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.

Happy shopping!

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  • Any laptops in the market that has atleast 6 hours battery life on moderate use?

    • lots really but you should be looking at netbooks and thin and light’s. always minus 2 hours from the advertised battery life to get a good feel on how long it will last in actual usage.

      • neis

        for battery life, advertised battery life divided by 2 is the better formula 🙂 for actual usage

        • well if you’re gonna be using your laptop for watching videos all of the time then that would be the case. pero for WiFi on and casual browsing and light games then minus 2 hours should be enough. 🙂

  • laptops and netbooks are becoming more like fashion statement here in the philippines. Owning one makes you cool and that’s what people perceive if you own one. I’ve seen people use high performing laptops just for light browsing which kills the purpose of high performing machines.

  • Laptop has now become one of the basic necessities for filipinos especially for the students. Theyre now available in the market and the most important decision that you should make is choosing the right one.

  • cloverleaf

    I think my Sony Vaio NW Series notebook (VGN-NW250F) belongs to the “mainstream” category. I wasn’t a fan of Sony laptops (my old Acer laptop is still ok) but my sister bought one last year and then decided to sell it to me. (I guess she couldn’t find a buyer LOL). Anyway, I’m using it now and I must admit I’m happy with it. Performance is Ok (with its 4GB DDR2 memory and 2.2GHz intel core 2 duo processor). This model, however, is no longer available at (So many laptop models released within a year. It’s so hard to keep up.)


    Think you forgot Business-class notebooks. Like Thinkpads and HP ProBooks.

    • i intentionally left it out. this post is target towards consumers. business notebooks are often purchased by companies. 🙂

      • i'm a teacher with a cheap budget. but i'm planning to buy a loptop to help me with my teaching and computing grades what would you recommend? thanks 🙂

  • Nice set of tips, thanks for sharing, keep them coming!!..

  • jaomadn

    This is a great tips.

    My friends keeps asking me on how or what kind of laptop to buy in here’s my 3 tips to them.

    1. Purpose – How would you used the laptop(Light user or heavy user). Is it for office/productive use (ex. email, web surfing, chat.) or For Games, video editing.

    2. Price – if light user then buy less expensive laptop. and for heavy users buy more high powered expensive laptop

    3. The last but not the least the design, brand name and style. If you know the purpose and your budget then theres called a mall or a tech store.

  • Mary D

    I’m planning to buy a new laptop and I would like to ask for some suggestions. I don’t understand much about computer specs so when I’m provided with a list, I don’t know how to compare them. Anyway, here’s what I need it for: i have a bunch of statistical programs to install (my old NEO laptop takes a long while now to operate), i work long hours, light enough to travel with, big memory space since i don’t have a pc, it’s going to be my all-in-one entertainment (watch movies–so i like it if it doesn’t reflect or glare, download stuff, music, not so much games).

    What can you suggest for a price range of 50k and below?
    Thanks a lot!

    • light and powerful to be used as an entertainment PC sounds like ultrabooks. what size are you looking at? if it’s 10-12 inch, the new netbooks should work ok. If 13-inch and above go with ultrabooks but if you’re going for that it’s better to wait and see the new ultrabooks that will be coming out this year, they’re more affordable than the one’s released late last year.

  • thank you for the models you’ve shown..nice.!:)

  • nice and unique designs..!:)

  • For the option Thin and Light ranges at Php28k to Php42k is good enough to make your business possible…

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    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear
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  • Sheila

    Been thinking on getting a new stuff (laptop or netbook). I’m not a tech geek so I am having some trouble deciding. I already have a toshiba satellite that always overheat and it annoys me to death. Since I am working as an online virtual assistant, I need something that I can rely on. My work needs a lot of loading,browsing and for personal entertainment I watch a lot of videos online. I am not into games. I am not really after the amount of memory whatever you call that. I would like to know what is the best stuff that will fit my job? Price and brand. Thank you.