The surge in popularity of netbooks has led computer makers to change the way they think about PCs. A few years ago, you’d pay a premium for thin and light laptops, while larger and heavier machines inevitably cost more. Today, we’re starting to see companies put out thin, light, and cheap machines. Of course, like netbooks, these low cost thin and light computers tend to have relatively slow processors and other cheap components including cheap plastic cases.
According to a CNET article, analysts are starting to notice something rather surprising obvious: These cheap computers aren’t as durable as pricier models. But you know what? They weren’t meant to be. If you purchased a $400 laptop under the impression that it was just as good as a $1200 machine you either made a big mistake or had a really inept salesperson.
That said, there’s cheap and then there’s cheap. CNET quotes an analyst who says that the plastic cases on some of these cheap notebooks are cracking. In order to build a sturdier thin and light machine, PC makers are going to want to use metal cases — which would drive up the price.
It’s not clear from the article if the cracking is a widespread problem; if there’s a way to deal with it without using metal cases; or if the cracks occur on their own or only after users, say, drop the laptops on concrete. So I’m going to reserve judgment about the severity of the problem for now. But in general, you get what you pay for. If you want a powerful, portable, and problem-free machine, you’ll wind up paying a premium price.