All professionals require the right set of tools to excel at their work, and the same is certainly true of web developers. The right laptop is going to find the perfect balance between performance, energy efficiency, portability, durability, visual appeal and a host of other factors, making your workload feel that much lighter. A poor choice is going to do the opposite, and hinder your efforts when you should be achieving great things. Whether you need to carry your laptop with you everywhere and work while on the move, or you’re looking at heavy duty models to replace your tower PC, weighing up the advantages of different models will give you a better chance of finding the ideal one for your work.
Step 1: Pick Your Operating System
This has to be the first step before you narrow down your selection any further. The requirements of your work might determine whether you’re better with the creative capabilities of an Apple MacBook, depending on how you get on with its intuitive interface and hefty price tag. Instead you might opt for the wider range of customisation options you can get with a laptop running Windows, since Microsoft still enjoy a market share of well over 80% and almost everything remains compatible with new versions of Windows. Alternatively you might opt for Linux if you need to heavily customise your system, or Chrome OS which is great for lightweight tasks if your computer needs to be portable.
Step 2: Decide On Your Budget
Once you have selected a preferred manufacturer or at least decided on the operating system you need to be running, you’ll need to determine your budget restraints. For web development you’re not likely to require hefty hardware, so a mid-high end laptop is likely to be the most appropriate choice. Spending anywhere between £400-700 is likely to get you more than enough power in a PC for most web design tasks, although for a Mac this will inflate slightly. At this level you can expect your chosen device to last for up to five years, so it’s worth the investment.
Step 3: Select Your Specification
There will be some variation in your options here, even if you select a narrow price margin. Different brands offer different models with various combinations of specs, sometimes disproportionate to each other which can make it difficult to make fair comparisons. Once you factor in special offers and discounts this can get more complicated. Your requirements for your work will determine what to look out for; for example, you will need a higher CPU and more RAM if you’re going to spend a lot of time working in visual programs like Photoshop or video editing software. A slower processor might be acceptable if you’re mainly dealing with text-based programming. If you need portability you should focus on battery life, but if you don’t need to move around you might get better specs for your money if you pay less attention to this.
Step 4: Consider The Details
Little things might make all the difference when it comes down to it. Can you get used to the feel of a different trackpad, mouse or keyboard on your new device? Is the manufacturer’s warranty going to cover you if things go wrong? Is the screen size and resolution going to be suitable for the work you’re doing? It’s important to make sure you factor in all the different possibilities when making your selection, as this laptop should be with you for a long time.