Why is a $2000 XPS 15 laptop better than a cheaper laptop with same specs?

rizzo183

Estimable
Nov 1, 2014
6
0
4,510
0
What makes premium laptops so good that reviewers call them "the best"? I mean, sure they are made using premium materials. But why is that important when you can save hundreds by going for cheaper materials but good build quality?

What else makes top-of-the-line laptops, top-of-the-line?
 

GreyCatz

Admirable


I guarantee you there's Nobel Prize in Economics waiting for the person who can answer that question definitively...

In the meantime, let's take one step at a time:
1. Materials are still important, but much less so than was the case 20 years ago.
2. In that same period, laptops have expanded, and proven, their useability beyond any manufacturer's wildest imagination.
3. Design, or styling, has pretty much replaced materials as the salient feature of most laptops currently available.

At the end of the day, the consumer - that's you, Rizzo - has to decide what is 'the best' laptop given your wallet, taste and purpose. Reviewers will try to offer a useful guideline and forums like Tom's will offer lots of input as well, but in the end you're on your own - and it's your money.

If you need to go to the Arctic for oil exploration or spend weeks on the African savannah studying dung beetles, a maxed-out gaming-styled rig from MSI or Alienware may not be 'the best' laptop for you, regardless of the components used or the price asked. Nor would a MacBook, regardless of the materials used.

In this case, 'the best' laptop would probably be one that can take a lot of punishment without breaking/malfunctioning, and if it does, components should be easy to replace on-site. And if your job entails an above-average risk of breaking stuff, the laptop shouldn't be inordinately expensive, either. Traditionally, this has been the strong selling points of ThinkPads.

If your life involves heavy socializing, privately and professionally in urban/office settings, an Apple MacBook or ASUS Zenbook could easily be 'the best' laptop because of the design and the material feel; the specs suck, but it looks and feels great and that's more important to you.

These are extremes and you will most likely find yourself somewhere in the middle - like most of us: trying to balance specs with purpose and build-quality, knowing that our wallets will have the final say.

Cheers,
GreyCatz.
 

Deniedstingray

Estimable
Nov 2, 2015
31
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4,590
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In my experience, a lot of it is advertising. There might be a slight difference in build quality but it isnt like the thing'll break after 2 hours of use or anything. I have a 700$ (CAD) notebook from around 2014 that is still going strong. You don't need to pay for the best.

 
Better screen (better viewing angles, better color gamut, better contrast ratio), better hardware components (lower power consumption leading to longer battery life), better battery (higher energy to weight ratio so longer battery life at less weight), better keyboard (scissors to keep the key caps parallel, instead of simple rubber domes), SSD instead of HDD, low-voltage RAM for better battery life, higher-end CPU (Intel's price goes up quickly for marginal improvements in CPU), more exotic materials like magnesium alloys for lower weight without compromising strength.

Whether these things are important to you and worth the price is for you to decide. As I like to say, there is no such thing as a best laptop. There is a best laptop for you, and a best laptop for me, and a best laptop for George in accounting. But they are probably three different laptops.
 

rizzo183

Estimable
Nov 1, 2014
6
0
4,510
0


Absolutely agree with you right there. I've been meddling with a cheap but powerfull Inspiron 7000 and an expensive (comparatively) but half as powerful (on paper) XPS 15, and I still cannot get the Inspiron to impress me. The build quality and attention to detail on the XPS is just something that's worth more to me.
 

rizzo183

Estimable
Nov 1, 2014
6
0
4,510
0


Okay maybe I used the term "build quality" a bit out of place here. What I meant was, "built-to-last".
 
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