Things You Should Know Before Buying A New Laptop

Luis Metal

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Member

Disclaimer: As some of you read this article, you may not agree with everything that I have written, however, everything is based on fact as well as many years of experience. Some of you have probably bought a cheaply made laptop and have never had any issues (you are a part of a very fortunate few), while others may have purchased a high-end laptop and have yet to have a day that goes by without any issues at all, it happens. This article is simply here to help those who are in the market for a new laptop and would like to make an educated purchase instead of going on a whim. So please do not crucify me if your precious Acer is the best thing that has ever happened to you. With that being said . . .

When it comes to buying a new laptop, it is not always easy to make the right choice. Even the sales associates at Walmart or Best Buy are little to no help when it comes to making an educated decision. It could be argued that it would be in our best interest not to educate our customers or the general public on the major laptop manufactures and their quality of products. However, we believe that by doing so, you will not only purchase a better product, (that will require little to no repairs) but that when the time comes, you will be more than willing to upgrade or repair that same laptop, knowing that it is a worth while investment.

The first two pages of this article will give you some insight into what make laptops good or bad. The second page describes some of the most common issues with laptops in general while the preseeding pages will describe each laptop brand specifically. If you are only interested in learning the pros and cons of each brand, skip to page 3, but I highly suggested that read the first two pages so that you can make a more educated decision when buying a brand new laptop.

Everything is an Investment

I heard a pretty shocking statement from a lady who came into our shop with an eMachine desktop. She said,

“I love eMachines”

I of course asked why

“Because they are so cheap and disposable. As soon as one breaks, I go to Walmart and buy another”

Unfortunately, she is not the only one with this mind set. Consider this. Everything in life is an investment, now I could write a whole article along on this concept, but just to prove my point on this article, I am going to give you a few few figures.

On average a low-end Acer laptop costs around $300 minus tax. Most of these Acers do not last more than a year or two and sometimes even less. Because this is the case, it is usually not worth repairing and even doing a data recovery seems daunting after you realize how much money you just wasted. So with the repairs being more than what the laptop is worth, you go out and buy another one, lets say at the rate of every 2 years. At this rate you are spending $900 or more every 6 years for a very poor quality laptop.

Now lets say you decide to invest some money on a higher quality laptop such as an Asus. Typically you will spend about $500 – $600 on an Asus laptop, which is a great price for the quality and great specs that you are receiving. In most cases this laptop will last you at least 4 years if not much longer with very few issues, as long as you take care of it. This means, that if that same laptop costs you $600 and in 4 years the hard drive needs to be replaced (most common repair for any laptops, usually due to the user) you will have only spent $800 in that same time period. So not only are you spending less money per year, but you are only buying one laptop in that same period of time, which will have much better specs (meaning that it will run much faster and smoother) with very little issues. In fact, at $300 per laptop, you will be lucky if the 2nd or 3rd one you buy meets or exceeds the specs of the 1 Asus laptop you could have bought 6 years ago.

Standards

There are different standards that manufactures hold to such as FCC, ISO, UL as well as others, noted by their seal of approval that help to keep manufactures within a certain bounds of performance, safety, and quality. These standards however, are very minimal and the government has helped manufactures to slacken these standards. In any case, as you can imagine, each manufacture has their own set of standards in which they follow. For instance, a laptop may have a certain brand name on the outside of the case, but what many do not realize is that the components on the inside are actually built by a series of manufactures like Asus, Biostar, Diamond, Foxconn, Realtek, and many others. Just as each laptop brand has their own standard of quality, so does each hardware manufacture. Simply put, a manufactured PC is nothing more than a computer made up of components made by the lowest bidder. Though just about every manufacture buys components from the lowest bidder, it is not without a certain degree of standards. For instance, Acers may have a quality standard that allows them to go as low as $20 (Imaginative figure) a board per unit where as others may spend closer to $50 per board per unit. Again, you get what you pay for. In other words, manufactures may go for the lowest bidders, but many will only go so low while others will go as low as possible.

<!–nextpage–>
Disclaimer: As some of you read this article, you may not agree with everything that I have written, however, everything is based on fact as well as many years of experience. Some of you have probably bought a cheaply made laptop and have never had any issues (you are a part of a very fortunate few), while others may have purchased a high-end laptop and have yet to have a day that goes by without any issues at all, it happens. This article is simply here to help those who are in the market for a new laptop and would like to make an educated purchase instead of going on a whim. So please do not crucify me if your precious Acer is the best thing that has ever happened to you. With that being said . . .

Common Laptop Issues

Laptops are 3 times more likely than desktops to need repairs in the first year of use. This is due to a number of issues that are common among all laptops. There are obviously many issues that laptops can have, but these are the most common.

Hard Drives: Due to how fragile most hard drives are, they are probably the most commonly replaced component of a laptop. A simple hit, bump or knock on the wrong portion of the laptop can start a series issues inside the hard drive that can eventually cause it to fail. Just like anything else, certain hard drive manufactures are better than others and are less likely to fail, but it is not always easy to determine which laptop has which manufacture hard drive.

LCD / LED screens: Just like hard drives, laptop screens are very fragile and are susceptible to being damage upon transportation or improper handling of a laptop.

Over-heating: There are many reason why laptops have a higher tendency than desktops to over-heat, and I could write a whole article on this subject alone, however, I will give you some simple tips and tricks that will help.

1. No matter what brand of laptop you choose to buy, get a cooling pad to run underneath the laptop. Obviously, the more fans the better, the bigger the fans, the quieter. If you want your laptop to last, this is a must.

2. Do not use your laptop on anything that can cover the air vents like the carpet, your bed, or even on your lap. If you insist on not using a cooling pad, at least set it on a hard and flat surface.

3. Finally Stay away from laptops with an AMD processor or chipset, especially if it comes equipped with NVIDIA graphics. I am sorry if you love AMD and swear by it, but simply put, AMD processors should never be put in a laptop. AMD processors run much hotter than Intel and will only cause problems in the long run. NVIDIA on the other hand makes great graphics chips and cards but they too run very hot. If you are wondering why so many laptop manufactures us AMD instead of Intel, its because they are a lot cheaper and are of a lower quality. Stick with Intel processors and chipsets and you will be better for it. As for the NVIDIA, as long as you stick with Intel and follow my other tips, you should be fine.

Note: You can easily find out what a laptop has by looking at the specs of the laptop, the stickers on the palmrest or by asking a sales clerk (most should as least be able to tell you that much).

Power Jacks: All laptops are susceptible to have issues with the power jack. To be completely honest with you, I am unsure if it is due to the consumer or the manufacture. We tend to do more power jack replacements on Gateways more than any other manufacture, but that could simply be because people who buy gateways view them as disposable and taking care of their laptop is simply out of the question or it could be that the manufactures throw together the laptops so fast that proper solder points are not made or the power jacks are not secure well enough. Either way, if you are careful and patient and take care of your laptop, you should have little to no issues.
 
Top