Monday, October 22, 2007

Breakdown: Grouping the sub-$1000 laptops

This is only my opinion, so please bear with me! I will be breaking down the current sub-$1000 laptops for classicifcation purposes, but also to aid in understanding the market. The categories are presented in price order, the lowest price always first :-)

The first category, I call The Remnants, these are older less powerful single processor laptops, usually having older processors such as Celeron, smaller than 15.4" widescreen display, cd burner with dvd-rom, but not a dvd burner. they may also have only 512mb of RAM, smaller hard disk, and limited (or no) wireless capability, and probably Vista Home Basic, since 512mb can't really handle Vista Premium. In my opinion, unless you only want these features or you find these dir cheap, I recommend that you avoid them because for about $50 to $100 more you can get a much better bang for your buck.

The next category is what I call The Bang for the Buck category. This includes the laptops that hover in the $450 to $650 price range and have a number of nice features, but they are not state of the art. Typically you get:

  • 1gb RAM
  • AMD Athlon or Intel Pentium processor - both dual core
  • 80gb to 160gb hard disk
  • dvd burner (double or dual layer, sometime supermulti which really just means Panasonic DVD-RAM support) with either lightscribe or labelflash
  • 15.4" widescreen display
  • a/b/g wireless but not NextGen N wireless
  • Usually no extras like built-in webcam, built-in memory card reader or built-in fingerprint reader. All of these can be added via USB.
  • Vista Home Premium

    Next up, a category that often overlaps with the previous one is what I call The New Value Frontier and goes up to $800ish. It usually offers most of the features of the previous categories but may offer one or more of the following as well:
  • 17" widescreen instead of 15.4"
  • built-in webcam and built-in memory card reader, maybe fingerprint reader
  • 2gb memory instead of 1gb
  • bigger hard disk
  • maybe NextGen wireless

    And last but not least, I am grouping everything in the Open your Wallet category where the prices can start from the $800s all the way to infinity. Okay, not infinity but close :) These have all the latest features and/or some unique characterists that justify the extra price such as convertible displays, or touchscreens, or convertible touchscreens. Also some have HD-DVD or BluRay support which adds to the price premium, especially BluRay. The buzz features such as NextGen wireless, built-in fingerprint reader, webcam and memory card reader abound. Style and size are a premium for some models. Those 12" little bits costs a lot more than the "standard 15.4" widescreen" models. Others have race car affiliations (Ferrari), or luxurious bling bling or leather. But don't let the blign bling fool you, some of them are really more powerful than the previous categories. Some have both style and substance. But the commoon denominator is that you have to pay four figures :-)

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