How Much Should I Spend on a Laptop?

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A decent laptop can cost between 300 and 3000 dollars! How much you should spend is dependent on the intended use, i.e. what is it that you are trying to do with the machine? The price you are going to pay is going to vary depending on whether the laptop is an everyday use device, a gaming machine or a heavy duty device for running a recording studio.

Because of smartphones and tablets, sales figures for laptops have gone down compared to the past. Nevertheless, these portable machines still remain popular for personal and professional use as they combine mobility with performance and flexibility.

However, the price range is more varied than ever! from an inexpensive entry level model for $300 to a more powerful device in the neighborhood of $3000, there is a large variety available. But how do laptops differ in these price ranges? What makes a laptop cost so much more? Keep on reading to find out more!

how much to spend on a laptop

How Much Should I Spend on a Laptop

Entry Level Models: The $300 And Below Range

Laptops in the price range of up to $300 are good for light everyday use. The processors on these devices are the least powerful of their kind, suitable for checking emails, browsing the internet and running office applications. You won’t be able to enjoy 3D games, video editing or other complex programs on these machines.

This is also due to the comparatively little storage space. Instead of an SSD hard drive, manufacturers mostly only use low capacity HDD’s in this price category – around 50 to 100 GB of space. This is not enough for installing any meaningful programs. All of the other features are also the most basic.

These entry-level models are ideal as a second device. Recently, Google has launched a version of their laptops known as Chromebooks. These machines are laptops that run on the Chrome OS. They are meant for basic usage and provide a better user experience than other laptops in this category. However, they are extremely limited in their functions and you won’t be able to run any Windows based programs on these.

If running Windows-based applications is not important to you, then you can save $100-$200 by choosing a laptop without Windows pre-installed. You can then run Linux, or install a 2nd hand version of Windows.

There are also refurbished laptops, which can be a great way to get a cheap laptop while also being kind to the environment.


Basic Models: The $300 to $500 Range

Most laptops are sold in the price range of $300 to $500. If you spend a little more money, you can get decent equipment offering a lot more performance. In the price range of $300 to $500, manufacturers provide 15 inch screens with better resolution, so you get a larger laptop with a standard sized keyboard. You do have to cut back a bit on performance, since powerful and energy-saving processors are not yet available in this price range. A 500 GB hard drive is standard and even an optical drive such as a DVD burner is available.

These devices are however not optimized in terms of weight and size. Video editing and 3D games are better left out here too. Otherwise there are hardly any other restrictions.

Mid-Tier Laptops: The $500 to $1000 Range

The $500 range is where you start getting into machines which are a lot more powerful! For this price, there are versatile devices that hardly impose any restrictions on the user. The built-in processors are powerful and energy-saving. The screen usually measures 15.6 inches. The cheaper the model, the lower the resolution. The capacity of mass storage devices are also suitable for everyday use. Solid state drives are increasingly being used instead of hard drives. This speeds up data access and system start-up.

However, most of the time, an additional graphics card is missing in this price range. Which is why laptops in this category are not recommended for 3D and architectural applications. And gaming fans won’t get their money’s worth here either. Last but not least, these devices are also not optimized in terms of dimensions, weight and appearance.

The More Sophisticated Models: Laptops in the $1000 – $1500 Range

Those who spend an above-average amount of money also get above-average machines! Laptops in this price range are not only powerful and optimized in terms of energy consumption, they are also comparatively slim and light. Most of the models are also particularly visually appealing, as they also serve as lifestyle objects. Apple has demonstrated this with its “MacBook Air” – and manufacturers such as Asus are imitating it.

Energy-saving processors in this price range ensure a long battery life of up to ten hours. And a solid state drive is just as standard here as the high, eye-friendly screen resolution.

Devices for Professionals: Laptops $1500 and beyond

Laptops beyond the $1500 mark have pretty much everything to offer. The time for compromises is over here, the fastest processors and graphics chips, high capacities for RAM and solid state drives, long runtimes and an attractive design are an absolute given in this price category.

Laptops that fall in this category are the Toughbook devices from Panasonic, for example, which are designed for use outdoors and under the toughest conditions. The Alienware models which appeal to gaming fans and also the MacBook Pro which is popular for professionals in all technical professions.

Final Words

How much you should spend on a laptop is totally subjective. If you only need something with which you occasionally surf the Internet and check e-mails, then an entry-level laptop in the $300 range will get the job done. The more expensive devices at the other end of the price spectrum are suitable for professional applications in the areas of architecture, graphics, media as well as for demanding 3-D games.

It often turns out that a laptop in the $500 – $1000 range is a good alternative. Devices in this price range are usually equipped with a 15-inch screen, an up-to-date core processor from Intel and sufficient RAM and are suitable for all common office tasks. However, they also offer enough power reserves so that they do not immediately weaken when editing videos or playing games.

Basically, if you want something slimmer and lighter, you have to spend more money. If you are a technical professional, then just go for something above $1500 and be over with it. If you make a living working on the computer, it’s a good idea to have something solid that won’t let you down when you need it the most.