How to Tell if a Laptop is Good Deal, Or Just Cheap

When most consumers ask me for help finding a new laptop or notebook the first thing I ask is, “What do you want?”, to which they almost always reply, “A laptop for less than $600.” It’s not always $600, but the primary factor for most end users is the price of the machine; not the GHz, the RAM or the ports.

Sure, the users want, “A big screen, hard drive for all my stuff and a computer fast enough so that I don’t have to wait for it.”, but in the end, — it’s all about the Benjamins baby!

With such a focus on price it can be hard to figure out if the notebooks you are looking at are really a good deal, or are just a cheap laptop. Thankfully Avram Piltch from Laptop Mag has compiled a list of 10 Ways to Make a Notebook Look Cheap which can be used by consumers as a checklist for weeding out the cheap notebooks from those that are a great deal.

Piltch picks the following 10 attributes to tell you if a laptop is “Cheap”. While some of them may seem minor at first glance I can attest to the dissatisfaction that you’ll have long-term if you buy a notebook with more than a few of these issues.

  1. Flexing Keyboards
  2. Shoddy Build Quality
  3. Springless Memory Card Readers
  4. Faux Metal Materials
  5. Substandard Webcams
  6. Empty Space Between the Base and the Lid
  7. Pop-Up CrapWare Ads
  8. No Multi-touch Gesture Support
  9. Glassy Bezels on Glossy Screens
  10. Wallwarts instead of AC adapters

Sure, you can uninstall crapware, but it’s presence indicates a computer that was built with a more importance on selling your eyeballs to an advertiser than on creating a good user experience and odds are if your new computer still ships with crapware today it’s not the only item on this list that you’ll find.

Don’t forget to take a look at the actual specs after you’ve weeded out the cheap on the outside notebooks, to make sure you do have a modern dual core processor, big enough hard drive and plenty of RAM, but this list will help you find the 2 really good deals out of an aisle of duds.

If you’re in the market for a notebook that’s affordable, but not cheap, then you would be well served to read more about each of these items at Laptop Mag where Piltch goes into detail about why the problem makes for a cheap notebook.

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