Guide to choosing a laptop: What do you need to know?

ITZOO, a guide to choosing a laptop: What do you need to know? 

certified refurbished laptops available from itzoo

For many people a laptop provides a great alternative to a desktop computer. Unless you work in the office or use your computer for exceptionally hardware-intensive tasks, a laptop is more than adequate for an ordinary user. Its advantages are clear at first glance - portability, compactness, low weight, manageability. In addition, many modern laptops do not have to be ashamed of their performance in comparison to desktop computers. They can handle multimedia files, transfer data and play the latest games.

However, the flood of brands and models on the market often raises a problem - what notebook to buy? How to orientate? What parameters to consider? For the average user, the amount of data is confusing rather than helpful. That's why we bring you an exhaustive shopping guide that tells you everything you should be clear about before buying a laptop.

Mac or Windows?

The first question you are likely to ask will be the operating system. Deciding is seemingly simple - you either give your money to Apple for one of their MacBook, or choose a device from one of many brands running on Windows (there are other operating systems, like browser-based ChromeOS, but trust us, the question really is: Mac or Windows? ). Let's see what operating system has the upper hand.



Windows can be found on a wide range of devices and brands, from large laptops to modern ultrabooks, so there is no unified design. On the contrary, macOS can only be found on Apple products, and it should be acknowledged that MacBooks have been setting trends for years. Simple lines, aluminium chassis, flawless design. The MacBook is a design legend, so if you want to look stylish, the choice is clear. It should be noted, however, that the competition is starting to take over some "apple" elements and many laptops running on Windows are also now increasingly stylish.


Applications and programs

If you want to use many different programs on your laptop, Windows is probably the best choice. Of course, popular programs (such as Adobe) work smoothly on both systems. Mac has even some exclusive Appku , such as GarageBand, Spaces or Aperture. On the other hand, virtually every software is available for Windows, but not all are optimized for Mac.



For many years, macOS operating systems have been a clear security leader. The difference is no longer as big as it used to be, but generally MacBooks are still considered safer. However, to be fair, it must be acknowledged that Windows is a much more frequent target of cyber-attacks. So whatever operating system you choose, don't forget about a high-quality antivirus program.



If you plan to use your laptop especially for gaming, Windows is the obvious choice. On MacBook you can run quite a lot of games, but you can't compare it with Windows. MacBooks simply are not built for games.


The price

If you're looking for a laptop and working with a tight budget, your MacBook is probably out of the game. MacBook pricing can seem literally exorbitant to many, and it is true that for the same money you can buy a Windows laptop that even outperforms the MacBook. On the other hand, at a MacBook price, you pay for a product that has a unique design, simple functionality, incredibly long battery life, great customer support, and will probably work like new for years. And if you decide to sell it once, you have a good chance that you will still get good money for it even after a few years.

Choose the right notebook screen size

One of the most important factors influencing the user experience is the size of the notebook. The size of the notebook (screen diagonal) is determined in inches (1 inch = 2.54 cm). What sizes are the most popular?

  • 11-12 "laptops- it is the smallest laptops (currently declining), so they are suitable for traveling or school , keep in mind, however, that due to the small size you will have to compromise when using for multimedia applications or video streaming.
  • 13-14 "laptopsmost popular size lately; still very mobile and lightweight laptops that can provide (on more expensive models) decent performance and high typing 
  • 15 (resp. 15.6 ") notebook- classic, probably the most widespread size notebook, available here light modern systems and traditional notebooks thick as a book, allowance should be made heavier weight, so they are a good choice for home laptop, which often do not need to be carried.
  • 17 to 18 "laptopsideal for gaming; the big screen and the high performance they can provide will delight every gamer; you can use this laptop for just about anything, but you probably won't take it with you on the go :)

Do not underestimate the keyboard and touchpad

Clearly, the keyboard and touchpad are included with every laptop. You may think it’s better to focus on other parameters. Don't be misled, a good keyboard is more important than you think. Especially if you plan to write and work on your laptop. Enjoying a keyboard that you don't like can be very frustrating. Also, from a touchpad that doesn't respond to you. If you have the option, try typing on your laptop before buying. Some keyboards are objectively bad - they have incorrect letter spacing, keys are stuck or are pressed too deep or shallow. 

You can also find differences between touchpads - some are too small (flat) or have special perforations and small protrusions, which may not suit everyone.

Compare the notebook parameters

If you are a layman in computer technology and terms such as processor, hard disk, operating memory or graphics card (or their abbreviations CPU , HDD or RAM ) do not tell you anything and can be confusing, we will advise you. It is these parameters that tell you the most about laptops - whether it is a high-performance model you can rely on, or a weaker version that freezes when you play a movie in HD.


It can also be found under CPU (Central Processor Unit). We can say that it is the brain of the whole system. On the market today you will mainly find processors from Intel and AMD. The most common are Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 / i9 processors. The first, i3 is the lowest ranki5 is the most frequent, and i7 and i9 are already the top of the series, but this is also reflected in the price. In addition, Intel has a host of other processors (m series, Intel Pentium or extremely powerful and extremely expensive Intel Xeon). AMD is most commonly found in the A, FX and E series.

The processor performance is most often given in gigahertz (GHz)The higher the better, today this value is somewhere between 2 GHz to 4.5 GHz. However, it should be noted that although most importantly, it is only one of the factors that affects the speed and performance of the processor.


Operating memory is an important parameter that you should be aware of. The memory capacity has a direct effect on how many programs you can run at the same time while the notebook runs smoothly. Take 4GB as a minimum, which you should not succumb to. 8GB is the optimal compromise between performance and price today. 16GB will work out if you plan to give the laptop a lot of work. 

Laptops usually come with less RAM than they are capable of holding (for example, a notebook with 8GB RAM can work with a 16GB module). Some laptops even have two (but also more) RAM module slots and bases only one slot is used. Therefore, always check if there is a possibility (or even immediately) to upgrade RAM. This will give you more performance for relatively little money.

Hard disk

Long gone are the times when hard disk size was considered an essential parameter in choosing a computer or laptop. With the advent of streaming services and cloud storage, there was no need to have huge disk space. On the contrary, a classic hard disk drive (HDD) is considered an outdated technology. If you can, prefer a laptop with an SSD. These drives are significantly faster, have lower power consumption and multiple resistance to mechanical damage over conventional hard drives.

Screen resolution

Of course, the higher the screen resolution, the sharper the picture1366x768 pixels are still widespread, but if you don't have a deep pocket, choose a laptop with at least 1920x1080 pixels, full HD. You will also find higher resolutions on the market, but keep in mind that such screens have a higher energy consumption.

Ports and disk drives

In the past, we couldn't rebuild a laptop without multiple USB ports and CD or DVD drives. However, cloud storage, streaming services and the increasing speed of information transfer over the Internet have pushed disc drives out of many modern laptops. It doesn't matter if you want to play an old DVD movie collection, you can easily solve the problem with an external drive. For ports, you need USB 3.0 standard and HDMI that you can use when connecting to a TV, projector, or external monitor. The MiniDisplay port can also be an advantage.

Check the battery life properly

If you are buying a 17 "notebook that allows you to replace a desktop computer, the battery for you probably will not be a determining factor, because you also have such a laptop is likely to remain connected. However, if you want a laptop to travel a lot, the battery life is a significant factor. Focus on laptops manufacturers claiming battery life of  at least 8 hours. unsurpassed standards in this respect just mentioned MacBooks.

Do not look, however, only to official figures, the fact tends to indicate battery life under ideal conditions. the user reviews are much more useful. Also consider how you use your laptop while on battery power - when you watch movies or games, it runs out much faster than surfing the Internet or writing documents in Word.

 cheap laptops at the best prices available in the uk

Choose the right price range for your laptop

Consider in advance how much you want to invest in a new device. Although you may come across truly bargain promotions, discounts or sales, and even get premium models at a fair price, under normal conditions the price is a good indicator of quality. Basically, laptops can be divided into several price categories:


  • Sub £300 - cheaper brands or weakest models of large brands ; consumables that you can use as your first notebook for a child or secondary computer for light jobs, data backup or leisure; do not have long durability and will be of poor build quality. ITZOO suggest that a good refurbished laptop would be a much better purchase than a new sub £300 laptop, at the end of the day you get what you pay for and for less than £300 the quality is just not available.


  • New notebooks between £300 - £600 - somewhere below 600 euros you can get a pretty decent laptop (for example, with i5 processor and 8GB memory); relatively low cost, however, is often compensated for example by poor quality display, low battery life or absence of SSD.


Now this is where ITZOO can help you, laptops in the following price brackets can be purchased refurbished by ITZOO for a fraction of the new price. Take a look at our range of top spec refurb laptops.


  • New Laptops up to £900 - here we move among high-quality laptops that can deliver truly outstanding performance; you will also find added value such as a premium aluminium chassis design or a powerful SSD
  • New Laptops over £900- a category of high-end devices with uncompromising performance, quality workmanship and great battery life; somewhere at 900 euros, the prices of the new Apple MacBooks and their direct competition begin


Tip: If you want to save and get a lot of music for little money , consider buying a refurbished laptop . Typically, laptops with an original price of over € 600 are not sold as new, but have been thoroughly inspected, are fully functional and have a minimum warranty of one year. You can find a perfectly functioning laptop for a significantly lower price.

Still can't choose? Contact us. We will be happy to assist you in choosing a new or refurbished laptop. We are experts in refurbished computers and laptops, and if you want top performance at a fair price, we are always there for you.

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