Choosing a Suitable Laptop for Online Jobs

Last updated on July 11, 2020

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One of the most important tools to have for online jobs is a laptop.  But what  type of laptop to buy and the specifications to choose is another thing altogether.   

And that is where Topspec comes in! When I needed to buy a new laptop last year, I knew that the people to sort me out would be Topspec. Great customer service and professionalism is their middle name.   They took time to answer all the questions I had and provided a fully setup laptop for me. 

Martin, from Topspec, tells us a couple of things to consider when buying a laptop for online jobs.


A good laptop is a critical tool for any successful online freelancer. It’s often the difference between a  productive day or lost earnings resulting from a sluggish or underpowered machine. Picking out a laptop or PC for online work is not always a straightforward endeavor for most as there is often a need for basic technical know-how that informs the purchase decision. Given the wide variety of machines available to the buyer today, it’s important to be armed with the right knowledge  to allow you make an informed decision when buying  a laptop for online jobs.

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No laptop manufacturer is better than the others but rather there are specific models that tend to be of  better build quality than others and hence last longer. This article aims to clarify the criteria and specifications that should be considered by the customer as part of the selection process of their ideal machine. 

Here is a list of considerations to make when choosing a laptop for online jobs.


This is essentially the brain of any computer. Also known as the Central Processing Unit(CPU), it interprets all your input like mouse clicks, and issues instructions to other components in the computer to accomplish whichever task you are trying to undertake. It therefore stands to reason that the faster the processor, the more you can do without the laptop lagging or hanging.

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Intel is by far the most widely used processor brand. Intel CPU’s are mostly denoted with a core prefix hence you’ll find most laptops running on core2duo, core2quad, core i3, core i5 and core i7 processors.

Online jobs vary in complexity and hence no single machine is perfect for all jobs. While you may be able to do transcription on a duo core laptop with 1gb RAM, online based job platforms like Transcribeme require one to work from within the browser and as you open more tabs, the machine may lag often, resulting in lost work after that inevitable restart.

As a general rule when deciding on processors, core i is faster than core2 (even when the core2 has a higher ghz speed rating), core2 is faster than Pentium and Celerons are typically overpriced for the performance they offer.


Random access memory (RAM) is basically a short term form of storage where the CPU stores information pertaining to the programs that the user is currently running e.g when running MS word, it’s loaded onto RAM for faster access such as saving changes on a document as you type it out.

Choosing RAM capacity is a bit easier as compared to CPU as there are only 3 most common ram types. Choice of ram should be primarily based on memory size. 4gb RAM is more than enough for most users with 2gb being the preferred starting point for a laptop for online jobs.

Screen Size

These range from 10 inches on mini laptops to 17 inches on professional mobile workstations. Any screen size above 12.5 inches provides a comfortable viewing experience to eliminate eye strain when working for long hours. 14.3 inches is the most preferred screen size as it doesn’t make the laptop bulky.

Battery Life

Battery life is determined by the machine capabilities, usage and age. Most used laptops should give you about 2 hrs and above 4 hrs on new machines. Batteries are however cheap to replace so it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker when selecting a laptop.


The primary determinant here should be user comfort so make a point of trying out the keyboard before purchase. Check with the seller if its spill-resistant and easy to clean.



It is easy to get  over-whelmed when picking out a laptop, given the countless models and makes available in Nairobi all of which come in different conditions.  It’s important to exercise caution before you part with your money as cheap can be expensive in the long run. GA core i5 laptop going for Kshs 14,000 on OLX probably falls in the too good to be true bracket.

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Optional features that may pop up but do not affect performance include webcam, DVD drives, HDMI port and storage capacity.  You can opt to forego some of these to keep costs down. Established manufacturers like HP, DELL and Lenovo produce good quality business line machines but some machines in their consumer line tend to be of lower build quality so it’s very important to find out from the seller where your desired laptop falls.

Don’t jump at the first deal that catches your attention – make a careful, well-informed choice, instead.

There we go. Great stuff from Martin.  You can find his page, Topspec on Facebook, or call, text or whatsapp him on 0711 352 744 for more information.

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About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • Quite informative and very true. That is exactly what my technician took me through when I was buying my laptop. Thank you for confirming Martin.

    Thank you Sheeroh!

  • Thanks for this information. It will go a long way into helping me buy another laptop. So thoughtful of you Sheeroh!

  • Thanks so much Sheeroh for this vital info.I bought a laptop barely two months ago,but I’m surprised the battery doesn’t even take an hour.It’s Hp core i5. Since you\ve assured me of battery being a non issue,I will soon look for one.

    • Desktops are a safe bet when on a budget. The same guidelines above still apply only that desktop processors tend to be faster than their laptop counterparts since theres no power saving emphasis. Go for as big a monitor as you can as using a 15′ inch monitor on a desktop setup can result in eye strain especially on long sessions which are the norm in online work

  • Thank you so much for this information, it comes ata a time I want to shop for a laptop. I’ll definitely take the details into consideration.

  • Well, I disagree that battery is a non issue. Actually its a big issue. I have seen laptop that can last up to 9hours with a single charge. Battery life is big news. A battery that barely lasts an hour negates the usefulness of a laptop.

    • A valid point Ngige, but given the fast pace of computer development and the extremely slow growth in battery technology, Long lasting batteries are a preserve of mid to high end machines. The technology employed (lithium polymer) is relatively more expensive than the conventional lithium ion and hence is only implemented on machines costing over ksh.60,000. Buying a new 4-5hr Li-ion replacement battery is around 3000ksh. it all depends on how deep ones pockets are 🙂

  • Very, very helpful.
    I had not read the article on headphones, it’s really useful and timely.
    I was planning to buy headphones.

  • I had a bad experience when I bought a laptop for my work from Jumia. Guys avoid these online shops. They offer long warranties but when you return a faulty machine to them, the bureaucracy is amazing. Mine took 3 months to be fixed and of course they ignore all your calls during this painful period. This is true for smartphones as well and is not limited to Jumia. I bought a smartphone from Kilimall. It was the wrong color. They could not simply replace with another one from their stock in spite of the fact that they had not even shipped it to me; I had gone to collect it myself. They said that they could not ‘disrupt their stock’ and reordered one for me. Recently I waited a whole month only to receive the wrong tablet from Kilimall.

    Much of this is not related to laptop specs but friends avoid online stores like a plague

    • I’m sorry about your plight Martin. What you’ve gone through is quite frustrating. Online shops are increasingly becoming popular because of the fact that it saves you time and energy to buy stuff. However, there is always a downside. We can only hope that things will be more streamlined as these online shops gain momentum because, after all, they are here to stay. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  • Very true. It’s important to have enough resources for your laptop. You don’t want to see either your CPU or RAM reading above 90% on the Task Manager because resources are getting depleted.

    Thanks for this article

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