Don’t Get Burned on a Gaming Laptop

The markup on gaming laptops is often high because, let’s face it, gamers are usually hardware geeks who will shell out the cash for even a moderate improvement in gaming experience and overall system speed. Many manufacturers will add pointless bells and whistles to a gaming laptop in order to justify an inflated price. So how does a consumer in the market for a gaming laptop avoid getting burned?

Don’t buy a gaming laptop because it’s a “Gaming Laptop.”

There is nothing in particular that sets a gaming laptop apart from any other laptop; it’s all about what’s inside. The minute a manufacturer puts the “gaming laptop” label on a product and spray paints it neon green they’ve probably added another 30% to the price.

Most of the additional cost of designated gaming laptops comes in the form of exterior cosmetics and branding. The newest isn’t always best. A buyer should be wary of first generation technology-early adopters are unfortunately seldom rewarded for spending extra on brand new technology.

More often than not, new technology is not matured enough to be fully functional or fully supported by software applications or drivers, and by the time the new technology comes into its own, the rest of the laptop is now too outdated for the new software.

Case and point is when 64-bit processors came out: Only special versions of operating systems even knew what to do with a 64-bit processor and very few games supported it. It was new, it was great, and it was rather useless and expensive.

Of course, the above example is from before gaming laptops were around, but using the recommended system configuration for the most intense game the buyer wants to play is still a good benchmark to base a system around.

Get a warranty, and don’t void it.

When cramming a bunch of highly expensive and sensitive gadgetry into an itty-bitty living space it can result in a system that is less than robust when it comes to resisting wear and tear. The most likely time a system will be damaged is while it is being transported, and a laptop being a system designed for mobility, is highly susceptible to turning into a paperweight without proper care.

A buyer should never skimp on the warranty; get coverage that includes repair and replacement in the event of damage from operator error or mishandling. This is especially true for hardware geeks who tend to experiment a the laptop does fail, many warranties are void if the owner has played amateur surgeon on it. A laptop is a very personal thing. A one-size-fits-all “Uber-Laptop 9,000” might not be what is needed for a specific customer’s needs.

Knowing what is needed to accomplish what is wanted is the best advice that can be given to a prospective buyer of a gaming laptop.