3 Key Factors To Consider When Buying A Laptop

Three factors that come into play when choosing a laptop:

  1. What do you want it to do (performance)
  2. How long do you want it to last (reliability)
  3. How much do you want to spend (cost)



Ask yourself these questions:

What do you want to use the laptop for? Is it mostly online and web browsing?

Do you plan on adding local applications such as Microsoft Office? Or other general purpose applications?

Do you need to edit photos? Or Videos? If so these take much more horsepower and RAM than the above.


Square trade did a laptop reliability survey among their warranty holders. In general, the more expensive the laptop, the longer it lasted. The entry level laptops had a major failure 20.6% of the time within the first 3 years, vs the premium laptops with a 18.1% failure within the same period.
Here is a link to their article page:



Entry grade laptops run about $300-500. These laptops will generally last a shorter amount of time than higher models. This is because they have limited memory, and limited performance. Newer and faster software comes out all the time, even on the web. Websites are not as basic as they were just a few years ago. These low cost laptops are generally good for web browsing and online apps such as gmail and facebook, and would probably last the casual user around 3 – 4 years. This basic laptop will also have a lower resolution monitor, and be slower to boot, slower to run applications, and have less features. An example of this would be Acer Aspire E5 (http://amzn.to/2pp9UiN )


Stepping up  to a mid-tier laptop, around $500-$1200, you start getting some pretty good pc’s and mac’s. You can find good solid use machines such as a Dell Gaming Laptop (Inspiron 15 7000) with a separate video graphic card, higher resolution monitors and the like. These generally will run todays applications such as Microsoft Office, or even light-duty photo editing. An example of the Dell Gaming Laptop is here (http://amzn.to/2qxkoKB).


On the higher tier of laptops you’ll be getting a desktop replacement machine. This will set you back about $1200 – $2000 or more, and includes mac’s and pc’s. These are high horsepower machines that can do a lot more heavy lifting. With this machine, you would be able to do photo editing or video editing along with your standard apps at the same time. You should expect a SSD drive as the primary hard drive for speed, 1080p graphics resolution, quad-core processor, 16GB of RAM at a minimum, and more. An example of this is the Dell Precision (http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/precision-15-7520-laptop/pd?oc=xctop752015_us_sapp&ref=PD_Family )


If you are looking at Mac computers, the equivalent Mac vs a PC is between 1.5 times and 2 times the cost. So a $800 PC is basically the hardware equivalent of a $1200 Mac. Likewise a $1700 PC is about the same as a $3000 Mac

Here’s an example of  an $800 PC vs $1200 Mac:

Dell Gaming Laptop 15 -7559 MacBook Air
6th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-6300HQ Processor up to 3.2GHz  Dual-Core i5 up to 2.7GHz (slower)
256GB SSD  256GB SSD
Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M  Intel HD Graphics 6000 (lower)
1920x1080p 15″ monitor  1440×900 13.3″ monitor (lower)
Ability to hook up to external monitors  Needs adapters (extra cost)
$749 $1199

I looked at the lower MacBook but that is even slower, and more expensive than the MB Air.

I also compared the highest end Dell Precision with the MacBook Pro, making the configurations the most similar I could:

Dell Precision 7510 MacBook Pro 15″
Quad-Core i7 up to 3.6GHz  Quad-Core i7 up to 3.6GHz (same)
16GB DDR3  16GB DDR3 (same)
512GB SSD (ability to add 2TB second drive)  512GB SSD (less)
Nvidia Quadro M1000M (3497 3d mark speed)  Radeon Pro 455 (3759 3d mark score) slightly faster
3849×2160 15.6″ monitor  2880×1800 15.4″ monitor  (lower resolution)
Ability to hook up to external monitors  Needs adapters (extra cost)
3-year in home warrany 1-year carry in
$2078 $2799


If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a reply