Which laptop for Zoom meetings is best?
Remote work wasn’t something that many people thought was possible. But with the COVID-19 pandemic out in full force, thousands of people have turned to video conferencing tools like Zoom to stay connected.
However, any rapid changes always come with significant challenges. For example, your current laptop may not have enough power to prevent dropping the Zoom meeting you attended in your PJs.
If you’re looking for the best affordable, high-quality laptop for Zoom calls, consider the Apple MacBook Air with M1 Chip. This laptop lives up to its reputation of providing its users with super sharp, ultra-clear images and a built-in HD camera. That way, you never sacrifice image or sound quality during your Zoom meetings.
What to know before you buy a laptop for Zoom meetings
A laptop isn’t cheap by any means, so it’s advantageous to take a few minutes to ask yourself the following questions to ensure you’re getting the most out of your purchase.
Just because you work remotely doesn’t mean you have to work from home. If you’re often on the go, then you should consider thinner laptops for ease of transport.
Another factor to consider is battery life. If you travel or work outside your home, then you’ve experienced the struggle of finding a plug to charge your laptop when you need it the most.
Look for a laptop with a battery life of at least 10 hours. That said, if you’re in a bind, a fully-charged quality power bank is advantageous to have on hand.
If you need to run multiple apps — like presentations or video software — while in a meeting, you should consider a more powerful processor that can easily handle multitasking.
Because Zoom tends to hog a laptop’s resources, a powerful processor is necessary to prevent reduced quality in calls and altogether dropping the call.
Laptops run the gamut on price points, but you may not need the most expensive one for your work. If you need to run video editing software, investing in a more expensive laptop is necessary and worth the cost.
However, if your meetings mainly involve discussions and PowerPoint presentations, you won’t get your money’s worth with a laptop worth a few thousand dollars.
What to look for in a quality laptop for Zoom meetings
If you’ve ever experienced your Zoom meeting hanging up or constantly freezing, then it’s likely due to the high CPU usage. This leads to constant frustration and miscommunication, which is never appreciated.
The thing is, Zoom doesn’t discriminate when it comes to CPU — regardless if you run on a Chromebook, Windows or a MAC. The program runs various processes simultaneously like noise suppression, other people’s backgrounds and broadcasting the video itself.
This means, at minimum, you should run a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor or higher. However, using a more powerful processor like an i7 or an M1 chip provides a smoother, less frustrating experience.
Alongside a strong processor, an 8GB RAM is sufficient to run a smooth Zoom meeting. While Zoom’s website says 4GB is enough, you need to consider several other factors that will require at least 8GB of RAM.
Some of these factors include:
Using virtual backgrounds
Number of tabs open in the browser
Programs running simultaneously
Without enough RAM, your laptop can’t store and access information quickly, resulting in poorer performance.
An important feature to consider is a laptop’s screen resolution. While it may seem counterintuitive, the best practice is to keep it below 1080p. If it’s higher, Zoom will attempt to conserve bandwidth, which ultimately leads to poorer quality and increased CPU.
On the other hand, you don’t want to get a laptop that maxes out at 360p. You’ll end up struggling to see anything at that point.
A major factor to consider for quality images is your webcam. The best built-in webcams for Zoom meetings will have at least 30 frames per second or 1080p resolution, but the minimum resolution required is 1280×720 or 720p.
Number of meetings
The best laptops for Zoom meetings that meet the bare minimum requirements for a smooth performance start around $500 — but these laptops aren’t optimal for heavy multitask use.
The best laptops range between $800-$1500. The laptops on the higher end allow for an all-around improved quality Zoom meeting.
Laptop for Zoom meetings FAQ
What are some laptop specs should I look at for video conferencing?
A. There are several specs to consider when purchasing a laptop specifically for video conferencing. These specs include the following:
- Powerful processor
- A minimum of 4GB RAM
- HD camera
- High-resolution display
- Minimum 256GB SSD
Why is my laptop struggling to run Zoom?
A. Even though hardware plays a critical role in a smooth Zoom meeting, it can’t work to its full potential without a fast, reliable internet connection. It’s also the best practice to check if any programs are running in the background that are taking up CPU space, so close them before attending any meetings.
Can I use my laptop for more than just Zoom meetings?
A. Luckily, a majority of laptops are more than capable of running other programs so you can get your job done. This depends on the type of software or program you need to run. If you need to edit videos but have an older GPU, your laptop is likely to overheat and give a subpar experience. On the other hand, most laptops will do just fine if you want to stream Netflix after work.
What are the best laptops for Zoom meetings to buy?
Top laptop for Zoom meetings
What you need to know: This 8GB RAM, M1 chip laptop is perfected to give its user the same smooth and stable performance, even when multitasking.
What you’ll love: This laptop offers 8GB of RAM to give you a super-responsive system to support all the tabs you have running during your Zoom meetings. It also features an all-day battery life, meaning you don’t have to stress about finding a plug for up to 18 hours.
What you should consider: The M1 chip supports only one external monitor, so it’s not ideal for those who need a multiscreen workstation.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top laptop for Zoom meetings for the money
What you need to know: The Aspire 5 laptop is the best budget-friendly laptop for Zoom meetings with prices ranging from $400-$800.
What you’ll love: This laptop is a powerful, lightweight laptop that meets the requirements for a problem-free Zoom meeting. It comes with a 4GB DDR4 that works with an AMD processor to help produce optimal results. The 15.6-inch HD screen has Acer’s BlueLightShield technology to help protect your eyes from long workdays.
What you should consider: While its specs are perfect for Zoom meetings, it’s not suitable for more complicated tasks and projects.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This versatile and lightweight laptop is built with enough quality hardware to make it a direct competitor to Apple’s MacBook line.
What you’ll love: Its touch screen capabilities make it perfect for those who prefer using their laptops as a tablet. While it has a shorter battery life, 11 hours is plenty to last through several Zoom meetings a day. It’s the perfect laptop for those who prefer using the Windows OS over others.
What you should consider: Like all quality built computers, it’s on the more expensive end of laptops.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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