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How to choose a professional laptop

Catalogue

Professional laptops are powerful machines designed for working with professional graphics software. Standard specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, a powerful graphics card, at least Full HD display, and high-quality metal construction.

Jak vybrat profesionální notebook
Advantages and disadvantages
  • Poweful processor (at least Intel Core i3)
  • Powerful graphics card
  • Screen size of at least 15.6"
  • Extended manufacturer warranty
  • Solid metal construction
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Higher price

Key factors when choosing a professional laptop

Processor

The processor (or CPU – Central Processing Unit) is the brain of a laptop, where most calculations take place. The leading are Intel and AMD. For professional use, a more powerful processor is recommended, preferably an Intel Core i7 or Core i5.

Architecture

Intel

Atom, Celeron and Pentium
Series with less power, suitable for performing simple office work, but not for demanding tasks.


Core M
The new series of energy-saving chips used in some ultrabooks. They are more powerful than Celeron and Pentium processors and provide passive cooling, making devices with this type of processor absolutely silent.

Core i3, Core i5, Core i7
These series are designed for performance at a higher level. Core i3 processors are sufficient for normal activity, whereas Core i5 and Core i7 processor are recommended for more demanding work.


AMD

Series A4, A6, A8 and A10

This processor family is generally considered the rival to Intel Core. For more demanding activities, we recommend the A8, A10 and FX series.


The E series is used in basic laptops.

Processor number

Processors in the i3, i5 and i7 series come with a processor number consisting of four digits and a letter. The first digit indicates the generation. With regard to the future, it pays to choose the most recent generation.

1st generation - Nehalem

2nd generation - Sandy Bridge
3rd generation - Ivy Bridge
4th generation - Haswell
5th Generation - Broadwell
6th generation - Skylake


The end letter provides information about the processor's performance:

H - High performance graphics
HK - High performance graphics, unlocked
HQ - High performance graphics, quad core

MX - Mobile Extreme Edition
MQ - Quad-core mobile
M - Mobile

U - Ultra-low power
Y - Extremely low power

For demanding corporate environments, we recommend those marked H, HK and HQ, MX, MQ and M.

Frequency

Frequency is given in GHz and indicates the number of clock cycles the processor can perform per second. A higher frequency means a more efficient processor.

Professional laptops should have a frequency of between 1.6 GHz and 3.3 GHz, while the most powerful
 CPUs have a base frequency of up to 4 GHz. To ensure higher performance during compute-intensive activities, go for a value closer to the upper limit. The same goes for Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, which achieves an average of 2.8 GHz, with the most powerful and most expensive models reaching up to 4.4 GHz.

Minimum requirements for selected programs

AutoCAD LT 2017 – up to 1 GHz
Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 – 2 GHz
Illustrator CS4 – 2 GHz

Intel Turbo Boost

Technology that enables each CPU processor core to run faster than the base frequency, if required.

Cores

The most important part of the processor, which is responsible for all computing operations. The more cores a processor has, the more tasks it can process at one time. Today's Core i5 processors have either two or four cores, while the Core i7 has four cores.

Graphics card

The graphics card (GPU) is the most important component in any gaming laptop as it determines its graphics performance. For seamless gaming, we recommend NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards.

Type


Dedicated graphics card

Separate graphics card with its own RAM. Suitable for graphically demanding work.

Integrated graphics card

These cards are placed in the processor housing and work with the processor's memory. Ideal for routine office work.


Laptops for everyday use do not require a dedicated graphics card; however, for more demanding tasks, such as creating 3D movies, a dedicated graphics card is recommended.

Memory

The greater the capacity, the more power potential. Cheaper graphics cards can manage with 1GB, whereas high-performance models can have 8GB or more. The standard is 4GB.


NVIDIA

The most sought after brand among customers.

Nvidia Quadro - for use in professional workstations

GeForce GTX - optimised for maximum performance in graphics-based tasks

GeForce GT - lighter models, suitable for high-performance graphics


AMD

A popular grapics card manufacturer offering high performance at reasonable prices.


AMD FirePro - designed for professional workstations

Radeon R9 - the most powerful series, can handle demanding multimedia work
Radeon R8 - for moderately demanding work
Radeon R7, R6, R5 - suitable for basic work tasks and playing non-demanding games

System Memory (RAM)

System memory is a key factor for any laptop. It is used for the temporary storage of data and running programs. The more memory a laptop has, the more comfortably it can perform tasks in multiple programs or browser windows. The minimum for comfortable use in Windows is 4GB, but for moderately challenging gameplay you will need 8GB, 16GB or 32GB. The most powerful professional and gaming laptops have up to 64GB of RAM.

Display

Display size

If you will travel regularly with your laptop, we recommend a model with a display size of 15.4"/ 15.6". On the contrary, if you will work mainly in one place, go for a larger display size of up to 18.4 inches (1"= 2.54 cm).

Resolution

Resolution indicates the number of pixels displayed in an image. The more pixels, the higher the resolution, and thus the sharper the image. For working with graphics software, at least Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) is recommended.

The most widely used resolutions:

Resolution

Number of pixels

720p

1280 x 720 pixels

HD Ready1366 x 768 pixels
HD +1600 x 900 pixels
Full HD1920 x 1080 pixels
WQHD2560 x 1440 pixels

WQXGA

2560 x 1600 pixels

3K

2880 x 1620 pixels

WQXGA +

3200 x 1800 pixels
4K3840 × 2160 pixels

Display technology

Laptops, mobile phones and televisions currently use LCD (liquid crystal display) technology, which can be further divided into TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) and STN (Super-Twisted Nematic) displays. Today's laptops are equipped exclusively with TFT displays, which are divided into the following types:


TN (Twisted Nematic)

An older LCD technology that is still widely used. Compared with IPS, TN displays are cheaper to produce, have higher brightness, faster response times, and slightly lower demands on battery life. The downside, however, is worse viewing angles.

IPS (In-Plane Switching)

A cutting-edge technology that offers true colour reproduction and wide viewing angles of 178°. IPS displays are more expensive to produce, and so are often found on laptops in higher price ranges. Compared with TN displays, they have lower contrast and slower response times.


VA (Vertical Alignment)

VA displays combine the advantages of TN and IPS technology. They feature high contrast, wide viewing angles (although not as good as IPS), and true colour reproduction.

Surface finish

Glossy

Glossy displays offer more striking colours compared with matte displays, but they are less suitable for travel and work in direct sunlight, where they are almost unusable. In an appropriately lit room, however, they provide rich colours and vivid images.


Matte and anti-reflective

If you travel frequently or sometimes work outside, choose a laptop with a matte (or anti-glare) display. While they can't compete with glossy displays for colour intensity, they come into their own when used in bright sunlight.

Storage (HDD, SSD)

Type

The type of storage has a big impact on the overall speed of a notebook. There are two types of storage: HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and SSD (Solid State Drive). For work with an emphasis on speed, we recommend SSDs as they offer fast data access, silent operation, and greater durability. Systems with an SSD respond much faster, and all programs and games run faster.

HDD

HDDs store data on rotating plates, which is read by the read head. They offer higher capacity for the same price compared with SSDs. HDDs are a common choice for professional and gaming laptops.


SSD

With no moving parts, SSDs are many times faster than HDDs. They also offer greater shock resistance. As a result, they are perfect for portable laptops.


HDD + SSD

The unit contains two storage types in one, giving you the best of both worlds – the large capacity of a HDD and the speed of an SSD. This makes them a suitable solution for gaming laptops.


SSHD

A combination of a standard HDD with SSD memory. Smaller NAND flash memory (SSD) is used for the most frequently used programs, such as the operating system, and memory for data is provided by the HDD.

Capacity

The greater the capacity, the more programs, photos, videos and other data you can store. Typical HDD capacities are 500GB, 1000GB (1TB), or 2000GB.

Connectivity

USB

Used to connect a mouse, external keyboard, flash drives, external drives, optical drives, etc. For convenience, go for a laptop with at least two USB 3.0 connectors.

HDMI

The most widely used digital connector for transferring video and audio simultaneously in high definition. Used, for example, to connect a laptop to a television, external monitor or projector.

DisplayPort

Digital connector used to transfer video and audio in high definition. Common on professional and office laptops.

VGA

Analogue connector used to transfer images.

Ethernet (LAN)

For connecting your notebook to a wired network (local as well as Internet). We recommend a fast gigabit LAN (1000 Mbit/s).

WiFi

Wireless technology that comes as standard with every laptop.

Bluetooth

Used to connect wirelessly to other devices and equipment, e.g. headphones or speakers.

3.5 mm audio jack (jack)

For connecting headphones, speakers or microphones.

Memory Card Reader

Allows you to easily transfer a large amount of photos from your camera or mobile device.

Dock connector

A connector on the bottom side of a laptop that connects to a docking station. This allows you to connect your laptop to a wide range of devices, such as a keyboard, printer, audio system, internet modem, an additional monitor, and others.

Construction

Weight

Weight can be an important factor if you travel frequently with your laptop. Laptops up to 2 kg are suitable for travel and business trips.

Materials

Cheap and mid-range laptops are largely made of plastic, with some more expensive models featuring solid metal construction.

The opening angle of the lid

Some models can be opened up to 180 degrees, but some much less.

What should I watch out for?

Low resolution display

A resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels is acceptable on an 11" laptop, but is insufficient on a 15.6" laptop.

Glossy display

While glossy displays offer high-quality colour reproduction, they can be almost unusable in direct sunlight.

Placement of connectors

It is good to have at least one laptop USB connector on the right-hand side, especially if you want to connect a wired mouse.

Poorly placed ventilation

It is important that the fan does not blow directly towards your hands, as this can lead to health problems in the long term.

Notebook Accessories

There is a wide range of useful accessories available for office laptops, from software and internet security, to useful equipment such as mice, headphones, speakers and external storage.

Professional laptops

  • For graphic designers, architects and photographers
  • High performance and quality display
professional notebooks

Frequently asked questions when choosing a laptop

Matný versus lesklý displej

Matte or glossy display?

Glossy displays offer striking colors, but can be almost unusable in direct sunlight. As a result, they are best avoided if you plan to travel with your laptop or use it outdoors.

Matt and anti-reflective (also known as Antiglare) displays offer less vibrant colours but allow you to work even in direct sunlight.

HDD, nebo SSD?

HDD or SSD?

Both types have their advantages – HDD offers greater capacity for the same price, but SSDs are much faster.

If you want to store large amounts of music and films, then go for a HDD. If your priority is speed and fast response times, go for an SSD.

Potřebuji integrovanou optickou mechaniku?

Do I need an integrated optical drive?

These days an optical drive is not necessary, as CDs are no longer a popular storage medium for files and programs. If you have a collection of films on DVD, you can purchase an external DVD drive, which you can connect to your laptop via USB.

Klasický, nebo překlápěcí displej?

Classic or convertible?

While the classic laptop design is suitable for most people's needs, convertible devices, which feature a flippable or detachable display, are designed for those who require more flexibility.

Convertible device modes:

Laptop - perfect for work, word processing, etc.
Stand - suitable for video calls, watching films
Tent - similar to Stand mode. Suitable for video calls, watching films, etc.
Tablet - for comfortable Internet browing, wherever you are

Glossary - Laptops

Convertible laptop

Convertible notebooks are devices with flippable or detachable displays. They are more flexible and lighter than standard laptops and offer several different modes of use.

Laptop - perfect for work, word processing, etc.
Stand - suitable for video calls, watching films
Tent - similar to Stand mode. Suitable for video calls, watching films, etc.
Tablet - for comfortable Internet browing wherever you are

HDMI

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It offers digital output with integrated sound (or network transmission) and is often used to connect laptops with other devices, such as TVs. It enables multi-channel audio and can handle up to 4K resolution (HDMI 2.0).

Screen size

Denotes the distance between the lower left and upper right corner of the screen, quoted in inches (1" = 2.54 cm). Models with larger screens provide more working space, whereas notebooks with smaller screens are more suitable for work on the go.

Glossary
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