Hey there my beloved Noob Alliance!
Today’s topic covers a question I get asked a lot – “what is the best laptop for surfing the internet?”.
It is a fact that shopping for a laptop can be a pain, and even more so of a pain if you haven’t got a clue about computers and what goes on in them. Heck, I love tech and geeking out but even I feel exhausted and weary at the end of what I like to call a ‘Google research sprint’.
So for those of you that just want to pick one, feel rest-assured about your choice and get done with it – I’ve gone ahead and picked out a few laptops that I feel are the best for very basic use which includes surfing the internet, watching YouTube videos, using social media sites like Facebook, reading ebooks and sending emails. They’re also good for drawing up basic documents and spreadsheets.
Breaking It Down
I have three sections below – one for each type of Operating System (ChromeOS, Windows and Mac) – this should hopefully cater for most folks’ needs.
Internet browsing is not resource intensive – which means most laptops are able to manage it.
But with that said, simply being able to connect to wifi and use Google isn’t the end of the story. You still want a pleasant experience and so things like screen viewing angles, build quality, battery life, portability etc should also be taken into account.
Note that these laptops don’t have bells and whistles such as DVD-drives because to be fair – one doesn’t need that for web surfing. I’ll list anything important to know about each laptop to help you make an informed decision.
>>>If you would like to see a complete, but super simple and “noobified” guide on laptop shopping then check out this post on how to choose a laptop – especially made for you by the newbie-loving likes of me 😉 <33 <<<
Chromebooks – Simple, Safe and Super Light Yet Functional and Fun
What is a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are essentially laptops (you know, the traditional clam shell style with a screen, keyboard and track pad) but instead of running Windows they run on an operating system called “ChromeOS”. It’s extremely lightweight and therefore it’s also very fast.
If you use Google Chrome as your browser then you’ll have a pretty solid idea of what the ChromeOS interface looks like because 99% of what you do on it works through the built-in Chrome browser. And of course if your primary goal is browsing the internet and watching YouTube videos then this should be a perfect choice.
There are “Chrome apps” available like Google Docs to do things like type up documents and spreadsheets.
A super cool feature that they’ve implemented is giving Chromebooks access to the Google Play app store – which means you can install all sorts of cool apps and games (like you would on your smart phone). Note: not all Chromebooks support this – if you want this feature, either go with my recommendation below or check the product details before buying.
Things to consider before buying a Chromebook
Internet: A Chromebook’s happy-place is being online – so to get the best out of it you will need to have internet access.
There is an offline mode for certain apps (Like Google Docs) which you’ll have to enable. This is handy for occasions when you can’t connect to the internet but still want to work, listen to music or watch Netflix.
Storage Space: They usually have a small storage capacity – 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB depending on the model and how much you’re willing to spend on one. Because of the small storage capacity what it does is move documents to ‘the cloud’ (Google Drive) and keeps it there until you need to access and work on it.
You can add additional storage space to keep photos and music on hand – for offline use (this is just a case of inserting an SD memory card into the little slot on the side).
Printing: If you want to print directly from the device and you have a very old printer that isn’t “cloud ready” then it may be a bit of a challenge – so just be aware that you may need to buy a new cloud ready printer if none of the helpful online articles work for you – or you can simply copy the files you want to print onto a USB flash drive, take it to another desktop or laptop that is connected to a printer and print from there – the old-school way.
Google Play Store: If you want to take full advantage of the Google Play app store and all the apps you’ll be able to install, make sure you pick a Chromebook with a touchscreen – this is because most Play Store apps are designed for touchscreen devices and not keyboards and mice.
Why is it on the list?
There are a couple reasons I find Chromebooks worth a mention:
- Security – You are less likely to pick up viruses and malware because most of the hackers target Windows based devices. This makes Chromebooks perfect for people who are completely new to using a computer, including children and seniors. ChromeOS receive regular updates that take care of security issues amongst other things.
- Reliability – because of its simplicity a lot less can go wrong and does go wrong. A simple restart should be able to fix most issues.
- Performance – Again, the simplicity of ChromeOS means that when you push the ‘on’ button you’re ready to start using your device. No long load screens. Updates are fast and happen in the background – no waiting for updates to finish being installed before starting or shutting down.
Who is it good for?
As long as the purpose is for web browsing, listening to music, the odd Play Store mini game, YouTube, Netflix and basic word processing/spreadsheets then:
- For anyone who’s a first-timer! Because its easy to learn to use, and difficult to infect with malware and difficult to push the wrong buttons that may lead to any kind of “ohh shooot” incidents.
- For peepz who are on the go and like to travel light.
- For people looking for a budget friendly laptop solution
- For people who want a secondary device for simple tasks and already have a main computer for advanced intensive applications
- It’s a good option for children, college & school students
So if you’re going to go for one of these the Acer R11 2018 model is my preferred choice.
It has the three things I wouldn’t do without where Chromebook’s are concerned.
- Touchscreen – you’ll really have fun using apps from the Google Play Store with a touchscreen – using a pointer with apps designed for touch-input is a nightmare best avoided.
- 360 degree rotation – I like that I can manipulate the screen, turn, twist and swivel it to be able to use it as a tablet or as a stand which is handy if you’re going to be watching videos on your laptop.
- A comfortable value for money ratio – I wouldn’t recommend spending extravagant amounts of money on a Chromebook simply because the ChromeOS is not versatile enough to justify over-kill hardware that the more expensive models like to boast about. But that’s just my opinion though – feel free to check out Google’s Pixelbook if you like to splurge on fancy things (I am sometimes guilty of this, so I do understand 😉 ).
Keep in mind:
- Extra storage – if you plan on keeping a lot of offline files like music or installing lots of apps then remember to pick up an SD card along with your Chromebook because it only has 16GB of internal storage space.
Windows 10 Laptops – A Familar Interface
Ahhh, the familiar interface of Windows – still my favorite (but only because I’m a geek who likes the power to fiddle with lots of different settings and who likes to get right under the hood).
The cool thing about a Windows laptop is that most software (and hardware devices like printers) out there supports Windows based systems. Not that you’d need all the software or hardware out there – but there is always that “in-case” factor.
So if you’re more comfortable with Windows the Acer Aspire 1 A114-32-C1YA is my preferred choice.
Why this one?
- Full HD (meaning high quality) display – You’ll no doubt enjoy your browsing and video watching activities with a crisp high quality viewing experience. Call me fussy but I like smooth clear images without being haunted by pixels!
- Awesome battery life – It’s nice not to be glued to a wall-socket – I like that it offers around 10 hours of fun-time on a full charge
- Under $300 – it’s good value for money getting the Windows experience with decent performance for basic tasks. I, like many, appreciate the feeling of getting good bang for my buck!
Keep in mind:
- Windows 10 S (which is what this laptop ships with) is a stripped down faster version of Windows 10 – it only allows you to install apps from the Windows Store. You can upgrade for free to Windows 10 Home but this will slow down the laptop a little bit and the upgrade is irreversible. Here is a simple guide on how to do that.
- Storage space – it has 64GB of storage space and Windows takes up 20GB of that which leaves you with around 40GB to install apps and save some files on. You’ll need to pick up an SD card or invest in a portable USB hard drive if you’d plan on getting and keeping a lot of documents, music and videos.
Macbooks – Always a Premium Experience and Good For Apple Lovers
It’s true that Mac devices come with a hefty price tag, however even though I’m a die-hard PC-girl, I had to add Apple to the list because their devices are undeniably wonderful and stylish with a premium build quality and top-notch reliability – and of course it’s a given then that web browsing will be accomplished with ease.
You can also pick up a certified refurbished one from Amazon or directly from Apple for close to half the price of a brand new one – and you’ll get the same premium experience. If you do this make extra sure to check the seller’s rating and reviews and also their policy if the product for some reason is unsatisfactory you want to be able to return it for a refund!
Another thing in Apple’s favor is that their devices age very well and still remain valuable over time!
MacBooks also give notably fewer issues than their Windows based counterparts and are also more difficult to infect with malware.
Who is it good for?
- Peepz who own other Apple devices: If you own other Apple devices it’s a great choice to go with a MacBook because Apple devices & services sync and interact seamlessly with one another. They refer to this as the Apple “ecosystem”.
For example, if you have an iPhone and you’re browsing on that then you can click a button on your MacBook air to seamlessly take over and carry on browsing on that without losing your place.
Or if you get a message on your iPhone you’ll also get it on your MacBook and it’s your choice to reply from whichever device is most convenient at the time.
- Anyone who wants to spoil themselves with a premium experience.
- Anyone who needs things to be as simple as possible: People commend Apple for the ease of use of their devices and ease of learning how to get around and navigate their interface.
From the Mac choices available I nominate the MacBook Air.
Why This One?
- It’s the least expensive Mac option – it’s already pretty over-kill for browsing needs – so again, unless you like splurging this would be the most logical choice 😉
One doesn’t need a beast of a computer to be able to browse the internet which is good news for our pockets! It all just depends on your individual needs and what else besides web browsing you wish to accomplish with your lappy.
My inner geek is coming out to express excitement for you, I can’t help it – I get so giddy when peepz get new tech! I wish you many hours of happy fun on your new lappy my friends! 😛
Whatever you do, remember to always have a sound backing-up plan in place and always always allllways practice safe internet browsing! And if you’re a complete and utter newbie here are ways you can improve your computer skills to take the edge off of computer-noobdom. 😉
Leave me some love and comment down below with any questions you might have in your quest to find the perfect laptop for you – PS. the favorite part of my day is interacting with you! 😉 <33