Some vendors charge more for less, but today you can easily find a laptop with a solid performance, thanks to an Intel Core i3 CPU, a 500GB hard drive and 4 to 6GB of RAM.
Most PC vendors seem to think that, if they just pop a faster CPU or discrete graphics card into the same cheap chassis, they can jack up the price and consumers will gladly pay it. I like White Castle as much as anyone, but I'm not going to pay $25 for a slider with Kobe beef inside.
If you're going to charge two, three or even four times as much as the average laptop, you need to either target a specific niche or provide a near-perfect experience. High-Res, Colorful Displays: While a few sub-$450 laptops have 1920 x 1080 displays, most have low-res, 1366 x 768 panels. Solid State Drives: Getting a fast processor is meaningless if you're using a mechanical hard drive for storage.
Real Premium Design: Most sub-$450 laptops are made out of plastic materials that look and feel cheap.
Long Battery Life: The very cheapest laptops — 11-inchers with Atom processors like the Lenovo IdeaPad 100s — actually have long battery life for a low price.
Workstation-Class Performance: If you're doing processor or graphics-intensive work tasks such as video editing, 3D animation or engineering, you'll benefit from a truly high-end processor such as a mobile Xeon CPU or high-wattage Core i7, along with Nvidia Quadro graphics. Mainstream Laptops with Discrete Graphics: Unless you need to play demanding games or do professional video-editing, paying extra for a laptop with a discrete GPU from Nvidia or AMD is a waste of money.
Touch Screens on Clamshell Laptops: If you're not buying a 2-in-1, you don't need a touch screen.
Laptops That Are Thin for Thin's Sake: Laptop-makers are in an arms race trying to determine who can make the thinnest computer of all time.
When you're shopping for a laptop, you should focus on your needs first and the product's capabilities second. Disclaimer: Author is not responsible for any loss of profit, indirect, incidental, special, or consequential damages arising out of the use of the data and information derived from this web site. The average retail selling price for a Windows laptop is just $448 (NPD data) and you can get a very capable one for much less.


Though they are not common in this price band, you can also find systems with 1080p or touch displays, Core i5 CPUs or solid state drives.
The popular retailer also stocks a $399 HP-ac151dx with a Core i5 CPU and 1TB hard drive, but a regular 1366 x 768 display. However, a plastic laptop with a stiff keyboard that starts at $400 still looks and feels cheap after you add a Core i7 CPU and increase the price to $800. After I gave the 11.6-inch, Atom-powered laptop a poor rating and wrote that it was overpriced, a representative from the manufacturer called me to complain. The Vaio Z Flip is a $1,800 2-in-1 with a premium aluminum design and a faster-than-normal 28-watt processor inside.
If you care about display quality — and who doesn't — pay for a panel that's 1920 x 1080 or higher and offers an excellent range of colors — the closer to 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut the better. An SSD has the most tangible effect on performance of any premium component, because it triples or quadruples application and file opens, task- switching and general responsiveness.
Devices that use premium materials such as aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber cost more but they are well worth it.
While more expensive laptops don't always offer a better typing experience, many have snappier keys and deeper travel. However, if you want a laptop with a mainstream processor that lasts all day, you'll need to pay extra. The best gaming laptops go from $1,500 to more than $3,000, and offer quad-core processors, high-end displays, dual storage drives and customizable lighting, in addition to their powerful GPUs. Laptops such as the ThinkPad P50 and the Dell Precision 5510 have these components, but they go for well over $1,500.
Unfortunately, many mainstream laptops bundle in low-end graphics chips that raise the price but aren't substantially better than the processor's integrated GPU.
Even if adding touch doesn't have a huge impact on price, it makes your battery life worse than it would be with a regular display. While it's good to have a system with svelte proportions, you should never trade performance and usability for bragging rights.


Ask "what am I going to do with it," not "what can it do?" Pay extra for things that truly add value, like a sharper screen, longer battery life and durability, but don't be fooled by other premium features that won't make your computing experience better. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. However, PC vendors are in business to turn a profit, so they really want you to buy notebooks that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars more. It was unfair to call the device "overpriced," he argued, because his company had spent a lot of money on components like a touch screen and discrete Nvidia graphics; they couldn't afford to charge any less.
However, other premium 2-in-1s like the Lenovo Yoga 900 target the same audience for hundreds of dollars less and, though they aren't quite as fast or as fancy-looking, they have better keyboards and screens. A 2K (2560 x 1440) or a 4K display (3840 x 2160) screen provides optimal image quality but will be overkill for most users. If you just need to play casual games or mainstream MMOs like World of Warcraft, you'll be fine with a Core i5 CPU that uses integrated graphics. Laptops like Lenovo's LaVie Z and the LG Gram 14 make you pay a hefty premium for their lightweight chassis, but both suffer from poor battery life and uncomfortable keyboards. But if you're going to pay a premium price, make sure you get a laptop that brings something special to the table, not just a couple of high-end components that won't affect the way you use it. Customers with $1,800 budgets are usually either creative professionals who really want a MacBook Pro, engineers who need an even-faster mobile workstation, or gamers who require a powerful rig. Look for test results from independent publications (like Laptop) and shoot for a model with 50 percent more juice than you think you need.
Other ultraportables are so thin that they don’t have room for a full-size USB port, like the MacBook, or trade a full-size SD Card slot for a microSD slot.



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