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5 Things to Do After Purchasing a New Laptop

Top 5 Things to Do After Purchasing a New Laptop
Top 5 Things to Do After Purchasing a New Laptop
So you made the jump and just spent $1000 on a fresh new laptop. Here are the five first steps we think you should take to better protect your purchase and make sure you get everything that the laptop has to offer.

It's always exciting to crack open that cardboard box and power on your brand new laptop PC fresh out of the assembly line. Here at Notebookcheck, we've grown numb to the experience after opening new boxes seemingly every few days. In contrast, the average consumer buys a new laptop only every 5 to 6 years.

There is a certain procedure that we've learned to follow after reviewing so many devices over the last decade. We want to share some of those steps because we believe they can help all users get the most of their new purchases. Here are the top five steps we think everyone should consider on Day 1.

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1. Check For Physical Defects

We can't stress this point enough: Check each and every detail to make sure everything is working and looking as intended. We've opened brand new systems that have had scratches, dents, heavy backlight bleeding, loud coil whine, inoperable speakers, spongy Space keys, broken clickpads, missing AC adapters, and overly creaky hinges. Some models, like the Razer Blade Stealth, may exhibit more issues than others. Identifying these physical defects as early as possible increases your chances of a successful return or exchange making this the number one step you should take to protect your purchase.

The edge is not perfectly straight and so there is an unsightly gap on this MSI system
The edge is not perfectly straight and so there is an unsightly gap on this MSI system
Similarly, the corner of this Lenovo should be glued to the rest of the chassis, but it somehow became loose and created a gap
Similarly, the corner of this Lenovo should be glued to the rest of the chassis, but it somehow became loose and created a gap
Some backlight bleeding is normal, but heavy backlight bleeding like on this Lenovo could be grounds for a return or exchange
Some backlight bleeding is normal, but heavy backlight bleeding like on this Lenovo could be grounds for a return or exchange

2. Check For OEM Updates

We're not talking about Windows Updates as we understand the reasoning for holding off on brand new Microsoft features. Instead, we're talking about OEM updates that may be specific to your model. Like newly launched video games, newly launched PCs may sometimes ship with a bug or two requiring post launch updates to fix. Dell in particular is notorious for its frequent software and BIOS updates across its XPS and Latitude families.

Dell Update helps users keep all their components up to date in a handy window
Dell Update helps users keep all their components up to date in a handy window

3. Become Familiar with Pre-Loaded Applications

It's simply not enough to rely on Windows settings alone anymore. More manufacturers are beginning to tie performance, fan controls, LED lighting, display colors, audio, and other laptop settings to specialized software. This is especially true on gaming laptops where applications like the Alienware Command Center, HP Omen Command Center, Asus Armoury Crate, Razer Synapse, or MSI Dragon Center have all become central software hubs for controlling everything about their respective laptops. Some gaming laptops completely override the default Power Saver, Balanced, and High Performance Windows settings with their own set of unique performance profiles instead.

If you wish to exploit the performance and features of your new laptop to the fullest, then you should learn the ins and outs of the software even if its UI or intuitiveness may not be the best. If some applications have nothing to do with performance or hardware features and are instead bloatware, then go ahead and uninstall them.

MSI Dragon Center controls everything about the laptop from its performance to its RGB keys
MSI Dragon Center controls everything about the laptop from its performance to its RGB keys
The Alienware software has a higher learning curve, but it integrates more advanced features for enthusiasts
The Alienware software has a higher learning curve, but it integrates more advanced features for enthusiasts

4. Calibrate The Display

This step is particularly crucial for video editors, graphics artists, and heavy multimedia users. More often than not, laptops are not that well calibrated out of the box. Cheaper laptop families like the HP Pavilion, HP Envy, Lenovo Ideapad, Asus VivoBook, or Dell Inpsiron will almost always have less accurate colors and cooler grayscale than their pricier Spectre, Yoga, or XPS alternatives. Worse yet, some laptops may ship with high quality panels wholly capable of reproducing >90 percent of sRGB, but they would be so poorly calibrated out of the box that you would never know how accurate they can actually be. You would need to perform your own calibration to fully exploit the color potential of the laptop in most cases.

Not everyone has access to X-Rite colorimeters for calibration. The second best option would be to apply a calibrated ICC or ICM profile specific to your laptop model. Such files can be found on our review pages under the Display section. Note that certain laptops like the Razer Blade 15 or Gigabyte Aero 15 ship pre-calibrated at factory and so an end-user calibration would offer little to no improvements.

HP laptop grayscale before calibration
HP laptop grayscale before calibration
HP laptop ColorChecker before calibration
HP laptop ColorChecker before calibration
HP laptop grayscale after calibration. Note the improved DeltaE and RGB balance
HP laptop grayscale after calibration. Note the improved DeltaE and RGB balance
HP laptop ColorChecker after calibration
HP laptop ColorChecker after calibration

5. Register Your New Purchase Online

Some manufacturers require you to register your purchase if you want any sort of official online support. OEMs like MSI or Asus may even throw in incentives for registering early like an extra 3 to 6 months of extended warranty or more cloud storage at no extra cost. Since this step usually involves submitting your product serial number online, however, registration may impact your chances of returning the product to a third party retailer.

If there are other steps you recommend new buyers to take like removing bloatware or reading the manual, feel free to share your experiences below.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 09 > 5 Things to Do After Purchasing a New Laptop
Allen Ngo, 2019-09-12 (Update: 2019-09-12)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.