In the changing world of laptops, knowing what to buy can be a complex process.

Everyone wants the best performance, but what about the price? How big a screen can you get before you sacrifice portability? How many ports do you need, and what size hard drive will do the job? Do you want a hybrid? Do you need a touchscreen for Windows 8, or can you go without?

Your best weapon before you go shopping is to be informed. To help, we’ve created this guide with a few pointers on what you’ll need to consider before buying a laptop.

A smaller screen means better portability. Most laptops come in screen sizes that range from 11 to 17 inches. The entire system is sized to fit the display. That means smaller notebooks are lighter and more compact, and larger ones are bulkier. If you don’t move the laptop much, a 15-inch model is fine. But if you plan to use the laptop on your lap or carry it around, a model with a 13- or 14-inch screen, like the Dell XPS 13, may provide the best balance between screen space and portability. Children under 12 will find it easier to handle a model with an 11.6- or 12.5-inch display.  Get a 17-inch laptop only if it’s going to stay on your desk.

Pick Your Specs

Notebook components such as processor, hard drive, RAM and graphics chip can confuse even notebook aficionados, so don’t feel bad if spec sheets look like alphabet soup to you.

Check Laptop battery

If you’re buying a large, bulky notebook or a gaming rig that you’ll use only on a desk near an outlet, you don’t have to worry about battery life. However, if you plan to use the laptop on your lap, even if it’s at home and or work, you’ll want at least 7 hours of endurance, with 8+ hours being ideal. To determine a notebook’s expected battery life, don’t take the manufacturer’s word for it. Instead, read third-party results from objective sources, such as our reviews.

Plan Based on Your Budget

These days, you can buy a usable laptop for under 20000, but if you can budget more, you’ll get a system with better build quality, stronger performance, and a better display.

Brand

Almost every brand now has 8 laptops available from Rs 20,000 onwards. The most preferred names are HP, Dell, and Lenovo, but don’t count out the other brands. Asus, Acer, and Toshiba also have excellent value for money laptops. At times you might get better specifications at a lower price on these brands and they also have a good after-sales service network.

Operating system

Make sure that you choose a laptop with preloaded Windows. The laptops without OS might appear enticing with low prices but if you choose to install Windows later, it will work out to be more costly. Windows 10 is the latest operating system and it’s much better than Windows 8, so go for a laptop that comes with Windows 10 preloaded.