Complete Guide to Buying New Laptops 2016 -2017 – Laptop Buyers Guide

Transcript Of  The Video (20 min)

Hey everybody.This is Roberto Blake of helping you find an awesome laptop today.

Yep, that intro was a little different, but it does segue into what we’re gonna be talking about for the rest of the video, which is I’m gonna give you advice on buying a brand new laptop.

I’ve covered some different things here on the channel before in terms of buying computers and buying laptops, but I don’t think I’ve ever given specific advice on what to look for in a laptop overall.

I’ve talked about budget laptops, graphic design laptops, video editing laptops,but I want to give you guys some basic and comprehensive guidance in buying a laptop for whatever your situation is. Whether you’re a business owner, whether you’re a student, whether you’re traveling, I wanna give you my best tips on buying a laptop.

In the future I’m gonna have to do videos on all of the terms and technical things that we’re talking about here, just kind of make tech simple for you guys,if it’s something that you struggle with.

But the main thing you need to know is you need to know about RAM, you need to know about CPU, you need to know about the graphics, a.k.a. GPU, and you need to know a little bit about displays and screen resolution just to be able to kind of follow along with what we’re talking about.

But again, I’ll try and keep everything super simple for you. So one of the first immediate things you have to figure out when you’re gonna buy a laptop is what your budget is. Your budget is actually gonna dictate everything else for the most part. It’s gonna dictate everything from the power and the specs to whether you get a Windows laptop or a Mac, the budget really does matter. And you have to figure that out before anything else.

Whatever your other preferences are, whatever you think you need to do with this, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the budget for it. If your budget is under $500 or $600, you’re gonna have to get a budget laptop. On a budget laptop, you’re gonna have to make a couple of compromises and sacrifices. The number one sacrifice you’re gonna have to make is the GPU You’re not gonna get a dedicated video graphics card, which means that if you’re buying this laptop with gaming or very high-end video editing in mind, then it’s probably not gonna be an option.

You’re also probably gonna have a limit of about eight gigs of RAM, which means if you’re gonna do super intensive graphics or image manipulation, special effects, that’s kind of off the table. You can do some of these things at a very general level, like some of the stuff I do here at the YouTube channel including video editing, color grading, Photoshop for print, web, digital, you can do all that stuff on a budget laptop.

I’ve been doing it that way on and off for years, and it works out just fine. So, if you’re sacrificing a graphics card and you’re settling for eight gigs of RAM,understand you can still do professional high-end work on that laptop. It just may not be as fast as you like or comfortable with, but you can still get the job done, and it will work out for you.

Again, if you’re not playing video games, a dedicated graphics card doesn’t matter as much. If you’re not rendering or editing 4K video, a dedicated graphics card just doesn’t matter as much. Will the experience be better

But if you don’t have the budget for it, you just don’t have the budget for it. In this price range, you can still get a great processor, though, and that’s gonna really affect more of your productivity than anything else. If you at least have six to eight gigs of RAM in there, you’ll be fine.

So, what that will get you is probably an i5 or an i7 processor. Those processors are gonna be capable or letting you run multiple applications at once or, you know, you’re gonna be able to at least export video at a decent speed, if that’s something you’re doing. Or if you’re gonna edit photos, images, that’s gonna be fine as well.

If you’re just browsing the web, or if you’re using word processing applications, or some very light, basic, editing apps for making presentations, then you’re more than fine with this.

It’s okay, you do not have to spend a thousand dollars plus if all you’re doing is office work. Yep, that’s the bottom line, here. These budget machines, in most cases,if you get a 15- or 13-inch laptop, tend to be a little heavier, they tend to be a little bulkier, and that’s another one of the trade offs for the price.

The other trade off is the hard drive.The hard drive will usually be an old school spinning hard drive. It won’t be super fast, and it will probably add a little bit of extra weight to the laptop.

So, just kind of keep those things in mind. If you go much lower than that, this is something I only recommend for students, if you’re gonna get a $300 or less laptop, then it’s not gonna have hardly any space, you’re gonna have to save most of your work in the cloud and it’s probably gonna be smaller. You’re probably talking about maybe a 11-inch, 13-inch or a 12-inch laptop, so if that is your budget and your a student, and you’re just browsing the web and doing basic assignments, you’re doing Powerpoints and Word stuff, then that’s okay.

But if you’re gonna do anything more intense than that, then you’re gonna have to invest more money.

If you’re someone who’s doing a lot of traveling, you might want to invest in Ultrabook. My current travel laptop is the Dell XPS 13. And this has an 11-inch form factor and a 13-inch screen. Dell actually sent this for me to do some reviews and some other videos that you can find here on the channel. But this is a great travel laptop, and this has been going with me everywhere lately, and I’m very happy with it. You can get any travel laptop you need. A popular option is the MacBook Air. Now, before I get too much into the Mac versus PCside of this, I just wanna give you a rundown on travel laptops and Ultrabooks in general. So let’s cover that first.

Defining a travel laptop in an Ultrabook basically means that this laptop has a focus on being very light weight, and having a large battery life. In terms of battery life, you’re looking for something that can last eight, 10, 12 hours or more, depending on the configuration you get. The Dell Ultrabooks actually can go up to 18 hours, but it really just depends on what you’re getting. Right now, two of the most popular Ultrabooks are the Dell XPS 13 as well as the MacBook Air. What you need to know about Ultrabooks and travel laptops is that the weight matters. It matters a lot. But so does the build quality and durability,because these are meant for travel.

In terms of specs, it really comes down to what you’re doing. Me, I need to be able to continue to do photography, and video editing and all those things on the go because of the nature of my work. Most people that will not be the case for them. So getting a travel laptop or an Ultrabook that has four or eight gigs of RAM is gonna be fine for them. Eight was my minimum, but this one has 16, and that’s something that the MacBook Air does not currently do as of the making of this video. Neither does the MacBook which is another popular travel laptop right now is their 12-inch MacBook, the revival of that product line.

This is still a great device, don’t get me wrong, but it does have a lot of sacrifices in features that you won’t see in other travel laptops, the primary one being the lack of USB ports. It does have a USB-C port which there are not a lot of devices that are very compatible with that right now and you will end up buying an adapters.

And this is already an expensive machine. When it comes to travel laptops, you really have to think about power and you have to think about weight, but you do also have to think about how it works with your accessories. So you’re gonna want to make sure that you have travel accessories to go with these.

You wanna make sure that Bluetooth is definitely a priority for you and that it least has two USB ports that you can utilize, maybe you want to get a USB hub. That’s super important. You’re also want to take a look at the keyboard form factor and figure out whether that’s comfortable for you.

Screen size and resolution matters as well. You’re gonna be viewing this, usually in an uncomfortable situation like on a plane or train or a car, so you wanna make sure that it has a great display that’s high resolution and you might even want to make sure that it’s IPS which means that you can see it from multiple angles no matter how you tilt the screen, it’s a good experience for you. These things absolutely matter when you’re talking about Ultrabook and travel laptop.

Again, where budget is concerned, you know, this gets a little pricey sometimes. The MacBook Air product line is very pricey, I think for what you get. The MacBook Air’s display is not great, the new MacBook’s display is fantastic, but the trade off there is you don’t have a lot of the features and the accessory capabilities that you have based on a lack of USB ports, the lack of display ports, et cetera.

So I would still say that the MacBook Air in many cases is still a superior, in my mind, for a practicality to the MacBook, but beyond both of them I would say something like the Dell XPS or even the ASUS line of ZenBooks could be a little better.

It all really just comes down to what you need. And like I said, budget is usually the thing that decides whether or not somebody’s gonna go with a Mac or a PC, but it’s not the only consideration when picking a laptop or anything that you’re doing. If you have a budget to get a Mac, and you really love that experience, then you absolutely should, but only if you have the budget.

If you really need to get some work done or you need something done, and you feel like you want the most bang for your buck, do not feel compared to get a Mac just because of what you’re hearing in the marketplace for the user experience.

There are beautiful laptops from a lot of companies including ASUS and Dell and they look just as beautiful and have just as great an experience as a Mac when it comes to the hardware and the performance.

The operating system is where a lot of people decide to draw a line in the sand. And as someone who uses both Windows and Mac every single day, I can tell you that the experience of Windows 10 is really not that bad. And you do get some things that you don’t get with the Mac OS currently.

Currently the Mac OS has no voice activated features, and that is kind of something very interesting considering the amazing job they did with Siri for the iOS. I am really upset that the Mac operating system for both desktops and laptops does not have voice activated features like Siri, but the Windows laptops absolutely do via Cortana.
And I’ve really been taking advantage of this to set reminders in my calendar, and to really just utilize the features for productivity. It’s been tremendous for me and I think that experience is something that’s lacking on the Mac laptops and desktops.

That being said, the clean and unified interface of the Mac as compatibility with your other mobile accessories does give it an edge there versus Windows. Almost nobody’s using Windows phone, let’s just be honest about that. So, if you’re already invested in the Mac ecosystem and in iOS very heavily, then you might take that into
consideration when you’re purchasing a laptop and choosing the Mac.

I have an iPhone and I have an iPad. I used to have an iPod before that was stolen. And so, there is a reason, if that’s your situation to go with a Mac laptop. On the other hand, I haven’t had any real issues in getting these products to work the way that I want to with my Windows machines.

So, just take that with a grain of salt and make an informed decision based on what suits your preferences, the hardware ecosystem that you’re comfortable with, the software that you prefer. You have to make that decision for yourself, but budget and the practicality of productivity side can weigh into this just based on whether or not you’re doing business or what your creative capabilities are, or just what you’rereally comfortable with.

If you’re looking for a desktop replacement, the MacBook Pro is one of the best laptops on the market, hands down. But it’s not the only option out there. As I said, the ASUS ZenBook is tremendous,and so is the DELL XPS13 as well as the XPS 15. I don’t necessarily consider the XPS 13 a true desktop replacement because it does prioritize portability and power, and it doesn’t lack in performance if you spec it out high enough.

But at that price range, you’re entering the arena where it might be more practical to go with a 15-inch model like the MacBook Pro or like the Dell XPS 15 Infinity. So, I think that those are some of the better options. Obviously you can get an ASUS laptop as well. And they have some tremendous options. I’ll have links to my best recommended laptops in the description below for you, for every budget and for every type of category. But when you’re talking about getting some real work done, the MacBook Pro is ASUS, so is the Dell XPS 15. They’re both tremendous laptops and can crush video editing,they can crush Photoshop, they can crush After Effects.You can even get some 3D artwork and rendering done in them. So I think that these are fantastic options if you’re looking for a laptop.

In terms of specs, you should be looking at going with between eight and 16 gigs of RAM. I’m always gonna prefer 16 gigs of RAM. I know that the Adobe and the Autodesk and all the other high-intensity softwares out there for creative development take up RAM. They are RAM hogs. And they also eat up processing power. You’re gonna want an
i7 Quad Core processor in whatever machine you’re getting if that’s the type of work you’re doing. And if you’re not doing that type of work,these machines, frankly, are overkill. You could really get something under $1,000 if you’re not doing high-level production work.

If you’re not doing video editing, photo editing, image manipulation, you really could just save a ton of money and not get one of these fancy laptops. I really wish you would. For the price difference, you could get so many great accessories, you could invest in your software. So I think you really just need to look at practicality when buying a laptop and not worry about the optics or impressing people. You’re here to use this thing to get work done, for the most part, anyway.

The entry level MacBook Pro models are using integrated graphics from Intel. They are using Intel Iris and the Intel Iris Pro, but remember these are still integrated graphics, they are on the motherboard. They’re not a dedicated screen graphics card like you would get from AMD or Invidia. So that actually is an entry-level weakness of the MacBook Pro product line.

However, the more expensive models do have the dedicated GPU and I think those go up to two gigs of RAM in most cases, usually from Invidia or AMD, just depending on what you’re getting. In the MacBook line, as far as MacBook Pros, I’m almost positive it’s still Invidia. I do know that in the desktop models, they kind of moved to AMD.
So, you’ll just have to confirm which one of those you’re getting based on what year you’re buying the laptop from.

Remember refurbed MacBook Pros are still fantastic. So if you want to get one of the older models, it’s actually a great deal and you can save a ton of money by doing that. Competitively though, same price point, you can get something even more powerful in a Windows laptop if you’re okay with the operating system.

So again, feel like you can get whatever you feel you need to based on the performance, the specs, the hardware, and if you’re okay with the user experience, then, you know, have at it and save a couple of bucks and get more for your money, get the real value out of it.

But again, when you’re buying these things, if you’re doing the type of work I’m doing, the type of work I’m talking about here mostly video editing, photo manipulation, those kinds of things, i7 processors, 16 gigs of RAM, maybe a dedicated graphics card, or at least an Intel Iris or Iris Pro would be beneficial. The SSD hard drives, solid state drives, those actually matter because it’ll be faster for your data transfers, boot times, and it can really improve your user experience, and it’ll give you peace of mind, because the laptop will last a little bit longer and it’ll be able to take impact better. The displays on these are fantastic.

With the MacBook line, you’re getting the Retina display, and it can export true 4K resolution to an external monitor. With the Dell and ASUS models you get the same thing, so that is something to keep in mind. What I will say about the new Dell models is that they are packing Thunderbolt 3 capability. So if you wanna future proof, if you need high speed transfers to external drives, that can be something to consider. Again, I’ll have links for my best recommended laptops for everything in the description below.

For those of you who are using your laptops for entertainment purposes,like just watching videos, surfing the web or gaming, it really just depends on how intense you are trying to go here, because the reality is for most of these things, you can still do it for under $500 or $1,000, but it just depends onwhat experience you want.
if you’re a gamer, obviously you’re gonna want to go to the top end and that might not even be an option for you considering that a lot of the games don’t work on the Mac operating system, or are not available. So, that’s something that you really have to keep in mind.

Again, if you’re someone who’s more casual, though. I’m not a big gamer right now, you could get by on a $500, $600 laptop, you just won’t have the ultra settings or anything like that. And it can still be a great machine for you for everything else, including watching movies, on Netflix or surfing the web, and playing the casual game of Star Wars or Republic or StarCraft the way that I might do, so that’s something that you can get away with on a budget and save a ton of money.

But if you’re trying to do quote unquote real gaming or whatever it is, then maybe a laptop like the Razer would be good for you. Maybe an ASUS ROG, Republic of Gamers, maybe that model of laptop would be better for you.I have a lot of friends who actually do that. And this also doubles as their video editing and Photoshop machine. So if that’s the kind of thing that you’re doing, then those could be great solutions for you, and I have some links to those.

Now, what I will say is that displays and graphics cards do matter when it comes to gaming and getting those ultra high case settings. So you wanna get a graphics card in your laptop that has somewhere from two to four gigs
of dedicated memory for the video, so that’s something that’s gonna be super important for you. I would say steer for 16 gigs of RAM. Eight, you can get by, but you’re really gonna want 16. You’re gonna want to have solid state drives in there, so make sure you’re looking for that, and i7 processors.

You know, there’s no point in really having a conversation if you’re talking about high-end gaming without those specs as your minimum. 4K is a kind of take it or leave it kind of thing. it’s really up to you. The big thing here is the refresh rates. You want those to be higher. Again, I think ASUS ROGs, Republic of Gamers, are good options for that. The ASUS ZenBooks actually is a pretty decent gaming machine as well. Dell can actually handle gaming. Alienware is something a lot of you are interested in.

But, again, one of the best options out there are the Razer or Razer Blade. So those are pretty cool, and you can check all of those out. Now, again, I’m not a big time gamer, so my information on this is gonna be very general. If you want to get more specific information, go deep on that, then you probably need to talk to somebody who’s an expert at that and is very current on those things. Me, I use this stuff more for Photoshop and video editing and doing productivity work, and even doing visual effects using Adobe After Effects. And I’m starting to mess with it a little bit of the 3D modeling programs. So that’s how I utilize them. And for my purposes I don’t really have to go that route. But if that’s what you’re doing, then these recommendations will definitely help you.

And again, the laptops that I have in the description below I’ve broken them out based on what your needs are and what your budget is. So that’s something that you should really like make an informed decision about. Get something that you’re comfortable with and that will fit your needs.

Well, I hope this video is informative for you guys. If you still have questions, leave those in the comments section. I’ll do my best to answer as many of them as I can, so you guys can make an informed buying decision.

This was actually a fun video for me to do, because I got to geek out with you guys over some hardware specs and some different brands and talk about the way that I make my buying decisions here for what I’m doing in the office.
And, you know, I think it’s just really cool to be able to do a different type of video with you guys.

Again, if you have questions, leave those in the comments section and I will try and answer them. There are Amazon links in the description below, those help out the channel, those help me out as well as you, you pay nothing extra, so please try and use them.

Anyway, like this video if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other awesome content on the channel.

As always you guys, I thank you so very much for watching and geeking out with me while I try to help you buy an awesome laptop.


Asus 15in i7 $549
Lenovo Premium 15 in $458
Acer 15in Premimum i5 $449
Dell Inspiron 15in i5 $514

Apple Macbook $1289
Apple Macbook Air $933
Apple Macbook Pro 13 in $1299
Apple Macbook Pro 15 in $2289

Asus Zenbook 13in $759
2016 Yoga Pro 2 $859
HP Spectre 13 $789
Dell XPS 13 $1359

ASUS ROG 15in $999
RazorBlade 14in $2399
MSI 17in Dominator $1599

Asus Zenbook $1499
Dell XPS 15 $1799
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 $1159

HP Stream $239
Lenovo G50 $226
Asus Transformer Flipbook $269