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A basic laptop costing around $300 dollars will run everyday office, multimedia and education software, but it won’t be suitable for 3D gaming or processor-intensive tasks such as video editing.

Many laptops at this price have a 15.6in screen and weigh over 2kg, so they’re best used around the house and for occasional journeys.

If you want to play modern games, you’ll need a laptop with a dedicated graphics chip such as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060M. Good gaming laptops tend to have large 15.6 or 17in screens and weigh around 3kg, so they’re best suited to use at home.

If you want a laptop that can take everywhere, look for model that weighs less than 2kg. For the best Choosing a… Laptop portability, buy one that has a 13.3in or 14in screen. In general, the smaller and lighter the laptop, the more expensive it is, especially if it has plenty of processing power.

Battery Life is extremely important for a laptop, particularly if you’ll be carrying it around. We’d expect all but the biggest and heaviest to last for at least five hours on a single charge, but for an ultra portable that you carry everywhere, eight hours and above is more desirable.

Laptops use mobile versions of processors to conserve power, and these lag behind desktop chips when it comes to performance. For a budget Windows laptop, an Intel Core i3 processor will do the job, but if you want better performance, you should look for an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 model instead. We recommend a minimum of 4GB of RAM, although 8GB is better for multitasking.

Most budget and mid-range laptops use a mechanical hard disk for storage. You’ll want at least 500GB, but 1TB or more is better. Solid-state drives (SSDs) have faster performance, making your computer quicker to boot and more responsive. They have lower capacities, though. You’ll need at least 128GB.

Convertibles and 2-in-1 laptops can change from laptop mode to tablet mode. We’ve listed our favourite models later on in buying guide in the pc and laptops section.

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