Technology

10 important things to consider when buying a laptop in Nigeria

10 important things to consider when buying a laptop in Nigeria

When it comes to buying a laptop in Nigeria, there are two categories of people that you will find; the first are those who know absolutely nothing about electronics, save for the fact that the difference between a laptop and a computer is that one can sit on the laps (hence the name) and the other sits on a desk. And even that particular assessment is also wrong since laptops are computers; the latter is a desktop computer.

Yep, hence the name also.

The second category of people, however, are those who know too much for their own good. They know what and where a RAM is and that it is not exclusive to Muslim holidays. They know the difference between CPUs, GPUs, and the different types of memories and other bits of information. They are not engineers, mind you, or even particularly involved in the tech world; as I said, they are just too knowledgeable for their own good.

And for this, Computer Village vendors detest them because they know what they want and cannot be easily swayed by sales pitches. Imagine if you’d practised your best sales pitch in front of the mirror in the morning before work, only to run afoul of a customer who insists on “Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB DDR 4 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 8GB GDDRS Dedicated VRAM, Direct X 12, 1000GB SSD memory and In-Plane Switching”. And he remains adamant no matter how much you try to convince him that you have others that are just as good.

"you are mad" reaction
This will be your ultimate reaction

Most Nigerians, as it is, fall into the first category; they see all laptops as being in just one big category, with probably brand names the only difference. And in case you think it’s definitely women, you’re mistaken. Many guys are also painfully ignorant when it comes to buying a laptop; I met one a few weeks ago who bought a mid-range laptop, and the next thing he asked for was games. And not just any type of games; HEAVY games, the type that even some top laptops will have trouble running.

And the worst part was that the person who sold him the laptop, who calls himself his guy, kept shushing me whenever I tried to point out that his new laptop was not suited for gaming. Oh, well, I guess his disappointment is saved for later.

Moving from group one to group two is not particularly hard; you only need a few bits of basic information before you set out for the market.

Things to consider when buying a laptop

Your Need

Buying a laptop sounds quite easy in theory; just walk down to the store with your money, choose one, pay and go back home. However, it is anything but, because it’s harder to make a choice when there are so many alternatives, some of which are just as good as their counterparts. If there were just two or three options, it would probably be an easy choice, but (fortunately and unfortunately) there are dozens to pick from.

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This is why you cannot just go to Computer Village blank because then you fall into the first category of people I mentioned above, and you will be subjected to the whims of the dealer. You must be sure of the type of laptop you want to buy, and what you need it for. Are you looking for a gaming laptop? Are you a software developer or a graphics designer? Or are you simply buying a laptop for some light office work and then movie-watching?

This is the first question you need to ask yourself before venturing into the market; what do you need it for, and what kind of specifications will suit your needs? Luckily, all the information you need is online.

Budget

Along with your need, this is another crucial factor to keep at the back of your mind when buying a laptop, since your financial capabilities will also determine your options. You cannot be that I-too-know guy from above on a budget of 200k; you will be laughed out of Computer Village.

Laptops come in various pricing ranges, from simple and small gadgets with a reasonable price to beastly machines that can do all but prepare pounded yam. It will be easier to limit your options when you know how much money you have. Then, based on your requirements and the available characteristics, you can then select the best gadget for you.

Brand

Every laptop brand is known to be good at a particular task; for example, Apple laptops, with their speed and nicer user interface, are the best in programming. ASUS and Alienware are known for their blazing memory and frame speed, making them gamers’ flagship laptops, and other laptop brands are also known to be good in their own ways.

And just as these laptops are good at some things, they also have their downsides, which I cannot go into detail about here, since you are the one that knows what you want. Hence, it would help if you thoroughly researched brands when buying a laptop to know which one fits your need best. Don’t just buy Apple because you want to own a MacBook.

Battery Life

You’re in Nigeria, after all, where electricity is provided at the whim of the unknown operators known immortally as NEPA, and fuel keeps playing hide-and-seek with everyone every few months. This means that, when buying a laptop, battery capacity should be one of your top priorities.

This is also doubly important for students, who will be moving around during the school day and might also be required to use their laptops in class for presentations.

Weight and Size

This reminds me of my former laptop, an absolute monster that barely fit in my bag and caused widened eyes whenever I brought it out in public. Sometimes, I imagined I could use it as a shield, or even hide underneath it if a meteor ever crashed into Earth; it was that large.

It was also a lot of stress to move from place to place, so if you’re buying a laptop, make sure to check its dimensions. If you’re a student or someone who moves around a lot, a lightweight 13″ laptop is better than a 17″ beast that will leave you feeling like a bricklayer at the end of the day.

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Besides, larger is not always better.

HP Spectre
Look at how slim this guy is… that’s the HP Spectre, and it still packs a massive punch with that small size

Processing Power

If your daily tasks do not exceed basic activities like word processing and web browsing, you need not concern yourself with high specs; a respectable laptop with an AMD Ryzen 3 or Intel Core i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD should be enough. However, if you dabble into other ventures like programming, 3D rendering or video editing, you will need something stronger.

And even though your budget will definitely play an important role here, a strong GPU and CPU will help you run more intensive apps.

Storage Space

Most modern laptops have a minimum of 256GB of storage space, and while this might seem like a lot, storage space, unfortunately, is like small chops; you think you have a lot of it, until the next time you reach in and realize that it’s all gone. So, when buying a laptop, you should keep an eye out for its storage space and the different types of computer storage (HDD and SSD).

Nowadays, even 1TB is not nearly enough to store all your files and programs, so you might want to invest in extra storage space or use a cloud storage service if you don’t want to lug an external drive around with you.

Display

It’s not a good laptop if you don’t spend most of your waking hours staring at its screen, either when watching movies or working, so when buying a laptop, you should choose one with a bright screen that is easy on the eyes. Screen resolution is also important, depending on how you want to use your laptop; a full HD screen measures 1920×1080 pixels, providing excellent image quality and plenty of space for your windows to be visible.

OLED display screen
This is an example of an OLED display. Look how crisp it is

Keep in mind, though, that shinier displays tend to reflect ambient light, and touchscreen laptops have glossy screens. Also, visiting a computer store and seeing your laptops in person when browsing screen possibilities is advisable because technical specifications do not always accurately reflect the actual customer experience.

laptop with a spoilt screen
You don’t want to buy a laptop only to start seeing this a few weeks later. Trust me, e go pain you

Future Expandability

If you plan on using your new laptop for a long period of time, you should consider gadgets that will allow you to upgrade its components. The CPU or graphics card cannot be upgraded, but RAM and storage are simple issues.

This way, you can easily extend your laptop’s capabilities if you need to install more demanding software in the future, and if any of these components break or develop faults, you can always replace them instead of having to purchase a new laptop.

Keyboard

This might seem like a negligible thing to worry about when buying a laptop, but, as it goes, it is one of the most underrated since you cannot navigate your laptop without your keyboard. You will also need a laptop with a comfy keyboard if you plan to type for lengthy periods.

ALSO READ: 20 essential keyboard shortcuts to save your time

A keyboard with full-sized keys and a comfortable layout is ideal when buying a laptop. The keys should also have a fast response and enough travel on the down stroke when you let off them. A backlit keyboard might also seem like a minor point, but it will come in handy when typing in low-light situations.

A backlit keyboard

Now, as I have inadvertently helped you with your future purchase, I’m gonna need you also to help protect me from the hit squad that Computer Village boys will most likely send after me for trying to spoil their business with this post.

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A couple of unexpected turns in life found Jimmy with a metaphorical pen in hand, churning out content and living in his head so much that he knighted himself the Pen Dragon. He is also an avid reader, gamer, drummer, full-blown metalhead, and all-round fun gi
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