Saturday, March 29

Geek

Why PC Sales Are Declining

You can get a decent Windows laptop for $500.

You can get a horrible piece of crap for $500.

And there is no way to know which you are getting unless you verify the specifications of every single component and memorise Intel, AMD, and Nvidia's entire product ranges.

How is the average customer supposed to know that a 1.5GHz Celeron 1007U is nearly twice as fast as a 2GHz Celeron N2810?

Can you imagine if the 2015 Ford F-250 came with a 4-cylinder engine, when the cheaper F-150 came standard with a V8, and the manufacturer only listed max RPM on the brochure?  Because that's what laptop makers do every single day.

And don't get me started on the continued existence of 1366x768 displays. Quad-core CPU, 1TB disk, 16GB RAM, 4GB dedicated graphics, wireless-ac, USB 3.0...  And a screen from the flipping dark ages.

There's one major PC laptop maker who still provides build-to-order options in Australia, and that's Lenovo.  Most of their low-end models have crappy screens, but you can upgrade them.  The price to go from an outdated 1366x768 to a more reasonable 1920x1080?  $55.  Their W540 laptop comes with 1920x1080 as standard, but can be upgraded to 2880x1620.  Price?  $132.

If  the price differential is so small, why does every laptop between $500 and $1500 have the same crappy screen?

Answer: Because the manufacturers are dickheads.

The weird thing is that this is the exact inverse of the mobile phone market.  Recent mobile phones are mostly 1920x1080 - twice as many pixels on a 5" screen as an average laptop has on a 15" screen.  But most phones ship with a pathetic 16GB of flash, half of which is already used by the operating system.  Doubling that would add about $10 to the price of a device costing several hundred dollars, but noooo....

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