Working from home is now part of the new normal. Before the pandemic, we used to go on daily commutes to the office, but now, things are way different. Instead of a long commute, we just head to our office or makeshift workspace and go about our workday. And while this all sounds convenient given the freedom and flexibility, it’s not all that easy.
For starters, you need a reliable work setup to be efficient. As mentioned in our ‘Designing Tip for Your New Home’ post, getting the little details right can be a big deal. Aside from selecting a space that is conducive to productivity, you also need work tools that can help you breeze through your tasks. Perhaps the most critical tool is your laptop, which is integral to getting your job done.
If you’re on the hunt for a new laptop that can accommodate your work from home setup, here are some features that you should look out for:
Before considering any swanky features, you must first prioritize the CPU. Given how it controls the instruction for your computer, your laptop of choice should have a CPU that is powerful enough to run the programs you need, ideally all at the same time. Just think of it this way: if your laptop were a car, then the CPU functions as the engine. It is then of the utmost importance for your CPU to have a high processing power. If your line of work involves using a myriad of apps, then a Core i7 or even Core i9 CPU is ideal. On the flip side, Core i3-based laptops are fine for light use, while Core i5 laptops are already powerful enough for most common business applications.
Memory and storage
Following the CPU, an article on the second most important factor in comparing work laptops by Business News Daily, it points to memory and storage. It’s recommended that you skip laptops with 2GB RAM as they’ll only be frustrating to work with. Instead, you would be able to work better with a 4GB or 8GB device. As for HDD and solid-state drive (SSD), you’ll want to consider your priorities between these two. A guide to choosing the best work from home laptops on HP suggests you would need a 250GB SSD for faster load times and at least 1TB of HDD for more local storage. These optimal specs are ideal if you need to use your laptop for heavy-duty tasks like video editing. However, if you’re mostly working with light applications like Word or Excel, then you don’t have to strictly meet these requirements.
Even if you can plug in anytime you want when you’re working from home, you still want a laptop that can last for hours. When shopping for your next laptop, you have to prioritize battery life as well. After all, you wouldn’t want your laptop accidentally shutting down on you when you’re working on an important file. Look for options with at least a six-hour capacity at the very minimum. That way, you’ll be able to plough through projects without being tethered to a plug and without worrying too much about checking the battery life. And when things go back to normal, a laptop with a decent battery life will allow you to work on projects at a coffee shop or give presentations at the office without scrambling for an electrical outlet. Then again, you also have to keep in mind that battery life tends to shorten over the life of your device, but luckily, laptop batteries are often replaceable.
An often overlooked feature, the keyboard is one of the most crucial parts of a computer. Writer Barry Colin’s review on the best laptop keyboards stresses that laptops live and die by their keyboards, so you’re going to want an ergonomic, responsive keyboard. But the thing is, not all laptops are created equal in this department. Ideally, the laptop you choose should have a keyboard that is slightly soft as those are more conducive to typing for extended periods. It would also help if the coating had non-glare surfaces for a grippy feel, making typing much more comfortable.