WOF: When buying a laptop, what do you value most?

By Jos · 47 replies
Aug 3, 2012
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  1. One of the great things about building your own desktop computer is that you can configure it exactly how you want it with off the shelf parts. But it's a different story when it comes to laptops -- your options are…

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  2. plain and simple, build quality.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,872   +1,291

    1) Keyboard
    2) Keyboard
    3) Keyboard
    4) Performance, esp. video. A laptop that can't play games is like a three-legged dog to me.
    5) Battery life. I'm rarely using a laptop somewhere I can't plug in so I don't worry much about endurance, but its still nice when the power goes out or you're taking a break at a rest stop.

    This pretty much leaves me with Lenovo since I don't know of another company still putting real keyboards on laptops. Fortunately, Lenovo makes some of the most potent laptops around like the Y580. Their also a good value if you catch them on sale, have a coupon code, etc.
  4. Cota

    Cota TS Enthusiast Posts: 513   +8

    I dont use laptops or any mobile device, I cant stand them :p, Its just too impractical for what I do, I just take it like a man and afk from Computers until I arrive home.
  5. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,319   +1,408

    I have an hp laptop with a core 2 duo, 4 gb of ram and an m4650. I bought it for school so it was perfect for my gaming needs at the time. As long as it can run any application smoothy and be able to play games on low to medium settings I'm perfectly happy with it. Certainly I'd like a beefy graphics card, but that m4650 suited all my gaming needs when I couldn't afford to fix my desktop. I never really gamed on the go. Right now it's usually a friend playing online/LAN games at my house. Mostly CoD4, Age of Empires 2, and killing floor. None of those are very demanding.
  6. TS-56336

    TS-56336 TS Addict Posts: 609   +109

    Just like every little boys' dream, I'd stick with battery lifetime and graphics. They most matter when you're just killing time. But I guess I'll just keep dreaming.

    I don't even have a laptop.
  7. Tehori

    Tehori TS Rookie

    I had bought an Asus G73 on my own, and then my college gave me a Lenovo W520. Yeah, the Asus had way better graphics, more memory, harddrive space, etc. but the Lenovo was way more reliable, and in the end, that was what mattered. Build quality is hands down the most important aspect of any laptop. After all, a laptop can't do you any good if it breaks.
  8. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 511   +152

    I really can't pick just 3. I mean, I REAAALLLY don't like to compromise.
  9. lalaman

    lalaman TS Member Posts: 25

    FINALLY....someone I can agree with =)

    Lenovo, despite being one of the few companies who uses English keyboards in Canada also has great overall performance to cost ratio.

    Good choice, my friend.
  10. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,671   +988

    Jose was smart to let us choose only 3 features in the poll (and thus prioritize), so the aggregate results mean something. By the third feature I had them all ticked and was going for a fourth, which made me choose...

    Performance is important, but most of today's laptops come with more or less the same kind of processors (and potentially graphics) once you're settled in a price range.

    So for me it was build quality, display quality, and keyboard/trackpad (which goes back to overall build quality). If I'm using a laptop it better be comfortable and it better last -- my current MacBook Pro has lasted me almost 5 years which is a LOT by anyone's standards. Before this one I was a ThinkPad guy, and I wouldn't settle for less no matter what.
  11. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    This was essentially me on all counts, except I still have my old IBM thinkpad from 2005 (Which I don't really use anymore) and happen to be waiting for Q3-Q4 holiday season to finally upgrade to a brand new laptop. I can't use touchpads effectively anymore because of the track point. :(
  12. gwailo247

    gwailo247 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,010   +18

    My only experience with a laptop makes build quality be the #1 factor. I only physically removed it from my desk maybe 4 or 5 times, and yet by the 5th time my screen went out on me.

    I used to have my tower PC on the ground next to my desk, and I must have kicked or banged it more times that I can count, and nothing ever broke.
  13. Important factors: Build quality, screen resolution, keyboard, SSD.

    Unimportant factors: Processor and memory - in the sense that even a cheap low-end CPU and 4GB RAM is fine for what I use a laptop for (Web browsing, instant messaging and very light productivity).
    Discrete graphics - I don't play games or do heavy media editing on laptop.
    Thinness - really as long as it's thin and light enough to lug around easily who cares if one model is a millimetre or two thinner than another? You're never going to notice the kind of tiny differences manufacturers are obsessing over at the moment.

    Unfortunately all the PC manufacturers seem to be fixated on what I'd consider the unimportant factors, so their marketing departments can boast about how fast the processor is, or how their model laptop 1.5mm thinner than their closest competitor or whatever, whilst completely ignoring the factors I feel are more important and will have a much bigger impact on day to day usage for most users.
  14. Lurker101

    Lurker101 TS Evangelist Posts: 820   +344

    I'm saying brand. Mainly because the brand is a good indicator of both build quality and support, in case things break.
  15. gcarter

    gcarter TS Enthusiast Posts: 82   +23

    What frustrates me about the majority of laptops these days, including the so called "hi-end" models is the screen resolution.

    The industry seems obsessed with 1366x768... yeah fine, if its on a 10-11" portable, but placing that resolution in 15" laptops is maddening... everything looks like a kids chunky toy on the screen!

    I digress, for me, as if you haven't guessed by now... resolution is the most important factor I look for in a laptop. The next is the touchpad! I've lost count as to how many laptops I've parted with simply because of crappy touchpads. The bigger the better, and it has to be Synaptics...

    ...oh and the size of the screen bezel.... Ive had a number hf HP laptops, and maybe its just me, but a really wide screen bezel makes a laptop look silly... thin bezels are far more aesthetically pleasing.
  16. Twixtea

    Twixtea TS Rookie Posts: 86

    Display quality and resolution
    Build quality
  17. waterytowers

    waterytowers TS Booster Posts: 101   +10

    1> Screen resolution is key - I need all the pixels I can get. 1366x768 is a ridiculous resolution on anything above 13 inch. I have seen and played with 13 inch laptops using 1920 x1200 and I thought it was perfectly usable so I would like a 15 inch or 17 inch at 2560 x 1440. I am hoping that apple may lead other vendors to finally provide a screen upgrade. I have even dreamed of buying the new mac pro screen and attaching it to my laptop. Could never bring myself to buy apple, their eco system doesn't suit me.

    2> Enough battery for 8 - 10 hours would be nice. I am finding my nexus 7 to be perfect as a web browser, eReader and media viewer. It is not for development though, that requires a laptop, preferably with a high-res screen.

    3> Reasonable CPU grunt without the high end GPU. This is something that is not catered for by any vendors. My current laptop is a Clevo with a Nvidia 460M and I really don't need the GPU to be that powerful, but to get a CPU other than the default lowest end mobile i7 requires you to also upgrade your GPU to a gamers level GPU. I run a lot of virtual machines and build environments simultaneously so need all the CPU grunt I can get. I also appreciate being able to work away from a desk from time to time which is why I use a laptop (desktop replacement) and if I had a lower spec'ed GPU I am certain my battery life would increase significantly.
  18. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    Years ago I used choose laptops based on its graphics alone. back in early 2005 I chose an acer 4000 for its ati 9700 64Mb. it was pretty fast at its time. same thing happened when I bought its replacement in 2008.

    Now I figured out that even when im always mobile, its more cost-effective to build a desktop and get a low-end laptop. rather than buy a powerful laptop. I get better graphics and higher total resale value.

    Graphics is no longer my priority. it's more to size and portability now. I just picked up a lowest end Asus UX21 few days back, and it really lives up to its name (ultrabook) when it comes to size and portability.
  19. Why isn't PRICE on the list?
  20. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 930   +31

    Got to agree with gcarter. synaptics touchpads are great! my laptops always used Synaptics and I didnt realize how great they were until I used an UX21 with ELAN touchpad and I realized it cant even perform basic one-finger scrolling. really missed the "chiral-scrolling" feature on Synaptics touchpads (available with latest driver) too.

    Price is definitely my top tier priority list.
  21. yowanvista

    yowanvista TS Enthusiast Posts: 82

    Graphics, I will never simply buy any laptop having a sole integrated Intel crap graphics which would deliver poor performance.
  22. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    Build Quality, and Ports!

    I use my laptops for business to connect to network/server equipment. If anyone out there makes a laptop with a built-in KVM so that I can connect to a headless server (that's likely crashed and I cannot access it remotely) and use the laptop's keyboard, mouse, and monitor to control the server - that would be amazing!!!
  23. Ma_ga

    Ma_ga TS Rookie Posts: 39

    I don't like to use laptops, they are very uncomfortable for me, but when I have to use one, I like the lap to have a good keyboard, and that doesn't heat my hands, the heat wasn't add to the list.
  24. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 568   +241

    I've used my XPS 15 for over a year and I'm overall satisfyed with it: battery life with some tweaks I did to the registry, performance, AUDIO (I love that in my laptop), graphics not the best but it handles well Crysis 2 at minimum (high) and the other games I play on it; and the keyboard backlight, oh, I'm never buying a notebook without it.
  25. As a gamer, graphics. Yea I have a desktop designed specifically more gaming, but I also need a mobile machine to run my games and handle high setting games. Everything else follows suit.

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