Not all hardware is created equal.

Computer Hardware

Computers and electronic hardware has been a passion of mine for well over 20 years. I’ve always wanted to use the best, but knowing what is the best isn’t always easy. If you believe the marketing you can get a great laptop for $500 at your local retailer, why would you pay $1500 or more?

It was my opinion 3 – 5 years ago, that there was little value in buying brand name equipment, but that has changed and below is why.

Number 1: - Build quality

The higher end “commercial grade” brand name systems in HP, Lenovo or Dell are of significantly better build quality, you can see it and feel it when you have spent a fair amount of time working on a higher end model. The lower end ones that you pick up from the big retailers look great to the untrained eye, the specs are impressive and often the prices are $500+ lower than a similar spec commercial grade one. The problem is they just don’t last as well. Parts break, often made of plastic rather than metal, the screen quality, the keyboard quality, the battery longevity are all inferior. You don’t immediately notice these things, but over the course of 3 – 5 years they do become apparent.

Number 2: - Lack of accessories and 3 year warranty

The commercial grade laptops usually come with 3 year warranty from the manufacturers. They are usually next business day, on-site warranty, which means if anything hardware goes wrong the manufacturer will have someone on-site the next working day with a good chance to fix it. Consumer grade ones might offer 1 year + 3 years extended, but these are 3rd party warranties and usually involve your laptop going away for weeks and coming back with a wiped hard drive in hopefully working condition.. You will agree there is not much value for you in this arrangement unless you are one of the rare people that have a 2nd PC ready to go..

The commercial grade ones also come with a full range of accessories like docking stations that make mobile computing much easier. The provides the ability to work like a desktop when you are in your office with multiple screens and a proper keyboard/mouse, or work like a laptop when you are mobile. Plus a spare power cord which saves you the hassle of having to constantly be crawling under desks, finding cables and power points..

Number 3: - I can buy 2 cheap ones rather than 1 expensive one…

I often hear this. I just want a cheap one and when it breaks I’ll get a new one... The problem with this theory is that the user gets comfortable on their cheap laptop, they work away happily for a year or 2 and then it breaks unexpectedly. This then leaves the user without a working computer, scrambling for a new one, puts their data at risk and costs them time, money and stress getting a new one setup. Often the replacement is purchased in a rush and is far from ideal as well… and the cycle repeats... My advice, get a good one, get it setup properly, and get 5 + years happy computing, plus reduce your stress levels at the same time.

I could keep going, but I think I have listed the main reasons why we at P1 Technology do recommend the more expensive commercial grade options. We have seen the difference, and we hate to see people disappointed when a laptop or desktop only bought 2 – 3 years ago lets them down when they can least afford it.

Author: Luke Smits