Computers and tablets
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Computers and tablets
There’s much to consider when shopping for a home or office computer online:
- RAM: Short for Random Access Memory, RAM is not to be confused with storage. RAM is where active data from your applications and systems are stored – in basic terms, when an app or program is open and being used, that needs RAM. If you are in the market for a new computer, then at a bare minimum we would say go for 8GB of RAM, and if you’re a multi tasker and need more out of your device, then look to buy something with at least 16GB of RAM.
- Processor: Processors are becoming more powerful and efficient year on year. For a layperson, Intel performance tiers are easily understood – the lower the number, the lower the power of the chip. So a Core i3 chip is entry level and Core i5 provides a good balance between performance and cost. And if you need something with a good bit of horsepower, then you will need a Core i7 or i9 chip.
- Storage: There are two types of storage, HDD (hard disk drive) and SSD (solid state drive). SSDs are lighter, faster and more efficient – and they are much harder to damage. Actual storage capacity depends on your individual needs, in terms of much you need to physically store on your computer. If you find you don’t have enough space, you can always use a memory card, external drive or cloud storage.
- Operating system: PC or Mac… you’ll know which one you are. That being said, there are a few other options out there like Chrome OS on Chromebooks or even Linux.
When it comes to buying a tablet there’s a lot of choice out there – from Apple’s iPad, to the many android tablets and e readers, you need to know what you want, and how you want to use it. Some are more suited to certain functions then others – the iPad is a great all rounder, the Microsoft Surface Pro could probably replace your laptop, while an e-reader like a Kindle gives you a more natural reading experience. A technology called Voice Over IP allows you to use your tablet to make voice and video calls to regular phones – think FaceTime, Skype and Viber. Bear in mind that you will either need a tablet with a Sim card or have access to WiFi to do this.
PC laptops and notebook computers
There really is no clear front runner when you are buying a new laptop. As with all things technology, you need to consider the criteria we set out above – and then think about the added issue of size and screen type.
- Size: The entire point of laptops and notebooks is that they are portable, so size does matter. They can start at 11.6 inches and go all the way up to 17.3 inches. And a bigger screen, means a bigger and heavier laptop. Just in case you’re not sure, the size of the screen is measured diagonally from bottom left to top right. Remember, smaller laptops may not support the high-end Intel Core i7 chips.
- Screen: Many people have their eyes glued to a screen for the majority of a day, so comfort is a factor. Touchscreens are becoming more common and there are some who love this, however touchscreens can have a more glossy display, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. Glossy screens equal reflections, which are not helpful if you are gaming, watching content or editing images.
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