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Recommend me a laptop, v2018

Discussion in 'BYTE ME: Technology discussion' started by Oil Can Dan, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Oil Can Dan

    Oil Can Dan Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    6,247
    I know we've had laptop recommendation threads in the past but even a year ago is a lifetime in technology. I need a solid but unspectacular laptop for travel that will primarily be used for excel and light internet usage. I can't handle mining large data files on the iPad. I figured it would be easy enough to figure this out on my own but there are a million laptops and I don't know squat about what specs to aim for. I won't use this too often, but when I do I would really like for it to be fast.

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. Rudi Fingers

    Rudi Fingers Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    1,345
  3. Oil Can Dan

    Oil Can Dan Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    6,247
    I’m fine with that price, but I’m just not a mac guy. It’s probably me but I really don’t like working in excel in anything other than a windows machine.
     
  4. Toe Nash

    Toe Nash Member SoSH Member

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    4,359
    Don't get that Macbook air. It only supports up to 1440 x 900 resolution, which can be constricting for Excel. I would lose my mind trying to do anything in Excel with that resolution. The newest Macbooks are lighter than the Air, have better specs overall and the Retina screen is gorgeous. But they're pricey-ish.

    What I would look for is something with:
    full HD resolution or higher (1920 x 1080) so you can fit more stuff on the screen, unless you're going to use an external monitor most of the time
    8 GB RAM
    a solid state drive (this will make a huge performance and battery life difference)
    Solid build quality

    The Lenovo T series checks all these boxes since the T460. They just came out with the T480 line which has the latest "Coffee Lake" 8th gen processor. This is a nice upgrade if you can afford it because Intel has added more cores to this generation, making a big performance difference. But for your uses you probably won't notice that.

    You can probably find a T470s on ebay refubished for around $700. The Dell XPS 13 is another good choice, lighter and more flashy design than the T series with a really nice display, but a little more expensive. Dell also gets high marks for support and their outlet site has good deals from time to time.

    Other brands are hit or miss as far as the build quality. This matters less depending on how much travel you're doing.
     
  5. VBSoxFan

    VBSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    258
    My home desktop recently died and I replaced it with a 13" Dell 2-in-1 (I have had good luck with Dell in the past). This is the model I bought on sale at Best Buy. It has the latest quad core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and 1920 x 1080 screen resolution. It can also double as tablet. Plenty of ports for external devices.

    The reviews I have read say the biggest drawback was a shorter battery life than others in its class. But, as this will be used almost entirely as a home computer, that is not much of a concern for me.

    Edited to add: I have had it a little over a week and so far, have been pretty happy with it, but I do attach it to an external 27" monitor and the 1920 x 1080 resolution leaves a little to be desired. I am still playing with various configurations.
     
    #5 VBSoxFan, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  6. Joe Sixpack

    Joe Sixpack Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    3,650
    What Rudi said - need to know your budget.

    I really like my HP Spectre x360. A new one goes for about $1000.

    http://store.hp.com/us/en/mdp/spectre-x360-232005--1#!&tab=vao

    The Dell XPS 13 is also really good, but it has this adaptive brightness thing that can't be disabled and dims the screen for you - I am a bit OCD about those types of things and so I had to return mine, but it was otherwise a fantastic machine.

    If budget is an issue, Asus makes some really good laptops in the $600-$800 or so price range.
     
  7. Koufax

    Koufax Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    4,074
    I bought an Asus Aspire R about 15 months ago for about $550. Great touch screen. It works fine.
     
  8. Oil Can Dan

    Oil Can Dan Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Thanks guys. I bought the Dell XPS 13.
     
  9. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    7,644
    I’m looking for a new laptop to purchase soon.

    - I’d like to keep it pretty cheap; hopefully under $500 but I’ll consider going more expensive for the right computer.

    - I’ve had a bigger laptop for the last five years and while I like having the big display; a smaller more compact computer makes more sense now that I travel more and use my computer on the go. So I’m looking for a smaller, more portable laptop.

    - I have a new laptop for work that I use so I’m not going to need a pricey model that is going to be my lifeline at work. I just want something for fun other stuff; like playing games and shitposting on SoSH.

    - I play games on my laptop but I’m not a hardcore gamer that plays real time strategy games so graphics aren’t a super big deal. Two of my favorites are Civilization and Planet Coaster; so having a nice bright display would be cool, but I’m not playing anything too graphically advanced.

    - I think the key things I want to prioritize are a smaller size, good battery life and a steady cooling system. My current laptop was good; but after five years plus taking it all through college it’s on its last legs.

    Let me know if you guys have any ideas. I’ve poked around some stores but I’d like to hear some suggestions.

    -
     
  10. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,536
    You want a cheap laptop with a small screen (at $500 this means a weak dual core cpu and crummy graphics) and you're going to use it for gaming...yeah good luck with that...
     
  11. Joe Sixpack

    Joe Sixpack Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    3,650
  12. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    7,644
    Well; my current laptop is an HP I paid about $650 for five years ago, and it can handle all of my gaming needs; it is just very bulky and over the years has taken on a lot of wear and tear and it overheats easily so sometimes it feels like I'm using the ENIAC. I'm not looking for a real GAMING laptop; I'm primarily a console gamer that has a few old favorites on the PC. I'm not playing online or anything like that; and I'm not even really looking for something that is going to really enhance the aesthetics of the game, just something that can run the game without overheating or bugging out.

    I've poked around in some retail stores and see smaller laptops in the $350-$500 range and I'm fairly confident that I'd be fine with those models, but I don't know much about PCs so I figured I would crowdsource this a bit. Do I really need to spend $750+ on a PC to do the things I want (basically internet access and light gaming) or all the cheaper models just really crappy? Like I said I paid $650 for my old computer and it is still technically fine, just a bit older. Have the prices for a quality product gone up?
     
  13. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,536
    From your elaboration, anything with a dual core i5 Intel cpu should be adequate and esp. in factory refurbs that's probably doable in the $500 range, i3 or lower cpus will be anemic. You want more than 4 Gig ram, if they charge much more for that, as long as the 4 Gig only use 1 of the 2 ram slots usually provided, you can add 4 or 8 more for dirt aftermarket.
     
  14. Joe Sixpack

    Joe Sixpack Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    3,650
    I think the low end Asus ultrabooks such as the one I recommended for $750 is really the sweet spot right now as far as bang for your buck, but yeah you can probably get something that meets your needs for $500. It will be a bit bulkier but if you're coming from a 5 year old brick then maybe not an issue.

    Looking around, Lenovo outlet usually has some good deals but not seeing anything decent under $700 right now (criteria: 8gb RAM, some type of SSD, 1080p screen)

    Found this Asus refurb on Newegg for $650, looks pretty decent.
    https://m.newegg.com/products/N82E16834234938

    Honestly you're probably better off spending an extra couple hundred to get something more future proof if you're the type to keep a laptop for 5 years.
     
  15. Nick Kaufman

    Nick Kaufman protector of human kind from spoilers Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    9,919
    Look at LG Gram, HP Spectre, Lenovo Yoga and HP XPS 13.

    Also, if you don't want the latest and greatest, you can also go for a used one of ebay.
     
  16. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,536
    Below are just 3 options at the Lenovo Outlet site this morning, quantities are small, stuff comes and goes. Shipping is free, full 1 yr warranties on everything, some are new, some are refurbs that are always indistinguishable from new. Just picked a few Thinkpads as they are still the most rugged Lenovo makes. All i5 cpu, some with HD some with SSD (which are all M2 format which means there's an empty HD bay inside which you can add for less than Lenovo wants). Most here already have 8 Gig ram. These are all between $500 - $600:

    https://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/outle...t-series-relationship-only/T440p/p/20AWX51500

    https://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/outletus/l-series/ThinkPad-L470/p/20J4CTR1WW-PF12B0BA

    https://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/outletus/thinkpad-e-series/ThinkPad-E580/p/20KSCTO1WW-PF11PQJS
     
  17. Dollar

    Dollar Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    6,624
    How about this one?
    Acer Swift 3
    $549 after rebate, Intel® Core™ i5-8250U Processor at 1.6GHz, 8GB DDR4 SDRAM, 256GB Solid State Drive, Microsoft® Windows 10 Home (64 bit), 14" LED-backlit Widescreen FHD IPS (1920 x 1080) Display, Intel® HD 620 Integrated Graphics
     
  18. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,536
    Acer stuff is 2 steps below Thinkpad, HP and Dell hardware. Take a look at the experience at Amazon on these models:

    https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Swift-i...ll_reviews&filterByStar=critical&pageNumber=1

    also a laptop with a 256 Gig SSD and no option for a hard drive means you are stuck with a puter that has a whopping real 180 Gig of storage. You may believe in the Cloud, I'm not convinced, especially when you need some big file. Probably doesn't matter, a large % of this model is likely to go dead within 6 months....
     
  19. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

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    7,644
    I went to Best Buy over the weekend and snagged a Lenovo Yoga 720 for $650. Its the perfect size and seems to do just about everything I want so far. I could have gone more expensive for gaming, but at this point I wasn't going to drop $350+ more just to play a few games from time to time.
     
  20. Jim Ed Rice in HOF

    Jim Ed Rice in HOF Red-headed Skrub child SoSH Member

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    2,904
    Yay, another laptop recommendation request!

    My daughter is starting college next month and it's time to upgrade the laptop we got her early in her HS years. Below are the recommendations from the school. Note - despite the WPI thing she won't be needing CAD software so I don't need to beef it up to extreme levels. She wants to stick with Windows vs. a Mac.

    I'm looking to be sort of midpoint on price (let's face it, a laptop is kind of a rounding error when calculating college costs and she's kicking in to the cost although she doesn't know it yet). From the below requirements, any recommendations and what areas I should upgrade on (RAM, i5 vs. i7, etc.)?

    WPI.JPG
     
  21. Blacken

    Blacken Robespierre in a Cape SoSH Member

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    11,761
    If you want something to last, look at a ThinkPad T480 or T480s. Just got a T480 for personal use, moving back from a Mac, and the thing is a tank. Feels good to use, too, and Lenovo's on-site repair is one of the few add-on warranties worth buying. (I got the T480 with the expanded battery and the thing gets sixteen hours on a charge even with the battery drain of the higher-end CPU and the higher-res screen.)

    They also have the X280 for a smaller machine and the X1 Carbon if one likes spending extra money.
     
  22. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    12,536
  23. Jim Ed Rice in HOF

    Jim Ed Rice in HOF Red-headed Skrub child SoSH Member

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    2,904
    Thanks to you both (and especially the link). I'll probably have to get one in my daughter's hands to see what she thinks. Not sure if the screen size will be an issue for her or not and I can't remember what she's got now.
     
  24. Blacken

    Blacken Robespierre in a Cape SoSH Member

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    11,761
    The 768p screen is really awful, it's dim and blurry. At minimum get 1080p, consider 1440p.
     
  25. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    Damn they had close to a dozen earlier but all 'singles' and some of them had better res screens, I didn't look closely at the one I picked to link, now they are all gone, in fact they have NO Thinkpads of any model with better screens atm, but things change every day there....I'm going to guess that 'back to school' has the site being stripped very quickly right now...
     
  26. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

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    3,150
    I'd never get a laptop with a standard hard drive, regardless of the school recommendation. The speed difference between that and an SSD is night and day.

    The Microsoft Store has a sale on i5/8GB/256GB Surface Laptops for $999. I prefer the 3x2 aspect ratio on a laptop to 16x9, but that's personal preference.
     
  27. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,536
    The ideal is a laptop that can handle an SSD (these days an M.2 or pcie interface generally) and still has room for a mechanical hard drive. It's getting harder and harder to find such beasts, the bulkier Thinkpads can still do it, but it's close to impossible to find one that's actually sold with such a setup, generally you have to add the 2nd drive yourself, which requires a screwdriver and a bit of technical knowledge. The end result is not only versatile but you can backup your, usually 256 Gb SSD boot drive onto your .5 or 1 Tb hard drive.
     
  28. Joe Sixpack

    Joe Sixpack Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    3,650
    I don't know why you'd need both at this point. A 1tb ssd can be purchased for under $200.
     
  29. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,536
    When it comes to computers I'm a belt & suspenders kinda guy, I like the idea of a backup image of my entire boot drive available instantly. Now if your laptop gets stolen or run over by a bus, of course you need an external backup, but most of the time we're talking about a drive failure. No backup is faster or easier than to another internal drive. Of course, I still resist the idea of backing up to the cloud, the implied assumptions: that you can always get to the cloud with a fast and reliable connection I find dubious...yes and now get off my lawn....

    Also, I agree if you only have one drive it should be a 1 Tb SSD of some sort, afaik you cannot find ANY major laptop maker that sells a machine sporting one... in the age of Chromebooks the very idea of a large amount of local storage seems to offend their sensibilities.
     
  30. Blacken

    Blacken Robespierre in a Cape SoSH Member

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    11,761
    Every major manufacturer sells 1TB SSDs. In professional models for professionals and in high-end enthusiast laptops. (I have one in my T480 and had one in my MBP before it.)

    A student whose major doesn't involve creating digital works and who does not game having doesn't need more than 160GB of onboard storage. Maybe 256GB. Expecting a student to reimage and lose the data they did not fastidiously back up (because nobody backs anything up) is unreasonable and the idea of putting a loud, heavy power suck of a spindle into a computer "just in case" is silly.

    Cloud storage of documents and whatever local install base for programs. Done. There's no need to overcomplicate things for people who just don't care or need to care.
     
  31. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,536
    after Win 10 x64 and even a smattering of programs, a 160 Gb drive has, maybe 100 Gb, I find that....pathetic...ymmv
    Fortunately 256 Gb drives are so cheap anything less is just silly....I know many laptops have less than that, but saving the $25 (their cost is probably even less) is just being abusive to the customer who is not savvy. There are tons of laptops like that, also sporting low end i3 cpus ... it's buying a compact car with a Briggs & Stratton lawnmower engine under the hood.
     
  32. oumbi

    oumbi Member SoSH Member

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    1,560
    I second this suggestion. Go to an Apple store and look and HOLD an airbook. For travel it is hard to beat in terms of weight and ease of carrying. I prefer the MacBook because of the screen being much better, but the airbook is still a good screen.
     
  33. 3_games_down

    3_games_down Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    107
    Our daughter is off to WPI as well, went with the ASUS Vivo after considering Apple Lenovo, and Microsoft offerings. $1,100 for a horse

    ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 4K Touchscreen Laptop, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, Gaming GeForce GTX 1050, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, 15.6” UHD (3840 x 2160) WideView, Backlit Keyboard, Fingerprint,N580VD-DS76T

    Can run anything from Matlab to Adobe Creative Suite.
     
  34. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,536
    That's a desktop workhorse in a laptop configuration, the only issue is it, of course, has very limited battery operation.
     
  35. Jim Ed Rice in HOF

    Jim Ed Rice in HOF Red-headed Skrub child SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,904
    Small world. I ended up going through the WPI site which gave the same pricing I could get from my company. We got the above mentioned T480 with i7-8650U, 1080 screen, 16GB RAM, 512 SSD for like $1,400. The "built like a tank" description sold me because college.
     

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