Over the last few years, certain laptops have become so powerful that they’ve been listed as ‘desktop replacements’. This means that, instead of purchasing a high-end desktop that is pretty much stuck on your computer desk, you can pay a little more for a laptop that does the same job but is more portable.

Fortunately, today’s desktop replacement laptops have come down a significant amount in price. Today, even higher end laptops can be found for under $900, and some computer experts are saying that “if you’re paying more than $800 [for a new laptop], you’re paying too much,” (DealNews).

What’s in a desktop replacement laptop?

Just how good does a laptop have to be before it is considered a ‘desktop replacement’? Well, obviously, it has to be good enough to replace your existing desktop. To be more specific, today’s desktop replacement laptops often feature a 17” (or larger) screen, HD resolutions, Core i5 or i7 CPUs, more than 8GBs of RAM, and at least a 750GB hard drive.

That’s a pretty impressive list of hardware. But what will it cost you? As mentioned above, PCs with those specs are being found for under $800. They’re made by manufacturers from Asus to HP to Lenovo and can be found on retail shelves or online stores across the country.

Okay, what’s the catch?

So far, everything up to this point sounds awesome. You can get a top-tier performing laptop at a low-tier price? Sweet! Well, there are a few things to know before you dive into the desktop replacement industry.

Portability: First, there’s a reason these laptops are considered to be desktop replacements – they are meant to stay on your desktop for most of their life cycle. They can be heavy, bulky, and difficult to fit inside a conventional backpack. You may need a special carrying case to drag it around. If you’re looking for a laptop that you can easily whip out on the train, or carry it from class to class under your arm, then this may not be it.

Battery life: The second issue with desktop replacements is that they often feature a very low battery life. After all, packing all that performance into a small laptop will suck up a large amount of power. Don’t expect your desktop replacements to last for more than 5 or 6 hours (unless otherwise mentioned in the specifications).

Graphics card: The inexpensive desktop replacements we’ve mentioned today are good at many things, but gaming is not one of them. If you want to play today’s latest PC games – even at their lowest settings – then you’ll probably need to purchase a laptop with a discrete graphics card. This could add several hundred dollars to the cost of your PC.


Ultimately, PC tech experts claim that desktop replacement laptops are offering the best price to performance ratio in today’s computer market. With much of the focus being placed on slim, lightweight laptops and tablet PCs, many consumers are ignoring the desktop replacement market, and this has led to price drops near record lows.

If you’re looking to improve your desktop without dropping a huge wad of cash, then there may never be a better time than now.

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