By- Yinebeb Bahru
Purchasing a new laptop feels great, but it can be a confusing task even if it’s not your first time. Various brands of laptops are on the market, and their number is constantly growing.
One thing is for sure though; you will never find everything you expect in a laptop, not just in a laptop but in any electronic device.
A laptop can rarely mark all your needs in a box, especially when the price is included as a factor. Particularly here, you need to balance the laptop features you want with your budget, and you might need to compromise.
This article provides guidelines for buying the best budget laptop in Ethiopia’s consumer market and here are some important points to consider before purchasing one.
- Storage Devices (HDD vs. SSD and capacity)
Storage device is the computer memory that holds everything in your laptop, such as video, audio, programs, and documents. It should be safe, fast, and energy-efficient to read.
Laptops with Solid State Drive (SSD) boot in 10-13 seconds, and hard disk drive (HDD) boot in 30-40 seconds. The type of memory greatly impacts the laptop’s speed; SSD laptops are faster than HDDs. Most laptops in the market are HDD; they are good, but if you need faster hard drive speed and better performance, consider SSD instead of HDD.
If you’re a gamer or software developer, I highly recommend buying an SSD or pairing an SSD with an HDD laptop. SSD is faster, more compact, and power-efficient, but it is expensive compared to HDD. Because its speed, capacity, noise, durability, temperature, and efficiency make SSD’s the preferred choice for sophisticated activities. If you intend to use the laptop for office activities such as Google Suite or Microsoft Suite, I suggest you buy HDD laptops.
CPU is a computer system component that performs the basic operations such as processing data of the system, exchanging data with the system’s memory or peripherals, and managing the system’s and other components.
Intel Core Processors power the majority of laptops in the market. It’s best in terms of performance and multimedia performance. Core i3-based laptops were used in entry-level systems, while Core i5 and Core i7 make up the majority of mainstream computers. Core i7-based systems are for those who want the best performance laptop. However, some new laptops are now run by Intel’s i9 Core processors.
Core i9 processors are more powerful than laptops with Core i7 processors. They can compete with desktops in terms of performance but at a much higher price than laptops with i7, i5, and i3 core processors. Vendors also manufacture CPUs for computers, and mobiles, known as AMD Ryzen CPUs. Ryzen Mobile CPUs tend to be paired with AMD’s own Radeon graphics chipsets. There are a few cautions that come with AMD’s Ryzen chips, but laptops with AMD’s Ryzen chips are slightly cheaper than their Intel counterparts and may represent better mid-range prices. If you’re a gamer or software developer, this can be a particularly compelling option worth considering.
Random-access memory, well known as RAM, is a computer memory on which data can be both read and written and on which the location of data doesn’t affect the speed of its retrieval.
Five years ago, a 4 GB RAM was best suited for all types of systems and application software. However, nowadays, you should buy a laptop with at least 8 GB RAM. If you use sophisticated software (Photoshop CS6, Flutter), at least 16 GB of RAM is highly recommendable. In the meantime, gamers and developers should choose laptops up to 32 GB or beyond if they want the best experience. Greater RAM capability makes it possible to run more applications simultaneously and be quickly accessible to the system at any time, which is helpful for tasks such as editing and coding.
For long writing sessions, you need a laptop with a convenient and inspired keyboard. Make sure the keyboard has a backlit keyboard that makes it much easier to see what you enter in a night environment. Also, don’t forget that the keyboard has a number section with which you can simply write.
- Battery capacity
In general, the average battery life of a laptop battery can range from 2-3 hours to 8-10 hours or more. Again, it depends on what you’re doing with your laptop. The battery life of a laptop depends on the user experience. If you spend many hours on it, your consumption will be high, especially if you want to play video games; you should buy a high battery capacity laptop. So, take care of that.
- Operating system type
An operating system is system software that controls the operation of a computer and directs the processing of programs (as by assigning storage space in memory and input and output functions)
If you are a coder, web and App developer, architect, accountant, or anyone who requires special software for your job, just make sure your software supports the operating system. If someone wants to edit videos on Final Cut Pro, then Windows Laptop is not even an option to do this. So you simply have to buy an Apple laptop, as Final Cut Pro is available only for Mac users. Also, there are different operating systems on the market chrome book, windows, Linux, Mac, and so on.
- Network connectivity
The Internet impacts our daily life. It plays a vital role in many areas. So before buying any electronic gadgets, you should consider the ability of internet connectivity. Nowadays, laptops with LTE or 4G supported are available in the market.
Unlike laptops with built-in network cards, laptops with LTE can independently connect to mobile data signals. That means instead of having to connect to a wireless network at home, in the office, or at Wi-Fi hotspots, you can connect directly to a mobile ISP for internet access. The main benefit of this is you can use your laptop anywhere 24/7. However, laptops that support LTE are expensive and difficult to get here in Ethiopia.
- Date of manufacture
Buying a newly built laptop has many benefits, including faster and more efficient communication. It also means that the laptop is compatible with the latest software and hardware devices.
Finally, unite your purpose with your financial ability.
I have tried my best to cover mandatory aspects you should consider before buying a laptop, and I understand that I am not covering all the important aspects. Also, please consider the following aspects, build materials or build quality, display quality and size, speaker quality, biometric security, Web camera, weight, spare part supply, sim card port, USB C port, and so on.
In light of the above points, I recommend people buy two high-quality laptops at a relatively low price based on their purpose.
If you are a social science student (Law, economics, sociology, etc.) or a small business owner (video center, electronics gadget repair shop), the main purpose you want to use your laptop is for typing, making reports, thesis, a project presentation, play video and suchlike.
For this, I highly recommend the HP EliteBook 850 G3 with a price range of 18,000 – 20,000 birr. It comes with Intel i5, 8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD, 15.6 touchscreen inch Full HD 1920×1080, Back-lit Keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, Bluetooth, and Win 10 Pro.
But If you are a web, mobile application developer, or graphic designer, I highly recommend buying Acer Swift 3 Laptop: which has Core i7-8550U, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, 15.6″ Full HD IPS Display, Windows 10 (Luxury Gold). The Acer Swift 3 is sold in the market for prices ranging between 30,000 to 32,000 birr.
Yinebeb Bahru is a digital channel officer at Awash Bank and is passionate about technology, startups, innovation, and content.