Why laptops are so "expensive"?

pika2000

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I've been thinking, what could I get for about $200.

I saw an Acer Aspire ES1-132. It's an 11.6" 1366x768 non-IPS celeron Laptop with 500GB HDD and 2GB RAM.

For a similar amount of money, I can get a Xiaomi Mi A1 that has 1080p IPS with >400ppi, 4GB of RAM, 64GB solid state, etc, and it's a phone.

Sure, not a straight forward comparison, but what makes the laptop that expensive? Is the lower-res non-IPS 11.6" screen more expensive than the much denser 1080p screen of the Mi A1? Is the larger battery of a laptop more expensive? I doubt the plastic casing and components of the laptop are more expensive than the metal build of the phone. Is it the intel chip and Windows license? I am just really curious. Both Acer and Xiaomi don't have huge profit margins on their products, so I doubt Acer's margin on that laptop is a lot.

For $200, you can get a very crappy laptop, or a pretty good flagship-feel phone. So why are laptops that "expensive"? Just throwing it out there. I mean we see phones at $200-$300 getting better and better, but laptops at $200-$300 range are still the similar crappy low-end laptop in the last 5 years or more.
 

ozaz

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2011
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One factor will be Windows probably costs the OEM a lot more than Android / Google Play services.

But "Why are phones so cheap?" may be the more suitable question
 

pika2000

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What flagship phone is being sold for 200 dollars?
Just an example, Xiaomi Mi A1 is certainly not a flagship, but for ~$200, you get a great phone nowadays with flagship-territory spec (decent mid-range SoC, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, 4K video recording, etc). It's a far cry on laptop where you get just the lowest of lowest spec in that price range. I mean laptops at the $200-$300 range have always been crappy in the last 5+ years (the same old 768p screen, etc). But phones has gotten from crappy to great at that price point.

Sure, I'm comparing apples and orange. However, consider the emerging market. In some markets, $200-$300 is not considered low end, it's considered mid or even "flagship" in terms of affordability. Let's say a guy has $200 in his pocket. In the past, he might go with a crappy laptop and some $30 feature phone. But now, the same guy can get a very well performing and great phone for the price, and might just forego the laptop altogether.

Just curious. It seems like there isn't any "competition" anymore for laptops at that price range. Everybody just make crappy laptops. In contrast, competition is super healthy on smartphones in that price range, where every OEM is putting out the best that they can (eg. due to pressure from the likes of Xiaomi, Asus made a Zenfone with stock Android for around $200 with killer spec, the Zenfone Max Pro M1. Previously, Asus phones all have Asus' ZenUI skin). I mean you even expect 1080p IPS to be a common thing unless you go to $100 phones, while 1080p is still a rarity on the low end laptops (I still see 14" $400+ laptops with the same old 768p screen from the olden days).
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One factor will be Windows probably costs the OEM a lot more than Android / Google Play services.

But "Why are phones so cheap?" may be the more suitable question
Could be. At $200 with thin margin, even if MS sold Windows for $20, it's a lot (percentage wise to the selling price) vs free Android.

Food for thought. Another reason why Microsoft is so afraid of ChromeOS.
 

maflynn

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Just an example, Xiaomi Mi A1 is certainly not a flagship
Yes, you can buy a 200 dollar phone, I don't think anyone will disagree with that, but you stated you can buy a crappy laptop for 200 and a very good flagship phone for 200, and that's simply not the case.

as for your suposition, you in a sense answered your own question. You can buy a 200 dollar laptop that it will be "crappy". Add in better displays, memory, storage, and the price will go up.
 
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pika2000

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Yes, you can buy a 200 dollar phone, I don't think anyone will disagree with that, but you stated you can buy a crappy laptop for 200 and a very good flagship phone for 200, and that's simply not the case.

as for your suposition, you in a sense answered your own question. You can buy a 200 dollar laptop that it will be "crappy". Add in better displays, memory, storage, and the price will go up.
Ah, I thought you wanted a discussion, but instead merely pointing out words. Note what I posted originally. I said flagship-feel, not flagship. Again, example the Mi A1. For $200, it gives a flagship-feel of a phone (metal build, dual camera with portrait mode, etc).
 

sman789

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Licensing costs for Windows is a factor. $200-$300 can get you a nice Chromebook but only marginally. TBH though, if I had a full day's work to do online, I would take that crappy laptop over a $999 flagship phone.

Real multitasking, a workspace desktop and a friggin' mouse. :cool:
 
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maflynn

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Ah, I thought you wanted a discussion, but instead merely pointing out words..
I am, you ignored my point about buyng a 200 dollar laptop that is crappy will have certain limitations, where as more capable machines with robust specs cost more money.
 
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