The days of traders being tethered to desktop PCs and sprawling workstations are over with many now favoring a more compact mobile laptop and smartphone set up for research and the buying and selling of stocks, shares, bonds, foreign exchange, and cryptocurrencies.
In addition to learning the fundamentals with courses covering forex trading for beginners, you also need to pair your new-found knowledge with the latest tech to practice your trades, access news feeds, analyze data and execute a plan. Here are some of the best laptops available today and a few features to consider before making a purchase.
Features to look for
The majority of laptops can be used for day trading, but the experience will differ greatly depending on the specs.
- Screen size – Screen estate is important when trading as you will be multitasking so a larger screen may be more luxurious. Higher resolution displays will give you more room to work and snap and enlarge applications, so they are easily viewable. 15 inches or more is recommended.
- RAM – RAM is also important for multitasking, especially if you are using a browser such as Chrome and multiple applications. 8GB of RAM is a good starting point
- CPU and GPU – Dedicated GPUs are nice-to-have but are not essential, so focus on the power of the CPU. An Intel i3 or better is recommended.
- Hard disk – SSDs should be a priority as they are much faster and more reliable than standard hard drives.
Mac vs Windows
Apple’s MacBook Air and Pro models are among the most reliable, intuitive and premium portable devices available, but one caveat is that the macOS operating system does not support as wide a range of trading software like the Windows equivalent. A recent study found 72 percent leading trading platforms for traders are compatible with Windows natively but this slumps to just 28 percent for Mac. It is possible to dual boot a Mac with Windows for the best of both worlds, but it is unlikely to match a pure Windows experience.
Acer Aspire E15 (8th Gen) – Most affordable
You don’t need to break the bank for an excellent laptop for trading, as evidenced by the 15.6-inch Acer Aspire E15, which offers an almost complete package at an affordable price. The Intel Core i5-8250U processor paired with 8GB of fast DDRM RAM and a 256GB SSD delivers fast boot times and loading. It is the perfect entry point for traders requiring a great baseline experience and there are options to add additional RAM and SSDs. The backlit keyboard is also great for working in low-light environments.
HP Spectre x360 convertible – Best overall
HP promises “performance beyond expectations” with its latest x360 laptop for 2019 and it’s easy to see why. The model is powered by a six-core Intel i7 processor backed up by 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD storage. The most compelling feature for traders though may be the cutting edge security options. The x360 packs in a fingerprint reader, IR camera and a privacy kill switch to keep all of your information under lock and key.
The intuitive 2 in 1 design, which facilitates its use as a tablet or laptop, makes spreadsheet work and PDF reading pleasure, while the 4K resolution 15.6-inch display will enable you to analyze the latest stock data with ease. The X360 will make light work of anything you throw at it, but it does come with a hefty price tag. If money is not important, this is arguably the best overall laptop.
Dell Inspiron 5000 2019 – Reliable alternative
Dell remains one of the most reputable brands in computing and for bespoke workstations in the financial sector. The 2019 version of the Inspiron 5000 is highly recommended for tracking live stocks and general trading. It features an eighth-generation Intel i5-8265U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 25GB SSD. Like all of the laptops listed here, it will arrive preloaded with Windows 10 so you can start installing apps and platforms straight away.
Lenovo IdeaPad L340 – Dedicated GPU
Gaming-centric laptops with dedicated GPUs can double up as ideal workstations for traders, especially if you want a more robust and premium experience. The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 features a speedy, ninth-generation Intel Core i5-9300H with 8GB RAM, upgradeable to 16GB RAM, and a bright 15.6-inch IPS display.
The L340’s brushed aluminum finish, minimalist design, and comparatively lightweight 2.2kg profile mean it can be used by traders both in the office and at home. There are also Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1, USB Type-C ports and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Lenovo ThinkPad T480 – Battery king
Another important consideration for traders is the battery life, especially if you will be moving across various locations during a working day. The HP X360 Spectre offers a very impressive 12-hour battery in real-life conditions but it can’t match the incredible 17 hours provided by the workhorse Lenovo ThinkPad T480. While this model is not the slimmest, it does have a military durable chassis capable of performing in extreme temperatures and conditions. The powerful i7-8650U, which benchmarks at 8760, will also deliver class-leading performance on the go.
Traders need the right tools for their craft so take the time to consider the software and laptop you want to use as it could be a major factor in your ability to make smart decisions, day in day out, and forge a successful career.