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Published On: Mon, Oct 26th, 2020

What’s the best work-from-home-laptop? Here’s what to look for

When you’re working from home, the right tools are paramount for productivity. And we assume you already know what the best laptops for remote work should have in common- namely reliable internet connectivity and a built-in webcam for video conferencing.

Beyond that, the necessary requirements will differ based on industry-related needs and personal preference. But everyone wants something different. Some people care more about screens. Others care more about specs. You might prefer a laptop that looks great than having one that runs graphically demanding video games. Or you might not. When you don’t know where to start looking for a laptop – don’t go for the easy answer. Instead, find yourself a list of criteria to consider before splurging on a new device.

Ultimately, you’re the one who’s investing—taking the time to think and research about how the best to spend it might sounds time-consuming and quite tedious than dropping into your local store, flashing your card and walking out with a cute shiny thing. However, this will also increase your likelihood of you both ending up with the right products and saving money.

 

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Webcam: a must

When you work remotely, you will likely end up doing a lot more video conferencing than you used to. Most devices come up with an incorporated webcam, and most of them have 720p resolution, which is more than sufficient for showing your face in Zoom or Skype.

But if you’re looking for a 1080p webcam, don’t forget that a higher-resolution video leads to bigger files, and applications such as Skype and Zoom have to squeeze the file anyway to manage high bandwidth demands. A small subclass of higher-end devices provides 1080p webcams standard, as well as HP Spectre x360 13t.

A superior GPU? Nice, but not necessary

Broadly speaking, any of the Intel Core processors can do well with a basic, day-to-day task like email and web browsing.

If the Core i7 is too much processor for your needs, the i3 may be too limited. And that’s because these parts can be found in lower-end laptops, which rely on pun amounts of RAM and slower hard drives to keep costs down.

The devices may slow down during run-of-the-mill tasks, such as browsing the web with multiple tabs open and moving folders. Here again, it depends on your needs and budget. However, if an i3 is all you need, it means any rent to own laptops are capable of running all the standard Microsoft Office software which for many they offer good value.

Memory: at least 8GB of RAM

RAM or Random-Access Memory is the unsung hero of the computing world. Today’s best computer manufacturers enjoy boasting about CPU power, or the size and resolution, or often heard in the case of laptops, how thin the computer is.

For basic, day-to-day computing, or remote working 8GB of memory should be sufficient. That will provide you with enough room to fully load windows, plus a few essential apps, and a web browser. As long as you don’t forget to close apps or don’t open dozens of tabs in your browser, you should face any performance issues. However, some people can use more, and 16GB of RAM is ideal for those who fancy holding dozens of tabs open in a browser, while at the same time working on a video, or, large documents and graphics professionals who oftentimes need to work with very sizable files.

Storage: At least a 256GB or 500GB hard drive

Preferably, you will pick a 256GB or higher-capacity SSD, because this latest storage is quicker than conventional hard drives.

With that said, we would not advise you to invest in any SSD lower than 256GB, unless you prefer to store all you have in the cloud. But if you need to store a great deal of data locally, a hard drive might prove sufficient. It’ll just be slower.

Where to start looking? Watch for laptops that use Intel Optane Memory as an addition to the installed storage. Originally, it appeared as a way to boost the performance of traditional hard drives in low-end laptops, but recently we’re finding it in higher-end laptops with SSD.

Display: At least 14 inches with 1920×1080 pixels

One of the most expensive parts in any laptop, a display can be the component vendors often hold back on hitting a proper price. Fortunately, the best spot for laptop displays is also the best for remote working: A display measuring 14 inches or 15 inches diagonal, with a resolution of 1920x1080p. If you’re patient enough to wait for a better offer, then make sure you choose a taller, 4:3 aspect ratio display, that will offer plenty of space for vertical documents and spreadsheets (compared to a wider 19: 9 aspect ratio which is more suitable for watching videos).

If you choose a 13-inch display – then we recommend you opt for laptops with display size in this story. You might start feeling limited quickly if you work a lot in spreadsheets.  

Ports: HDMI, audio, and USB

It goes without saying that a laptop that offers a limited port selection will drive you nuts while working remotely. Undoubtedly, if your device is that light and thin that it provides a scant USB-C port, you might get a USB-C to extend your prospects. But you will be more satisfied with dedicated ports, so make sure you don’t overlook the importance of at least, one but preferably two USB-C ports for display connectivity and current storage, HDMI port, audio jack, two USB-A for devices, and an integrated SD card slot.

When you’re working remotely on a laptop, adaptability wins. For this reason, we recommend generous servings of RAM, ports, storage and robust mid-range features like intel U-class. Don’t impulse buy, look only for the things you really need, and enjoy a device that can support you well day in and day out.

Author: Cynthia Madison

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