Slideshow presentations are an effective tool for communicating ideas to large audiences with the aid of visuals. With a surge in online teaching, remote learning and workplace video conferencing, designing eye catching presentations has become a highly valuable skill. Microsoft’s PowerPoint has been the go-to for many people in this regard, as it provides one of the best features and has become quite the norm.
We cannot deny the importance of PowerPoint in a world where even middle schoolers have mastered the art of crafting an attractive presentation. Whether you are a high schooler working on a class project or a CEO pitching a new idea to the board of directors, you must be able to design outstanding presentations! As Emmert Wolf once said, “A man is only as good as his tools”, similarly, you require nothing but the best computer for getting your work done efficiently, and I am going to do my best to help you with that.
A great laptop should last you a minimum of 4 years if not more. For anyone who is making PowerPoint presentations, one of the top priorities should be portability. You will need to show your work to others, usually an audience consisting of many people. For that, you will need to take it around everywhere, so it should be thin and light enough to not be a bother when carrying.
Moreover, battery life should be excellent! You wouldn’t want your laptop dying out before you can even present. Even bringing a charger is a hassle, as it adds to the overall bulk, and you will always be in search of a socket. You also want a machine capable of multitasking, because the very nature of presentations requires you to research multiple things.
The laptop market is highly saturated and, unless you are an absolute tech nerd, you will have a hard time navigating. You will need hours upon hours of research just to land the perfect product. Even then you might succumb to the technical marketing of manufactures, which is often misleading. Luckily, I have done all the hard work and scoured the internet to find you the best possible hardware for your needs.
Before moving onto the actual laptop reviews, I will first discuss a few of the key features that must be present in all laptops. These will include details about things that are essentials and not “good to have”, this part will be included in the actual descriptions. Moreover, all these essentials will be included in our round-up as well, so stay tuned in for that.
Processing power: The processor is the component that intimidates most people, but it’s actually the easiest one to select in this case. For Microsoft PowerPoint specifically, you won’t need a top of the line processor, unless of course, your workflow involves other more intensive activities like Video Editing or Graphic Design. Getting a basic, yet modern, Intel Pentium or AMD 3-series should be more than sufficient. However, feel free to upgrade if your budget allows, or if you keep your laptop for more than the standard 3 to 4 years.
Ram: Firstly, your RAM must at least be 8 GB. While a few years back people used to get by with 4 or even 2 GB in some extreme cases, but that time is long gone. Even mobile phones nowadays have more and I would recommend not getting anything below 8 GB. You can also move up to 16 GB if you want to future proof your device, however, it’s not necessary. Getting anything more than that will be a bit of overkill and your money can be spent better elsewhere.
Portability: The entire appeal of a laptop is that it can be taken anywhere you want. Even larger 17-inch models can fit in a traditional backpack as long as it’s not really thick. While thicker laptops provide amazing power, unrivaled by their thin and light counterparts, but the tradeoff for an average PowerPoint user isn’t worth it. This also doesn’t mean that you should be extremely worried about the size of the laptop, as most versions these days are portable enough for more consumers, but stay away from the super girthy ones.
Battery life: Besides being portable, laptops must also be able to provide at least a decent battery life, enough to last you a whole day. Otherwise, you will spend your entire time in search of a power outlet, not to mention you will also have to bring the charger which is one more thing to carry. If you just wanted to be stuck in one place with your device, then just buy a desktop PC.
Price: Arguably the most important factor when buying a laptop is the money you pay for it. No matter how great a product is, it’s completely useless, if you can’t afford it. Before going on a search, you must pick a price point at which you’re going to browse for products, and make sure to have a realistic expectation of what features must and must not be included. Our list has laptops at various different price tags. If you want an extremely premium laptop or a budgeted one, you’ll find it here.
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Lenovo ThinkPad E595 Review
The first entry on this list is the Lenovo ThinkPad E595. It has a real sturdy built, with little to no flexing. Even if you treat this machine roughly, you do not have to worry. Durability is necessary as it ensures that your laptop will last for a much longer time. You don’t want to end up with a damaged laptop in case of a small accident. Moreover, as someone who is constantly presenting at a conference or school, you will always be on the move. Accidents are, therefore, more frequent compared to if you were only in one place. Hence, your machine must survive in case of an unfortunate drop.
The ThinkPad E595 is an excellent device. It may not have fancy features; however, it is made for practical usage, optimizing your workflow, therefore, making you more productive. This is best represented by the 3.70 GHz Ryzen 3500U, a Quad-Core processor, which is an absolute powerhouse. The Ryzen 3500U already has built-in Vega 8 graphics, which is more than enough for most PowerPoint users and will also provide some light gaming functionality.
Moreover, it is paired with 8 GB of RAM and a blazing fast 256 GB M.2 SSD for a snappier experience. The best part about all this is that the RAM is upgradable to a whopping 32 GB, while an additional SATA slot is provided for future expandability. Overall, the mixture of blazing-fast components and a future upgrade path means that this laptop will provide you an excellent experience for making a presentation, not only now but also 5 years down the line.
The display consists of 1080p IPS anti-glare panels which is excellent for everyday use and does not strain the eye if you have to sit in front of your computer for a long time. It’s not a high-tech screen but most users won’t be able to tell the difference between this and a much more expensive one. The size itself is 15.6 inches, which is right in the sweet spot of not being too small or big. If it were a bit larger, then the portability would suffer, and if it were a bit smaller than the multitasking aspect would suffer. One of the only complaints we have is the lack of backlit keys, but the screen can go as bright as 250 nits, so you won’t have any usability problems in the dark.
The productivity aspect of the ThinkPad is best shown in the port selection. Nowadays, modern manufacturers are making their laptops extremely thin, therefore, removing many ports. While a thin laptop is necessary, but only when it doesn’t get in the way of your productivity. Luckily, the ThinkPad isn’t too thick, nor does it lack essential features. It has 4 USBs, supporting either 3.1 Gen 1 or Gen 2, as well as HDMI, SD card slot, headphone, and microphone jack as well as ethernet. Other features include, a serviceable webcam, which won’t amaze you but to be fair laptop cameras aren’t really there for perfect quality, but rather something that will look decent in a video call.
The dimensions for the laptop are 14.50 x 9.90 x 0.80 inches, which is thin, but not enough to make it flimsy, and device weighs 3.00 lbs which is pretty light weight for something as powerful. The manufacture states a battery life of 13 hours, however, that varies with use. Most users reported it to be lower than that, around 6 to 8 hours (battery life). That is still respectable and will easily last you a day with moderate usage. To conclude, we think that this is one of the best laptops out there for anyone looking to make impressive PowerPoint presentations and, it definitely gets our seal of approval.
|Good battery life||No backlit Keyboard|
|Portable with a nice screen size|
HP Pavilion 14 Convertible Review
If you are looking for a 2 in 1 option, then our pick will be the HP Pavilion 14 Convertible. It is slightly cheaper than the ThinkPad, while also having a few extra handy features. As the name suggests, this laptop can be used in various different orientations for more convenient usage. For those unfamiliar with a 2 in 1 device, it has a touch screen and can either be used in a standard laptop position or like a tablet, where the screen folds in front of the keyboard.
The reason why the 2 in 1 feature is an added advantage for presentations is because you can easily move around the slide with a tap of a finger, rather than carrying a standard laptop. You truly get the best of both worlds. The tablet factor has many other advantages, for example, you can buy a stylus fairly cheap and use it to jot down notes or even draw diagrams and logos.
As for the technical bit, the Pavilion comes with a 10th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-1035G1, Quad-Core, 1.0 GHz base frequency, up to 3.6 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology. It performs on par with the CPU found in our previous option, for daily usage, and you will certainly not be disappointed by the performance of this machine.
Along with that, you can find 8 GB of 3200 MHz DDR-4 RAM, which unfortunately isn’t upgradable. Although, 8 GB should be more than sufficient for the next 4 or 5 years or even more. What is upgradable is the storage, however, considering you already get 512 GB PCIe(R) NVMe(TM) M.2 SSD, which is not only plentiful but will also provide high memory speeds, making the overall experience much more responsive and smoother. It can easily handle real-world tasks, like having a dozen Chrome tabs open in the background, while using 2 or 3 different applications.
The screen is a 14.0-inch diagonal HD, IPS, micro-edge, WLED-backlit, multitouch-enabled, edge-to-edge glass touch screen display; 80% screen to body ratio which is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and the 14 inch size is perfect for mobility. You get the option to upgrade to a Full-HD (1920 x 1080), which we highly recommend. One would expect a touch screen on a laptop to be unresponsive and jittery, but that’s not the case here. You get a highly smooth feel with the touch, which feels like an actual tablet or smartphone rather than a 2 in 1. The one complaint that people had was that the visibility decreases in bright conditions. While it is brighter than the previous model, at 265 nits, the coating itself is really reflective making it hard to read anything written. Considering the quality is absolutely stunning indoors, I think it is not a big problem.
Even the port selection is top-notch and will fulfill most people’s needs. There are 2 USB-A (3.0) ports, one super-fast USB-C (3.1), 1 HDMI, SD card reader, headphone jack, and a power port for charging. There are many more features that make the Pavilion a much sweeter deal. A few of them include Wi-Fi 6 connection, fingerprint reader for secure access, backlit keyboard for typing in, an above-average webcam, and even Amazon Alexa built in.
The HP Pavilion comes in at 8.78 x 12.76 x 0.81 inches and weighs 3.5 pounds, which is the perfect balance between light, yet sturdy. The battery is claimed, by the manufacturer, to last for about 8 hours to 10 hours, depending on your usage. Unfortunately, users have reported a much lower time, at approximately 4 hours. Many might find this a bit lacking, but luckily the included charger can charge it from 0 to 50 percent in 30 minutes, hence it makes up for that. Overall, this is an amazing device, providing both excellent performance and many unique features, which all users will appreciate, especially when making PowerPoint presentations.
|2 in 1 form factor||Average battery life|
|Beautiful design||RAM is not upgradable|
|Performance for the price|
ASUS Vivobook Thin 15 Review
If you are looking for something more on the budget side, then you should not look further than the ASUS Vivobook 15. It is extremely popular amongst various different types of users and was even declared “Amazon’s Choice”. While the specifications may not seem as impressive at first glance, once you look at the price-to-performance ratio, the Vivobook is in a league of its own.
The most basic version comes with a 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU with 4M Cache and up to 3.4 GHz clock speeds, while spending just a bit more will get you a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU with 6M Cache and up to 3.6 GHz clock speeds. As you may have noticed, the higher end variant comes with the same processor as the HP Pavilion, however it costs significantly less. While the one equipped with the i3 will provide excellent performance, upgrading to the i5 would be better, however, not necessary. Other than the processor both variants are exactly the same, and most users will be satisfied with the power you get from either of these.
As for the memory and storage configuration, you get 8 GB of RAM, which is more than enough for running multiple programs. However, those desiring a bit more are given the option to upgrade to a total of 12 GB, which will be sufficient for years to come. Luckily, the storage isn’t disappointing as you are provided with a massive 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. Furthermore, it’s also upgradeable, for those wanting to store pictures, movies or other large data files.
The display is a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) 4-way NanoEdge bezel display with a stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio. The panel itself is what we would consider average, however, great for the price, and the best panel feature is the minimal bezels. This laptop has one of the highest screen-to-body ratios out of all laptops at any price point, giving it a much more expensive look! It also means that you can accompany a larger display in a smaller form factor, which is great for people making PowerPoint presentations, as it provides great screen real estate in a more portable body.
One of the coolest features on this laptop is its versatile keyboard. Firstly, it has a full-fledged number pad. It is also backlit and will accompany you really well when pulling all-nighters for a presentation. Moreover, the Vivobook has ASUS’s special Ergolift technology. Whenever you open your laptop, the bottom side is lifted by about 2 degrees. This gives an elevated feel, which is something you didn’t know you needed till you actually try it out for yourself. It’s similar to the tabs given in external keyboards for a more comfortable typing experience. Not only that, but it also creates a slight space between the bottom panel and the table, resulting in better thermal performance. Furthermore, if you use your laptop on your lap, it will be much more comfortable than if the feature wasn’t included.
The ports include USB 3.2 Type-C, 3 USB 3.2 Type-A, USB 2.0, HDMI; Gigabit Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), headphone jack, SD Card slot, and of course the power port. That’s not all, as the Vivobook has a ton of other features. For example, the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner near the trackpad.
The size of this laptop is pretty similar to the previous two that we mentioned. It is exactly 14.10 x 9.10 x 0.80 inches and weighs 3.5 pounds. This particular model has a 37WHrs, 2-cell Li-ion battery. The exact expected times for the battery aren’t stated, but ASUS claims it provides an “all-day” life. Unfortunately, even this claim is exaggerated. Most heavy users claim to get 3 to 4 hours’ worth of usage, however, with careful use, you can get a bit more. Luckily, despite this flaw, you get access to fast charging. It can go from 0 to 60 percent in 49 minutes. To summarize, this laptop has a few minimal flaws, but when you consider the low-price tag and spectacular performance, you can definitely live with these.
|Price-to-performance ratio||Sub-par battery life|
All three of these laptops provide great features, and most people will be happy with either one of them. However, there can only be one of them, which provides the best bang for your buck.
PowerPoint itself isn’t a really difficult program to use from a hardware standpoint. Despite offering tools to make some stunning looking presentations, it isn’t really demanding on your device. If you are the type of person to make a relatively simple presentation, with about a hundred slides, some pictures and animations, then you need not worry about the performance.
However, there might be users who use it for more intensive tasks, such as adding 3-D models. Such applications may be taxing for not only your CPU, but your GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) as well. Luckily, all our picks have extremely competent processors, with great integrated graphics as well. A few years back, not having a dedicated graphic card was seen as a real problem, but in recent years, Intel and AMD have both stepped up their games, making the need for such hardware almost unnecessary, unless of course you specifically work with graphically demanding software.
In the following section, we will briefly go through what makes each of them worthy and which one is the best one for you.
The first laptop we looked into was the Lenovo ThinkPad E595. It is an overall amazing laptop providing great features and power. Despite being the costliest of the bunch, it definitely justifies its price tag, by offering fantastic features, which even some higher priced laptops don’t have. A combination of excellent battery life, great performance in the form of the Ryen 3500U, and great build quality make it a worthy device for anyone seeking to make PowerPoint presentations.
Then comes the HP Pavilion 14 Convertible. It is surely an amazing machine, with a well-executed 2 1 form factor, which none other competitors on this list provide. Not only that, the device also manages to keep the performance on-par with the others despite this extra feature. It has everything one would expect, an addition of a stylus would make it the perfect machine for note taking and overall easier navigation, not to mention also having a good media consumption device. Everything else about this machine is perfect and it is definitely capable of being your daily laptop.
Lastly, we discussed the ASUS Vivobook Thin 15. It provides amazing value for money with the processor it is offering and has many compelling features, like the 88 percent screen to body ratio and the ergo lift design. Not only that, it’s also a powerhouse capable of handling any task you throw at it with great ease. A mixture of all these reasons justifies the position of the Vivobook on our list.
In my opinion, the best one amongst these is the HP Pavilion 14 Convertible. It provides almost the same, if not slightly better features than the E595 although it does cost a bit more. On the other hand, the Vivobook provides great features for the price, but it has a lot of drawbacks, which we cannot ignore, but those on a strict budget can still go for it. Hence, the HP Pavilion manages to beat out all the other options, by having the perfect balance of an affordable price tag and usability functions, and is therefore my top pick and you should certainly consider it when making your decision as well.