10 essential laptop features in 2018

By Vignesh Giridharan | Updated Sep 10 2018
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If you believe a laptop is an investment, then do it right. Your next laptop needn't come with all the features listed here, but it should come with the ones you believe are important to you and your line of work. So, peruse this list to discover what might matter to you.

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1. Intel Optane: For a large library of games

Intel Optane is the popular chipmaker's newest technology. It's a new kind of memory that sits between the laptop's SSD and HDD to bridge the gap and improve the speed of applications during launches. It's especially useful on gaming machines which come with both an SSD and an HDD and for users who like to keep a large library of games. Intel Optane works on laptops that have a seventh-generation Intel Core series CPU or newer.

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2. Thunderbolt 3: For multiple displays

Thnderbolt 3 was launched in 2015 and made right everything that was wrong with Thunderbolt before. It also took on a new avatar: the increasingly universal USB Type-C connector. Since then its rate of adoption in new laptops has been high. Get your next laptop with Thunderbolt 3 support if you want to connect to multiple high-res monitors, transfer data between external drives very quickly, and add external graphics support. And remember, one Thunderbolt 3 can support up to two 4K displays, provide up to 100W of power, and offer data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps.

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3. Fast Charge: For quick charges between meetings

Why should only smartphones have the fast-charging privilege? Laptops too these days support fast charging. Look for a model that supports this to get at least an hour of battery life in the time it takes you to finish your lunch. Do you know what the best part is? The fast charge feature is available even in laptops under Rs 35,000.

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4. Full HD resolution: For a pleasant view

With 4K resolution becoming increasingly common in performance laptops, it's only right that the Full HD resolution should become all the more common amongst mid-range and even entry-level laptops. Ensure your next laptop has a display with at least Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), especially if your display size is 15.6 inches. Also be on the lookout for laptops with slim bezels; they offer a larger screen in a smaller body.

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5. USB Type-C port: For smartphones and drives

Every laptop with Thunderbolt 3 support comes with a USB Type-C port, but not every laptop with a USB Type-C port supports Thunderbolt 3. Nonetheless, a USB Type-C port helps you connect more easily to modern smartphones and external drives when there's only a USB-C to USB-C cable around. It's smaller and easier to use because it's reversible.

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6. NVMe: For SSDs craving steroids

As far as access speeds go, HDDs are all right, SATA-based SSDs are an improvement, and NVMe SSDs are definitely the best. NVMe is a logical interface specification developed specially for a consortium of vendors like Intel, Samsung, and Seagate, bearing in mind high speed. NVMe allows sequential read and write speeds up to 3,500 MB/sec and 2,100 MB/sec respectively. Look for the word 'NVMe' in your next laptop's specs if you want an SSD with superfast boot times and app launch times.

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7. Backlit keyboards: For the night owls

Typing in the dark reduces accuracy and kills productivity as a result. A lot of laptops these days come with a backlit keyboard, even mid-range laptops. Some can even enable the backlighting automatically when the surroundings get dark. Ensure that your next laptop's keyboard is backlit with at least two steps of brightness if you plan to do a lot of typing in the dark.

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8. High refresh rate: For serious gaming

Planning to invest heavily in PC gaming? You won't be benefitting much from your new machine if it doesn't feature the enhanced responsiveness of a high refresh rate-display. Choose a model with a refresh rate of 120Hz or 144Hz over the usual 60Hz to see low input lag and minimal screen tearing.

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9. Precision touchpad: For every Windows user

The precision touchpad specification reimagines the way touchpads work on laptops and offers some handy features like three-finger and four-finger taps and swipes. In other words, a precision touchpad lets you make full use of the laptop's touchpad without needing any third-party drivers. Look for the label that reads 'Your PC has a precision touchpad' in the Touchpad section of Windows' Settings to know if a laptop has a precision touchpad.

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10. Latest Wi-Fi standards: For good speed and reach

It's easy to overlook Wi-Fi standards because everybody knows a laptop today definitely comes with Wi-Fi, even if it's a bit dated in technology. Don't be naive; an up-to-date Wi-Fi standard is essential if you're in need of good internet speed and reach. Ensure your next laptop has support for Wi-Fi 802.11ac with a 2x2 MIMO antenna setup.

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