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Cadzow TECH's Handy-Dandy Laptop Selection Guide

How To Use This Guide

  • The guide is not clickable — print it out

  • Under each category, select things you have an opinion on

  • If you don't have an opinion about something, leave it open


What is the broad usage of the machine?

General business/home work; documents, email, Internet, applications
High-end business; as above for business but with intensive applications such as PhotoShop, InDesign (for example)

What portability is required?

Very often moving around, laptop with user at all times
Sometimes visiting other locations
Hardly leaves desk


What weight is required?

Choose all the weight classes that you require or can tolerate:

Very light-weight < 1kg
Light-weight 1 – 1.4kg
Heavier 1½ – 2kg
Heavy > 2kg

Generally, cost will go up as the machine becomes lighter. If you are intending to travel regularly and, say, use the machine in an aircraft, the desirable weight will be < 1.4kg. For irregular travel or simply moving between office and home, weight can be > 1.5kg.

Additionally, as the machine becomes lighter and thinner, the risk of accidental damage rises.


Low-End *
Moderate, eg Intel Core i3, 4Gb RAM *
Mainstream, eg Intel Core i5, 8-16Gb RAM
High-End, eg Intel Core i7, 16Gb RAM
Gaming, eg Intel Core i9, 32Gb RAM *

Mainstream Graphics, typically using standard graphics chipset with manufacturer's system board
High-End Graphics, typically with dedicated chipset better suited to graphics use
Gaming Graphics *

* Cadzow TECH does not supply these specifications.


Hard disk drive — slower, worse battery life, larger capacity *
Solid state drive — faster, cooler, quieter, better battery life

Low-End Capacity, eg 32–128Gb solid state drive *
Mainstream capacity, eg 256Gb solid state drive
Power user capacity, eg 512Gb solid state drive or more

* Cadzow TECH does not supply these specifications.

Optical drive (CD/DVD) required
Optical drive (CD/DVD) not required


< 13″
13.3″ / 14″
> 15.6″

For most purposes, typical screen sizes are 13.3″ for portability and 15.6″ for useability. Smaller or larger displays are more exotic for specific purposes.

As the display size goes up, cost generally decreases and weight increases.

Full High Definition — 1920 × 1080 pixel resolution (most common)
Ultra High Definition — 3840 × 2160

Must have touch display
Does not require touch display

Must be able to use an external display; virtually all laptops have a HDMI port for an external display
Must be able to use up to two external displays
Must be able to use more than two external displays


Wireless — All laptops include wireless and Bluetooth capability.
Ethernet — Not all laptops have ethernet (wired) jacks; in particular the slimmer the laptop, the less likely it will have a network port. Cabled network ports are important if the laptop will be used with a database or line-of-business application, so the connection between the machine and the server containing the database is as reliable as possible. However even laptops without an ethernet port can generally be attached to a dock unit which provides this functionality.

Operating System

Windows 11 Home — generally we do not supply this operating system
Windows 11 Pro — if you need to connect to a corporate network, or if you want to protect data on the disk with BitLocker encryption, use Windows 11 Pro


Value — low price is imperative
Mainstream — price is a factor but quality and features are important
Professional/Power User — price is no object

Other Factors

Battery life — Difficult to choose. To gain better battery life, choose a machine with a smaller display and less power.

Must have number pad
Can use external number pad
Number pad not required

User replaceable parts — eg. memory, disk drive, battery replacements. Many smaller/thinner laptops do not have user-replaceable components but may be replaceable by authorised technicians. Most larger units do have some ability to have parts replaced easily.

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