and cumbersome to carry around. The 15" diagonal is often considered an ideal compromise between mobility and display size.
When designing a gaming laptop, the designers primarily care about the performance. Gaming laptops use components that offer high performance, but also have higher power consumption. Battery life strongly depends on what you do on your laptop; playing games consumes so much power the battery life can drop to mere 3 hours, but if the notebook is doing something less performance-intensive (working in MS Office, browsing the web, etc.), the gaming laptop's battery lasts considerably longer. Still, you should not expect to get the battery life typical for small, highly portable laptops.
Yes, gaming laptops have an external monitor/TV output. So you can enjoy your games on the big screen while keeping your laptop portable.
If you require maximum reliability from your laptop, then choose one of the so-called professional laptops. They are made with the highest quality materials, provide a premium manufacturer warranty, and can be plugged into a docking station. The standard for this category is, for example, an Intel Core processor, at least Full HD display resolution, and durable construction. Professional laptops also include models specifically designed for demanding 3D graphics software. This type is an ideal compromise between an office laptop and a powerful desktop computer, which you can always take with you when you are travelling.
A powerful processor is a must for professional laptop models designed to work with programs that require high computational performance. Professional laptops designed for complex calculations are therefore fitted with the most powerful mobile processors available.
Professional Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro graphics cards have significantly better performance in 3D CAD applications and high-accuracy computing. Unlike gaming graphics cards, these graphics are optimised specifically for this purpose, but at the expense of their gaming performance. For normal office work, however, an ordinary integrated graphics card is more than enough.
If you want a smoothly running operating system and responsive software applications, make sure to choose a professional laptop with at least 8GB of RAM. Powerful workstations can have up to 64GB of system memory.
To work with 3D graphics or video, a professional laptop should have a sufficient disk capacity. Ideal is the combination of a SSD for fast system and program performance and a high-capacity hard drive with a few TB of storage space. For work in office programs, a single SSD should be enough.
Aside from the components, professional warranty is another key factor when choosing a professional laptop. You can often find the co-called NBD - Next Business Day warranty or on-site service option.
For a convenient connection of all peripherals and multiple monitors, it is advisable to have a laptop dock connector. All accessories are plugged into a docking station that connects to a single connector while charging the laptop in the process.
Even a professional laptop can play games, but this type is not exactly designed for it. For the same price, you can purchase a gaming notebook that would be far more suitable for the purpose.
If you work with 3D graphics, look for professional laptops that include models with professional graphics cards (Nvidia Quatro, AMD FirePro) that are designed for work with graphics software.
Professional laptops usually offer better build quality, better display, docking connector, and extended warranty. If you need high performance to work with 3D graphics, professional notebooks allow you to choose models equipped with a professional graphics card (Nvidia Quatro, AMD FirePro). Professional laptops also typically feature long battery life, except for extreme performance models designed for working with performance-intensive graphics software.
Office laptops are designed for work comfort and efficiency. A good office laptop should have a 15.6" display that provides plenty of screen space for work and good portability. Make sure the laptop has a comfortable keyboard with a numeric keypad and long battery life. If your work does not involve anything particularly complex or performance-intensive, you can make do with a smaller display resolution (HD/FullHD) and you don’t have to worry about the graphics card too much, because even a standard integrated graphics card is enough for common office tasks.
If you often use your laptop on the go or without an electrical outlet nearby, good battery life is absolutely crucial. If you want your laptop to keep up with you for the whole workday, make sure to look for laptops with a maximum battery life of 10 hours or more.
Storage capacity is not critical for routine office tasks, but most modern office laptops offer over 256GB of disk space, which is good enough. A SSD or SSD/HDD combination has a significant positive impact on system and application speed and responsivity.
The laptop’s keyboard should have a numeric keypad to make your work more comfortable, especially if you deal with numbers often. A backlit keypad comes in handy if you find yourself working at night.
Office laptops don’t have enough power to handle the latest 3D games, but you can still play older games on lower settings or casual games.
Keyboard choice often depends on personal preferences. We therefore recommend you visit the seller’s showroom and try the keyboard for yourself.
Basic laptops are designed for low-budget users who use their computer to watch movies, browse the web, communicate on social networks, occasionally work in Microsoft Office, or play casual and less demanding games. The main advantage of this category is its great price/performance ratio - nowadays you can buy a very decent laptop for cheap and it will last you a while.
A good display is great to have regardless of whether you use your laptop for work or leisure. The ideal resolution for fine visual output is Full HD, which you will appreciate even more in laptops with a larger display size.
Storage capacity determines how much data you can store on your laptop. The recommended storage capacity is 256GB or more, but if you don’t store large volumes of data in your laptop you can make do with a smaller drive. In order for your notebook to respond quickly to your commands, we recommend investing in SSD storage.
We recommend at least 4GB of RAM if you want your laptop to run smoothly.
If your work does not require a high-performance laptop, then yes. Basic laptops can handle standard office work just fine. However, you should expect shorter battery life and lower build quality, which means that you may damage your laptop if you carry it around too often.
Basic laptops don’t have the performance necessary to run the latest games. However, you can still use your basic laptop to play older games on lower settings or casual games.
Convertible laptops allow you to flip or detach the keyboard from the display. This means you can use it as a standard laptop, but also in a stand, tent, and tablet mode. These laptops have a touchscreen and can be used for both work and leisure.
Convertible notebooks are devices with flippable or detachable 360-degree displays. They are more flexible and lighter than standard laptops and offer several different modes of use.
Laptop design is always a matter of compromise, and with 2-in-1 devices, their versatility and stylish design generally means that they can rarely accommodate truly powerful, high-performance components. For this reason, professional or gaming laptops usually have a classic laptop design. 2-in-1 devices also rarely have anything but a glossy display, which can be distracting and uncomfortable when working outdoors or near a window.
You can use touch controls to operate Windows, browse the web, or control your favourite applications. Touch controls are an intuitive alternative to classic mouse or touchpad control. This control scheme is useful, for example, when working in confined spaces or simply when resting.
The touchpad is a touch-sensitive device that is mostly located in front of the laptop keyboard. Moving your finger across the touchpad controls the cursor and replaces the need for a traditional mouse.
HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It offers digital output with integrated sound (or network transmission) and is often used to connect laptops with other devices, such as TVs. It enables multi-channel audio and can handle up to 4K resolution (HDMI 2.0).
This denotes the distance between the lower left and upper right corner of the screen, quoted in inches (1" = 2.54cm). Models with larger screens provide more working space, whereas laptops with smaller screens are more suitable for work on the go.
A very high resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels that ensures crisp, sharp detail. However, the high number of pixels is slightly lower than the Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080p).Glossary