Whether you need the best laptop for Skype while you’re at home or the best Skype laptop while you’re moving between cities – I’m here to cover all the bases.
First things first
At the first glance, if you want to buy a cheap laptop for Skype, you might start by considering Chromebooks. Chromebooks are extremely cheap internet-driven notebooks for everyday use. Sadly, Skype is not officially supported on Chrome OS – you can use Skype on Web. At the same time, it’s a bit buggy and only recently voice calls became available. So I’d recommend looking for a Windows or a MacOS laptop instead. It’s just better to avoid Chromebooks for confusion and unnecessary hassle.
Whether you want a Windows laptop or a MacBook depends entirely on your own preference. Of course, as a default, I would recommend a Windows laptop as they’re cheaper and there are a lot more options. But there’s nothing wrong with looking for a MacBook Air if you’re already in the $1000 budget range. At the same time, I’d guess most people wouldn’t want to spend that much on a Skype laptop.
If you want to carry the laptop around the house or to take it with you when you’re traveling or going to work – you’ll definitely appreciate a lightweight laptop. Judging laptop’s weight is not that hard. Here’s a basic weight vs size table of what you should expect.
Of course, you can look for a heavier laptop if you’re a fan of extra screen space but it’s not necessary for using Skype.
If you prefer to use the laptop unplugged – look for a long battery life. That would be 6 hours or more. And when I say “6 hours” – I do not mean the battery life that is claimed by a manufacturer. That’s a simple rule in my guides – I cover realistic battery runtime when browsing the internet on Wi-Fi with a dimmed brightness setting.
In short, minimum of 6 hours battery life is recommended but you can find laptops that can last up to ~10 hours on Wi-Fi. But I don’t know if I’ve had a Skype conversion last that long.
When skyping, the difference between a good webcam and a bad one is easy to spot. The same can be said about the microphone.
The quality of a webcam can be pretty accurately judged from its resolution (measured in megapixels). In short, avoid 0.3 Mpix and VGA resolution cameras. Look for 1.3 or even 2 megapixels. Also, some cameras are better than others when handling poor lighting. That’s relevant if your room is not very well lit. In that case, keep an eye for “backlight compensation” or other similarly sounding “technologies”.
First of all, an IPS panel is a big plus for heavy Skype users. You see, an IPS panel improves viewing angles. That means, your friends and family won’t see distorted colors if they’re not sitting right in front of the laptop.
A note on screen sizes. If you have to move further away from the laptop, screen size becomes increasingly important. That’s especially relevant if you’re searching for a laptop for an elder person. But for most people, a smaller screen is not an issue.
Bluetooth support is a small plus as it can simplify connecting some external wireless mice.
In our case, these technical requirements are not at the top of the list but they still should be taken into consideration. A good processor is key if you want to use your laptop comfortably for more than just for Skyping with your friends and family. For example, if you’re planning to use it professionally, you might opt for a better processor.