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Buy a notebook in 2021: What to look out for


Home office and homeschooling make the notebook more indispensable than ever. Right now you are benefiting from the competition between AMD and Intel as prices go down.

For a long time, this notebook purchase tip was valid: Take a laptop with an Intel Core CPU and only use a notebook with an AMD processor if it has to be inexpensive. But the Ryzen CPUs of the 3000 and especially the 4000 series are not only on a par with the Intel offerings, they are often even better. Therefore, there are more and more notebooks with AMD CPUs – not only in the gaming area, but also in mid-range and business laptops.

You should spend between 550 and 700 euros for a notebook with recommended equipment. In return, you get a 15.6-inch device with a full HD display, 8 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD. When it comes to the processor in this price range, you usually have the choice between an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U and an Intel Core i5-1035G1. The performance of the 4-core, which can process eight threads in parallel, is close to each other. The integrated Vega 8 GPU of the AMD CPU is slightly better than the graphics of the Intel CPU, but on a low level that is only sufficient for casual games. With the same equipment, notebooks with the AMD processor are often a bit cheaper: That

Lenovo Ideapad 3
costs around 520 euros with Ryzen 5 3500U, 8 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD, the

Acer Extensa 15
with similar equipment, but the Intel Core i5-1035G1, around 530 euros. A notebook with a 17.3-inch display is around 50 to 100 euros more expensive with the same equipment.

You can get notebooks with 16 GB of RAM from around 700 euros: even if you don’t currently need that much RAM, the investment can be worthwhile. Because with more and more laptops – especially with particularly flat models – the RAM memory is soldered on and cannot be exchanged. Games and multimedia programs in particular benefit from additional RAM, but many open browser windows also fill the RAM.

If you prefer more space for your files, then you can use a notebook with a 1 TB SSD. You get this together with 8 GB of RAM in notebooks from around 700 euros. If you want to put 16 GB of RAM in the case in addition to the large SSD, you pay around 800 to 1000 euros.

In this price range, it is worth taking a look at notebooks with the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U like that

Acer Aspire 5 A515
, which, in addition to the 6-core CPU, brings 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD for around 700 euros. The AMD processor can easily compete with the Core i7-1065G7. Notebooks with this Intel CPU are around 100 euros more expensive with the same equipment. This also applies to business notebooks with Windows 10 Pro like that

HP ProBook 445 G7
, which is available with the AMD CPU, 8 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD for around 880 euros. However, when comparing the graphics performance, the core processor is ahead in this case. However, it is still not sufficient for fairly up-to-date games. The Geforce MX350 gives you more chances of playing smoothly in Full HD with medium graphics details: You can find this Nvidia graphics card in notebooks from around 900 euros.

See also:

Bestsellers – The best-selling notebooks on Amazon

Inexpensive notebooks as a second device or for homeschooling

Notebooks under 400 euros are not recommended as the main device: These models rely on less powerful processors such as an AMD Athlon Silver 3050U or a Pentium Silver N5000, have only 4 GB of RAM and usually a 64 or 128 GB small eMMC flash memory, which is faster than a hard drive, but significantly slower than an SSD. However, they are sufficient for occasional use, for example for homeschooling. Even if you are looking for a mobile device for surfing the web and for simple office tasks in addition to the PC, a laptop from this price range is worthwhile.

Chromebooks
offer you a better price-performance ratio: These laptops with Google’s Chrome OS operating system are increasingly taking the place of cheaper 2in1 devices with Windows in the price range between 200 and 400 euros, in which a weak Intel Atom processor is located. Chromebooks like that too

Convertible Acer Spin 311
or that

Detachable Lenovo Ideapad Duet
are not equipped more powerfully: They use CPUs from the smartphone sector, however, which harmonize better with the Google operating system than Atom CPU and Windows 10. The range of software is as extensive as that of a Windows notebook, because apps can be run on Chromebooks Install it from the Google Play Store and use the touchscreen as easily as on a smartphone.

If you would like touchscreen operation on a Windows notebook as well, then you should use a convertible: These laptops with a normal keyboard, which can be folded like a tablet and operated with the finger, cost around 100 to 200 euros more than a standard notebook with the same equipment . For a recommendable convertible like the

HP Pavilion x360 15
with a Core i3, 8 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD you pay around 700 euros. Better featured and sleeker devices like that

Lenovo Yoga C740
and the

Asus Zenbook Flip 15
– each with a Core i7, 16 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD – are available for around 1200 euros. The

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 15
from around 1400 euros, it impresses with its clever additional functions such as the S-Pen input pen, a special outdoor mode for the screen and a touchpad with Qi charging function for the smartphone.

High-end notebooks: 4K display and high gaming performance

You should spend over 1000 euros for a notebook if you are often on the road with it. At this price you get high performance and extensive features in a stable and light housing like the one with

Asus Zenbook 14 UX425JA
or the particularly elegant one

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
. Even large notebooks with 17-inch displays are available in this price range as very light versions like this

LG gram 17
that weighs only 1300 grams. Top business notebooks like that

Dell XPS 13 9300
and the

Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon X1
you also get that with 4K display

HP Specter x360-13
there is even an OLED screen for around 2000 euros. However, the high resolution draws more power than a Full HD screen in battery mode, and the Oled technology quickly drains the battery when bright image content is displayed. For this reason, this equipment is particularly worthwhile for photo and video editors.

A notebook that renders current games smoothly also costs at least 1000 euros: a Geforce GTX 1660Ti with 6 GB of graphics memory and a Ryzen 7 4800H or Core i7-10750H should be in a gaming laptop with a full HD display – as with the

HP Pavilion Gaming 16
with 16-inch display (around 1400 euros). And even high-performance gaming notebooks with a powerful GPU like the Geforce RTX 2060 no longer have to be big, unwieldy and heavy, like that, for example

XMG Core 15
(around 2 kilograms) and that

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401
(around 1.7 kilograms) show.

Even powerful gaming notebooks are now light and flat - for example the XMG Core 15 with Geforce RTX 2060, which weighs only 2 kilograms.

Enlarge

Even powerful gaming notebooks are now light and flat – for example the XMG Core 15 with Geforce RTX 2060, which weighs only 2 kilograms.

© XMG

High computing power, top display and low weight make the current iPad Air from Apple a recommendable all-round tablet.

Enlarge

High computing power, top display and low weight make the current iPad Air from Apple a recommendable all-round tablet.

© Apple

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