Holiday Laptop Shopping Guide: Don’t Get Duped Into Outdated Wi-Fi

New products mean new technologies, right? Not necessarily. Even though laptop manufacturers could be utilizing 802.11ac Wi-Fi (which is 3x faster than 802.11bgn), many continue to stuff slow, outdated 802.11bgn into millions and millions of new products. Don’t get duped into gifting a laptop without next-gen 802.11ac Wi-Fi. This holiday season, just say “no” to outdated BGN wireless by using our laptop Wi-Fi shopping guide below.


Make your great gift even better by taking a few extra steps when shopping for laptops this holiday season:

1. Read the reviews, but be smart.

Reviews can be incredibly helpful when shopping for new hardware, but many reviews in mainstream press often overlook which kind of Wi-Fi is inside a device. Features like processing power and RAM often overshadow how a laptop outfitted with 802.11ac can offer increases in performance, wireless range, and battery life compared to a laptop featuring 802.11bgn.

2. Read the box – even the fine print.

Most PC manufacturers make it hard to determine which Wi-Fi is inside a PC. Since outdated wireless technology like 802.11bgn is no longer a huge selling point, manufacturers may bury wireless information in technical specifications. If 802.11ac isn’t prominently displayed on the package or features list, it may not be in the device.

3. If you’re in a retail store, drill down on the floor model.

Microsoft Windows doesn’t make it easy to find out which Wi-Fi is inside either. If you can’t figure out which kind of wireless is in the floor model from the signage or packaging, you may be able to get an overview of the device’s hardware by looking into the “Device Manager” on Windows 8. Click here for a quick and easy tutorial on how to locate a wireless card’s specifications. Remember, you’re looking for something that says 802.11ac, or just “AC.” If the device manager shows that the wireless card is 802.11bgn, it’s a red flag.

So how do you just say “No” to BGN?

1) When you’re in a retail store, ask for devices featuring 802.11ac Wi-Fi. If the sales associate doesn’t know which wireless technology their laptops come with, you may want to go somewhere with a more knowledgeable sales staff.

2) Check out these 802.11ac-enabled laptops at Best Buy or Amazon

3) Find out which Wi-Fi is Inside a Windows 7 or Windows 8 machine by using the tutorial above.

To learn more about the power of next-gen 802.11ac Wi-Fi, click here.