When considering which laptop PC is best for your own unique needs it is vitally important to consider the manufacturer and its reputation as a laptop PC specialist. Do not get seduced purely by price or what appears to be a superior build specification. Companies such as Dell, Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic offer top quality laptops, they have a proven track record in the industry and have reliable, expert support services. In the second tier are companies such as Acer, Compaq and Fujitsu Siemens.
Unlike desktops, which can be ‘cobbled’ together from disparate parts to make a high spec and reliable computer, laptop PC’s are built around a much more challenging design infrastructure. Parts are complex to integrate, micro in size and bundled into a considerably smaller casing than those of a desktop. Therefore while well respected laptop manufacturers work to vigorous design and testing standards and produce reliable hardware for the mass market, lesser known makes and models (and certainly re-conditioned notebooks) have problems with heat and noise management, battery or processor performance, storage device or memory failure and connectivity issues. All can be attributed to the machines build being adversely affected by parts that are not seated correctly, don’t disperse heat effectively or generally are cheaper components made to fit but do not actually provide optimum performance.
As a result these cheaper laptops from lesser known manufacturers often deliver inconsistent performance, heat and noise, and as a result are a poor investment. What is more, with cheaper components downgrading performance, a laptop is at risk from processor, hard drive or fan failure, extreme heat and battery power that is uneconomical when running applications and storage resource management tasks.
The second phase of your relationship with your chosen laptop PC manufacturer is service and warranty. It is a common occurrence when you are making a decision to purchase a piece of computing equipment and even more so when it is a laptop, that manufacturers and retailers alike are very quick to offer service and warranty that quickly bumps up the price of your device. However, do not discount this seemingly ‘hard sell’ tactic without researching the manufacturers’ reputation for service. Whereas I would not advise anybody to waste money on insurance or service/warranty cover for a desktop PC unless it is somewhat of a flying machine with the very latest whistles and bells, taking out cover on a laptop is a sensible decision. Of course most come with a one or two year warranty but nothing more, and such is the complex nature of the build, internal machinations that deliver performance and required flexibility of screen, keyboard, hard disk drive, optical drive, CPU processor and memory, that there are lots of unique parts that can and will break down at some point. For example it can cost as much as a new laptop to replace an LCD screen, a 2.5” hard disk drive is not cheap either, and replacing the CPU - forget about it! So it is worth looking at the options available and weigh them up in conjunction with your laptop requirements and where it will sit.
Personally I have a mid range laptop that I do not have any warranty cover for and I never have (other than the 1yr provided at time of purchase), that is because I have always been of the impression that because the laptop always sits on a desk in my conservatory and is used solely by myself I will take my chances that it will last for as long as I need it. Then I’ll buy a new laptop when the day arrives that the hard drive, screen or CPU die. Now three years on this decision has proved the right one, if this laptop failed to respond tomorrow I would go out and buy another one knowing I have had three+ years of excellent service. However, I also have a laptop for the family that is a multi faceted and high in spec. This is used in various locations, living room, kitchen, children’s bedrooms, even in the garden. Such is the diverse nature of its high tech build that warranty cover is a no-brainer. I have a 1yr rolling warranty/insurance contract for this device and will only let this lapse when I deem it not worth paying the premium for the cover, i.e. when I can go out and buy a similar spec laptop for a fraction of the price. Which, with modern technology advancement as it is, will probably be in a couple of years?
Next »> Buying a Laptop PC for Windows - Making the right choice
This post is part of the series: Laptop Buyers Guide: Looking Under the Hood
In this series we review the key laptop components that make mobile computers such a popular buy. Providing advice on buying a laptop we take a look at visuals, memory, power, features and more. Giving you a comprehensive, under the hood look at laptop technology and how to choose a laptop computer.
- Laptop Buyers Guide - An Introduction to Choosing a Laptop
- Laptop Buyers Guide - Choosing the Right Laptop Screen & Graphics Chipset
- Laptop Buyers Guide - Choosing the Right Laptop Weight, Size & Durability
- Laptop Buyers Guide - Choosing the Right Laptop Processor & Memory
- Laptop Buyers Guide - Choosing the Right Laptop HDD Storage Space & Optical Drive
- Laptop Buyers Guide - Choosing the Right Laptop Communications & Ports
- Buying a Laptop PC for Windows - Battery and Operating System
- Buying a Laptop PC for Windows - Brand and Service