What Makes Laptops and Netbooks Look Cheap?

Over the years I”ve had a chance to go hands on with hundreds of mobile devices, too may of which look and feel cheap. I generally only plunk down hard-earned cash when a computer or any other gadget is well-built. Manufactures can throw all the gigabytes, megahertz and megapixels in the spec sheets that they want, but if it feels cheap I’m not buying.

What feels cheap is a subjective judgement call. My friend Avram Piltch of Laptop Mag and I had an email discussion on the topic and he came up with a list that covers quite a few of my pet peeves.  Does anyone really like over glossed notebooks, sub-par webcams and keyboards with so much flex that a rodent could use them as trampolines?


A trend towards gloss started a few years back that some manufacturers have kicked into overdrive. Glossy lid, glossy display, glossy bezel, glossy touchpads,etc. They might look nice on store shelves, here’s not a single benefit to all this gloss out in the real world.

Cheap consumer PCs are cheap for a reason. Manufacturers have to take shortcuts to hit low price points, but it wouldn’t cost much, if anything, to fix a lot of these common problems.

If you want a definition of what doesn’t feel cheap, simply pick up an enterprise grade business computer. Devices like the HP Elitebooks, ThinkPad X and T Series, and Dell Latitudes are all examples of computers that are rigid and built to last. I really wish the consumer arms of these giant PC manufacturers would borrow ideas from their business-oriented counterparts.


What are biggest pet peeves when it comes to consumer devices?