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Want to buy a laptop but don't know which one? Consumer Reports offers tips

What speed, storage, memory, display to you need?

If a new laptop is on your holiday shopping list, Consumer Reports says there will be plenty of deals again this year and offers tips on what to look for as far as the basics.

Laptops are the go-to computer for most people now. They’re portable, more powerful, faster and less expensive than they used to be.

For top speeds, CR says consider a solid state drive or SSD model. They are noticeably faster than traditional hard drives. They can also be more expensive.

“If you’re buying a laptop and you’re going to hold on to a laptop for like five years, over those five years, 100 dollars to get a dramatically better computing experience, I would say you should spend that extra hundred bucks,” said CR Tech Editor Nikolas DeLeon.

As for storage, CR says 356 gigabytes should be enough for most people.

“That’s enough  space for our operating system, all the updates, all your programs, whether that’s Photoshop or Excel, Outlook or Chrome or any of those types of things,” DeLeon said.

Storage and memory, or RAM, can be easily confused. Storage is where you keep your files long term, such as documents and photos. Memory houses the apps or programs that you’re currently running such as your web browser or email. CR says the sweet spot for memory is 8 gigabytes.

Processors, also known as chips, are the brains of the laptop. CR says the best choice for most people is the Core i5.

When it comes to display, 4K has four times the pixels  as HD. But, CR advises not to spring for it because the difference in sharpness is subtle on a laptop’s small screen.


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