Laptop reviews: FAQs
We answer common laptop questions, including how much storage space and RAM you need.
Click on the links below to go straight to the question you want answered.
- What is the best type of laptop for me?
- Do I need a laptop, or should I choose a tablet?
- How much RAM do I need?
- How much storage space do I need?
- Will my current printer work with a Windows 8 laptop?
Choosing a laptop
What type of laptop is best for me?
The type of laptop you choose will depend entirely on what you plan to use it for.
You might need your computer to be more portable – like an ultrabook - or you may need something with plenty of storage space to replace an old desktop PC.
Before you buy, you need to carefully consider which type of laptop would suit you best, as there are plenty of options. You need to weigh up things like portability against power and price.
How to buy the best laptop – find out about the different laptops available and find the best laptop for you.
Do I need a laptop, or should I choose a tablet?
Laptops are better all-rounders for work and play.
With a laptop you can do pretty much anything you can do on a PC. The keyboard is more comfortable than using a touchscreen if you do a lot of typing, and you can run full software programs for word processing and image editing with plenty of space to store files.
Tablets are great for web browsing, email and entertainment.
In general, they’re more portable than laptops and have a longer battery life per charge. However, storage space may be limited and you may not be able to run full office programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel.
Ultra portable laptops – full reviews of portable laptops for those who need full functionality in a lightweight portable package.
How much Ram do I need?
Most laptops now come with at least 4GB of Ram and this is plenty for web browsing, email and watching movies. You’ll be able to run everyday programs like Microsoft Office programs and Photoshop Elements simultaneously.
If you’ll be running more than one piece of heavy-duty photo or video-editing software at the same time, or you’re into gaming, you’ll need more Ram – around 8GB or more.
There are a number of 15” and 17” laptops available to choose from with 8GB Ram.
How much storage space do I need?
Most laptops with a spinning hard drive provide at least 500GB of storage space for your files, music, photos and anything else you may want to save. 250GB is about 125 movies or about 30,000 songs.
Some laptops have a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a spinning hard drive. These don’t get as hot and don’t have moving parts, so they should be more reliable. Capacity is usually smaller though, because they’re more expensive – expect up to around 128GB.
You can always boost storage with an external hard drive (which you purchase separately and plug into a USB port on your laptop) or you can store files online with cloud storage. Many companies offer some cloud storage for free.
Cloud storage reviews – find the best cloud storage service to boost your file space.
Will my current printer work with a Windows 8 laptop?
If you’re looking to buy a new laptop running the latest Windows or Apple operating system, you can find out if it will work with your current printer by visiting the printer manufacturer’s website.
Search the name of your printer on the website, or look in the ‘support’ or ‘drivers’ section to find out if there’s a free downloadable driver for your new laptop’s operating system.
When a new operating system launches it can sometimes take a month or so for drivers to become available for older printers. Many manufacturers make drivers available from printers that are years old.