Are laptops worth buying

The biggest pitfalls when buying a notebook

Speed: processor

Cases
Despite the high clock rate, your notebook turns out to be a lame duck.

tip
The level of the clock frequency does not exclusively determine the performance of a processor (also CPU, "Central Processing Unit"). Other decisive factors are the cache, the number of cores and the manufacturing process. So it is possible that processors with a lower clock speed are faster than higher clocked models. In addition, the following applies: none of the manufacturers has the one perfect processor that is suitable for every purpose. Only a test provides reliable information here. With the help of different programs, COMPUTER BILD determines the working speed in every notebook test.

Speed: RAM

Cases
The operating system is excruciatingly slow, especially when it comes to memory-hungry applications.

tip
In this case, the working memory is often too tight. The size should be at least four gigabytes. If you use many applications at the same time, edit videos or play complex 3D games, you are well advised to double the amount of RAM.

Speed: graphics card

Cases
Graphically complex PC games do not start or stutter very strongly.

tip
Current computer games place high demands on the graphics card. So-called onboard solutions (the graphics chip sits on the motherboard) are usually too slow, with the graphics units of current Intel and AMD CPUs integrated in the main processors, you can sometimes play sensibly with a reduced level of detail. Ambitious gamers need a dedicated graphics card, otherwise (daddling) lust quickly turns into frustration. COMPUTER BILD determines the exact game speed in every notebook test. The value helps you make a purchase decision.

Screen size

Cases
The notebook screen is too small.

tip
For work or play, the screen should have at least a 15-inch diagonal. With standard tasks such as word processing, e-mail software or Internet programs, you can get by with less, but as soon as you are watching films, editing your holiday pictures or playing a PC game, every additional inch is advantageous. You can always connect an external monitor at home.

Screen size

Cases
The notebook screen is too big.

tip
If you mainly use your notebook on the go, a compact device (such as an ultrabook) is the best choice. A notebook that is too big is not only difficult in the long run, you would also have trouble finding space for your cappuccino in the café.

Screen: Annoying reflections

Cases
Particularly when working outdoors, strong incidence of light leads to annoying reflections on the screen.

tip
Most laptops have a glossy surface. So look for an anti-glare display when buying if you work a lot on the go. COMPUTER BILD specifies the level of anti-reflective coating in every notebook test and helps you to find the right device.

Weight

Cases
Every additional gram quickly becomes a burden on the way.

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A lightweight is the first choice for mobile use. So-called ultrabooks have occupied this niche for some time; according to the specification, they weigh a maximum of 1.4 kilograms. 15-inch notebooks weigh two to three kilograms on average. Giant laptops with an 18-inch screen diagonal even weigh up to four kilograms.

hard disk

Cases
The notebook does not have enough storage space, the hard drive is too small.

tip
For larger music and photo collections, your notebook should have at least 500 gigabytes of data storage. Alternative: You can easily expand the storage space with an external hard drive. However, some of these plates are relatively large and heavy.

»Test: The best external hard drives
»Knowledge: Everything about hard drives

Hard drive replacement: SSD (Solid State Drive)

Cases
In the store, the seller convinced you of the advantages of a robust, quiet and economical SSD (Solid State Drive). Then you find out that the data memory is insufficient at the front and back.

tip
Some mini notebooks do not have a conventional hard drive. Instead, they are equipped with a Solid State Drive (“SSD”). The advantage of this technology: Flash memory is quieter, lighter, smaller, insensitive to shock and offers more speed when accessing the data. Disadvantage: If you need a lot of storage space, a corresponding SSD storage will cost you dearly. Hybrid solutions consisting of a classic hard drive with an integrated SSD part are an interesting compromise.

»Test: The best SSD storage

Guarantee / warranty

Cases
Your notebook has a very short warranty period or only the statutory warranty.

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When buying a notebook, always pay attention to the warranty conditions. The guarantee is a voluntary additional service from the manufacturer or dealer. In contrast to the guarantee, the warranty is a statutory obligation. In the event of a product defect, it assures you, the customer, that the defect will be rectified free of charge. This rule applies for two years from the date of purchase. Problem: After six months, the buyer has to prove that the defect already existed at the time of purchase.

»Guide: Guarantee and warranty

keyboard

Cases
You buy a handy mini notebook and the keyboard is much too small, typing becomes an ordeal.

tip
Despite their similar dimensions, the netbook and ultrabook keyboards differ from model to model. Therefore, check before you buy whether you can work properly with the device of your choice.

»Tips: These keyboard shortcuts speed up your everyday PC life

optical drive

Cases
Mini notebooks (netbooks, subnotebooks, ultrabooks) often do not have an optical drive.

tip
You rarely get by without an optical drive - especially if you don't have an active Internet connection. Not only do you need it to play DVDs or burn your data, but very often also to install software. Practical help: You can find external USB DVD burners via the COMPUTER BILD price comparison.

»Download: Virtual CD creates images of your CDs and DVDs on the hard drive

Connections / interfaces

Cases
Your device has too few or incorrect connections.

tip
A well-equipped notebook offers a WLAN interface (802.11b / g / n /), a built-in Bluetooth module, a network socket, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, a memory card reader and a VGA, DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort monitor connection. Firewire (for cameras), express card slots and eSATA have meanwhile lost their importance. Before buying, determine which interfaces you really need.

Aspect ratio of the screen

Cases
Black bars are annoying when watching films.

tip
16: 9 cinema format screens show DVD films with almost no annoying black bars. Current notebooks usually have a display in the so-called widescreen format.

Battery life

Cases
The battery runs out far too quickly.

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Here less is more. The small, sparingly equipped netbooks and ultrabooks usually outperform the large notebooks. Two hours of battery life are the minimum. The battery life varies enormously with larger devices. In every notebook test, COMPUTER BILD indicates the exact battery life when working and playing videos.

»Advice: extend battery life and service life

Mobile Internet

Cases
Your notebook is equipped with WLAN, but you cannot access the Internet when you are out and about.

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If there is no WiFi network or hotspot within range, all that remains is the mobile data connection via the cell phone network. If your notebook does not support UMTS, you need a UMTS card (e.g. via express card) or a UMTS USB adapter, or you can connect your notebook to a mobile phone via Bluetooth or a data cable, which then functions as a WLAN hotspot.

volume

Cases
The notebook's fan is making too much noise.

tip
Many notebooks are pleasantly quiet, but can be clearly audible under load. If you value quiet, you should pay attention to the loudness in the COMPUTER BILD tests. Because in the shop, the ambient noise is usually so loud that the volume of the laptop cannot be properly assessed.

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