It might be clunky, it might be creaky, and it might even have been at the receiving end of a few coffee spills. But hey, it still works, right? When it comes to upgrading from an old laptop to the latest version, you will often hear people claim that their ageing workhorse might have seen better days, but it still gets the job done. So why bother upgrading?
Sure, some of the shiny new features in modern laptops may be nothing more than marketing hype, but there are also more than enough genuinely great reasons for you to consider retiring, repurposing or donating your trusty old device and switching to a modern one.
“Modern devices are built with the aim to provide users with the best experience delivering high performance, portability and increased battery life.”Lance Thorp, Consumer and Devices Sales Director at Microsoft
Besides, these devices include some really exciting features like voice capability, Windows Hello for security and easy device access as well as inking capabilities that enable people be more creative and more productive at work, home or school.
In September 2018, the technology site Tom’s Hardware decided to test how fast they could load Windows 10 on a modern desktop computer. After a bit of experimentation with various hardware combinations, they notched up a new speed record — it took just 4.93 seconds for the OS to boot up!
A modern laptop may not beat that record yet, but you can sure it will be substantially speedier and more responsive than your earlier machine. Not just while booting up, but also with every command you give it. This will add up to minutes saved every day and, over the year, you would have saved hours of your precious time. Time that you can use for things other than work.
The magic of SSD
A key reason why modern laptops are blisteringly fast, is that they typically come with Solid-State Drives (SSDs) instead of old-school spinning platters, aka HDDs. As Tom’s Hardware asserts, “SSDs are a game changer when it comes to the responsiveness of a system. You swap out your archaic HDD and throw in one of these speedy little guys and your boot time will plummet from the upgrade alone.” Joumana Karam, Head of Marketing & Product Business Unit – Middle East & Africa at Acer agrees, noting that fast booting and consistent performance are key factors for your everyday usage. The storage device is also crucial in processing data in “no-time”.
SSDs are traditionally more resistant, practical, and run quieter. And as more and more data is kept in the cloud, even a low-end SSD is enough to satisfy the needs of most users. But if you need more local storage, the good news is that SSD prices have been steadily falling. Research agency DRAMeXchange predicted SSD prices to fall by another 10 per cent in 1Q19, while a 512 GB SSD now cost the same as a 256 GB SSD did this time last year. Adds Karam, “The end-user will enjoy a fast and responsive experience that will allow them to be more productive and worry less about deadlines and more about Friday night plans!” And as a bonus, modern laptops with SSDs will cut down on frustration levels – you won’t experience the urge to smash a sluggish laptop with a hammer, while watching it take its own sweet time to carry out tasks.
Weighing in – from lugging to carrying
Rewind a few years back, and you would have often heard people crib about how they had to lug their laptop around for work. It felt as if the laptop bag had been stuffed with a pair of dumbbells! But since the time Steve Jobs famously pulled a MacBook Air out of a paper envelope, onstage at Apple’s Macworld 2008 event, laptop have increasingly become slimmer and lighter. “A laptop is a mobile device designed to be portable. With the new thin and light devices, the end-user will no longer struggle with portability!” says Karam, adding that some of the modern laptops from brands like Acer weigh under 1 kg and are less than 1 cm thin. “Travellers and professionals ‘on the go’ will highly appreciate the ease of use and portability the devices offer.”
All-day battery life
Till recently, the laptop charger went wherever the laptop did — during long meetings at the workplace, it was a common sight to see laptops plugged into power outlets. But modern laptops liberate you from the need to charge them every few hours, while also taking away the fear of the device dying on you in the middle of an important presentation.
In fact, the modern laptop is a true battery sipper, and you can expect 8-10 hours of regular use before needing to plug it in. Meanwhile, at the recent Computex 2019 expo, some of the laptops on display claimed a battery life of 15-16 hours! Even better, this was achieved without weighing them down with a bulky battery. Says Karam, “The longer battery life on a modern device provides peace of mind during a long working day, while leaving out the hassle of carrying the charger around.“
Karam describes it as “interactivity that screams ease of use”. Modern laptops come integrated with new technologies such as a touch screen that allows it to be used as a tablet. Some even support pressure sensitive digital pens, so that you can use for everything from taking notes to doodling to sketching the next Mona Lisa. Moreover, modern laptops offer fingerprint or face recognition that gives you an extra layer of security, while speeding up access to the laptop — looking at the camera or swiping a finger is certainly a faster way to unlock the device than typing in passwords. Other enhancements include speedier and more stable Wi-Fi — you will notice the difference especially while streaming high resolution videos or transferring big files. The display on modern laptops too tends to be sharper, brighter and higher resolution. Add in louder and better-sounding speakers, and modern laptops easily double up as potent entertainment devices.
And BTW, they look cuter
This one is a bit subjective, but most consumers would agree that modern laptops look svelte — even sexy — when compared to their chubby predecessors from a few years back. You will find the designer touch applied not just to the form factor, but also in the choice of exotic materials for the shell, the offbeat colours and paint job, the almost-invisible bezel around the display, the backlit keyboard… it even trickles down to how the hinge works or the kickstand folds out. For example, Microsoft’s Surface Book made heads turn with its Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge that is held in place by the Muscle Wire Lock – it mimics how a human muscle works, and is made from Nitinol, a Nickel and Titanium alloy.
So whether you are a marketing or a biz dev whiz out to impress a client, or just someone reading through Facebook posts from the comforts of a nearby coffee shop, you would most probably agree that first impressions matter and the laptop you are seen with plays a significant role in creating those initial impressions about you. Or as Karam explains, “In an era where social media is dominant and influencing is the best job to have, a modern laptop is the best companion to define the profile of any end-user!”
Testing is believing
Of course, the best way to judge modern laptops will be to play with them and compare to your existing laptop. And for that, you could drop by at Sharaf DG, which Thorp describes as “one the true digital transformation partners for Microsoft” and a company that has been at the forefront of adopting the latest technology, while providing customers with a great shopping experience.
“ We have been working very closely with Microsoft and other OEM PC partners to change the way P.C’s are sold in our market. We started the initiative by reducing the assortment which we had in our stores from 135 SKUs to 80 SKUs, our sales has gone up since as consumers have less choice and less confusion. Also, I am happy to say that currently all our stores have moved to 100% modern.”Nilesh Khalkho, CEO at Sharaf DG
So go ahead and test drive the latest, and greatest, in laptop tech. Discover for yourself why it is worth upgrading to a modern device. After all, a hands-on session is worth more a thousand words about modern laptops!
This article was originally published in GNTECH's monthly print supplement Techtalk on 27/06/2019