If it has been three, four or five years since you have changed computers, it is likely that all the characteristics of the current consumer computers might sound like a foreign language.
The appearance, popularising and democratising of specific technologies in the last months and years have changed the common language in the computer industry.
Therefore, it is likely that you do not know what a USB-C port is when you buy a laptop, if you should go for a 2 in 1 computer, or if a Chromebook is more suited to your needs.
In this short guide we will not talk about aspects related to performance, like what might be the best choice in a processor, RAM or graphics card or what type of monitor you need for a laptop or tower.
If you still don’t know that you can have Office legally for a small monthly fee or that there are tablets that can fulfil the same functions as a ‘laptop,’ this guide: 5 questions to ask before you buy a laptop online, is for you.
With no more introduction, we will review these small novelties that have become an industry standard or will do so in the coming months and years.
USB-C, the new standard of transmission?
Up until now when you buy a laptop, it is likely that you have related USB connecting to external devices, or at the most, transferring files from an external hard drive or a ‘pen drive.’
However, USB-C has become a universal standard that eliminates the need to include all sorts of ports for different accessories.
Ultimately, it is a multi-use port that serves for a multitude of uses.
Keeping in mind the speed of adopting the technology, we recommend buying a laptop computer which has the maximum number possible of these ports to save adapters or ‘hubs.’
It could be that for now, you will need to buy some adapters, but in a short time, the future of computing will pass through the “democratisation” of the USB-C.
Do you need a 4K screen?
Here the answer is simple: no.
We start from the basis that the differences in image quality can be appreciated beginning with a 4K monitor size of 55 inches, so when you buy a laptop with a 13, 15, 17 or 19-inch screen it is improbable that you will notice a difference from a high-quality Full HD.
Why would you want a 4K monitor when buying a laptop?
There are increasingly more platforms that transmit in this format, with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video at the head, and Moviestar+ and Vodafone have already announced their plans to do so as well.
If we are talking about video games, especially in PC, there are numerous games offered in 4K, but before you get excited we need to let you know: a laptop that can present games in this resolution will be very, very expensive.
Bet on a Full HD screen which will have more acceptable results and whose performance will also have less impact on the battery, which will give you more usable hours of life in between each charge.
Tablet, laptop or All-in-One?
This is the repeated question of those people who, since 2011, had seen a transformation of the consumer computer market, to the point that where before there was one product, the laptop, now there are three products that claim to fulfil the same functions.
Our recommendation here is to know well the characteristics, and especially the limitations of each one.
Do you want a traditional computer?
Don’t think about it and go buy a laptop.
The market offers solutions at excellent prices with units that will last you three years without giving you the smallest problems and will meet all your aims.
Little by little the 2 in 1 units which demonstrate versatility have gained a place in this category.
Depending on what you want to use it for, it can be a laptop or a tablet.
In contrast with tablets, in this category of products (which usually comes with Windows 10 installed), you will be able to manage files like with a conventional computer, with the difference that you can choose when to change to touchscreen mode.
If you want a comparison of some of the latest novelties, we tested some at Teknautas a few weeks ago.
Lastly, the tablets.
Although you can add a keyboard to them, we are talking about units intended to be used with a touchscreen interface and whose use may be more comfortable for leisure (movies, music, games, social websites, occasionally checking mail and the internet) than as a substitute for a laptop.
Additionally, keep in mind that an iPad does not have a file manager as you might find in a macOS and that tablets based on Android cannot be used as a PC.
In this point, one concept needs to be very clear: a tablet is not a computer, although it may fulfil many of its functions.
If it has been years since you have bought your computer, it is likely to have escaped your notice that there is a more affordable version of Office that allows you to enjoy the service of the office suite without having to pay the high prices that were previously asked for.
In fact, Office 365 allows monthly payments, or at most, a yearly amount.
We are talking about prices that go from 7 euros a month up to 69 for a yearly subscription, a reduced rate compared with what Microsoft was accustomed to offering years ago.
The difference with Apple is that Pages and Numbers and Keynote are free for Mac buyers, but it is also very true that Microsoft enjoys a prestigious position in this segment and that Office has become an essential even in Apple computers.
What would we at Teknautas do?
Opt for Office 365.
Don’t want to dig into your pockets?
The options with Google Drive can also serve you to move ahead.
At Teknautas we have talked long and hard about these units based on Google’s operating system.
Moreover, as with the point about tablets and 2 in 1 units, it is essential that you know what you are buying when you get a Chromebook because although it has the appearance of being a conventional computer, it absolutely is not.
This is a unit intended to work in the cloud with services like Google Drive and with which you need to be able to complete all the operations that you do day to day – as long as you have a connection to the internet available.
If you do not want to worry about storage and want to work with files that are located in services like Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, and similar services, a Chromebook could be an adequate solution, especially if you keep in mind that their prices tend to be lower.
However, we are letting you know: you are looking at a unit which has standard components that are inferior to those of a traditional laptop.
If you intend to give your unit any heavy use (occasional editing of photos, working with several windows open, reproducing a video in high resolution), it is probable that you will need to think of another category of product.