Byte Me Article 268 – Laptop Purchase #2

Laptop Brands and their Models

Following on from last weeks’ article about laptops, today we will look at brand names and models as well as the resulting build quality and reliability.  Regardless of screen size, power and capacity our industry roughly divides laptops into two main groups – that of consumer laptops and commercial laptops (I refer to this last group business laptops).

The larger manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard (HP), Toshiba and Lenovo offer many models in both of these main groups.  However, some of the smaller manufacturers such as Asus, Acer, Samsung, MSI & Sony only offer consumer grade models.  Note that here I now refer to the word ‘grade’ and there is good reason for this.  There are some subtle but substantial differences between the quality of most of the consumer and commercial grade laptops.

Normally the commercial laptops offer better quality non-reflective screens, keyboards that are rated at several million more strokes, hard drives from top tier manufacturers, more robust chassis (housings), better ram upgradability, better screen hinge points and far better warranties.  In this instance we will look at the differences between HP’s consumer and commercial models.

2016-04-16 Byte Me Article 268 - Laptop Purchase #2

A consumer grade laptop from HP is most often in the form of a Pavilion model and they preside at all of the chain retail stores in great numbers.  Most have a glossy screen that reflects any light from behind the user.  They also have questionable housing strength and hard drive quality.  If they have 4GB of ram then it will be 2x 2GB sticks and no room for an upgrade without throwing these away first.  If these laptops play up under warranty then you send them to Eagle Farm in Brisbane and wait and wait and wait!

The HP commercial (business) models have the good screens, carbon composite (strong) housings, quality hard drives, a single 4GB or single 8GB ram stick (with a spare ram slot for upgrades) and are fixed within 2 business days at your location if they fail under warranty.  For these reasons we nearly exclusively sell the HP commercial laptop series to our customers.

So would I trust a consumer grade laptop from HP – no way!  What about from other manufacturers – absolutely not!  As an example I bought in 5 Asus laptops only 12 months ago as part of a budget laptop promo.  Within 6 months ALL 5 were showing hardware defects and we replaced all 5 at our cost with HP commercial laptops – never again!  The Asus models were about $150 cheaper than our standard HP commercial model and it was just not worth it.

While on the subject of quality, many years ago Toshiba were considered industry leaders in the laptop field and they had the largest percentage of the market.  We have never sold a Toshiba and lately we get so many new customers bringing us Toshiba laptops with either failed hard drives or broken screen hinges.  This is unacceptable and a reflection on quality control that has slipped badly for this previously good manufacturer.

Laptop hinges should never fail, however too often we see the housings broken because the hinge has become too stiff.  This is a manufacturing default and nothing to do with how the laptop is being used.  We have access to every brand of laptop under the sun however we choose not to be swayed by ‘specials’ or flashy looking colours as at the end of the day it just needs to work.

The HP commercial models have their users coming back after 3 to 5 years to buy the same product again from us. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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