Are laptops under Dh2,500 still worth the money?

There was a time when buying a laptop with high-end specifications meant shelling out big bucks. Adding the word Pro to the name of the device provided brands enough justification to charge exorbitant amounts of money.

Brands such as HP, Lenovo and Acer broke that mould, creating a range of cost categories to suit the needs of every type of customer, from the budget-conscious to enthusiasts craving the latest technology on their devices.

Laptops today can be picked up for as little as Dh2,500-Dh3,000, but some sacrifices are still made with regard to specs.

So the question arises, while the laptop being purchased would suit your budget and present needs, would it be better to have spent more and future-proofed it?

Rumana Sadekar, Consumer

Are laptops cheaper than Dh2,500 truly worthy of a purchase or are they just old models being pawned off at lower prices?

Rumana Sadekar, who purchased a laptop for Dh1,899 last year, says, “I needed a laptop for my father. While he needs a laptop for daily use such as email, a bit of office and the internet, it didn’t mean I needed to spend a large amount of money.”

From a financial point of view the customer is right but from the perspective of durability and entertainment this short-term decision might not make sense

What you need

The first thing to consider for a laptop of general use is durability. Such laptops are usually bigger, have a plastic feel and are usually not the most attractive. The second thing to look at are the internals. Most of the brands have to make manufacturing sacrifices to build low-end laptops.

The displays usually will be 1,366×768, which can’t compare with  the 1,920×1080 Full HD available on most laptops and tablets now.

Battery life is also suspect, with laptops in this price range usually saddled with longevity and performance issues, making your device less portable than you would have wished. And while storage might be more than 500GB it’ll be a HDD and not the newer SSD.

Affordability

Lenovo Ideapad 310

“At Lenovo, we play an active role in the transformation of technology by challenging the norm and providing access to smart end user devices that are affordable to all segments of the society,” says Mohammad Hilili, General Manager for Lenovo Gulf, Saudi Arabia and East Africa. “Our varied portfolio focuses on unleashing the productivity and creativity in a laptop while providing long-term value to our consumers.”

Lenovo’s Ideapad 310 falls in the under-Dh2,500 category. Another product is Acer’s Spin series (i3 models). These products may offer only the bare minimum in terms of current features, but there is nothing wrong with offering the bare minimum as long as the features provided work fine, and they do.

Want more?

These are budget laptops and are valid purchases for short-term use, but what if you wish to go the extra mile and spend an additional Dh1,000-Dh2,000?

Yong Geun Choi, President, LG Electronics Gulf

“At LG Electronics, we focus on consumers who appreciate experiences that are premium,” says Yong Geun Choi, President, LG Electronics Gulf. “Our consumers in the region are on the lookout for premium laptops that stand for ultra-portability, mobility and usability.”

Laptops such as the LG Gram, Acer Aspire V Nitro 15 and Dell XPS are examples of reasonably priced and current laptops I’m talking about.

These devices come with great Full HD displays, fantastic battery life, SSD for storage and durable bodies. While the LG weighs less than a kilogram, the Dell’s Quantum display is breathtaking and the Acer might be big and bulky but it’s still a powerhouse.

The Dell XPS 13 with its gorgeous Quantum HD display.

Pay a bit more

Obviously, these specifications come at a price. All these devices cost upwards of Dh4,000 depending on the specifications you select. If Dh4,000 is too much, even a laptop such as Lenovo Yoga 510, which is priced at Dh3,500, is a great choice. The device might still have a HDD for storage but is convertible and has a Full HD display.

Lenovo Yoga 510

The best option

The premise is pretty simple: you either spend less than Dh2,500 and buy something that’s the bare minimum, specifications-wise and may even be outdated soon or spend a few thousand dirhams more and ensure the laptop gives you the best of current technology while lasting you at least a few years. In the long run, over the course of, let’s say, six to eight years, your expense might be almost the same whether you spend less than Dh2,500 twice or more than Dh5,000 once.

It’s your decision on when you want to spend the money.