They're convenient. Portable. Versatile. Useful for school, work and getting things done at home. With so many benefits to laptop computers, it's no wonder they are so popular.
We put together this guide to help you through the process, so that you can find the right laptop for your budget and needs.
What Kind of Laptop User Are You?
While all laptops are designed to be useful, powerful and mobile, they have key differences. They vary in size, weight, function, storage space and purpose.
That's why it's important to consider how you'll use your device.
Here are the most common types of laptop shoppers out there.
Everyday laptop user
Business laptop user
Photography laptop user
Student laptop user
2nd computer owner
What Different Types of Laptops Are There?
Here's an overview of different types of laptops available at Sam's Club:
While these devices can vary in size, standard laptops generally have screen sizes between 14 and 16 inches with a depth of 11 inches and a height of about 1.25 inches.
Consider a touchscreen laptop where you can enjoy the power of a laptop right in your fingertips. There are a variety of touchscreen laptops available at incredible prices at Sam's Club. Some top-searched for items include the Dell XPS Touch Notebook (which we carry in a wide range of sizes) and the Lenovo N23 ThinkPad Touchscreen.
Do you love the idea of a tablet, but want the processing power of a laptop? Then 2-in-1 machines might be just the thing. Many 2-in-1 laptops let you flip the screen around, perfect for sharing content or showing a presentation. Many have detachable screens as well. We carry many 2-in-1 models, including Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 Touchscreens and Dell Inspiron Convertible 2-in-1 Touchscreens.
What makes a laptop one of the best performers? People often look for high performance in a few key areas, for example:
If that's your game, learn more about gaming laptops below.
If that's what you have in mind, be on the lookout for laptops with high-end processors or great central processing unit (CPU) speed. More on this in the next couple of sections.
AMD vs. Intel (AMD Ryzen 5 vs. Intel Core i7, Intel Core i5, Intel Core i9)
While some laptops are powered by AMD processors, such as AMD Ryzen 5, others rely on Intel. Intel processors include Intel Core i5, Intel Core i7 (also known as 8th gen Intel), and Intel Core i9, the current, 9th generation of Intel. In the case of the Intel, the higher the numbering, the higher the performance. In other words, Intel Core i9 and Intel Core i7 will outperform Intel Core i5.
Previously, AMD processors were not thought to perform as well as Intel, but now tech experts think both types of processors have their advantages.
Cores: Dual-core vs. quad-core
Think of cores as the machinery that makes multitasking on your laptop possible. And more is better. In the case of dual-cores vs. quad-cores, then dual-cores (or two cores) are more powerful than one and quad-cores (four cores) can allow higher performance than dual-cores.
If graphics matter, then you probably want a high-resolution display and a dedicated graphics chip (also known as a GPU).
If you're all about Google, consider a Chromebook. They run on Google's operating system, and are specifically designed for web surfing. If you need a basic machine to surf the web, use online email and other Google apps, this type of machine might be right.
Gamers, take your play to the next level. These laptops deliver top-notch graphics, high-quality audio and processing power that keeps up with serious gamers.
Which Laptop Operating System Do You Want?
Think of laptops as the hardware (or physical item) and operating systems as the program (or behind-the-scenes technology) that allows your computer to do all the things you use it for. Here are some of the main types of operating systems you may come across. Note: You may also see this term abbreviated as OS.
Microsoft Windows: With several versions over the years, Windows 10 is the current system. This is often seen as the default operating system of personal computers (PCs), including laptops, and is found on many brands sold at Sam's Club.
Chrome OS: This is Google's operating system, which requires an internet/wi-fi connection for your devices to run. This is available on HP Chromebooks and Samsung Chromebooks at Sam's Club.
Mac or macOS: This is the main OS of Apple devices, including Apple MacBook Pros and MacBook Air laptops. Sam's Club does not currently carry laptops that run on the Mac OS. However, we carry several other popular Apple products, such as iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and more.
What Sizes of Laptop Screen Can I Choose?
Do you want something small you can slip into a backpack or purse? Or something with a lot of screen space? Here are the most common screen sizes you can choose from:
10-inch - 12-inch laptop
13-inch - 14-inch laptop
15-inch - 16-inch laptop
What to Consider when Buying a Laptop
There are many components to get familiarized with and a lot of factors that can influence your ultimate decision of which machine to buy, such as:
Budget: What price range are you looking for?
Battery Life: Are you more interested in something that's lightweight? Or are you looking for something with longer battery life?
Screen Size: As mentioned above, there are a few standard sizes to choose from.
Screen Resolution: Most shoppers look for "full HD" (high definition, with at least 1920 x 1080 pixels)
Storage Size: Lower storage sizes may be more affordable, but you may need to buy backup storage if you run out.
Durability: Will younger members of the family use this device or will it be carried around, on the go?
Type of hard drive: The choice here is between a solid state drive (SSD) vs. a regular hard drive (also known as HDD). SSD storage is a type of drive usually found on newer computers. These are usually more expensive, work faster and have less storage compared to HDDs. They come in various sizes, you may see products state the amount of storage included. For example, the Dell XPS Laptop comes with 512GB SSD. On the low end, you will find 128GB and on the high end, you will find 500GB or larger.
Type of keyboard: For example, backlit keyboards are popular.
Headphone jacks: Is one included, for which type of headphones?
Webcam: Is one built into the laptop?
Card reader: Does it have a way to read your memory cards with a card reader built into the laptop?
What Brands of Laptop Does Sam's Club Sell?
At Sam's Club, we carry best-sellers and new arrivals from the following laptop manufacturers:
Plus, we offer members-only pricing on select items and additional tech savings and instant savings may be available for certain models.
FAQ - Laptop
What is the best time to buy a laptop?
There can be some seasonality to laptop shopping. Here are some of the times when there are better deals to be found:
During back-to-school sales around August and September
Around the holidays - starting with November, with specials on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and continuing throughout December
April - Spring cleaning? Yes, for manufacturers, cleaning out old models before the release of new ones.
How long do laptops last?
The average lifespan is generally between three to five years.
Do I need a laptop if I have a desktop?
Even if you have a desktop, you may want to get a laptop to have something that weighs less and is more portable, particularly if you like to work, browse the internet and play games on the go.
How do I clean my laptop?
Soft microfiber towels are recommended for wiping down laptop screens. For keyboards, try a can of compressed air to get out all that gunk that always seems to accumulate between the keys.
Does Sam's offer a warranty on laptops?
Many laptops we carry come with a warranty, usually good for one or two years. Please check each laptop individually to learn more about what is offered and what is covered under the warranty.