Hi there Internet!
Dan here with another fun filled episode of the NexiPC Blog. (lol) We are up to chapter 7 this week folks, my how time flies when you are having a good time. This week I wanted to do something a little different than the previous weeks though, today we are going to take some questions from you, our audience. This blog is here to help people, the whole point is to give you guys more information about the computer buying process so that when you do have to deal with this you are able to do so effectively and not have to worry about getting the wrong system. So every once in awhile I want to have these episodes where I directly answer the questions you have been asking, rather than just providing general information about one or two subjects. So today's episode is basically going to be a top ten of the most asked technology questions, odds are that if you have a question about this process, it will be on this list. So without further ado, let's get started.
#10. Will (x) software work with this system?
To figure out if a particular piece of software will work for a given system, there are typically only a few things you will need to consider and all of these things can be found on the website for that software, or on third party websites like Can You Run It at systemrequirementslab.com. To find this information just type the name of the software into a browser along with “system requirements” and this will either pull up the software website or a third party site listing the types of components you need to run the software. Typically the type of CPU or processor that you need will be listed, along with the graphics card type if one is required; the operating system that the software can run on will be provided, and the other supporting component requirements will also be listed if they apply. Using this method you can figure out the requirements for most software, if it is not listed, unfortunately, the best option is to ask other users of that specific software as they will have the most relevant information.
#9. Can my laptop be upgraded after I get it?
This is actually a very complicated question as it is very hard to decipher what the real question is when we see this. If the real question is can I make minor changes to my system like upgrading the RAM or drives down the line, the answer is usually a solid yes. This is something that you can do with most modern laptops, though we do recommend taking them to a professional for any modifications as there is always a risk when disassembling technology. If the real question though is something like can I add the graphics card from my desktop, or can I change out the processor, or can I turn it from a laptop to a desktop (all questions we have gotten) the answer becomes very complicated. While technically you can do anything with anything if you have the right tools (within reason), turning a laptop into a desktop or even just changing out the processor while technically possible would take far more resources than the task would be worth. So if you are determined you can replace anything on a laptop, but most people would be limited to just minor components like RAM and drives.
#8. Why does the screen measure 14” across but it says it has a 15.6” screen?
This is actually a topic with a lot of information, there is a whole history to it based on old TV technology and how the screens were made back in the day. But the TLDR is screens are measured on the diagonal for “screen size” as they are trying to represent the fact that the screen is both wide and tall, but there is also a whole thing with aspect ratios, so it is easier to represent the actual screen size using the diagonal.
#7. Can I use this laptop in my native language?
All of the laptops that we sell on our website have the US english keyboard layout, and without pulling up the key caps and replacing them with those for your language you would not be able to use a system sold by us in any other language than US english. With this said Microsoft Windows does offer the ability to set the language of the system in the Windows interface, so you could get it to display in any language you choose, and you can also use Windows to change the characters that the keyboard types to your language as well. So you could use our systems in another language, but unless you were willing to pull up the keycaps on the keyboard it would still be in english.
#6. The processor is listed as having (x) speed on your site, but when I got the system home it says it is running at a lower speed. What gives?
To start off, if this is a question you are having please tune back in a week or two. In either the next blog or the one after I am going to cover this in detail as it is a complicated subject and I can not do much more than a TLDR here. To answer the question though, the lower speed you are seeing is the base speed of the processor, the higher speed that we list and that most retailers and the manufacturer list is the boost speed. The reason this speed is listed is that it is the more relevant of the two numbers, as the boost speed is the speed that the processor will “boost” to when it is asked to do something. So when the system is working and doing things the boost speed is the speed that you will see, when the computer is sitting and doing basically nothing the base speed is what you would see. Few people care how fast their computer is when it is sitting doing nothing, they want to know how fast it will be when it is doing what they want it to do, so this is why the boost number is used. These numbers though are really one of the worst things that you can look at to tell if one processor is better than another, processors with lower speeds can be far superior to processors with higher speeds, so it is a shame that this is something that has become tied with these parts as it does not tell a good story about what the thing can actually do. So I highly recommend taking these numbers with a grain of salt and using other factors like core counts and threads to make decisions about processors.
#5. Does this system come with Windows? Does this system come with Microsoft Office? Does this system have Windows (x) Professional?
I have combined these three questions as they are all basically about the same thing, and we get each of them very frequently. To answer the question: unless the system in question is a Mac it does have Windows included, but unless it specifically lists Windows (x) Professional it does not have this, and we are not able to upgrade it. Unfortunately Microsoft also does not offer Microsoft Office as part of the Windows package anymore, they have turned this into a separate annual renewal purchase, and unless this is specifically mentioned in the listing the system would not have Microsoft Office included.
#4. This computer is listed as a 2019 computer, but when I checked with the manufacturer they say it was made in 2018. Why did I get the wrong system?
I really dislike getting this question as the manufacturers have really stuck us over a barrel on this one. Computers are now like cars with this, if you buy a 2019 system it will almost certainly have been manufactured in 2018 unless you buy late in the year and it was a particularly busy year. The reason for this is the same reason that car companies do this as well, but it is also why most companies do not label their products with a year number on their branding. In order to sell a product, the manufacturers have to design test and build that product. They then have to get it to the retailers. All of these things take time, and when you look at the fact that HP shipped over 50 million laptops in 2018, you can start to do the math. Even if HP factories could make 100,000 laptops a day it would take over 500 days to make all of the systems that they sold in 2018. I am not sure about you, but the last time I checked 500 days is pretty far over a year (lol), so what this means is that it would basically be impossible for the manufacturers to make all of “that years” models in that year. So what they do is in 2017 they design the 2019 model, through 2018 they actually make all of these 2019 units, and then through 2018 and 2019 these units are shipped out as needed. This is why retailers are able to offer the new 2019 models during black friday and Christmas, but it also makes for a whole load of confusion about what you are actually buying. Personally I completely disregard this number as it tells you nothing about the actual system, and only creates confusion. If you want a feature from a model you saw listed as (x) years model, look for that feature as looking for the model year will just cause you confusion.
#3. Will a digital pen/stylus work on this system?
There are two primary types of digital pens/styluses, there are ones called “active” and others are labeled as “passive”. This terminology refers to the way they interact with the computer. Passive styluses work basically just like your finger but with a pointy tip. If a laptop has a touchscreen any passive stylus will work with it so you can pick any that you like. Active styluses on the other hand work using some form of technology to communicate with the computer rather than just the pressure on the screen (it's not actually pressure that it reads, but it’s not important). Because of this, it can be incredibly difficult to find an active stylus that will work with your laptop unless the manufacturer says that it will for that specific model. As such, it is always best to check with the manufacturer of the laptop to see if the pen you want to use is approved by them before making any purchases just to be careful, as even the Bluetooth ones do not universally work.
#2. Does this system come with a manufacturer's warranty?
All new computers (at least those sold in the US) come with a one-year manufacturer's warranty as a standard in the industry. As such if you buy a new system from us or any other retailer it would have this warranty. With that said, the manufacturers do not make this process easy for some reason. They apply a “transport” warranty to systems when they leave the factory so that retailers do not wind up with crates of useless stuff. But when customers try to register for their warranty they do not have this transport warranty marked any differently in their systems usually (Dell and HP can be better about this sometimes but not always) and so they will give people a hassle about the warranty expiring soon. So they have all had to create a process for this (because apparently this is cheaper than training their agents to understand the difference between warranties, sorry I digress), and to get the warranty transferred you just need to fill out a form. This starts the consumer warranty protection, and gives you that year of protection from the date of purchase typically. We do offer to do this process for our customers though so you do not have to deal with the hassle, as there is no sense dealing with the manufacturer unless you have to.
#1. What is the battery life on this laptop?
This is another question that I dislike getting and it is the number one most common question that we get. I do not dislike this question because of the question though, I dislike it because of the answer I have to give. Battery life on laptops today stinks. It is truly horrible. I saw a demonstration on a video by a popular YouTube creator of a fairly expensive modern laptop running a game on the battery, and after an hour it had gone from 100% charge to 50%. And this is basically every laptop in the world right now, they all get between an hour and maybe 6-10 hours of life on a single charge at the very top range, plus or minus an hour of life. And this number is completely dependent on how you plan to use the thing. If you are sitting and playing a crossword puzzle with no graphics and nothing else open on your system you might get that 6-10 hours, if you are doing anything else it will go down drastically from there. Unfortunately this is also something that will not get any better any time soon, because the reason this is this way is not that we can’t make a better or bigger battery, its because you can’t take a bigger battery onto an airplane. There are guidelines on how big batteries can be before they can’t be on planes anymore, and modern laptop batteries are right at that line. No manufacturer is going to make the laptop you can’t take onto a plane so this is likely to be the battery situation with laptops for the near future. So your battery life will depend on your use, but it will almost certainly be between 2-6 hours on a charge.
Till next time folks, have fun. I will talk to you then.