Byte Me Article 356 – Laptop Purchase #2

10th March 2018

Switch On With Laptop Options

Following on from last weeks’ article about laptop reliability and replacement options, this article will look as other weaknesses that are particular to laptops.  One nasty problem that we have seen in particular with Toshiba laptops is that of the screen hinge breaking.  It is hard to trace this back to a customer fault so mostly it is a manufacturing defect.  We have seen this occur far too often and it can render the laptop useless.

The hinge between a laptop and screen is designed to be used thousands of times without getting tight or lose and it should keep the screen in an upright position when in use.  This hinge does not rely on the user doing anything special to it in the form of any lubrication or cleaning however some poorly thought-out designs have become stiff with use and simply end up breaking.  We have not had this happen on any of the HP commercial models.

The other bad design to watch out for are some of the ‘hybrid’ laptops that offer the ability to separate the screen from the laptop base.  They do this to proport to have the ability to be used as a laptop or as a tablet however this is largely false.  When you remove the screen from these hybrid laptops you are essentially leaving the main hard drive with the base, thereby disconnecting yourself from your documents and photos.

Another problem with hybrid laptops is the electronic connection between the screen and base often fails which then renders the laptop useless.  I would not recommend the purchase of one of these devices.  Leading on from the above I also have problems with laptops that lack a permanently attached keyboard.  Microsoft won’t like me but I fail to see the advantages of their extremely expensive Surface Pro range of laptops which lack a permanently attached keyboard.

When the keyboard is separate like in the above example it then has a separate battery and often a separate charging system which literally ties you up in excess cords and electronic baggage rather that simplifying your life as advertised!

Next on my hit list of less desirable laptop attributes are highly reflective screens.  When you first look at a laptop in a store a glossy reflective screen may appear shiny and bright however the benefits of this quickly fade in the real world.  In normal use a reflective screen is horrible to use if you have any windows or bright lights behind or above you.  A ‘matte’ screen may not look as fancy initially however it is certainly the way to go.

When shopping for a laptop also consider how often you work with numbers as some laptops incorporate the number pad on the RHS of the keyboard and some don’t.  Any commercial or business laptop that has a 15.6” or larger screen should offer an incorporated number pad.  These laptops obviously won’t fall into the ultra-portable category however they fit the ultra-useable bill as soon as you run a package like Excel.

Another hot topic with laptop choice is that if a ‘dedicated’ video card or an ‘integrated’ video card.  For the vast majority of laptop users, the cheaper less complex integrated design will provide 100% of the same performance while running a lot cooler, extending battery life, costing less in the first place and providing greater overall reliability.

If you play computer games or do extensive video editing with something like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom then the dedicated video card should be considered. 

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.

For more advice and assistance from Kerr Solutions, like and follow us on Facebook