10 Laptop Features You Can Skip to Save Money

It happens to all of us—looking to buy a new laptop, you find yourself wanting more of everything. Some of us, however, don’t want or can’t afford every feature offered by laptop manufacturers. Thankfully, they’re not all essential.  Discrete graphics and extra memory, for instance, will increase the cost of your notebook and will likely remain underutilized unless you’re playing games or editing HD video. So what other features can you skip when buying a new laptop? Read on to find out.


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  1. Eddie Says:

    I liked the list until I got to the kensington lock slot and vga port… how exactly does one “skip” these features? a $300 Acer black friday special has VGA, kensington lock, optical, and ethernet… at the other end of the spectrum, the Sony SA, Z1, Z2, etc have all these features as well. Are you saying that I can save money on a Z2 or a $300 Acer by asking for one without VGA, ethernet, and kensington? Am I missing something here?
    Regarding the ethernet port, I am a college student (IMO college students make up the biggest market for laptops), and the only way to avoid bad dorm/apartment internet is to forgo wireless and go wired. So, I don’t really see the point of this list… I think if you went to any store asking for a laptop without a kensington lock, they’d laugh at you. If you just wanted to tell everyone what features a Macbook Air lacks, you could have just said so in it’s review

  2. Presly Says:

    The last 6 items on this list are not optional even if you buy a configurable laptop. It should be “4 laptop features.” Of course, anyone who knows anything about laptops already know those 4.

  3. Candace Says:

    I agree with Eddie. I have a $300 Acer laptop, one of the cheapest laptops available. It has almost all these features on it. I don’t see how trying to get a laptop without these features would save you money.

  4. Jeff Says:

    I read this in the magazine at an airport a while ago and I was really disappointed in Laptopmag. It’s easier to see this article as “10 things manufacturers shouldn’t put in consumer laptops” because I see as many as 8 of the 10 not a buyers option for some laptops (to Presly’s 6, I would add backlit keyboard and optical drive and that can be a consumer’s option – if they buy it CTO – but are standard on many laptops. But that’s not the key point in my view.

    I think the list offers about the worst advice I’ve ever seen from an erstwhile credible tech publication. At a minimum, the article should have been prefaced by something like: “If you don’t ever use your computer for important work of any kind, only use it for web surfing, email and possibly MS Office, trust that you will always be able to get fast Internet signal, don’t mind eliminating any convenient feature as long as it will save money and battery life, and so on, and so on. Other than the Firewire port, I have every other feature listed on my Sony Z13 and I have used every one over the past 6 months and am very reluctant to trade “up” to a newer model because they all have eliminated features I really need – even if only a few times a year – and some that I use every day and would be way worse off with a thin mint for a computer that you can’t do much with nor connect to many peripherals. Let me give a few examples. I can’t type even in poorly lit areas, even in daytime, without a keyboard backlight (I think it, like an SSD, is something you won’t do without once you’ve had it), I’ve needed my ethernet port at least twice in the last year because of a problem with my wifi card; the port was both the only way I could get net access under a time crunch, and it was also later the way I could download software that was the fix for the wifi card, There are still so many uses for an optical drive – also perhaps more and more rarely, but still essential at times. When traveling – alone or with my wife on vacation – I really like to know I can watch movies I want to see and will not be dependent on the Hotel’s Net connection speed or it’s Pay Per View offerings, DVDs and Blu Rays are more than worth having for these times along – and even if an external optical drive would work just as well, I for one don’t want to have to bring peripheral devices to do simple things (and internal optical drives add less than 0.3 lbs. Oh, and, the optical drive bay on almost all laptops can be converted to house a second HDD or SSD – absolutely awesome where the need arises.

    Again, I guess consumers who do very little with their computers, never have do mission critical work on their laptop, have perfect eyesight and never use their computer in unfavorable lighting conditions and, in my view if they have to sacrifice all 10 in the list, don’t travel for their work. Otherwise, the article sounds like it was written by computer company, trying to justify taking all the features out of their new models. I do think that with time some of these features may become increasingly “fringe” features, but it will take some time, and some will actually increase in usage – eg, backlit keyboards. Of one thing I am positive: my computer has 9 of the 10 things you say are unnecessary “today” and I use and depend on every one of them.

  5. RI Says:

    It sounds to me like you people are just complaining. No where did I remember reading you definitely don’t need these features. All it’s saying is if you are a casual user then you may not need this particular feature “if” you have to pay extra for it. To the first commenter you are missing something same as the next commenter. If your laptop comes with those features standard than great for you. If not than think if you need it before upgrading. I wouldn’t do without some of those features either but didn’t think the reviewer made any mistakes. Enjoy.

  6. rob Says:

    this list is not vary good most of the items come standard on laptops some don’t cost a thing to have like the kensington lock. if you do want a backlit keyboard try buying it after market it will be much cheaper. (i just got mine today) the only thing on this list that i don’t use every day is firewire and the kensington.

  7. kerby ruiz Says:

    how can i get my laptop asus keyboard lit up when i purchase the asus laptop keyboard is regular so i want to make it light up when im on. so can you tell me how to get it done

  8. John Says:

    The last six things don’t save you money by leaving them out. Every budget laptop comes with VGA, Kensington lock, HD webcam and ethernet. It’s rather DisplayPort and HDMI which increases cost by bigger margin.
    FireWire and PCI slots don’t exist anymore.

    And other than the first 4, you can save a lot of money by selecting a lower resolution and going to a traditional 500GB hard drive instead of SSD, and YOU DON’T COVER THAT? That’s the luxury in there, and students can live without that.

  9. TechEnthusiast Says:

    This is probably the most non-intuitive and poorly written tech article ever. Are you joking? To save money you don’t need Core i5 or i7? The Core i5, i7, iwhatever is just a naming scheme, that does not reflect performance in the slightest. You have to take into consideration of core count, and clockspeed. By your logic, every i5 processor is off the table, yet a desktop i3 which smashes i5 mobile processors across the floor is still up for grabs. Discrete graphics are getting more important as people’s demand for video and games has increased and is required for any serious commitment to gaming. Discrete graphics just plain suck if you look at the benchmarks. If you need to save money, the best strategy is to forget about a laptop all together and build a cheap desktop PC that will outperform even the most highest end laptops. Price per performance ratio is all measured with benchmarks, and not subjective empirical nonsense this article has used as it’s foundation of logic.

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