Why you should buy an inexpensive Laptop

Plastik Laptop-Mann HY

Image courtesy: SeptemberWoman. This photo is published under this creative commons license.

I don’t understand the reason why people buy expensive laptops, especially when there are nice inexpensive alternatives available to them. Think about it. There are a lot of disadvantages of buying an expensive laptop and there are a lot of advantages of buying an inexpensive laptop. Some of them are given below.

1. A laptop with ‘advanced’ configuration just three years back is now available for a much cheaper price. People would have bought the same laptop at double the cost then, but they don’t buy it for half the price now!

2. Most of us use normal applications like watching movies, browsing the net, playing some basic games, listening to music, etc. For these mundane applications, the cheapest laptop available in the market is probably an over-kill. Of course, serious gamers (whatever that means) and Auto-CAD users might want to buy more powerful laptops (I am sure that the same thing was said three years back, too!).

3. What is the life one can expect out of a laptop? Can the expect anything beyond 3 years – 5 years (max)? No. When it is clear that laptops are going to be kept for such a short time before throwing it and buying a new one, why not buy an inexpensive one now so that you don’t feel guilty about changing the laptop in 3-4 years?

4. Most of the laptops come with a 1-year warranty. Just imagine the cost of Annual Maintenance Contract or the cost of spare parts (if the laptop is not covered by service contracts), if anything goes wrong with the laptop after a year.

5. Since laptops use proprietary parts/components for the most part, there is little/no spare-parts options. We need to buy all parts from the same company that manufactured a laptop and more often than not, the cost of spare parts is very high.

6. If we buy a more expensive laptop, we not only end up paying more for its maintenance, but we are also reluctant to dump it and change it for a newer one.

7. Laptop configurations improve/become better, very frequently. The latest configurations are obsolete in less than a year, most of the time. It makes a lot of sense to dump a laptop every three years and buy a new one, instead of maintaining an old laptop with an outdated configuration. It’s easier to dump a cheaper laptop than having to think about dumping a more expensive one.

8. The resale price of a laptop is very less. So, the loss incurred while trying to (read: not being able to) sell an old laptop is much lesser for an inexpensive notebook, than an expensive one.

9. Since many applications are available on the cloud (Internet-based services), processing is done at the server end using powerful cloud server processors. For example, YouTube has a video editor that allows one to edit videos using their cloud infrastructure, once the videos are uploaded. Heck, Google cloud offers up to 5 GB of free online storage for data/files, Online.

10. There are specific specialized computing devices available for niche applications. For example, it might be better to go with netbooks/chromebooks/tablet computers as a second computer, if you plan to travel a lot. This is cheaper and a better option than buying another expensive thin/sleek laptop model just for travel.

11. I use Linux Mint as my Operating System. I have been using my laptop with this cool operating system for more than 2 years now. I am able to manage with a free OS that saves me quite a chunk of money (as my laptop never came with any pre-loaded OS) instead of being dependent on expensive proprietary operating systems. If I can, you can too. Once you throw an old laptop, the pre-loaded commercial OS is gone with it too!

Basic configuration laptops have decent specs, these days. For example, let us consider the Toshiba Satellite C655D-S5540 notebook. Here are its specs:

  • AMD E-Series 1.65 Ghz Dual-Core processor with 1 MB cache
  • 3 GB SO-DIMM RAM (Max: 8 GB)
  • 320 GB 5400 RPM Hard disk drive
  • 15.6″ Laptop Screen (monitor), 720p native resolution
  • AMD Radeon HD 6320 Graphics card
  • 5.56 hours of battery life (6-cell battery)
  • Windows Home Premium
  • 8x Super Multi DVD with Label flash printing support
  • Support for 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Built-in speakers
  • 2 x USB ports; 1 x VGA port; 1 x RJ-45 (10/100 Mbps); 1 x Card reader; 1 x headphone/mic ports

Ok, these are not exactly show-stealing specifications but for the price, isn’t this configuration good enough? I don’t see why an average laptop user might want to buy anything better than this (Of course, there are exceptions). Generally, people end up buying over-sized laptops that are two or three times the cost of a laptop like this and then waste all the excessive functionalities present in them.

Under-utilization not only puts a hole in our purse but it also encourages the vendors to aggressively pursue manufacturing the so-called laptop with ‘highest specs’ and hence wastes a lot of national/international resources. Remember: “There is always everything available to fulfill the needs of people, but not their greed”. Be a responsible shopper/consumer. Here are some more low-cost laptop models to consider.


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