If you’re in the market for a new computer, chances are, you’ll be getting a laptop. That’s because laptops have replaced desktops as the go-to computer for most consumers. They’re portable, more powerful, faster and less expensive than they used to be.
Want the top speeds? Consumer Reports says to consider a solid-state drive, or SSD. They’re noticeably faster than traditional hard drives, but they can also be more expensive. If you’re buying a laptop and you plan to keep it for five years, the extra $100 you spend on one should be well worth the extra expense.
As for storage, CR says 256 gigabytes should be enough for most people. That’s enough space for your operating system, all the updates, all your programs, whether that’s Photoshop or Excel, Outlook or Chrome, etc.
Storage and memory, or RAM, can be easily confused. Storage is where you keep your files long term, such as documents and photos. Memory houses the apps or programs that you’re running, such as your web browser or email. Testers at CR say the sweet spot for memory is 8 gigabytes. Processors, also known as chips, are the brains of a laptop. CR says the best choice for most people is the Core i5, which can handle what most users need it to do and more.
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