I’d never thought I’d say this, but one important feature to have on your next laptop is the number pad. It’s absolutely crucial to motion graphic designers, since some of the most time saving After Effects shortcuts are mapped to it.
The number pad 0 button does a quick ram preview, and I also often jump frames by typing in on the number pad. The period button on the number pad previews audio, and I tap out markers using the asterisk button on the number pad. They’re shortcuts I use on a daily basis. Sure I could remap them, but it just gets cramped. I personally have a laptop without a number pad, and I find animating in After Effects a little painful. It’s not something you notice or even consider, but is glaringly apparent when you lose it. There are USB numberpad attachments, it would just be another thing to add to the ever bulking laptop bag.
I previously wrote a post recommending laptops over desktops for your next computer purchase. If you work in After Effects at all, do yourself a favor and make sure to grab a laptop with a number pad. I definitely will.