TECH BUYER’S GUIDE, July 2022 – Best laptops tested and compared on features, price and build quality by the experts at Tech Magazine
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This model ticks all our boxes for a versatile and convertible ultrabook that does not break the bank. We enjoyed the powerful battery-saving AMD CPU and graphics in this revamped model. Stylus included. AMD Ryzen 7, 13.3” screen, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB storage, 1.3 kg. R18 000
2. Acer Swift 1
This well-built thin-and-light model weighs just 1.3 kg and has a fanless CPU, which saves your battery but at the cost of some processing power. Otherwise it’s a versatile model that will satisfy many kinds of users, and for an excellent price. Celeron CPU, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD. R7 000
This mid-priced model has a great, balanced build with generous 16GB of RAM, loads of ports and, to top it all, a spectacular 15″ OLED screen. 15.6-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 1.7kg, R15000
Apple’s highly regarded M1 chipset brings a huge boost in power and battery life to the new Air. Although it looks little changed from previous models, the build quality and horsepower means it will outlast most competitors. A1 CPU, 13″ screen, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, R19 000
This well-priced two-in-one won us over with its sturdy yet slimline design, generous 14” screen and low weight. It could have scored even higher with more processing power and RAM. i5 (8th gen), 14” screen, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 1.6 kg. R12 250
How to buy a gaming laptop
PC gaming is not cheap. Consider that entry-level gaming PCs cost around R17 000 and the good ones cost closer to R30 000, then you’ll see that the new PlayStation is a bargain at R12 000, right?
With dozens of models to choose from, shopping around for that perfect compact gaming laptop can often be an overwhelming experience. That’s why we regularly rustle up every major brand’s best and put them to the test, so that we can tell you which one is worth your cash.
Don’t be put off by the extravagant pricing. If you like the fundamentals of one or other laptop, you could probably adjust the components to better suit your budget.
CPU (central processing unit): Intel has dominated the market for decades, but in the last two years, they have been thoroughly embarrassed by scrappy underdog AMD, who has made chips that are both faster and more power efficient than the industry leader. AMD chips are normally smart budget buys, but now you don’t have to sacrifice performance
GPU (graphics processing unit): Nvidia continues to lead the industry but competitors are catching up. In 2020, its RTX processors introduced ray tracing, which realistically reproduces complex lighting in games. However AMD’s Radeon chips and Intel’s Iris and Arc graphics are slowly gaining ground here, too.
RAM: It’s possible to play games with just 4 GB of RAM, but not many of today’s top titles. The minimum for decent performance is 8 GB, and you’d need 16 GB if you want to be competitive into 2023.
SSD + HDD: Maybe the most important component to keep you PC flying is a SSD drive. If you’re lucky to get a hard drive fitted as well, you’ll use it to archive your multimedia, but you will load Windows and your most-played games on the SSD for top performance.
Screen: All gaming screens are full high-definition (FHD, or 1 920 × 1 080 pixels) but the refresh rate is key for fast-paced games. The best screens now refresh at 165 Hz (that’s 165 times per second) although 144Hz is more common, and anything above 60 Hz is still good. Screen size does not matter as much because most gamers will plug into a full-sized monitor at home.