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shopping guide for laptops

Shopping guide for Laptops Leave a comment

A shopping guide when choosing the right laptop to buy:

Laptops have become an important asset in our lives due to advancements in technology. Pc’s and notebooks are being used in many aspects, such as for school work and business use. In this shopping guide for laptops, we shall go through some common criteria’s to look out for when shopping for PC’s. In our recent article, we covered the best laptops for students, be sure to check it out.

Factors to consider:

In this guide, we shall look at some main aspects one should always keep in mind:

  • Pricing – What can I afford?
  • Processor (CPU) – Speed, make, generation
  • Storage – How much storage is enough ?
  • Display – Big or small ?
  • RAM – How much RAM do I need ?
  • Graphics card capability and power


laptop shopping guidePricing means which laptop fits your budget. Thankfully, PC manufacturers like hp and Lenovo take that into consideration. In Kenya today, you can buy a brand-new computer ranging from Ksh: 40,000 to Ksh: 200,000. At Smartbuy Kenya, the pricing of the pc depends on its specifications, model year and the manufacturer’s recommended retail price (MRRP). When it comes to pricing PC’s can be categorized into mid-range laptops and high-end laptops.

Mid-range computers (Less pricey):

So what’s a midrange laptop? In simple terms, this is a computer that can perform basic functionality offered at a cheaper price. Being cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean poor performance, mid-range pc’s today perform quite well due to their high demand in the market. In the table below, we highlight some of the best options available here at Smartbuy Kenya.

Our top picks for midrange computers:
Name Price in KSh
Lenovo V15 10th Gen Core i3 4GB Ram, 1TB HDD 43,499
HP 15s-fq5020nia Notebook 12th-gen Core-i7, 8gb Ram, 512GB SSD 86,999
HP ELITEBOOK 830 G7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Core-i5 10th Gen 89,000
Hp 15 Notebook, Core i3, 15.6-inch, 4 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD 48,500
Dell Vostro 3500, 15.6-inch, 4 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD, Core i3 55,000
Asus X509F, 4 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD, Core i3, 15.6-inch 45,000
Hp 250 G7, Core i5, 4 GB Ram, 15.6-inch, 1 TB HDD 61,999
High-end laptops (A-bit pricey):

These are pc’s that are built for heavy users and huge workloads. If you want to perform heavy operations on your computer, then consider buying a high-end laptop. Machines like the Apple MacBook’s have the processing capability and some of the best GPU’s for high computational tasks.

Our top best-selling high-end laptops:

Name Price in KSh
Hp Envy X360 13-AY0014, AMD Ryzen 7, 8 GB Ram, 512 GB SSD 110,000
Hp Pavilion x360 11th Gen Core i5, 512 GB SSD Storage, 8GB Ram 114,999
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2021 M1, 8 GB Ram, 512 GB SSD 192,000
HP ProBook 440 G8 11th Gen Core i5-8GB RAM, 512GB SDD Storage 86,000
Lenovo Thinkbook 15 G2, 11th Gen Core i7, 8GB Ram, 1TB HDD Storage 82,000
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14IAU7, 12th Gen Core i7, 8GB Ram, 512GB SSD 82,000
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gaming 12th Gen Core i7 , 16GB Ram, 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD 145,000
Lenovo IdeaPad 3, Core i7, 15.6-inch, 8 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD 73,999
Hp ProBook 430 G8, Core i7, 8 GB Ram, 512 GB SSD 120,000

Processor (CPU):

As a shopper, you will also have to factor in the CPU capability of the computer from either Intel, AMD or Apple. CPU’s have really improved in terms of their efficiencies and performance over the past 10 years. Intel’s newest processors, especially the 11th Gen series, are really powerful and suitable for gaming (depending on the laptop specs) and high productivity tasks.

Which processor models are available ?

  • Intel Celeron:

intel celeron

Celeron is the lowest spec of the intel family, found mostly in our low cheaper variants such as the: HP 14 Celeron CF2209NIA and the Lenovo IdeaPad 3-14. The CPU has two 2 cores and has a base clock velocity of 1.10 GHz. These Intel Celeron is a very good CPU for guys on a really tight-budget and those after basic functionality from a Pc. If your workload involves loads of multitasking, then we recommend you to get a CPU with at the least four cores.

  • Intel Core i3:

intel core i3 processor

The Intel Core i3 based-CPU’s have become so powerful nowadays, boasting of clock speeds up to 4.0 GHz. For example, the 10th Gen 1005G1 i3 processor found in this Lenovo IdeaPad S145-15 is one great beginner pc you should consider looking at. If you intend to use your computer for basic use like running office applications, web-browsing and making amazing PowerPoint presentations, this CPU will suit you perfectly.

  • Intel Core i5:

11th gen intel core i5

For shoppers looking for a more capable CPU for playing light games and photo or video editing, consider a core i5 laptop. The latest core i5 CPU’s come with 6 cores, capable of reaching maximum clock speeds of up to 4.60 GHz, 4K support.

  • Intel Core i7:

intel core i7

The core i7 processor is for users looking for a highly responsive PC capable of performing more heavy tasks. With an i7, you are sure to get the most out of your computer. Computer such as the Hp Envy X360 i7, 13M-BD0033DX are great for content creators.

  • Apple macOS:

shopping guide for laptops- m1 chip macbook

We consider the processors found in Apple pc’s as one of the best you could ever use, especially the new M1 chip. They offer cutting edge speeds and security that is unmatched. These new M1 chips now come standard on all new MacBook Pro’s and MacBook Air.


When we talk about storage, you should consider how much is enough based on the amount of data you intend to save and the speed of the hard drive. There are two types of hard drives based on their form factor :

  • SSD storage:

SSDs are the new generation of storage devices that use flash memory. They are much faster than their HDD counterparts, which use mechanical moving parts to READ/WRITE data. Computer manufacturers are considering this new type of storage device as they easily fit into smaller bodied, thin and light laptops. SSD storage comes in 4 different sizes : 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB.

Check out these great SSD laptops:

HDDs are less fast compared to SSD’s. HDD’s come in 500 GB and 1 TB GB sizes. If you are planning to store more data, go for the 1 TB, as they also offer much faster boot up speeds. For a more cost savvy buyer, the 500 GB HDD is good enough.

Laptops with 1 TB of storage space we recommend:


A laptops’ display is also another factor when choosing one that will suit you in terms of size and resolution. At Smartbuy our laptops displays come in 14 and 15-inch sizes. Let’s dive into each of the benefits:

Benefits of a 14-inch laptop:

  • Easier to carry on your hand and backpack
  • Compact design.

14-inch laptop models:

Lenovo IdeaPad 3, 14-inch, 10th Gen Core i3, 4 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD 41,999
HP Pavilion X360 14-inch, 11th Gen Core i5, 8 GB Ram, 256 GB SSD 90,999

Benefits of a 15-inch laptop:

  • Full sized keyboard (numeric section)
  • Wider viewing experience
  • Great for business users

RAM – How much is enough? :

shopping guide for laptops - RAM

Random access memory (RAM), is a chip fitted on the computers’ motherboard which stores memory of all the applications in use at the current moment. Your workload and level of use will determine the amount of RAM you will need. For example, in gaming, 8 GB of RAM is the recommended minimum. Other power users like Graphic designers and video editors are always advised to go for 16 GB and above. At Smartbuy Kenya, most of our laptops come with 4 GB Ram.

Laptops with 4 GB Ram:

HP 14-CF2209NIA Intel Celeron N4020, 4 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD, Windows 10, 14-inch 36,500
HP 250 G8 Intel Celeron N4020, 4 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD, DOS, 15.6-inch 36,999
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Intel Celeron N4020, 4 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD, DOS, 14-inch 31,999
LENOVO IdeaPad 3 INTEL N4020 Intel Celeron, 4 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, DOS, 15.6-inch 32,499
HP 240 G8, 10th Gen Core i3, 4 GB Ram, 1 TB HDD, 14-inch  46,999

Graphics card – Dedicated or Integrated?:

shopping guide for laptops - graphics card

Graphic cards come in two forms:

  • Dedicated graphics card : A dedicated graphics card is separate in nature (not soldered to the motherboard), that means they come with their own memory. Dedicated graphic cards offer more performance and are mostly found in high-end laptops such as the: Hp Envy 13 Core with NVIDIA MX-450These cards are manufactured by companies like NVIDIA.
  • Integrated graphics card : An integrated graphics card is soldered to the motherboard and is less powerful compared to a dedicated card. However, companies like intel are now making integrated graphic cards worth to buy due to advancements in technology. For example: Intel’s’ latest Iris® Xe Graphics is so good when it comes to multitasking, entertainment and productivity.


After going through this shopping guide for laptops, you are now able to make a decision easily on what computer is best for you. HAPPY SHOPPING !!

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