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Laptop Price Points Explained (or How Much is a Decent Laptop?)

Every so often we are asked how much a ‘decent’ laptop will cost. Of course the answer depends on what you mean by decent. Typically you can spend anything between £300 to £3000 on a new laptop and unsurprisingly there are significant differences between them but laptop purchases should be led by the IT requirements of the user or the organisation, rather than an attractive price point.

What do you want the laptop for?

When purchasing a laptop it is important to know what the laptop will be used for and what features are essential versus desirable. The type of choices to make include:

  • Is it important the laptop is very light, or does it not matter too much if this will mainly be used at one location?
  • What is your preferred screen size? For example would 13” be okay or are we looking at 14″, 15″ or even 17″? Note that smaller models are generally more expensive in some ranges.
  • If the laptop is to be used in mainly one location such as your home, would you like us to supply an additional mouse, keyboard and external screen or two so you can have a desktop-like setup?
  • In this case would you also like a docking station like this so you can unplug a single cable from your main desk and move around to other parts of the house easily and quickly?
  • If the laptop is to be used in mainly two locations such as home and office, would you like us to supply two docking stations, one of reach location?
  • Do you need the laptop to have Mobile Broadband – i.e. do you need internet access anywhere with an optional SIM slot? This requires a mobile data plan with a mobile provider.
  • Are you likely to use graphics intensive programs e.g. photo and video manipulation / presentation or will this be for simple web browsing, or remote access from home to a work PC?
  • Will you need a numeric keypad on the laptop or will the smaller keyboard be sufficient? This is often dictated by screen size but we can source an external one if necessary.
  • Do you need the keyboard to be backlit? This is useful in a dark environment.
  • Would you like us to supply a laptop bag along with recommended extras such as a wireless mouse?

Typical Laptop Price Points

When buying a laptop then we need to find out what your needs are on a per person basis, but the purpose of this post is simply to manage your expectations about the price you’ll pay. These are ball-park price bracket with a view on the sorts of laptop you’ll get for your money:

Up to £350 + VAT

If you only have a few hundred pounds to spare then we recommend you consider a refurbished laptop. In doing so you’ll end up with something faster than you can find in the shops and at the same time saving the planet. New laptops under £350 are simply a waste of time and money.

£350 – £550 + VAT

Laptops in this price bracket tend to be lower powered and will generally ship with older technology and basic warranty and upgrade options. When buying a laptop in this price bracket you could be looking at older style hard disks, low powered processors (slower to run) and less RAM (the laptop will slow down quicker with fewer programs open). This price bracket is likely to include domestic versions of laptops which are less rugged (e.g. plastic chassis rather than metal) and so have a much reduced lifespan. Typically they could also include Windows 10 Home (no disk encryption). Your upgrade options will also be very limited (e.g. low maximum RAM). Laptops in this price bracket tend to be heavier and have larger screens.

£550 – £850 + VAT

Laptops in this price bracket will generally have decent sized solid state hard disks and more reasonable processors and RAM. You may have better warranty options, or a more robust build quality and are likely to have Windows 10 Pro which will include a disk encryption option. There may be some options on screen size but laptops may not be light weight. Such laptops would be great for general use e.g. email and internet but may be underpowered for CAD or frequent video editing needs. We would expect you to get around three years out of a laptop in this price bracket but extended warranties are usually available at extra cost to protect your investment.

£850 – £1300 + VAT

Laptops in this bracket are where the business-class laptops sit. With good processors and RAM you will typically find decent warranty (e.g. 3 to 5 years) to protect your investment along with improved upgrade options, lighter weight,  screen size options (e.g. 13” 14” and 15”) and optional mobile broadband. You will also have much improved performance for graphics intensive applications often with dedicated video cards. I would expect you to get five years out of a laptop in this price bracket, subject to a suitable warranty.

£1300 – £3000 + VAT

Laptops in this price bracket are generally used for graphics / CAD / ultralight and will carry a three to five year warranty alongside a great specification and performance. If you want a laptop in this price bracket please specify your most important criteria and we’ll cost up a laptop for you. I would expect you to get five years or more out of a laptop on this price bracket as it is likely to have a good warranty and be pretty upgradeable.

Don’t forget the extras!

When buying a laptop also consider extra costs for suitable application software, security suite, laptop case, wireless mouse, remote monitoring and management services and labour charges for assisted setup. We can give you a better idea of these costs along with a formal quotation for the laptop.