Why do branded computers cost so much?
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
So why do all these branded computers cost so much anyway?
You're familiar with brands like Apple, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Acer, Lenovo, Panasonic and what have you. Their computer products come in the form of desktops or laptops. But have you ever wondered why they are priced the way they are?
Is it simply because of the brand name? Or is there a higher level of calculation and justification for the amount you are paying. So let us illustrate this point, allowing you to better understand where your hard-earned money is going to.
A point that is often overlooked is integration. We know you have heard of or maybe even partake in do-it-yourself or DIY computers. Creating your own desktop computer is not that difficult, and if money is no object, you simply put the most expensive parts together. Or if you want a budget system, you do the exact opposite using the cheapest parts available.
Brands like Apple or Dell cannot afford to do that. They have massive overheads and are giant conglomerates. And depending on the brand, the level of integration they commit to can be very little or a lot.
That was confusing to hear, we know. A brand that sells lower-cost computers with the same specification as another brand, may not necessarily be better or the same quality. That little bit of premium might actually be justified by massive hours of integration work. Integration in the sense, where each part is thoroughly tested and tuned to work seamlessly with the other. Just a simple thing as chassis design from a computer brand, especially when it comes to laptops, can make a huge difference in the longevity of a part.
Based on our own anecdotal experiences, we have seen some particular brands that seem to have hardware failures from as little as a year. And you have brands that are integrated so well, that even after five years, their computers still have resale value. And we know you know what we are talking about.
Integration takes time, a high-end ram capable of running at high clock speeds is wasted on a motherboard that cannot support it, forcing the ram to run at a lower performance the motherboard is designed to handle. The same thing goes for installing a really fast processor on a computer that has parts simply designed to perform administrative tasks at best.
We know you love having an Intel i7 processor. Run your 'task manager' or 'activity monitor'. If you are running Spotify, mountains of youtube videos, twenty tabs on your internet browser, plenty of excel sheets, and your CPU is still running at 10-20%? You could have saved a few hundred dollars with a lower end Intel i5 processor.
Integration is extremely important and it is much like the programming that happens behind a website. But the UI/UX, the interface, the OS of hardware is called design.
A clunky, ugly and unintuitive design makes life difficult for your sales team. To a certain extent, brands like Apple and Asus can credit much of their sales to the sleek design of their computers alone.
However, 'design' is not so one-dimensional. From negotiating how many peripheral inputs/output ports your customers need, to the size of the screen, the size of the keys on each keyboard, the color of the finishing and even the overall weight of the product. Desktops or laptops or mobile devices, these concerns when it comes to design applies to all.
A hardware designer's job is to sit and think from the customers' point of view. But they also are concerned with the needs of the hardware, from cooling to wear and tear. Great brands spend a lot of money on design, it may seem like they are asking for a lot of money from you but there is much more to it than meets the eye.
One thing often overlooked by consumers is definitely IT support. We are not talking about an IT services company or computer repair shop. Let's backtrack here a bit. Computer companies are not like mobile phones or appliance companies. Warranties actually mean something to them and some companies offer on-site support. For example Lenovo or Asus, they cost a little more than average but often come with two to three years on-site support hour. This means if your computer goes down for reason beyond your control, they will come down to your house to repair or replace the part for you! And no, we are not joking. Unless you punched your computer or poured water over your laptop keyboard, they will come down to where you are to repair your computer. Say your ram dies, your monitors die, or the computer just refuses to turn on.
Companies like Apple for example also provide Apple care, but you have to go down to their service provider location to get service. Maybe they have on-site support, but as far as we can remember, you have to go to them. They do have telephone support too, but that is not what we are talking about here.
Here is the weird thing, sometimes the same computer with the same specification are only priced maybe a hundred dollars apart, yet one of them comes with on-site support and the other does not. And this is what we think is very important, especially for you as a consumer to focus on. Your time is important, your time is money.
Do you really have time to bring your computer somewhere to get it fixed or would you rather have technicians on standby to come to you at a moment's notice?
Many things in this world are inaccurately priced. But trust us, when it comes to computers, that is not necessarily the case. These brands have been around for ages because they deliver quality. Still, good brands can run the risk of going out of business because consumers are ill-informed. You have to do your part in ensuring the longevity of brands that are working hard to deliver to you the best product possible.