PTB Guide: How to choose a laptop
Shopping for a laptop but don’t know where to start on deciding which one to get? Here’s a simple rule of thumb that I always suggest to friends. Start with the size and price before getting to the details. Here’s to illustrate:
Size –> Price –> Brand <-> Design –> Extras
Brand and design are interchangeable based on your preference. I’ve reviewed and handled a lot of laptops from different manufacturers already and most specs and features on the same category are about the same so Extras like a backlit keyboard or a matte display should be of least priority for those who are confused.
With that, here are the different classification of laptops and their price range to help you decide
Netbooks – Php18k to Php23k
These are the 10-inchers and to some extent 11-inchers (pricier) which are probably going to be prevalent this year. They’re the entry laptops that students love because it’s light, portable and typically lasts the whole day you’re out. They’re used for browsing, social networking, writing reports and very light games.
Mainstream – Php25k to Php33k
These are your typical, basic yet trusty 14-inchers (or 15-inchers) that are more powerful than netbooks but still lacking the power to last you for years without upgrading. The lower priced mainstream laptops are those equipped with previous-generation processor while those using current tech are obviously pricier. Most of these laptops rely on integrated graphics so it’s not ideal for heavy gaming but still make a relatively decent entertainment laptop. Battery life usually hovers in the 3 to 4-hour mark.
Thin and Light – Php28k to Php42k
Ahh the new breed of laptops that has a little of everything. It is portable, lasts for a decent amount of time and has sufficient power for some serious number crunching. These are powered by ULV or ultra-low voltage processors which are still powerful yet doesn’t consume as much power although it comes with a price. Display size ranges from 12 to 14-inch with the 13-inch being the norm. Configurations with discrete graphics are possible but will significantly bump the price and shortens battery life.
Multimedia Laptops – Php45k to Php70k
These notebooks are usually in the 15-inch to 16-inch display size. Lower end of the price band will typically have the last generation processors but are still capable of heavy gaming and multimedia stuff thanks to higher RAM and better discrete graphics. Laptops powered by quad-core mobile processors start appearing here. These laptops are bulky and heavy and you need to look out for those designed with good heat dissipation.
Enthusiasts – Php 70k and up… way up
These are the special breed of laptops that are usually on pre-order basis. They are normally 16 to 18-incher, have the best and latest mobile processor around and are very good replacement to your desktop multimedia or gaming rig. Typically, these are the best manufacturers have to offer in terms of computing power, design or special features such as a 3D display or a multi-touch screen or a hi-fi stereo system.
NOTE: The price range are estimates based on the usual prices that I’ve encountered when reviewing, buying or writing about laptops. You should give or take a few thousand pesos when planning your budget. Special laptops like the Lamborghini Eee PC will further skew the price on its category.
NOTE: The prices doesn’t apply to Sony VAIO. When you really want a VAIO, forget about my rule of thumb. You are paying premium for the brand as well as quality and design so the price factor will go out of the window.
NOTE: I did not include Macbooks here because they’re on a class of their own. The Apple website will help you determine which MacBook is right for you.
NOTE: Please don’t ask me for what brand or model to get. It’s very debatable. What I always suggest is to go to malls with the size and price in mind and look which design would appeal to you. I can help you decide between two models but I can’t suggest a specific laptop for you out of thin air.