These days, it isn’t uncommon to find people telecommuting – that is, working from home. Widespread internet access and improved telecommunication software apps mean that you can complete various projects from the comfort of your sofa. At the same time, though, you may notice that you are also faced with a dilemma. Specifically, you will have to choose a laptop that is powerful and efficient enough to match one in an office.
Fortunately for you, this process isn’t as difficult as you would imagine. These days, you don’t have to spend a great deal of money to purchase a computer that is equipped with all the capabilities that you require. Still, there are other factors that you will need to take into consideration to make certain that you are paired with the right brand and model. So, with this in mind,
Here are some tips that will help you select a laptop to make working from home a great deal easier:
1. Balance Price with Quality
Your main concern when buying a laptop is, of course, the cost involved. As mentioned, though, you don’t have to drain your bank account for your work computer. Instead, it is all about striking a balance between price and quality so that you are able to get the best possible value for your computer.
So, with this in mind, just how much should you spend on your computer? Well, to a certain degree that depends on what your job requirements are. If you spend most of your day sending and receiving emails, maybe doing some video calls, then splurging on a laptop doesn’t make sense. Here, paying between $600 and $800 is a reasonable amount. However, if you need a specialised computer, then you can expect to pay more.
If you are a programmer, graphic designer, or have a similar ‘expert’ job, then you will have to increase your budget a bit. In this instance, you will have to purchase a laptop that is between $800 and $1500. This may seem like a lot but you should keep in mind that getting a cheaper option may not provide you with all of the features and functions that your job requires.
2. Select a Brand that Works for You
Once you have sorted out your budget, the next decision to make involves the brand. These days, there are quite a few good laptop brands out there and they are often closely ranked. Due to this, you may find it tricky to determine what the best is.
As a rule of thumb, you won’t go wrong by sticking with Dell, Lenovo, Acer, HP, Apple, Asus, and Microsoft. Still, there are some brands that are more suited to certain tasks than others. For instance, if you want a great selection to choose from, Acer is the brand for you. On the other hand, for dependability, it is hard to go wrong with Dell. If you are all about graphics and quality, then Apple will serve you well.
3. Weight and Size
Then, it is a matter of the weight and the size of your laptop. Once again, this really depends on how you work. For instance, are you someone spends all day in one place? If so, you can opt for a heavier laptop with a bigger display. Here, a display that is 17 or 18 inches will be a good choice.
If you are someone who needs to move around, though, you will need to pay a bit more attention to the weight and size. For the ultimate portability, you may want one that is 2.5 to 3.5lbs – you should keep in mind, though, that these screens are often just 11 to 12 inches. Therefore, they may not be the most user-friendly options.
For an optimal compromise, laptops with display sizes between 14 and 15 inches are the best. Although they are a bit bulky, they are still light enough to carry around without too much fuss. At the same time, the screen is large enough for most tasks and projects.
4. Look for CPUs with Mid-Range Processing Power
Speaking of productivity, the CPU of your laptop will determine the type of tasks that your computer can handle as well as how much it can do. So, if you want a laptop that functions smoothly and can deal with anything that you can throw at it, you need a CPU with good processing power.
Luckily for you, this doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. This is because, currently, your best options are between Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7. If the work that you do isn’t overly complex and doesn’t require any special features, then the Core i5 will be fine. However, for specialised tasks, there is no denying that Core i7 will respond better to greater demands.
5. Choose Only as Much RAM As You Will Need
There has been a lot of discussion regarding RAM in modern laptops and most people are confused by how much they need. Since it is for business purposes, though, it is possible that you will require at least 8GB.
This will work well if you need to switch between programs frequently or if you utilise data-intensive applications.
6. Consider Upgrading Your Storage Drive
With laptops these days, you have the option of either HDD or SSD as a storage drive. If you are looking for a cheaper laptop, you may have to stick with the traditional HDD. Now, most hard drives in modern laptops offer up at least 500GB. However, since you need storage for all your work, 1TB may be a safer route to take.
If are someone who needs to shift around quite a bit, then an SSD may be more suitable for you. As there are no moving parts, this storage drive is less likely to get damaged as you move about. An SSD is also a lot faster than the traditional HDD.
7. Choose Built-In LTE to Stay Connected
Do you need to travel from place to place for your work? If so, there is a good chance that you can’t always guarantee where you are going to end up. Perhaps more importantly, you won’t be able to tell if you end up in a location with reliable internet access. If you do find yourself in this position, you can always use your smartphone as a hotspot.
Of course, this system is a bother and can be quite a hassle for you. To make certain that you are always connected, even when you are on the road, you may want to look into laptops with built-in LTE connectivity. Yes, these are more costly but the bonus is that the internet will always just be a click away.
8. Opt for a Higher Responsiveness
Most people tend to get caught up in laptop features such as size and power without focusing on another important aspect – responsiveness. See, when you think about it, the responsiveness of your computer is directly related to your productivity. If a laptop takes forever to translate keystrokes or touchpad strikes to actual demands, your productivity will slow down quite a bit.
So, if you are considering a laptop, take time to determine just how well the keyboard and touchpad respond. With keyboards, you will also need to see how comfortable the layout is and whether it allows you to type as fast as you like. Another element to check is how well the settings can be adjusted for optimal typing and selecting function.
9. Search for Good Warranties and Maintenance Plans
If your laptop breaks down at work, your solution is rather simple – just hand it over to the tech department. When you are working from home, though, this process becomes a lot more complicated. Here, you will be forced to rely on the maintenance offered by the original manufacturer.
Thus, you should focus on getting a durable and reliable laptop that is unlikely to break down too soon. Ruggedness becomes quite important if you have to move from one place to another for work. By opting for a dependable and tough laptop, you will decrease the likelihood of it needing to be fixed any time soon.
Still, you should pay attention to the warranties offered by the company – typically, the longer it is, the better. This way, you will not have to pay for any repairs, should something go wrong. On a similar note, you really should research the repair, maintenance, and customer service of a particular brand. This will give you some idea of how they will respond if your laptop breaks down.
10. Search for a High-Quality Webcam
When you are working from home, you will be expected to keep in touch with the main operations team and your boss through other methods. Most people tend to rely on video conferencing apps such as Skype for this purpose. Therefore, it can really pay to get a webcam that is higher in quality. So, when holding virtual meetings, you can be certain that everyone will be able to see you clearly, without any issues.
As long as you follow the guidelines mentioned here, you should have no trouble finding a work laptop that is the best possible fit for you. In turn, you will observe that it is a great deal easier to work from home.