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What do you want to use your laptop for?

Productivity

If you're working or studying, then you'll want a laptop with a fast processor and a decent amount of RAM (Random Access Memory). That means you can run lots of apps at the same time without any lag. Look for lots of built-in storage (256GB or 512GB) for saving files locally and a good-sized screen for all those spreadsheets. Long battery life lets you work on the go.

Windows laptops are a no-brainer as they feature familiar programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook along with your typical USB ports for connecting an extra screen or two. Apple MacBooks and Plus Chromebooks might be a great pick too, with their user-friendly interfaces and great speed.

Creativity

If you want to edit videos, photos and music on apps like Photoshop and Premiere Pro, then you’ll need a laptop with a lot of processing power to keep things smooth. Lots of RAM is also a must, as you’ll need lots of memory for fast performance when working on large files. You’ll want a powerful graphics card that’ll help you render and edit videos, along with a high-resolution display so colours pop and look accurate.

Apple MacBooks are go-to laptops for lots of designers and creative types. But there are loads of Windows laptops with high-performance specs too. Premium Chromebooks are also powerful enough to keep up with content creators.

Browsing

You won’t need a high-end processor for everyday use, and a modest amount of RAM will do — say 8GB or 16GB. Battery life is important if you like to browse on the move. As for screen size, most medium-sized displays are fine for streaming, shopping and some light gaming.

Standard Chromebooks are top for browsing. Lots of them come in the form of a 2-in-1 laptop, which is a flexible hybrid device that lets you use the laptop as a tablet with an interactive touchscreen. Windows laptops or MacBooks work with 3rd-most third-party browsers but have their own versions too, in Edge and Safari.

Gaming

If you’re after a laptop geared up for serious gaming, then you’ll need something more specialised. Big brands such as Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, MSI and Medion make gaming laptops which pack powerful processors, dedicated graphics cards and plenty of RAM for smooth gameplay. Most gaming laptops also feature large, high-quality displays with a fast refresh rate for lag-free visuals. Look for an RGB or anti-ghosting gaming keyboard, 120Hz refresh rate and a high-resolution screen if you want a powerful gaming setup.

Gaming laptops that run on Windows are a popular choice for gamers thanks to their extensive library of games, compatibility with various hardware, and support for gaming-related software. Cloud gaming Chromebooks let you stream games from the Cloud, so you don’t have to install anything.

What type of OS is right for you?

There are three main laptops to choose from, each with its own strengths:

Windows

From basic, budget laptop models for emails and browsing to powerhouses for complex projects — Windows laptops are versatile and tick most boxes.

Windows 11 is the latest version of the operating system (succeeding Windows 10), which comes packed with features that make it easy to speed up your workflow and connect with others. This includes a customisable desktop and Microsoft Teams integration.

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Teams is the Microsoft chat and video calling app, and Windows 11 puts it right on your taskbar — so you can tap once to start chatting with work colleagues, family or friends. Very handy.

Mish, Currys tech expert

Chromebook

Chromebooks are a new breed of portable laptop, built around going online and staying connected. There are three main types of Chromebooks for you to choose from:

  • Chromebooks — For everyday messaging and browsing.

  • Plus Chromebooks - For serious work and play.

  • Premium Chromebooks – For creators that need serious power.

ChromeOS is the web-based operating system that Chromebooks run on. It’s quick, simple and secure — where you use Google apps and store everything in the cloud.

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Cloud gaming Chromebooks are becoming a go-to choice for gamers — letting you stream top titles with nothing more than a reliable internet connection.

Katrina, Currys tech expert

MacBook

MacBooks are a big hit with designers and creators, thanks to their powerful Apple M2 processors, fast memory, sharp graphics and amazing Retina displays that really make your content clear.

MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops run on Apple’s macOS operating system, which is famous for being user-friendly and stylish. Software like iMovie and GarageBand can be download for free, and macOS is also great for running Adobe Creative Cloud and other advanced programs. Built-in security features will keep your personal information safe from malware and viruses too.

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The iCloud lets you sync up the data on all your different Apple devices, so you can move between them easily. Start a message on one device, finish it on the next.

Chloe, Currys tech expert

Things to consider when buying a new laptop

What size laptop screen do I need?

If you want a browsing laptop that’s easy to carry around, then a 14-inch medium size laptop display is ideal. Small-screen laptops with 10 or 11-inch displays are even more compact but might be too small for typing out documents or looking at spreadsheets.

A large-screen laptop is around 17 inches. These offer the clearest view of your content and are great for multimedia — perfect for creatives or gamers. However, they’re less portable due to their bigger size and extra weight.

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How powerful a processor do you need?

A processor (CPU) is the brain of your laptop. From opening a program to loading a file, the processor makes it happen. Two of the best processor brands for laptops are Intel and AMD. Intel processors are popular with gamers as they’re capable of serious speeds, while content creators like multi-core AMD processors that allow for smooth multitasking.

Intel processors

Intel® Core™ processors have impressively high clock speeds for quicker loading times. The higher the number, the more powerful:

  • i3 — Handles basic everyday programs like Word, web browsing, emails and video/music streaming.

  • i5 — A more powerful option for multimedia editing, gaming and even live-streaming.

  • i7 — A high-performance processor for professionals and serious gamers, designed for demanding programs that require quick rendering speeds (like 4K video editing).

  • i9 — A rapidly-fast CPU featuring multiple cores so that you can use various advanced programs at once.

If you want a laptop for gaming, keep an eye out for Intel’s 11th Gen processors. They give you the power to seamlessly game and stream at the same time, with great battery life to boot!

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AMD processors

AMD’s Ryzen processors are made for multitasking and are famous for next-level graphics. The latest Ryzen 5000 laptop processors have dazzling speeds and game-ready AMD integrated graphics.

Learn more about AMD

M2 / Mac processors

Offering fantastic speed, amazing graphics and all-day battery life, Apple’s M2 processors for Macs allow you to fly through tasks, create like a pro and play console‑quality games.

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How much RAM do I need in my laptop?

Memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) is what your laptop uses to run its operating system and programs. The amount of RAM that you’ll need will depend on the tasks that you want your laptop to do.

More RAM lets the processor take on more at once. This can be vital if you’re using demanding software or need to run lots of programs at the same time. Creatives using photo/video editing applications (such as Adobe’s Photoshop or Premiere Pro) should go for laptops with lots of RAM for a smoother workflow.


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How much storage do I need on my laptop?

As little as 32GB should be fine if you’re streaming and using cloud services to save files. 64GB of laptop storage will give you a little bit more flexibility, especially if you want to install software.

Most premium laptops start with 256GB of storage space. If you want to use your laptop for various things and save documents locally, then you won’t need more than that. If you’ll be storing lots of large projects or video files on your laptop, you’ll be better off with a 512GB or 1TB storage laptop.

Most laptop manufacturers equip their models with an SSD (Solid State Drive). This is like a hard drive, but an SSD features no moving parts. This makes SSDs faster and more reliable with greater longevity.


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Extra features

There are a few other things you might want to think about before choosing your laptop:

Graphic cards

Graphics cards accelerate video-based tasks like photo and video editing, high-resolution video playback, and the rendering of 3D worlds in games.
If you’re into online multiplayer gaming, multimedia editing or any other high-graphics activity — a laptop with a dedicated graphics card might be the way to go.

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Software

Software is the different apps and programmes you use on your laptop. Office Software (like Microsoft 365’s Word and Excel, or Google Docs Pages and Sheets) will cover your everyday office tasks, while laptop security software and anti-virus software will help keep you safe from hackers. Google anti-virus software does a great job and comes on all of its products – so you don’t need any extra anti-virus software if you have a Chromebook.

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Accessories

You can get a whole load of accessories to make using your laptop easier and more comfortable, from external keyboards to wireless mouse for laptops. You might also think about upping your video calling game with a headset, mic or external webcam. And if you ever need an extra cable or extension, you can find them at Currys too.

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Laptop FAQs

We’ve covered all the essentials in this guide to buying a laptop. Here are some common questions that might help you out even more.