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Out shopping for a new Laptop? Here are Pro Tips on Features that should top your Checklist

by Felix Omondi
Out shopping for a new Laptop? Here are 11 things you should not overlook

Our smartphones are great, but you cannot do heavy duty work on them. They just fine for light work, such as a quick reply to an email, communicating with family and friends and catching up with the latest news. However, when it comes to heavy-duty works, the laptop remains as the most practical solution.

Speaking of which, are you out shopping for a new laptop? If yes, then here is a list of things innov8tiv thinks (knows) you should be on the lookout for:

#1 – Battery Life

I presume the reason you are getting a laptop in the first place (and not a desktop) is that you want to be able to execute your work anywhere anytime, whether you are on the move or not. Without being tied down to a specific spot because you need to keep your computer connected to the wall power outlet.

That said, the battery life of a laptop is one of the greatest considerations when buying a new laptop. And it is determined by so many factors, some of which we are going to mention below:

Screen Brightness

While a dull screen will give you a longer battery life since it is taking up less power from the battery. It is also a big disadvantage when you are working in a well-lit environment such as inside a cafe, or out an about with your laptop. To be on the safe side, find a laptop that strikes a good balance of at least 300 nits screen brightness with at least six-hour battery life. Displays with Iris and HD resolutions will obviously drain the battery faster than those without these features.


Always, I repeat always go for a laptop with a Solid State Drive (SSD) storage over the Hard Drives (HDD). The former delivers a significantly faster app launch times and data operations speed than conventional HDD. Since HDD have moving parts, which not only makes things run slower but also has a dent on the battery life; it takes more power to keep HDD spinning, compared to the stationery SSD.



#2 – Does it have USB Type-C port that’s Thunderbolt 3 Complaint?

Modern laptops come with USB Type-C multi-purpose ports; can be used for both charging and connecting other peripherals. However, there is still a good number of them that ships with a proprietary charging port, which means you have to carry its charger everywhere you go with it.

However, for the ones with multi-purpose USB Type-C port, you only need to carry one cable with you for both charging and transferring the data. If you are using a smartphone with USB Type-C port, that means you will need just one cable for both your laptop and smartphone. And hey, who doesn’t like the idea of carrying less cable when they’re on the move with their devices in their backpack?

#3 – The type of RAM

It is always recommended you get the highest RAM space as possible; though you can’t arbitrarily increase it, as reaching beyond certain levels, you will only have unused (useless RAM space).

In addition to space, the type of RAM also makes a difference in the performance of your machine. There are currently two kinds of RAMs to choose from, the DDR3 and DDR4 RAM. The latter is highly recommended as it consumes significantly less power and offers higher data transfer speeds.

#4 – Discrete or Integrated Graphics

If you plan on using the laptop for light work like doing research online, writing documents, doing a presentation, and binge movies off Netflix. Then getting a machine with integrated graphics should be fine.

However, if you plan to do heavy duty work that requires higher graphics properties, work such as playing video games and editing videos. You will need a laptop with a discrete (dedicated) graphics. They will have their own V-RAM (video RAM) and will not be putting an additional burden on your RAM making things run faster.

#5 – The type of CPU running things

The higher the CPU the faster your workflow, but there is more to it than selecting between the core i3, i5, or i7. The generation of the chip also play an important role and could lead to a situation where a newer generation core i3 performing much faster than core i7.

The later the generation of the processor, not only the faster the performance, but the more energy efficient.

#6 – Fanless or with Fan?

People seem to appreciate thinner laptops, so much so that manufacturers are constantly trying to churn out super slim machines. That has led to some releasing laptops without fans, in a bid to make the machine as thin as possible.

While the machine might look sleek and super silent, but you should know such a notebook will be undertaking thermal throttling to prevent overheating. That means if you are running multiple tasks or heavy tasks, the CPU intentionally runs slow to prevent generation of too much heat.

Without a fan, a CPU cannot effectively cool off. So the only option is to clock slower to prevent the heat from rising beyond critical levels. That would mean the laptop will be underperforming by design when you are running heavy applications.

Fanless laptops are double-edged swords. On one hand they are super quiet and consume less battery, but on the other hand, they cannot handle heavy tasks effectively, as the CPU performance is downgraded by design.

#7 – Trackpad with Windows Precision Drivers

Microsoft introduced the Windows Precision Drivers with Windows 10, which greatly improves the user experience when using a laptop trackpad. Most new laptops should be compliant with the Windows Precision Drivers, but there is still a good number that ship with just the old Synaptics counterparts.

To check if a laptop is complaint or not, go to Settings > Devices > Mouse and Touchpad and look for ‘Your PC has a precision touchpad’ note.

#8 – Backlit Keyboard or not?

You might have grown accustomed to the QWERTY keyboard over the years, but sometimes, there are those keys we don’t regularly use. If you ever find yourself using the computer in a dark room, such keys might slow down your typing speed. To be on the safe side, look for a laptop with a backlit keyboard.

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