If you are considering to buy a new laptop in 2022, you should be planning for 3-5 years of life for that device. A lot can happen in life during those 3-5 years that you should be thinking about. Could this be used for college? Is there anyone who will be using this that might become a gamer or start a business? Is there an aspiring photographer that could potentially use this device in three years? Do you store a lot in the cloud or is data mostly stored on your device? The answers to these questions should shape your decision on which would be the best home laptop for you to buy in 2022. There may be a lot of unpredictability in 3-5 years, so you will likely need something versatile that will have the power to meet diverse workloads, the battery life to be on the go, and having the option to add components as needed all while getting the best bang for your buck.
Whichever vendor you select to buy from, these recommended hardware specifications should provide you with enough to get by until you need to replace the laptop. The exception to this list would high performing workloads such as planning to play new video games, video processing, and crypto mining. These and other high performing workloads need higher processing power and a dedicated graphics card, which is out of the scope of this article.
2022 Laptop Buyers Guide
Hard Drive Recommendation: 512 M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
NVME is the latest and greatest in storage technology. It removes the traditional SATA connection and plugs directly into the motherboard’s PCI slot, which increases speed by up to six times compared to traditional SSD. You could opt for a 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe drive or a 1TB option as well. Which one really depends on where you store your data – the cloud, on the device, or a mix of both.
RAM Recommendation: 16GB RAM
You could get away with 8GB but plan to not have a lot of applications running at the same time and also plan on removing applications down the road. Also plan on limiting the number of start-up processes for 8GB. 16GB will provide enough memory for now and down the road without hassling too much about applications and start-up processes.
Processor Recommendation: AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel i5
If you don’t need high performance processing and have more than just one person using the device for web surfing, then choose a middle-of-the-road processor. AMD and Intel are the top U.S. brands for processors. A good recommendation would either be the AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel i5 processor. Both are broadly comparable to each other and would be good recommendations to review. For more details, visit their respective web pages:
Screen Size and Type Recommendation
The major noticeable difference with laptop screens is whether or not you want a touch screen. Generally, many of the middle-of-the-road laptop screens should include at least the following specifications:
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 60Hz or more refresh rate
- 16 million colors
Keep in mind that laptop screens are measured diagonally, from corner to corner. The range of screen sizes that fit the broadest use cases include 13”, 14” and 15”. Larger screen sizes are more expensive and geared towards creative collaboration whereas smaller screen sizes are less expensive and geared towards those who are highly mobile.
In order to understand what ports you need, you should consider the devices you have at home already and potential future devices. If you have a TV that you would want to plug into, make sure you have HDMI on both ends. If you have a pair of wired headphones, make sure you have an audio jack. Even if you have wireless headphones, they often require recharging at inconvenient times, so having a wired option in many cases still make sense. A lot of laptops are also not coming with USB-C ports due to everything being stored on the cloud. If you are a primary cloud user, then this is not a concern. If you still use USB to connect a mouse, laptop, or USB drive, then this is still a need. If you still have an external monitor that uses VGA, you should consider recycling it and replacing it with a newer monitor. Most devices, especially laptops do not come with VGA ports anymore. SD-Cards are also an important consideration for photographers who use traditional cameras versus smartphones as many traditional cameras still use SD-cards for photo storage.
WiFi Recommendation: WiFi 6 – AX
WiFi 6 is the latest generation of wireless technology. Most devices are being shipped with this so it is just a good idea to double check that this option is selected with the purchase. It provides for more bandwidth even when there are a lot of people using the same wireless access point (think coffee shop or conference).
Battery Life Recommendation: 15-20 Hours
Battery life can be hard to determine; some manufacturers post an estimated length of time to expect of battery life between charges and others don’t. Generally, what you are looking for is 15-20 hours and most of what is out there will provide between 10-20 hours, depending on how hard your machine is working.
TPM Chip Recommendation: TPM 2.0
The TPM 2.0 chip is for data encryption. Windows 11 requires this, so make sure your device also has a TPM 2.0 chip.
Bluetooth Recommendation: Bluetooth 5.3
Bluetooth 5 was released in 2016 and the latest version, 5.3 was released in July 2021. Having Bluetooth is a necessity for headphones, speakers, mouse, keyboard, wireless monitor display and other peripherals. Most devices come with this built-in but it’s always a good idea to double-check.
Peripheral Device Recommendation
Peripheral devices include wireless keyboard, mouse, speakers, headphones and other related hardware. If the device is going to have mixed workloads of being stationary and on the go, then a good choice would be to get a docking station, two external monitors, wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. This will drive the cost up, but it will make your stationary work much more productive and enjoyable.
Support Agreement Recommendation
A support agreement is an insurance policy. If the device is mobile, it inherently increases the risk of damage or hardware failure due to vibrations, falls, temperature changes and theft. Think about how this device will be used and if a support agreement, which is a fraction of the price of the device, would be worth it.
There are several additional resources which can help you decide which hardware component will best suit your needs.
PassMark – CPU Comparison (cpubenchmark.net) – This website will allow you to compare different processors, hard drives, and memory as well as provide benchmarks for them.
Is a Gaming Laptop Worth Buying in 2021? – Make Tech Easier – If you have a gamer in the family, this is a good article to read if you are thinking about buying a gaming laptop