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Laptop naming conventions have become a total mess

Laptop naming conventions have become a total mess (Image source: HP)
Laptop naming conventions have become a total mess (Image source: HP)
ROG Strix Scar 15 G532, ROG Strix Scar III G531, HP Pavilion 15-cs0053cl, XPS 13 7390, XPS 13 9380, Yoga C930, Yoga Book C930... it's no surprise that even we're starting to get a bit confused at how all these names are structured.
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It's not easy trying to name a whole family of laptops when there are so many models and options to categorize. Some OEMs have been doing this better than others, but these latest examples stick out like a sore thumb to make shopping even more difficult for the layperson than it already is.

To start, a confusing example involves the Asus ROG Strix Scar and ROG Strix Hero series. The "Scar" models are designed for FPS gamers while the "Hero" models cater toward RTS gamers according to the manufacturer. This seems to imply that one model may be worse at running certain titles than the other even though both the Scar and Hero models are based on the same or very similar chassis design.

The ROG Strix series balloons even further out of control on subsequent generations. Users can now choose between the 2020 ROG Strix G15, ROG Strix Scar 15, or ROG Strix Scar 17 which shouldn't be confused with the older 2019 Strix Scar III series. These 2019 models are divided further into separate G7xx or G5xx SKUs which users shouldn't confuse with the even older 2018 Strix Scar II GL7xx or GL5xx SKUs. Asus would eventually drop the "Hero" name and roman numerals for the current 2020 Strix generation, but having both the 2020 Strix G15 and 2020 Strix Scar 15 is still confusing especially when they look so much alike.

Depending on where you are in the world, this Lenovo laptop may be called the Yoga Slim 7 or IdeaPad Slim 7
Depending on where you are in the world, this Lenovo laptop may be called the Yoga Slim 7 or IdeaPad Slim 7

The ZenBook series is arguably almost as bad. The ZenBook 13, for example, shouldn't be confused with the ZenBook S13 or ZenBook S as these are three separate families of 13-inch ZenBook laptops. These families are further divided into SKUs starting with the UX prefix like the UX343, UX393UX333, or UX334, but trying to match these up with the correct ZenBook S13, ZenBook S, or ZenBook 13 family is not intuitive.

Then there is the ROG Zephyrus series which is Asus' lineup of thin-and-light gaming laptops. The series has since expanded from the original 2017 Zephyrus GX501 to include the Zephyrus SZephyrus GZephyrus M, and Zephyrus Duo with GA, GM, GX, GL, and GU prefixes for SKUs.

Most other manufacturers aren't making it any easier. The Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15, for example, have always had 9xxx model names up until last year when the OEM decided to use 7xxx model names instead. Dell would then do a complete 180 one year later, but the damage had already been done — the order from oldest XPS 13 model to newest is now 9370, 9380, 7390, and 9300 instead of what would have been the more intuitive 9370, 9380, 9390, and 9300.

The HP Pavilion 15-cs0053cl. Is it newer or better than the HP Pavilion 15t-bc200 X7P44AV? What do all the numbers and letters mean here?
The HP Pavilion 15-cs0053cl. Is it newer or better than the HP Pavilion 15t-bc200 X7P44AV? What do all the numbers and letters mean here?

Another example is Lenovo and its almost decade-old Yoga series. The manufacturer established way back at CES 2012 that the term "Yoga" would imply a convertible laptop with 360-degree hinges. In 2018, however, the term "Yoga" would be redefined as any high-end Lenovo laptop to contrast the less expensive IdeaPad series meaning a traditional clamshell can now be called a Yoga. Lenovo would then introduce S, C, and D prefixes to model names that would mean Slim, Convertible, and Detachable. Slim in this case would mean a clamshell laptop with no 360-degree features, but uninformed users might have assumed "C" would mean clamshell instead. 

Some manufacturers rely on painfully long model names to distinguish them apart. HP is perhaps the most guilty of this with unattractive model names that seemingly require users to learn a new language to decipher. The Envy 17-ce1002ng and Envy 17-n107ng, for example, are four years apart and the numbers are letters may as well be hieroglyphs to casual buyers.

There is no single best approach and we're certain there is a method to all the madness, but the long names and seemingly zigzag SKUs aren't making it any easier for the layperson or window shopper to understand what's new and what's old.

Apple and Razer have a minimalist approach when it comes to model names which encourages users to study their specifications and year of release instead
Apple and Razer have a minimalist approach when it comes to model names which encourages users to study their specifications and year of release instead
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 10 > Laptop naming conventions have become a total mess
Allen Ngo, 2020-10-19 (Update: 2020-10-19)
Comment by Allen Ngo
Views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author.
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.