A laptop has become an essential electronic gadget for everyone. From college students to working-class adults, we all need laptops for a wide variety of reasons. Despite everybody needing a computer, our individual needs differ. For some, it is for academics and documentations, and for others, they are strictly for work.
Owning a laptop is only half the job - the other half is purchasing and maintaining it. It is vital to get the purchase process right. An incorrect purchase decision can have significant and lasting effects on the device itself and how much value we get out of it.
That brings us to this vital question.
How Do You Buy A Laptop?
Buying a laptop is simple, but buying it the right way can be tricky. A potential laptop buyer will most likely assess their needs first. What do I want from my laptop? Do I need a gaming laptop or one to check my email and do other basic tasks? The answers to these questions, and many more, ultimately determine what type of laptop a buyer requires.
But that is not all - even after determining the type of laptop a buyer needs, they must also decide whether to buy cheap or expensive.
Buying a Cheap or Expensive Laptop
'Buying a cheap laptop' means exploring every possible avenue to cut costs while still getting as much value as possible. In some cases, consumers refer to this as 'buying on a budget,' i.e., looking for the best laptop within your budget range.
Conversely, 'buying an expensive laptop' means you prioritize functionality and performance over budget. Consumers with this preference are usually more concerned about how much their laptops can offer them and how long it can serve without any problems.
Both purchase options are valid - it all depends on the consumer's preferences.
Should You Buy a Cheap Laptop or an Expensive One?
It may interest you to know that the average consumer wants to spend only $300-$400 on a laptop - a behavior that has persisted for many years. While these statistics are not alarming, it shows customers are known to cut costs as much as possible when buying a laptop. This move may be a smart one, especially from the budget point-of-view. But it may well be a wrong move, from the long-term durability and service points-of-view.
To put this argument into a clearer perspective, let's quickly look at what contributes to a laptop's pricing. Any computer's price in today's market will depend on the type of hardware and software it offers.
Your laptop's hardware is essentially the specifications, also known as 'specs,' and the internal and external accessories it offers. The specs include the processor, hard drive, RAM, and graphics chip. The accessories may consist of the screen, keyboard, battery, casing (metal or plastic), ports, etc.
There are two major software options when buying a laptop - the Windows laptops by Microsoft, and the MacBook by Apple. Consumers may also be interested in Chrome OS by Google.
So, the specs of a laptop determine the pricing. That said, there are chances that an expensive laptop will offer excellent hardware and software combinations. But the same is hardly true for cheap laptops.
Are Expensive Laptops Worth It?
This question is perhaps the most crucial question this post has set out to answer. The truth is, expensive laptops are usually worth it, provided you have the budget. The reason for this is simple - expensive laptops do not compromise.
The only reason you can save money with a cheap laptop is that the manufacturers made compromises. In each case, that varies, but ultimately, the computer is missing something to cut costs. It may be less RAM or storage space, a less durable and responsive keypad and touchpad, or weak battery life.
Expensive laptops, on the other hand, hardly make such compromises. You get the best value for every dollar you spend on your expensive laptop. The RAM and storage space are usually the best around. You get a fast processor, the accessories are excellent, the battery life is extraordinary, and more importantly, it is a durable all-around device.
Why Are You Paying Extra?
You may want to ask - what am I paying for in an expensive laptop? Not to worry, we have the answers. When you lay out a few hundred dollars to get a relatively costly notebook, here is where the extra money is going.
Your laptop RAM is more important than you think. Most cheap laptops in the market offer only 4GB of RAM, which sounds good on paper, but not in actual performance. A 4GB RAM laptop can only do the minimum, like light document work, web browsing, and standard media streaming. If you throw anything more demanding at it, it will struggle.
An expensive laptop, on the other hand, offers at least 8GB of RAM. More RAM provides a better multitasking and productivity experience. You can do extensive documentation, multi-tab browsing, comprehensive streaming of audio and video content, edit photos, and sometimes, play your favorite computer games.
Your laptop storage is where you keep your files, including your laptop OS. Most cheap laptops come with an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) that is inferior in quality. HDDs are not only slow and frustrating but also hardly stand the test of time.
An expensive laptop rarely comes with an HDD. Even when it does, the HDD is there to offer you extra storage space. Most expensive laptops come with solid-state drives (SSD) rather than a hard drive. The former is much faster, more responsive, and more durable, giving you an overall better user experience.
An SSD provides a significant difference in the performance of any premium computer. You can get 3x or 4x performance speed and efficiency, making task-switching and general responsiveness seamless.
The most durable laptops use steel or metal in their construction, rather than plastics. Makers of cheap laptops choose plastics over metal because they want to cut costs. While this works, you will also be missing out on the durability steel and metal has to offer.
Expensive laptops come with a steel or metal casing, which offers relatively better protection and durability. Oh, metal casings feel premium and are more appealing as well!
Better and Bigger Battery
If you are paying less for your laptop, chances are you will not be getting the best battery. You may be limited to about two or three hours of usage. You may also need to replace your battery after a few months of use.
Conversely, relatively costlier laptops, including Lenovo's ThinkPad and Dell's Latitudes, are known for their impressive battery life. You can get up to six hours of battery time with a single charge. Plus, the battery's life is much longer.
Great Touchpad and Keyboard
Most cheap laptops in the market offer subpar keyboards at best. Such keyboards are unpleasant to use and are not sturdy. You cannot get a good typing experience. The same is accurate with the touchpad or mouse.
Expensive laptops, on the other hand, are equipped with great keyboards and touchpads. The touchpads are very responsive and easy to use. The keyboards also offer you a better typing experience, thanks to the snappier keys and extensive travel.
Better Overall Performance
Expensive laptops do more than the fundamentals. You may either get a workstation-class performance or a gaming performance, depending on your preferences. Either way, a costly laptop's performance is usually a function of the factors described above.
The Bottom Line
The temptation of going for a cheaper option when shopping for a new laptop is real. Naturally, we try to save money and cut costs. But cutting costs is most times the wrong move. Over the years, experience has shown that paying a few more hundred dollars for your laptop can be a financially-smart decision, especially in the long run.
An expensive laptop offers you the best in terms of software and hardware, translating into overall excellent performance. It is also a good investment considering you spend less on repairs and upgrades. Repairing a cheap laptop can sometimes cost as much as the original purchase price. A more expensive laptop can be costly to fix, but costs are still less considering the overall initial investment.
Do you need professional help in buying the right laptop? Feel free to reach out today and tell us about your needs. We are always happy to help you make the right choice - a computer that will serve you both in the long and short run.