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Mobile computing has expanded massively during this decade. Users can choose from android tablets, several revisions of the iPad, MacBooks, ChromeBooks–if they even need a mobile computer in addition to their smartphone. But the best option for mobile computing still remains the Windows laptop. Despite being the “classic” option, laptops running a Windows operating system are by far the most versatile and user-friendly experience. That’s because there are quality Windows laptop computers on the market that fulfill almost any combination of budgets and computing needs.

One of the many benefits of a Windows operating system is wide compatibility. Almost all programs and applications are compatible with Windows: particularly professional, educational, and entertainment software.

All users will benefit from laptops with sufficient RAM and an SSD. These features are what make modern Windows laptops feel so much faster than those in the past. A laptop with these features will boot in under a minute, faster than many smart phones. An SSD will also make loading times on applications and files satisfyingly zippy.

The best laptops are chosen by keeping the user’s needs in mind. A user who wants to get work done at home should consider systems with quality displays and keyboards, and at least a mid-range processor. A student may not need the optical drive compatibility that a work-from-home user might need to access old documents, but they will need plenty of storage and perhaps a dedicated GPU for entertainment. Brands can help recognize the purpose of a computer, too. The Microsoft Surface is a great laptop for general use, work, and entertainment. A power user will probably want a laptop with sufficient cooling and a fast processor/GPU combination, like the ones offered by MSI. Acer tends to build the best economy laptops that remain durable and functional for many years.

Don’t be mistaken, it is still easy to buy a poor quality laptop that runs as slowly as systems you might remember from the late 90’s. Those flawed laptops are fairly easy to avoid as long as you keep a few basic rules in mind, though. First, avoid cheap AMD processor chips. They run slowly and are often featured in badly manufactured laptops. Intel has much better economically priced processors. Second, avoid laptops in the 17-inch size class. The plastic used to make laptop cases is not very durable at that size, and it will limit the mobility of the system. Third, avoid knock-off brands. Many formerly reliable electronics brands have sold their name to cheap manufacturers. The worst offenders are RCA, Polaroid, and (surprisingly) Lenovo. While these brands used to mean quality, they do not any longer. Some of these machines barely function right-out-of-the-box.

Some users are fine with the disposable nature of mobile computing these days, but high quality Windows laptops are often a much better option. A $350 laptop by Acer is a much more capable and long-lasting machine than a $350 phone. Even on the higher end, a well constructed MSI laptop can be found with similar (and often better) components than a MacBook of a higher price. Windows laptops are classic for a reason, and they’ve never been better.