For Basic Use (£270 – £800)
Specs to Look For:
- CPU: at least 2 Cores & 2GHz (Intel Pentium, Core i3, or Core i5)
- RAM: at least 4 GB
- Hard Drive: at least 128GB
Always read reviews and pay attention to warranties. Some models of laptops have loose-fitting parts or fragile hinges. Such poorly constructed devices are initially cheap, but laptop repairs and replacements can become costly.
If you need your laptop to be portable, you will want to research weight, size, and battery life. For basic use, these aspects are often the most important, next to durability.
If you want your laptop to be fast, buy an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM; anything more will be excessive for basic use.
If you want to watch HD videos, you should also consider an IPS display with good resolution, and a GPU similar to what you would need for advanced digital artwork.
For Photography & 2D Artwork (£500 – £1700)
Specs To Look For:
- CPU: 4-6 cores, at least 3GHz (Intel Core i5)
- RAM: 16 GB DDR3
- Hard drive: at least 500GB
- GPU: 2GB VRAM
- IPS Display
An IPS display typically has a better viewing angle, color accuracy and contrast than an equivalent TN display.
A good balance of RAM and CPU is important for a digital artist’s time efficiency. A large amount of RAM allows information for a massive edit to be accessed quickly, and a fast CPU can rapidly process that information.
A good GPU assists the CPU with advanced image-editing tools, but it is the least vital of the specs listed above.
For Gaming / Video Editing (£1000 – £4600)
Specs to Look For:
- CPU: at least 4 Cores & 4GHz (Intel Core i7 or Intel Xeon)
- RAM: at least 16GB DDR3
- Hard Drive: at least 500GB SSD
- GPU: at least 4GB VRAM (NVIDIA or AMD brand)
If you want a gaming or video editing computer, you should get a desktop. It is difficult to find a laptop which can compete with desktops in the performance of such demanding tasks. If you do need to use a laptop, buy the best you can afford.