Why brand matters with laptops and not desktops?

Why brand matters with laptops and not desktops?

I posted this question a couple of days ago on Twitter and got a barrage of really insightful responses. Why do brand names have a huge influence when picking a laptop but not a desktop?

Many years ago, when I bought my very first laptop, I got a white label unit. It was affordable (30% less than equivalent branded units), had decent specs and passable design. Today, I no longer find those kinds of laptops in stores.

In the case of my desktop PC, I bought might from parts and assembled them myself. No branded cases and no familiar logo to speak of. Today, you will still see these types of bundled and unbranded desktop PCs everywhere.

So, if a person enters a store and wants to buy a laptop and a desktop, the more likely scenario is this — he gets a banded laptop (Dell, HP, Apple, Samsung) and then picks an unbranded desktop PC. The customer completely skips the Acer Aspire, Dell Inspiron and HP Pavillion — all very trusted in the desktop PC market.


Very curious buying behavior right? Well, we asked people why it is so and here are the top 3 reasons we got:

1) The laptop brand is a status symbol, a desktop is not. People bring their laptops everywhere and when everybody else is looking, the owner wants to make the best impression possible. A laptop’s brand is oftentimes a measure of that — social status. It means “I can afford!“.

2) Laptops are generally more expensive than desktop PCs so people treat buying a laptop more like an investment. Investments of this magnitude oftentimes rely on brand reputation. Premium price for a premium quality. This includes warranty, customer support, after sales, availability replacement parts and service centers and over-all customer experience.

3) Owners can identify themselves with their laptops but not their desktop PC. Let’s admit it, at one time or another, we get excited to name our laptops the day we bought them.

Go chime in on the comments why you think this is so.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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52 Responses

  1. Romar says:

    Desktops brands don’t matter because they’re just the ones who assemble. On desktops, it’s the spare parts’ brands that matter. Laptops are made as a whole, so the quality & design are dependent on their brand, on how they shielded,welded,or designed the product. So brands on laptops matter more. :D

    • Fleeb says:

      If you got an Alienware desktop, it does not make as much impression as if it was an Alienware laptop.

  2. Fleeb says:

    I wouldn’t consider laptops as investments as these depreciate in value real fast. Not as fast as mobile phones though.

  3. boom says:

    why branded laptops?

    better support
    – availability of parts
    – availability of drivers for OS upgrades
    – larger user base so if something goes wrong, it’s easier to find someone else online who has experienced/resolved it.

    perceived better build quality
    – not that cheap plasticky feel
    – better ergonomics
    – sturdier physical parts
    – better engineered ie hinges

    why custom desktops?
    – price
    – price
    – price
    – also not sure about availability of parts for prebuilt desktops ie HP Pavilion.
    – you don’t bring it around so wear and tear is not as bad as laptop wear and tear
    – support: custom desktop techs are a dime a dozen these days.

    SFF desktops (small form factor) are a market of their own though.

  4. Bryan says:

    Well desktop kasi pede mung iba ibahin ang parts. pero sa laptop hndi. kung anu andun mismo sa product un na yun. try din nilang gawin tulad ng sa pc build your own laptop. mas maganda yun.

  5. Rich says:

    Brands matter most when it comes to laptops, coz the unit itself is bought as a whole, and cannot be upgraded. it also much more fragile than a desktop, as everything is cramped into one small unit. Also, there are differences in terms of customer service, warranty and how much crap they pre-install.

  6. whA says:

    you are so true to that sir abe. brAnd is a status symbol in buying laptop. hahaha even if it will cost u an arm and a leg. lolz masabi lang na naka iDevice ka. un na

  7. thejorlanb says:

    Just add this.

    Almost everyone can repair and upgrade their desktops, only a handful can do this on their laptops..

  8. Virex says:

    hmm, para sa akin, kahit desktop, need pa din ng brand.. well, kung nagtitipid ka, ok lang na mag assemble ng sarili.. ang tinatanong naman kasi usually pag naka desktop ka eh yung specs.. pero, having a branded desktop is also good.. kahit yung name lang ang binayaran mo..

    i own an alienware aurora desktop, and ang daming nagsasabi na gusto din nila nun and pangarap din nila makabili nun.. comparing to laptops, pag naka alienware ka, inde masyadong advisable na laptop ang bilin mo kasi mas mahal na nga, inde pa sya madaling bitbitin kung saan saan kasi ang bigat..

    and inde naman sa pagyayabang, those people saying that a desktop brand doesnt matter definitely doesnt know what alienware is and other gaming desktops..

    kahit naman sa laptop eh, brand name minsan ang binabayaran, meron ding ganun sa desktop.

    • garz says:

      Desktop brands REALLY doesn’t matter because a PC can be assembled with much better specs than an Alienware without spending a lot. Brand is exclusively for public display. At home, as long as you’ve got an i7 (or the extreme), GTX 680s in SLI, triple monitors, and a liquid cooling system, you’re a god.

    • Virex says:

      well, the same thing applies to laptops.. there are alot of not-so-famous brands out there that has better specs than those with brand names.. but why do they buy the famous ones?? just like vios.. thats just an eye candy laptop, but people still buy it.. not because of the spec but because of the appearance and name..

      just because you cant show an alienware desktop doesnt mean you dont have to buy one.. (well, if you dont have money, or you are not a gamer, you really dont need to buy one)..

      as i said, branded desktops are really not required because the specs matters most.. but if you have a branded desktop with high specs, you can also brag about it..

      btw, i dont have 3 monitors and the gtx, i bought my desktop 2 years ago, but i bet its still better than other people’s desktop or laptop regardless if its branded or not.. :p

    • Virex says:

      oops, not 2 years ago, but just last year.. June or July i think..

    • Virex says:

      oh another thing, i want to add this on the first paragraph of my reply:

      “there are alot of not-so-famous brands out there that has better specs than those with brand names BUT COSTS LESS”..

    • Jim says:

      I think you meant VAIO, not vios, which is a car model.

  9. Cid says:

    if i can assemble my own laptop from display to Motherboard specification it will be delightful!

  10. garz says:

    Desktop PCs are hardcore gamers’ status symbol. They’d just laugh at those puny alienwares..

    • Virex says:

      huh… its the other way around.. owners of alienwares will laugh at those trying hard gamers with no money who cant buy “for gamers” desktops..

      so what if you have high specs on your desktop.. if it doesnt have a name, then its just trash..

      comparing it to an alienware is impossible.. high specs plus a famous brand name..

      anyway, i will not argue anymore with you because clearly, you dont have an alienware, or doesnt even dream of having one, or you are not even a player, or you dont really know anything about alienware..

    • @Virex

      Do you hear yourself talking? (or typing hhe)

      “owners of alienwares will laugh at those trying hard gamers with no money who cant buy “for gamers” desktops”

      What are you? Some kind of an elitist gamer junkie? Who does that?

      “what if you have high specs on your desktop.. if it doesnt have a name, then its just trash”

      “because clearly, you dont have an alienware, or doesnt even dream of having one, or you are not even a player, or you dont really know anything about alienware..”

      Okay I get it, you have an alienware, good for you. What’s laughable about this is you are actually condescending someone about being a “hard gamer” which clearly you think yourself are because of the brand you bought.

      I don’t even play silly games but trust me when I say this, I know a lot of people who own a lot more branded and expensive things than me or you but they don’t talk like that.

      Grow up

    • Mobile says:

      @Virex I am literally laughing at you right now for being a proud “hardcore gamer”. And if you haven’t even noticed, Alienware is a brand and in that sense you’re still paying for the brand.

      But the funniest thing I see here is what a proud “hardcore gamer” you are :)))

      Omg you are so hardcore pressing buttons and connecting 3 monitors. OMG you are so awesome for actually spending a lot of money on something like Diablo III and actually be proud about it :))

      It’s not all about specs dude. Just because it has the most advanced specs doesn’t mean it’s the smartest buy, most of the times, us people with lives, don’t need the best to do our daily tasks, just ask my ultrabook. Go play some football while you’re at it :))))))

    • SpiderWak says:


      yeah Alienware.. but who cares if you can build your own liquid cooled, quad SLI monster rig? Your Alienware can bite the dust LOL

    • Neb says:


      Wow, your Alienware is so good. Well its actually shit, you just fall for a marketing strategy of an Alien head logo.

      Such Alienware doesn’t even have support here in the Philippines plus you don’t know specs as other brands are even MORE POWERFUL than your crap alienware.

      Plus, I can create a super desktop with three monitors gaming rig with the same price of your crap Alienware.

      I can hear you talking while reading your post, I feel sorry for you. Its one of those Zombie people that fell for the “Amazing” marketing talk shit of alienware.

      Why don’t you search on youtube on the crap performance of Alienware to have a big realization.

  11. Brando Braganza says:

    Alienwares of today are as lame or gay as Dell PCs. Their build quality isn’t as good as they were before Dell bought Alienware.

    If you’re a hardcore gamer, then a brand-less desktop with awesome specs would be for you.

    But if you need to be on the move, and must have a laptop for a desktop-replacement, then I would suggest Asus laptops.

    Read about laptop malfunction ratings… Asus laptops have the lowest malfunction rate in a span of 3 years.

  12. Noir says:

    Not really specs matter most but as with Cid if I can assemble laptops then i’ll build one myself.

    I think it is more of a fact of not being able to than what i can afford.

    I think some of your points tend to apply to rich people that buys based on looks like apple.

  13. Pinay says:

    Agree with this. IBM is one of the great laptop brands ever.

  14. Poi says:

    If laptop assembly were possible, as if it were a desktop where I can choose my own parts, I wouldn’t buy a branded laptop. As it is now, we are forced to buy pre-assembled branded laptops, so we really have no choice.

    • Eye Scream says:

      I agree completely with this. It’s not about perception with brands, association with it or whatsoever. Let the floodgates on laptop parts open and you’ll soon see branded one disappear from the market one by one. Even if one didn’t know how to assemble a laptop, enterprising stores will do that as a service and will still end up much cheaper, more value for money and spec-heavy than most branded laptops available.

  15. boggart says:

    style pinoy yan. status symbol ang laptop at mobile phone. everyone wants to own the latest macbook or iphone. tapos email at surfing the web lang ang gagawin, prepaid ang sim at naka unli text. what a waste!

    newer pc laptops can now be easily upgraded – adding ram, changing the graphics card, replacing the hard disk drive. unlike a few years ago na wala ka talagang magagawa unless you bring it to the service center.

    desktops, what do you need a branded one for? full spec mac pros are about 6k usdollars. a hackintosh with the same specs will set you back a little over 2k usdollars, the left over funds can be used to buy more ram, more hdd, a couple more monitors, better sounding speakers.

    lahat naman ngayon made in china na, the difference between products would be quality control.

  16. Pier says:

    Mga artista ba ang dinaanan ng survey? Halatang halata kasi na napaka-non-practical, spoiled, at socialite ng top responses.

    Here are “my” top 3 reasons:

    1. Engineering and assembly. The fact na indi ko kayang mag-assemble ng laptop, especially the laptop chassis, how to arrange the laptop parts and have it all planned out, and how to plan the air circulation on a thin computer profile says everything.

    2. Serviceability. Mas prefer ko ang computer company na buhay pa for 5 years para mapaayos ko ang laptop ko kesa sa maghabol sa OEM na palugi ang trend at hindi na mahagilap kapag nawala.

    3. Best visibility. The one who has the best visibility on story telling how the parts are meticulously assembled and the relationship of all the parts are well planned out wins. At kilala natin kung sinong prutas ang magaling dyan.

    • wakonosuke says:

      Those 3 ‘reasons’ also happen to be present the cheaper branded laptops, so i think this argument is weak, or at the very least directed at the NO-NAME brands(no trolling meant). from what i can tell, the issue in this here article is why someone would go for the more expensive brands than the cheaper ones, which in truth goes REAL HEAVY (imho) with the “STATUS SYMBOL” reason. let’s be honest here, someone walking around with an ACER ASPIRE would less likely to be popping it out in public rather than someone with a Macbook out of sheer embarrassment.

  17. Name: gtr456 says:

    I have no need to show off my notebook computers, so what matter most to me are good specs and reliability. I am on my second Neo now (the first one is still working fine), which runs on a 2nd-gen Core i7. It’s not as attractive as the others but it serves its purpose. I got it at a bargain price because of Neo’s swap plan. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to people who care more about the cost-effective performance than the looks.

  18. Ruben says:

    There are no other good brands of laptop other than those which hou will commonly find in the market, sony, samsung, toshiba, hp, acer, lg, apple, asus, msi. Some desktop buyers like me prefers bespoke PC. Branded PC in usually comes pre configured.

  19. Ruben says:

    For alienware desktops, we all know that we can configure a customized laptop that matches/surpass alienware specs. Not necessarily Unbranded ones. Thermaltake, Gigabyte, Asus, Intel, AMD, these are all the “brands”
    inside my Custom Desktop, So I think we can say we choose
    Un-branded Desktop to minimize cost but maximize preformance.

  20. wakawaka says:

    simple lang naman qng ano ang budget mo? kaya mo bang bumili ng mahal! syempre kasama n ang yabang at status mo. o wala kang pera pambili at magkukumento s luxury gadget ng ma nga panget dahil naiinget at hind mo kayang bumili.
    ssvhin molang naman ang ganda noh! kaso ito lang ang budget q$$$, hhanapan q nlang ng magandang model n fit s budget q.
    ito ang pwd mong svhin mas maganda ang spec ng nvli q compare s nvli mong branded at pagkamahal mahal n ang vnyaran mo pangalan lang.
    xperience q 2002 nag customise aq ng destop syempre bata at gaming status ng unit at kayabangan. tower nsa 36xxx, procesor 18xxx, grapics card nsa 25xxx, monitor 36xxx bago palang ang lcd non. after two yrs tinalao cia ng mumurahin kc ung specs halos prehas n. ung chases nalang ang hind nagbago ng price. xperice will teach u how to decide to buy again

  21. Jojo Salcedo says:

    As for me, pare, I would identify more with the desktop that I assembled from scratch than whatever branded laptop or tablet I have, just as I prefer custom ROMS in my devices than the stock ones.

  22. roiji says:

    Unlike the desktop, laptop parts are more expensive and hard to come by.
    Laptops are carried around, its internal and external parts have to be sturdy and of good build quality.
    A more reputable brand like Asus is preferable.

    If the motherboard of the desktop is broken, it can be inexpensive and easily replaced.
    If the motherboard of a laptop is broken, it’s very expensive to replace.

  23. Jeff says:

    Laptops is like All in one. You can’t customize a laptop. So brand matters.
    The brand AND model will tell you how good your laptop is.

    In desktops, brand matters too but for every particular piece of hardware.
    Desktops/PC are highly customizable so, you don’t expect a single brand in a computer.

  24. Adam says:

    Yeah, brand really matters when it comes to laptops because it is very noticeable as compared to that of a computer.

  25. grego says:

    with a cheap desktop would have readily replaceable cheap parts if and when the fail.

    with a cheap laptop ( not as cheap as a desktop, of course ), it’s gets more expensive ( relatively, to make a replacement, and not always possible ).

    in addition, laptop architecture is subjected to more heat, so the chance of cheap material failing is higher.

  26. Gerry says:

    You cant fully assemble a Laptop of your choice spec. There is no casing being sold and monitor to come with it.

  27. lawrence says:

    I’m not surprised that a handful of buyers get “branded” and “expensive” laptops just to show them off in public (like coffee shops). What surprises me are some comments that would suggest it’s “embarrasing” to use non-branded laptops in public.

    I got a free netbook from a carrier. it’s unbranded and “cheap-ish” looking. but I like bringing it with me at coffee shops because of it’s portable size and weight. and I never felt embarrased around I-devices around me. Because it can actually do what I expect it to do — and that is, to browse the Internet, while I’m sipping my Cafe Latte.

  28. Mika says:

    I have an Asus laptop. So, how do I come across? Poor?

  29. alloneaian says:

    Reason no. 1 is actually more of filipinoism than knowing which practical-with-good-specs laptop to buy.
    I hope the admin of this site would improve the comment box by making it as facebook social plugin. :)

  30. Wally says:

    I use Macbook Air 2011, hahaha.

  31. Epstein says:

    Yung marunong mag-assemble ng desktop hindi mo na kailangag tanungin yan, dun kaagad ang punta nyan wala ng dalawang isip. Yung hindi marunong at walang alam… Uy HP, Uy Dell, Uy Etc..

    For laptops, a wise buyer will always search and read reviews. Yung gusto lang ng pang-display pupunta lang sa mall at maghahanap ng magandang brand, titingnan ang itsura at kulay. Yun yung mga nagtatanong sa store na “Mabilis ba yan?” Bang! alam na!

  32. Alfred says:

    i’m not on the brand,i always choose the specifications it has, the mobility, and the productivity it can provide me, not always the high prices one. I always bought ACER which is cheaper and high end capabilities.

  33. Orange says:

    I wanted a Toshiba laptop. I ignored Acer, Dell, Sony, Neo and HP. Asus and Lenovo were my alternatives. I toyed with the idea of a Samsung, Fujitsu and MSI. I ignored Dell and HP because I’ve used them at work, masarap ibato sa elevator shaft. I ignored Acer because it couldn’t withstand gentle to normal use from friends – after 3 years, mukhang laspag na and these just do the regular surf/download routine, di man lang RPGSs. I ignored Neo and Sony because of bad online reviews. I didn’t buy MSI because the built of their units felt cheap in person. In the end I bought a Toshiba pa din. I based my choice on specs, price and reliability based on reviews (from experts, users and even reviews from online stores like Amazon and Bestbuy customers). What I don’t do is bring it to coffee shops/restaurants/malls. What’s the point of going out if I’ll be hunched over my laptop? If someone needs to reach me about work, that’s what my office issued BB is for. I bought a laptop because it was expensive and tedious putting together a cpu on my own, plus an OS costs an arm and leg pala. The laptop gave me 650gb of storage, 8gb of ram, 1gb dedicated videocard, a home premium ed OS – all the things I needed for home computing since I’m not into gaming. I think seeing laptops as a status symbol of sorts is as obsolete as the Palm. Kahit mura na laptops ngayon, people still want to get their money’s worth so relying on branded laptops is a practical approach. After all, these companies invested in their products to build good will and good reputation. I think non mainstream brands are more ideal for hardcore users who experiment a lot or love to modify their machines.

  34. Jeric says:

    nakakatawa yung alienware.. yung mga friends kong talagang “hardcore gamer” ay nag cucustomize talaga ng pc, so yung branded spare parts na yung inaatupag nila, hindi yung mga alienware na yan, plus pinas to bro, im sure pahirapan yan if masira.

    search mo bro, razer blade laptop.. baka marami kang pera pang bili nyan. hehe.

  35. Lexty says:

    Ako I am after the Specs, Cooling system and Warranty! For how long tumatagal Desktop PC nyo? eh how about yung warranty ng Parts? have you ever experience na after 1 year sira na agad PC desktop nyo? tapos hindi na mapalitan yung parts kasi its either out of warranty or obsolete na. tsk tsk. People buy laptop kasi portability tapos wala ng hassle sa pagbuo kasi hindi naman lahat techy eh. yung iba basta magamit okay na yun. tska mas mura na kasi mag laptop today compared dati. also you can get the same performance ng desktop(high-end laptops), heck there are even better laptops than your desktop.

    Yung mga bumibili ng laptop just for status symbol.. mga mayayaman lang na hindi gaano techy. more for show off lang. tsk tsk. bbli ka nga ng high end MacBook Pro/Retina. tapos ano? Facebook lang gagawin mo? sana nag cherrymobile/Myphone/ ka na lang and even cdr king fastphone can surf facebook. hahaha

  36. biospc says:

    may naaasymble ba na laptop? parts by parts?
    yung branded desktop naman is sobrang mahal, x5 ang presyo compare sa clone cpu…

    para saan ba yung mamahalin na laptop, pero ang gumagamit naman ay walang alam kung di mag facebook or magsusurf lang nang net…

    kalimitan kasi nang mga feeling rich na pinoy, dapat branded at mamahalin na laptop ang gamitin, para in sa uso at makasabay sa tunay na may pera… hahay…

  37. jan robin says:

    Ahaha nice na Entertain ako sa post nyo ha hehe

    Mine is Asus laptop K53SV-SX803,,,i7 cya, Nice specs and durable cya.. pero nsa gumagamit din yan.. Bago ko cya nabili Read muna ako post nung mga users at comments nila, to be sure na sulit ang bili ko.. High and medium settings cya sa lht ng LatestGames .. mura pa.. : )

    Laptop or Desktop? dpende nlng yan kung sa pangangailan or purpose ng pagGAmit.. tsaka minsan wala sa brand yan.. : )

  38. Ukin Inau Amin says:

    Don’t slam those apple fanboys, they will hate you for posting they own the most stupid piece of recycled parts from obsolete pc parts then painted white and sold at one thousand times the price to those nitwit people who are either gay or more gay. HAHAHAHAHAH.

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