When we’re thinking about choosing a new laptop, most of us look at balancing price and performance. However, it’s important not to forget that software can have a great overall effect on both of these, once you actually start using your new PC.
Depending on what you plan to do with it, you will need different software, and perhaps you’ll need to invest in some premium tools to get the job done, but there are some amazing free options out there for all your basic work and entertainment needs. Here are some of the best free software choices available in 2016.
1) Media Player – VLC Media Player
For an all-round player that can open most playable media files, including almost all common audio and video formats, VLC is an excellent, lightweight option. Its interface is basic and never really gets an update, but by stripping away any unnecessary styling features, you’re left with a very fast and reliable player that we recommend using as a default on most PCs.
2) Media Library – iTunes
Apple’s software rarely runs perfectly on a Windows PC, but iTunes has gone through so many iterations now that its performance has finally been improved enough to make it run fairly seamlessly on mid-high end PCs. It’s the most intuitive music library software, in our opinion, plus since many of us use iPhones or iPods you can easily sync your music to those devices.
3) Email – Mailbird
Using an all-in-one solution to access your emails and messages from across different platforms is something that many PC users have gotten used to and can’t function without. Fortunately, Mailbird is a very effective free option that supports everything from Facebook to Dropbox plus several Google services.
4) Office – LibreOffice
Microsoft Office is probably the best overall choice in 2016 for working with and creating documents, but you may need a free alternative. LibreOffice is our number one choice here, because not only is the simple, OpenOffice-based interface easy to learn, it includes a full suite of office programs so it can serve as a true replacement for paid software.