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Laptop Build Quality

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  • Laptops
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  • Build
Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
April 7, 2009 9:47:41 PM

Who builds the best quality laptop computer across the board?

I asked this question yesterday and was informed that I was asking for War and the responder was probably right, so let me explain a little further.

I guess the reason for my sort of general question regarding build quality is that you can find/build an HP, Dell, Gateway, Sony or Mac (just to name a few) with basically the same CPU speed, similar hard drives specs, displays, etc. and they will have widely varying prices. Is there a quality disparity between brands or can you go with the cheapest because the quality is the same as the most expensive one?

I need to purchase two computers this year. One for myself and one for my wife. I use my computer for business use almost exclusively and I travel throughout the country. I am in the printing business so I do occasionally have to send, receive and open large graphic files, but mostly I use typical business software applications. My wife primarily uses her computer for pictures and general internet use and will most likely never leave the house with her computer, but would like the mobility of the laptop so that she can move around the house instead of being stuck in the office with her desktop computer.

My goal is to purchase Laptops that will last for several years with as few hardware problems as possible.

Thanks.

More about : laptop build quality

April 8, 2009 2:09:18 AM

I used to have an Acer at work. Then it was replaced with a Dell which felt very cheap in comparison. In my limited opinion Acers build quality was very good.
April 8, 2009 5:13:27 AM

Dell XPS series (I have had experience with both a Studio XPS 16 and XPS M1710) seem very well built, unlike the non-XPS dells that I've seen.
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April 8, 2009 11:42:22 AM

Thank you for your reply!

My dilema is primarily stemming from the problems I am developing with my Dell Inspiron. It is about 3 years old and was Dell's top of the line laptop just prior to the release of the XPS series and I built it with the best they had to offer at the time. The display has steadily deteriorated over the past year and the hard drive is beginning to make strange mechanical noises. I used to swear by Dell quality. I have heard they have reverted to the lowest bidder scenario on who supplies the components they put in the computers and that scares me a bit if it's true. My wife has a Dell desktop and it's older than mine. It was a well built computer. It has served her well, but she needs a technology upgrade.
a b D Laptop
April 8, 2009 9:08:55 PM

TheOnion said:
I used to have an Acer at work. Then it was replaced with a Dell which felt very cheap in comparison. In my limited opinion Acers build quality was very good.


lol, this question is tough to answer and what you said will help me prove that :D 


My experience is almost the opposite. I've used my brother's Dell and my friend's Acer. The Acer felt like it was made out of cheap plastic and it flexed when picked up. The Dell on the other hand felt more solid and sturdy. I'd like to also throw Sager into the mix for quality units.
April 11, 2009 3:51:11 PM

The Lenovo Thinkpads seem to be of good quality. I have been using Thinkpads since IBM was making them.

Paul

April 11, 2009 7:15:42 PM

I still swear by the macs, they are soild built computers. And for a person in the graphics business the mac is the the gem for it. I have used dell, hp, acer, toshiba and mac in my time (3 years) and hands down the best build and the best computer in my view is a mac.

It's well built and it's got great support and such 90% of repairs if you should ever need one is done in a mac store near you in 1 to 2 days typically. Which is nice to know if something should ever happen. Not to mention you can pick up a refurbished with full warranty for 25% off to keep costs lower.

April 12, 2009 2:24:28 AM

Go with Lenovo. Mac is good too, but be weary because I bought a Mac and then ended up having to sell it and by a Windows machine because a lot of the new software I needed for work didn't work well with Mac even though they were said to be compatible. Lenovo is a good company with top notch support. Acer's support is terrible, Dell's isn't much better. Lenovo will go as far as to send an expert to your door to fix your laptop all for free if you're still under warranty (3 year warranty comes standard). If you need a reliable laptop, you need Lenovo.
April 12, 2009 9:52:17 PM

I have an Acer Laptop from about 2006, and I feel it is a very nice laptop and I got it at a decent price. The overal appearance of it isn't as stunning as that of an HP laptop. I also have a HP laptop purchased last year. It also feels quite sturdy and looks nice with tribal type artwork printed on the back of the screen. Dell prices are typically cheap, almost too cheap, sometimes. A friend had an older Dell laptop (had windows XP preinstalled). He barely moved it around, maybe occaisionally for work, and it experienced a hard drive malfunction and broke. I was not as impressed with the build quality. Although it did not feel like I could snap it in half, it felt cheaper and the casing, very thin.

So overall, I would stick to a nice respected name brand like Hewlett-Packard (HP), Toshiba, or even Acer or Lenevo. Dell would be a budget option. I am not saying I would never buy a dell, (maybe a desktop), but I like the design and builds of other comapanies.

Good Luck with your choice.
September 22, 2009 6:07:46 PM

I think hp laptops are the best. macs are too expensive and dell are also of low quality.
October 23, 2009 11:49:20 AM

Macbook Pro with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD with Windows 7 and OSX Snow Leopard installed either as dual boot or with Xen :-)

Poo, that's not my choice cos I'm poor :-(
October 23, 2009 2:47:16 PM

the list actually goes like so

ASUS
MSI
Sager
Lenovo
HP
Toshiba
Sony
Acer
Dell

I have a good experience and bad experience with toshiba, the first one i bought was great it was a protege tablet, and it still works, few BSODs after being almost 7 years old and all of them was my fault not hardware, it played games of it's times very nicely

my second toshiba overheated o the point i almost got burned by it

my first HP is working like a charm, it has a 9600 and plays games smoothly and multi tasks so good

No experience with ASUS,MSI, lenovo, Sager or Acer but ASUS, MSI, and Sager are top notch, in my opinion ACER is just for show

Anyway i have the worst possible experience with dells except for the desktop XPSs
February 23, 2010 3:22:52 PM

Stay away from the Dell XPS labtops. I have two of them and they are nothing but trouble. It's very depressing to have nearlly $3400 between the two of them and have them both fry the hard-drive, motherboard, battery and charger within the first year. Dell fixed them both, but now the warranty is expired and I've already fried another battery and another charger. Too much trouble and very expesive to get the parts from dell. I've had to resort to other dealers for off-shoots to save a $ or two. I even looked at trading one of them in to Dell on there exchange program and they only appraised my 18 month old computer M1330 XPS at $180...for the same technology they are offering in it right now at a MUCH HIGHER COST. My brother was more than happy to hear that I would rather sell it to him at that price then give Dell the ability to pawn this turd off on some other unknowing customer. Good luck in your search for the best...it seems I'm now in that same boat after thinking Dell was the best because they build Alienware too and that is suppose to be the best...guess I was wrong or the quality of expensive crap has really gotten cheap.
February 25, 2010 1:17:35 PM

In the past I also was a big Dell fan. No longer though. Dell has no quality control, it's a matter of build and ship. The end user is the quality inspector and that is why Dell has such a liberal return policy for the first 30 days. For years Dell employed nasty little tricks to keep the consumer at the mercy of Dell in terms of hardware. They used to rearrange the wiring from their power supplies and rearrange the power connector on the motherboards to match each other. Replacing the motherboard or power supply with a standard ATX equivalent would cause damage to the remaining Dell component in the system. You had to buy a Dell replacement motherboard or power supply at very inflated prices.
Sager and ASUS laptops are among the best constructed machines on the market. In terms of speed, features and reliability you can seldom do better. Prices are higher but you get what you pay for. ASUS comes with a standard 2 year warranty covering parts and labor and a 1 year accidental damage warranty. The warranty alone is worth a portion of the higher price in terms of piece of mind.
I have also owned HP, Compaq, Gateway, Acer, Alienware and Sony laptops and if I had to choose a laptop at this very moment I would choose ASUS in a heart beat.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 8, 2010 1:26:27 AM


I think if your going to ask for best Laptop your going to have to be more specific. I still have an old Toshiba Tecra A3. For business, and it still works great however the hinges have now worn out. Could have to do with kids being a little hard on it The point is you will have to lay out a list of what you need features and what would be nice. I see some laptops offer HDMI connection some VGA, What about the cd/dvd drive or do you want Blue Ray? I am now looking for a new laptop too and I think for business I like the keyboard feature I see on new models, you may like this too if you work on excel or access. What about the size of screen? I think 15 inch is big enough for travel but I consider battery life very important for travel and therefore would consider an i3 Processor or maybe a mac if I can handle using a different OS. I also don't like some of the touch pads out there on some laptops, eg: HP has what looks like a metal touch pad and I find it sticky and not very comfortable. Also some of the keyboards are not very comfortable to keyboarding. I know I didn't really answer your question but make a short list of most important to least to help you out. like

1 Battery life,
2 Weight
3 Keyboard
4 Touch Pad
5 Performance
6 Price.

I hope this helps a little,

Fredericksphoto

Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 16, 2010 5:23:55 PM

Laptop build quality? Does anyone really know? I bought an HP dv2000-something-or-other four or five years ago and thought I had a gem. Apart from the fingerprint-prone case, it felt solid, looked nice, and seemed to perform very well. I used it exclusively on a new consulting job where I needed to furnish a nice-looking, capable machine of my own to get started and up to speed in time to make my deliverables. At one point, I was running it with Windows Vista and a whole suite of Windows 2000 applications AND Windows 2000 in a virtual machine running on top of Windows Vista Home. It handled that load with difficulty, but I was able to use it hard day in and day out.

Then, shortly after the warranty expired, I began to have all sorts of strange shutdown problems and issues with the wireless capability. Finally, it wouldn't start at all. The cause: a defective motherboard, only one of numerous quality defects to which, as it turned out, this model was unusually susceptible. Other defects included power-up failure owing to lack of mechanical strain relief on the power plug, which was supported only by the soldering of the electrical connection to the mainboard.

Although the machine was off warranty, HP replaced the defective motherboard at no charge, and there have been no problems since.

De3spite my apparently atypical good experience with HP support, I will not buy another HP. I'm glad they were helpful, but I don't want to go through that again. But I've seen least one 2006 review of the dv2000 praising its build quality and insisting that it was an exception to the HP rule of defective hardware.

The point of this is that many of the most crucial defects in laptop hardware are in areas that nobody tests--or can test?--when reviewing build quality. It mostly seems to be in the realm of "has a nice, solid feel," which is essentially meaningless.

Does anybody rate the quality of laptop builds at board level and component level as well as at the notoriously deceptive look-and-feel level and with respect to measurable performance on various benchmarks? Is it even possible to do so?

It seems to me that unless or until someone starts doing that, you won't have any real guide to the quality of what's under the hood when you buy a PC. As long as you have to rely on brand names, you'll never know what's really in your particular bowl of soup.
May 16, 2011 11:18:45 PM

Upendra09 said:
the list actually goes like so

ASUS
MSI
Sager
Lenovo
HP
Toshiba
Sony
Acer
Dell

...

That is a really odd list. Everyone (not exaggerating) I knew who had an HP laptop has had severe heat-flow problems that destroyed motherboards/graphics card/wifi; in contrast, most people I knew who's had a Toshiba were very happy, as those machines just last forever and ever.

Here's a survey by Engadget at the time of your post: 2009 graph.

And more recently from PC World:
The Tech Brands You Can Trust
a b D Laptop
May 17, 2011 4:59:32 PM

this is a very dull question since there's such a wide variety of laptop manufacturers and laptop lines that those carry. But I liked what WR2 wrote in one of the similar posts. I'll paraphrase to the best of my ability.

Large laptop manufacturers have various production lines. The best praise for any particular company comes from premium laptop models, that are more expensive. The most blame for bad quality of a company comes from low end laptop models that are the cheapest.

Overall, I think, when you're shopping for a PC the quality of the product you will get will largely depend on the quality of research you put into your purchase. If you do your research and make sure that all the components are quality parts. If you check that the case you get is made by a reputable company and you like the features it provides. Well if you do all that, chances are you will get what you were hoping for. Will it have problems down the line? Yes it will, everything breaks sooner or later. The degree of your frustration will be defined by how satisfied you were by the machine before it broke rather than hypothetical chance of something breaking before you made the purchase. If you liked the product you will be willing to spend time and money to repair it. If you didn't like it, then you will tell people how crappy it was, and how crappy the company is that sold it to you. BUT, bottom line is, YOU made the purchase, not the company who sold you the PC.

That being said, yes there are chances that something major will happen right out of the box, but chances of that are pretty slim if you did your homework.

Another thing if you still want to see some type of ranking, I have Consumer Reports magazine lying at home, they recently ranked all the major brands for laptops. If none of your friends or library have that issue so you can have a look at it, send me a PM I'll scan it for you.
June 13, 2011 2:19:48 PM

What most people are saying is it really depends on so many factors it's tough to tell who is the best.

There are great products and poor products with EVERY company. Find a laptop that you like for the right price and buy the longest warranty you can get. A minimum of 3 years, it's got to be worth the extra $150 or so dollars, for another $100 you can add accident protection. If your spending $300 for a laptop it doesn't matter but if your spending $1000 it makes perfect sense.
You know you get what you pay for.

This is my personal experience:
Had many Dells for work and they all worked very well (20+). I've had issues such as a screen backlight going out which was replaced under warranty. Inspiron laptops good, OptiPlex good, Precision work stations very good.
September 7, 2011 4:59:53 AM

Quote:
Laptop build quality? Does anyone really know? I bought an HP dv2000-something-or-other four or five years ago and thought I had a gem. Apart from the fingerprint-prone case, it felt solid, looked nice, and seemed to perform very well. I used it exclusively on a new consulting job where I needed to furnish a nice-looking, capable machine of my own to get started and up to speed in time to make my deliverables. At one point, I was running it with Windows Vista and a whole suite of Windows 2000 applications AND Windows 2000 in a virtual machine running on top of Windows Vista Home. It handled that load with difficulty, but I was able to use it hard day in and day out.

Then, shortly after the warranty expired, I began to have all sorts of strange shutdown problems and issues with the wireless capability. Finally, it wouldn't start at all. The cause: a defective motherboard, only one of numerous quality defects to which, as it turned out, this model was unusually susceptible. Other defects included power-up failure owing to lack of mechanical strain relief on the power plug, which was supported only by the soldering of the electrical connection to the mainboard.

Although the machine was off warranty, HP replaced the defective motherboard at no charge, and there have been no problems since.

De3spite my apparently atypical good experience with HP support, I will not buy another HP. I'm glad they were helpful, but I don't want to go through that again. But I've seen least one 2006 review of the dv2000 praising its build quality and insisting that it was an exception to the HP rule of defective hardware.

The point of this is that many of the most crucial defects in laptop hardware are in areas that nobody tests--or can test?--when reviewing build quality. It mostly seems to be in the realm of "has a nice, solid feel," which is essentially meaningless.

Does anybody rate the quality of laptop builds at board level and component level as well as at the notoriously deceptive look-and-feel level and with respect to measurable performance on various benchmarks? Is it even possible to do so?

It seems to me that unless or until someone starts doing that, you won't have any real guide to the quality of what's under the hood when you buy a PC. As long as you have to rely on brand names, you'll never know what's really in your particular bowl of soup.

yeah I approve with this. thanks to you....last year I bought msi CR400 series cause I believe it has good specs and cheaper but after a year it starts to shutdown by its self and after few days it never starts. I took it to shops then they say it has problem in the motherboard since the warranty covers only 1 year...its like I just wasted my thousands buying that laptop...I go conduct a little survey abowt what is the most problem with laptops then I come with this...most laptops problem are in motherboard...some is good operating only for a year...after that deffects come out....so my advice is when you buy laptop choose the one with 2-3 years warranty....like acer asus or some other with longer warranties..to cover with the possible un intentional deffects...internal deffects....etc......
March 8, 2012 4:07:05 PM

v_parthi said:
Macbook Pro with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD with Windows 7 and OSX Snow Leopard installed either as dual boot or with Xen :-)

Poo, that's not my choice cos I'm poor :-(


True MacBook Pro is great quality. I bought one 4 weeks ago and really like the hardware. But computers are about software, and Mac just isn't there when it comes to the business environment software. Every where I turn I have to compensate for getting something to work like PC software. I am running my own business now, and it is just not practical to use a Mac. So I am going back. I have Win 7 on my machine, but the fact you need to shut down and restart to switch between Mac Os and Win makes it really difficult. Invariably you will want access to something that is "on the other side" no matter whether you are in Mac or Win.
I want to find a hardware manufacture who gets it like Apple does but builds for Windows. Full support, full integration with software/hardware. Surprisingly still a difficult quest.
March 9, 2012 12:51:43 AM

I have owned

3x HPs
1x Compaq
1x Asus
1x Toshiba
1x Dell

I have also used frequently
Lenovo
Mac

I put the brands in this order

Asus (by far, loved that thing, my brother has a lower end one and like his too)
HP (there is a reason I have had 3, until I tried an Asus this was tops
Lenovo (used in school alot, good machine)
Toshiba (meh, not horrible, but felt cheapish)
Dell (did not like it, but not terrible)
Compaq (bad.... bad..... dont buy one of these they suck)



Apple- in a list by itself. It is a great piece of hardware that I would put right at the top, but I honestly just dont like Mac OS and think the price performance ratio is terrible. You pay a huge premium for the brand. I dont think I will ever buy one.
November 22, 2012 10:35:31 PM

adil-r said:
I think hp laptops are the best. macs are too expensive and dell are also of low quality.

definitely my friend has one sense 2009... and he keep saying its the best for gaming ....put to be honest he has really expensive laptop
a b D Laptop
February 20, 2013 12:36:14 PM

Just stay away from dell. Bought a xps 15 lx502, had numerous problems, overheated like crazy (95+ degrees when gaming), battery somehow weared down to 60% within a year despite rarely using it on battery (something like 50 cycles). Power cord frayed (could see copper wire) major safety hazard, kept freezing up, could not update drivers so certain programs would not work
a c 245 D Laptop
February 20, 2013 4:14:51 PM

Hi :) 

Panasonic TOUGH BOOK....

We repair less of them than ANY other make....

All the best Brett :)