Laptops for lockdownsShopping 101 for Zoom zombies as we enter Lockdown 3.0
In 2020 the acronym WFH (Work from Home) entered the vocabulary. Since then, our second-best lockdown buddy has been our trusty laptop. Can you guess what is your first? Hint: it fits in your palm.
School children, college students and office-going grown-ups all need laptops to stay connected, attend class or meetings, and spend time learning or working on something all day.
Before searching for the perfect laptop model, you might want to focus on what is more important: understanding your options and making an informed buying choice. Let me hit ‘Enter’:
Lenovo – The Ambitious One
The Chinese Lenovo beat reputed names like HP to become the leading PC brand in India. It has a reputation for making a solid device that delivers good performance. There are various lines of Lenovo laptops available in Nepal, each one appropriate for a slightly different audience. The Ideapad series is affordable, decent without superior specs and good for those who need it for heavy web browsing, writing, using some software applications and watching video content. The Ideapad S145 is a great example of a budget laptop that checks all the boxes.
The Lenovo Flex series is defined by its two-in-one style of working as both a laptop and a tablet. Slim yet strong, these are great for artistic types looking to draw on their device screen. The popular Yoga series is the most flexible with 360-degree hinges, a touch screen and a Halo keyboard that makes the laptop efficient as well as something of an arm candy. For a fast, good-looking yet quality investment, consider the Lenovo Yoga C940 which will survive into the post-pandemic era as well.
For business people looking for a less-talk-more-work machine, the ThinkPad series is your go-to partner. With T series (for the typical worker bee who is also the boss), X series (PC-level performance with portability) and E series (for agile and free-wheeling startup founders) within the ThinkPad range, Lenovo’s got something for every kind of business user.
The X1 Carbon Gen 8 is a great flagship business laptop that prioritises function over design. If you are looking to upgrade to a durable device for work, and most of your work happens from your computer, it is worth saving up for.
Right gizmos at the right time, Saniaa Shah
Asus – The Creative Type
Asus is a Taiwanese company that has quickly risen to become the fifth-largest PC vendor worldwide.
Moving past its gaming series, the Asus VivoBook collection is the best choice if you are looking to buy a budget business laptop (try the VivoBook X409JA). It is commute-friendly, which may not be the priority right now given the pandemic, but since it is light for the arms as well as on the wallet, it is a practical purchase for the budget-conscious Nepali.
For double the budget, consider the ZenBook series, a great Ultrabook for everyday use. The Asus ZenBook 14 is a world record-breaking super-slim laptop with excellent battery life, awesome graphics cards, an aluminium chassis and an innovative lifted keyboard for higher efficiency typing.
Acer – The Budget Beast
Acer is a veteran manufacturer that impressively ranks third in global laptop sales. Aggressively priced and often armed with just enough features to grab the buyer’s attention, Acer’s prime audience is students of all ages, sponsored by their parents who want to buy them a sturdy laptop packed with all the necessities, no bells and whistles required. The Acer Aspire series understands its target group well, hitting a balance between technical strength and competitive price.
The Acer Spin series is the dark horse of this make: an all-rounder affordable laptop that is best suited to students and teachers who log into Zoom for classes on weekdays and enjoy watching movies on their small screen on weekends. An Intel Core processor, touchscreen display with full HD, a 2-in-1 stylish foldable body, a quality webcam and ample storage space together make it an underrated performer for sure.
The Acer Swift series (the Swift 3 is a popular choice) is another range made for MS-suite and Internet users, but with a less than par battery, a heavier device and no touchscreen. The only upside to the Swift series laptops is the considerably better, comfortable keyboard and smooth, precise touchpad.
However, users have complained about keyboard issues, chipset quality and small repairs that suggest below-average parts. That said, durability is a question that can only be solved with time, and even the most reputed brands come with hardware hiccups.
Home work during the lockdown, Saniaa Shah
Dell – The Classic Choice
An American company that has major market control in Asia, Dell is the most widely distributed laptop in Nepal for sure, with most corporates buying it from the authorised seller Neoteric Nepal, which also offers a warranty that leans on its robust after-sales service in Kathmandu. Dell has never been for a trendy audience that cares about looks and colours more than performance and durability. The practical, professional manufacturer makes this clear with the budget-friendly Dell Vostro series and the constantly updated, vast range of models in the Inspiron series.
Both these collections sport a bright display quality, easy keyboard, excellent trackpad and solid internals (powered by Intel and with plenty of RAM and HDD). Inspiron models (look up Inspiron 7391) even come with a 4K display and an impressive 10th gen Intel core.
Test Dell’s superior power, sleekness and design with the Dell XPS series--a premium range that flaunts some of the best Ultrabooks around. The XPS gives the Apple Macbook a run for its money, with its competitive specs, powerful processor and desirable looks - making it the ultimate beauty with brains (exhibit A: Dell XPS 13 9300).
Good for indoors, outdoors, desk-based as well as on the move: you can safely close your eyes and pick any Dell XPS - you won’t go wrong with this series. That said, the pricing of this best-in-class series is not for the fainthearted, at times costing more than an Apple. Still, Dell is like that old friend who, year after year, sticks around and supports you.
Apple – The Queen of Hearts
The showstopper of this laptop list is obviously the Apple MacBook, a line of laptops that is unlike any other when it comes to beauty, efficiency and simplicity. Apple has earned its position at the top, past Microsoft, HP and other computer giants, all because of its consistent efforts in research, design and innovation in the product development process.
The MacBook Air wins on all fronts: ultra-slim, featherlight body, amazing display quality, impressive battery life and strong security systems. Naturally, a MacBook does require saving up beforehand, but it will last you for years, saving you time and money you may otherwise end up spend repairing bugs or replacing parts on a Microsoft-based device. The 13.3-inch Retina display of a MacBook Air is worth the downgrade from a larger 15.5 inches offered by any other brand, thanks to True Tone technology and great screen resolution.
MacBook Pro is for working professionals who can maximise productivity and save time with the Magic keyboard, massive storage upgrade (bye-bye, external hard disk) and Touch Bar with quick shortcuts that can help you achieve more, saving valuable time for fun stuff like Netflix and FaceTime with friends and family.
Stay safe, stay remote and stay savvy!
Read also: Privacy is power, Saniaa Shah