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Key terms you need to know when buying a laptop

Looking for a new laptop? We explain the key terms you’ll see as you browse our range of laptops for college.




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Buying a laptop can be a daunting task. From the sheer volume of laptops to choose from to the specs you need to pay attention to, there’s a lot to take in. To make it a less intimidating purchase, we’re breaking down some of the key terms you need to know…

It’s a cracking start, but there’s more to WFH than plugging in the obvious essentials - so let us suggest a few hidden tech gems to complete your home office setup. You might find some of these choices surprising, but they’ll really help you become more productive and efficient.

What is RAM?

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. The amount of RAM on a laptop generally ranges from 4GB to 16GB with 4GB being the standard. If you plan on using lots of programs or carrying out more complex tasks, like big Photoshop or AutoCAD files, the more RAM the better.

What is SSD and eMMc?

This is all about the amount of physical storage and how much space you have for programs, documents, photos, videos, and music on your laptop. SSD (solid-state-drive) is fast and capable of handling large file sizes. You also have more choice when it comes to how much an SSD will store, with some going up to 1 TB. Whereas eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard) storage is slightly slower and can’t handle the same large files but is perfect if you’re using the Google or Office Suite and streaming.

What is a processor?

The processor interprets or processes the instructions that make your laptop operate. If you’re looking at Windows laptops, you’ll see a wide range of processors like i3 and i5. Laptops with an i5 processor or higher are better for handling complex programs and tasks like rendering a video.

What is a graphics card?

A graphics card, also known a GPU (graphic processing unit) is responsible for displaying what you see on screen. All laptops will naturally have a graphics card, but some courses will note specific graphics cards for using more intensive creative programs like photo or video editing software.

How does a Chromebook differ to a normal laptop?

Chromebooks are laptops with a Google or Chrome-based operating system (OS). With a Chrome OS, everything is cloud-based so your files don’t take up physical space on your laptop. All the Google apps such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Drive are pre-installed, but you can easily download a range of other apps like Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Office from the Play Store. Chromebooks are fast and secure.

Now that you know your key terms, browse our range of laptops on or in one of 16 stores.

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