If I see one more person blindly tell someone on Facebook to buy a Mac when they specifically said their laptop died and they can’t spend a lot on a new one, I’m just going to go ballistic.
The reason it drives me crazy is that they obviously make a lot of assumptions that may or may not be true. Mac’s are extremely expensive, and not everyone can afford a one.
Many people will cite the problems they have had with various Windows computers. What they don’t understand is that they are rarely comparing apples to apples (if you will excuse the pun!)
While Mac computers generally come in one flavor… expensive, Windows computers can span the full gambit from super affordable to ridiculously expensive. Someone will purchase a $500 budget laptop, have a ton of issues with it, then purchase a Mac and never have any issues. They aren’t comparing the same kind of laptop, they are comparing a Motel 6 to a luxury suite at the Venetian.
What people don’t know is that most computer manufacturers have multiple product lines to help you decide on what you want. Getting to know these product line names will help you understand exactly what you can expect from the laptop you purchase.
While I prefer Lenovo products, I will also list the product line names for Dell, who is probably my #2 choice if I absolutely could not pick a Lenovo.
High-End Product Lines
For Lenovo products, the Yoga line is the high-end consumer brand. Yoga laptops (which is what I currently use) are built with really high-quality parts and gives you a 2-in-1 experience as you fold it around to use it in a tablet mode. This machine would be a great comparison to a Mac (and in my opinion is even way better than a Mac… once you go touchscreen, you can’t go back!)
Dell also has a high-end consumer product line called XPS.
Along the same lines as the high-end consumer product lines, companies will also have a business-grade product line. For Lenovo, it’s the extremely popular business line of products called ThinkPad. The X1 Carbon is one of the most popular high-end business level laptops available today, and Lenovo keeps improving on this model.
Dell’s business line of products usually fall under the name Precision.
In the gaming laptop category, you won’t find more high-end parts than in a quality gaming system like the Legion line of products from Lenovo. In this comparison, the Mac might be the Motel 6 since the Legion will have far superior specs than the Mac. Dell also has a gaming brand called Alienware.
Gaming laptops are built for amazing graphics, great sound, and speed. Gamers won’t tolerate lag while they are playing, so their system needs to be able to handle a pretty good beating for hours at a time. Really the only huge downside to most gaming laptops is their size. These are powerful machines and they have the weight to prove it.
If you are looking for a budget laptop though, you won’t find amazing specs like in the previous product lines, but you will find a quality system that will get the easy jobs done like web browsing and streaming videos.
Lenovo’s budget line of devices goes under the name IdeaPad. Some of the IdeaPad models even start at $200! Obviously, the processors, hard drives, memory, etc will all be lower quality to be able to get that price down as low as they possibly can. So you may encounter issues with your device down the road, and it may need to be replaced sooner. The Dell budget brand goes by the name Inspiron.
When you do decide to get an affordable laptop, don’t expect it to be as fast, as portable, as amazing as the higher-end brands. I usually tell people that if their current device is over 10 years old, the cheapest laptop they can buy is probably already better than their current system. However, if your laptop is between 3-5 years old it might be time to start shopping for a new one before it dies at an inconvenient time.
Now that you understand the different product lines, make sure you are comparing Motel 6 to Motel 6, and the suite at the Venetian to a suite at the Venetian. When you are able to set your expectations to the appropriate level you won’t need to default to just recommending something that the person doesn’t want or need.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com