Laptop manufacturers are building their products to fit in a very specific category to ease their customer from choosing the right one, and the diversity of it can be confusing at some point. We will talk about all the categories of laptops in this article and hopefully, it will clear up the confusion you all are possibly having.

Mainstream Laptop/Standard Laptop

First of all, the Mainstream Laptops are typically design to compromise between functionality and costs. It doesn’t possess the superb build quality like a Workstation/Business Laptop (more on that later), but it basically has everything essential like what you would have expected from a laptop.

Performance wise, it covers from low-end to mid-high-range components. So there are models comes with a Celeron chip and up to Core i7 low power chips. Their main focus is mainly – the Price. Mainstream Laptops are typically in the affordable range which makes it favoured by a vast majority of the laptop users. It is upgradeable? Yes, RAM upgrade or storage upgrade are normally just a few screws away.

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Laptop series that falls under this category are:

  • Acer Aspire series (Aspire, Aspire E, Aspire F)
  • ASUS VivoBook series (Our review for ASUS VivoBook S15 S530U)
  • Dell Inspiron series
  • HP Pavilion series
  • Lenovo Ideapad series


Ultrathin Laptop

As what the name suggests, Ultrathin Laptop is designed to be very thin, lightweight and portable, typically smaller in size compared to the Mainstream Laptop and it is much lighter, hovering in the range of 1.0kg to 1.6kg. Being designed in a way that thin and lightweight is prioritized does not mean that it has crappy build quality, as a matter of fact, most of the Ultrathin Laptop out there in the market are known to have very good build quality.

But unlike a Mainstream Laptop, the upgradability of an Ultrathin Laptop is basically closed to none, as most of the parts inside of an Ultrathin Laptop are soldered to the motherboard. You are considered lucky if you can upgrade the SSD. Price wise, it is leaning more towards the expensive side, but it might be a good investment if you are travelling very often as the portability does stand out of the crowd.

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Laptop series that falls under this category are:

  • Acer Swift series
  • Acer Aspire S series
  • ASUS ZenBook series
  • Dell XPS series
  • HP Spectre series
  • HP ENVY series
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X series

Convertible/2 in 1 Laptop

A 2 in 1 Laptop is basically a detachable laptop that offers both a touchscreen and a physical keyboard of some type. You can use it as a full-on laptop with a physical keyboard and touchpad or you can use it as a tablet with Windows 10 in it, just like a Microsoft Surface.

Meanwhile, a Convertible Laptop does not offer a detachable keyboard, but it offers a very clever hinge that enables 360 degrees rotation to effectively turn the laptop into a standing tablet, just like a Lenovo Yoga.

Price wise, you can get a fairly affordable one all the way to a very expensive one, but on average it is more expensive than a Mainstream Laptop for sure. As it falls under the subset of Ultrathin laptop series, upgradability would be close to none – most of the parts are soldered to the motherboard. If you enjoy using a laptop and a tablet, a Convertible/2 in 1 Laptop is definitely your cup of tea.


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Laptop series that falls under this category are:

  • Acer Switch Series
  • Acer Spin Series
  • ASUS ZenBook Flip series
  • Dell XPS 2-in-1
  • HP x360 series
  • Lenovo Yoga series

Business Laptop

Now a Business Laptop, if you ever look into any price sheet of any brand, you will be surprised by the price difference of a Business Laptop and a Mainstream Laptop even though the specification is more or less the same. What makes Business Laptop costs more is essentially the build quality, Business Laptop has a superb build quality that can endure a lot of working hours without failure.

Upgradability is very much possible just like a Mainstream Laptop, but in most cases, it is equipped with higher-end options like an M.2 storage expansion.

On the other hand, Business Laptop tends to offer longer warranty periods with 24/7 tech support, onsite service and all sort of security measure like built-in data encryption. As mentioned earlier, Business Laptop tends to hover around the pricey segment, but if you are someone who needs your machine to perform with minimal downtime, Business Laptop is definitely the way to go.


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Laptop series that falls under this category are:

  • Acer TravelMate X series
  • ASUS ZenBook series
  • Dell XPS series
  • Dell Vostro series
  • Dell Latitude series
  • HP ProBook series
  • HP EliteBook series
  • Lenovo ThinkPad series

Workstation Laptop

To keep it simple, Workstation Laptop are basically Business Laptop on steroid. It offers superb build quality, superb upgradability, all the warranty and supports that you will get from a Business Laptop, if not better. The difference is mainly on the performance, you can opt for a Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro in a Workstation Laptop for all your professional application needs, for example, CAD, CGI and/or DCC.

Price wise, with all the fancy bits from Business Laptop and a very much performance-oriented design language, it is going to be very expensive. If you are someone who can utilize the performance and features offers by this class of laptop, I guess the price would be the least to worry about right?

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Laptop series that falls under this category are:

  • Acer TravelMate P series
  • ASUS ZenBook Pro series
  • Dell Lattitude series
  • HP ZBook series
  • Lenovo ThinkPad P series

Gaming Laptop

As simple as it sounds, it is a laptop meant for gamers. Gaming Laptop typically build to maximize the gaming experience of the user by integrating better hardware, on average Gaming Laptop tend to have a better GPU, while a high-end Gaming Laptop actually have a lot more than you could ever get from other types of laptop, such as a high refresh rate display, tactile keyboard, high-quality speaker and so on.

Build quality can be varied, especially on the low-end territory as the focus in this type of laptop is mostly on the hardware side. Price wise, it can be very much affordable, but it can also be costing an arm and a leg. If gaming on a laptop is your thing then there aren’t really any other options than a Gaming Laptop.

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  • Acer Nitro series
  • Acer Predator Helios series
  • ASUS TUF Gaming series
  • ASUS ROG series
  • ASUS ROG Strix series
  • Dell G series
  • Dell Alienware series
  • HP OMEN series
  • Lenovo LEGION series


Chromebook is sort of a different breed of a laptop, as straightforward as it sounds, it is running on Chrome OS from Google instead of your typical Windows or MacOS. Typically, Chromebook is designed primarily to surf the web with most of its application storing/running on the cloud. For the most part, Chromebook is in the very affordable price bracket as it does not really require much of high-end hardware, however, only until the very recent, manufacturer like Acer are launching new Chromebook with specification on par with or better than some Mainstream Laptop.

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As a conclusion, there are definitely pros and cons on every single type of laptop that is available in the market. Manufacturers build different types of a laptop with a specific goal in mind to make it perfect for your usage like the Mainstream Laptop are meant for the normal home user, Business Laptop is meant for the professionals, Ultrathin Laptop is meant for those who wanted portability and so on. We hope this article does clear up some of your confusion, and stay tuned for the Ultimate Laptop Buyer’s Guide Malaysia Edition that is coming very soon.


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