53 posts in this topic

I'm going to university this fall and would really appreciate some good suggestions, as I haven't got much insight in the laptop side of tech.

 

Usage will be typical student stuff. I imagine a lot of people here know better than me what that requires. I'm going for something along the lines of mechanical engineer in the US, so probably programming, writing, maybe using some different design programs. Otherwise the most important to me is how comfortable usage is (so large screen size and good keyboard/trackpad) and a laptop that lasts and works well for 4-5+ years. I've had a HP laptop now for 1.5 years which recently burned down from browsing chrome while sitting on my lap. The seller refuses to repair it. Its not a pleasant experience, but I was probably just unfortunate right? Anyhow, some details:

 

Requirements

- Price less than 1200-1000 USD

- Run Windows (i'm required to run windows-exclusive software)

 

Important:

- Solid, and good lifespan.

- A good screen (and keyboard) size. 15"+?

- Comfortable keyboard and trackpad (good trackpad size)

- Battery life (not very, but a bonus)

- Audio jack seperate or combined

- Hdmi port and 3+ USB ports

- I imagine an alright processor and RAM is required for some programs etc

- SSD preferred, 250GB (more is good but not that important)

 

 

Not important:

- Weight

- Thickness

- Resolution (though at least 1920 by 1080)

- Touch (would rather not have it)

- Flexibility (again would rather not have a 2-in-1 or similar)

- Graphics processing, I will not be playing demanding games (but I need netflix ;)

- Fancy lights

 

Sincerely appreciate any help, thanks!

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Posted (edited)

For that budget, 15" laptops seem difficult to come by that aren't going to be lower quality. Personally I'd look at the XPS line (I've been considering switching from my MBP to an XPS 13 after trying out Ubuntu on windows later this year).

Basically, my advice is you're not going to get all of the following for <= $1200:

  • 8GB+ RAM (which for software you'll want)
  • 250GB+ SSD (again, you'll want it... the entire computer is just snappier with it though you don't really need that much storage)
  • i5+ (i3's are doable, but they are going to be noticeably slower than an i5).
  • 15" screen size

Here's where I'd probably start looking and maybe branch out from there: Dell XPS 13". There could be some sales or deals though.

Edited by Emn1ty
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My experience says that HP is terrible. I've known several people that have had HP laptops and they have all burnt out after a year or so.

 

I would suggest checking out Lenovo. They aren't the prettiest things in the world, but they are durable and for your price range you can get something that will meet your requirements. The only part they can fall down on (especially if you're using a graphic intensive program) would be battery life.

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1 minute ago, Nick H. said:

My experience says that HP is terrible. I've known several people that have had HP laptops and they have all burnt out after a year or so.

 

I would suggest checking out Lenovo. They aren't the prettiest things in the world, but they are durable and for your price range you can get something that will meet your requirements. The only part they can fall down on (especially if you're using a graphic intensive program) would be battery life.

HP is literally about getting what you pay for. Pay a little, get a disposable machine. Pay more and get more. I have an HP Envy from 2011 that has been abused all to heck and still works. 

 

I wouldnt go Lenovo myself outside of their professional products due to the backdoor issues from the past. 

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2 hours ago, Nick H. said:

My experience says that HP is terrible. I've known several people that have had HP laptops and they have all burnt out after a year or so.

 

I would suggest checking out Lenovo. They aren't the prettiest things in the world, but they are durable and for your price range you can get something that will meet your requirements. The only part they can fall down on (especially if you're using a graphic intensive program) would be battery life.

 

2 hours ago, adrynalyne said:

HP is literally about getting what you pay for. Pay a little, get a disposable machine. Pay more and get more. I have an HP Envy from 2011 that has been abused all to heck and still works. 

 

I wouldnt go Lenovo myself outside of their professional products due to the backdoor issues from the past. 

HP isn't bad. Their consumer products, yes, they do crap out. Their business grade stuff is superb. This the same for DELL and Lenovo. Don't go cheap, because you get cheap.

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, Emn1ty said:

For that budget, 15" laptops seem difficult to come by that aren't going to be lower quality. Personally I'd look at the XPS line (I've been considering switching from my MBP to an XPS 13 after trying out Ubuntu on windows later this year).

Basically, my advice is you're not going to get all of the following for <= $1200:

  • 8GB+ RAM (which for software you'll want)
  • 250GB+ SSD (again, you'll want it... the entire computer is just snappier with it though you don't really need that much storage)
  • i5+ (i3's are doable, but they are going to be noticeably slower than an i5).
  • 15" screen size

Here's where I'd probably start looking and maybe branch out from there: Dell XPS 13". There could be some sales or deals though.

No it's easy.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-inspiron-15-6-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050-ti-256gb-solid-state-drive-black/5872507.p?skuId=5872507


Meets all of those requirements... 8GB, can add a second 8GB if you want. 256SSD, i5-7300HQ, 15 inch IPS display, looks great.. and also has a 1050Ti, so you can play games at Medium/High settings.. Build quality on the unit is top notch.

 

$899

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54 minutes ago, Raze said:

Both of those have inferior 950MX, as well as the i7-7500U is 25% slower then the i5-7300hq.. yet these Lenovo's cost more.. doesn't make good purchase sense.

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I'd maybe take a look at Dell Outlet Precision workstations. Stock varies, so basically don't expect what you see there today to be there tomorrow.

 

As an example:

 

Quote

Processor: Intel Core 6th Generation i5-6300HQ Processor (Quad Core, up to 3.20 GHz,6M Cache, 45W)

Windows 10 Pro

500GB SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)

8GB (2x4GB) 2133MHz DDR4 Non ECC Memory

15.6inc UltraSharp FHD IPS (1920x1080) Wide View Anti-Glare LED-backlit with Premium Panel Guarantee with 2X2 Antenna

NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2 GB GDDR5

Dell Outlet Precision M5510

Outlet Price$839.00

Spend the difference on an SSD upgrade and an external drive or display.

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11 minutes ago, zhangm said:

I'd maybe take a look at Dell Outlet Precision workstations. Stock varies, so basically don't expect what you see there today to be there tomorrow.

 

As an example:

 

Spend the difference on an SSD upgrade and an external drive or display.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-inspiron-15-6-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050-ti-256gb-solid-state-drive-black/5872507.p?skuId=5872507 is still a better deal..

 

i5-7300HQ

256GB M2 SSD

8GB 1x8GB (1 free slot)

15.6 1080P IPS

1050 Ti GFX 4GB RAM

Wireless AC

3x USB 3,0 Ports

HDMI

$899

 

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1 hour ago, xendrome said:

Both of those have inferior 950MX, as well as the i7-7500U is 25% slower then the i5-7300hq.. yet these Lenovo's cost more.. doesn't make good purchase sense.

It was simply a suggestion for the Op and it fit his requirements for a laptop.  I thought considering it's a Thinkpad it would be a good reliable choice. He asked for recommendations, not critiques.

 

Additional information about the CPU's - http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/925/Intel_Core_i5_Mobile_i5-7300HQ_vs_Intel_Core_i7_Mobile_i7-7500U.html

 

By the way the links were for the same machine, just posted them to show the pricing differences.

 

Why, judging by your responses, are you acting as if any recommendations made by others are competing with yours?

 

Of course, on Neowin one has to expect there are always those who decide to criticize for any reason, valid or not.  One of the reasons the site has declined and so many have left.  IMO

 

Another site - https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-ThinkPad-E570-20H50047US-plane/dp/B01LZ9IPMD

 

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13 hours ago, Raze said:

Why, judging by your responses, are you acting as if any recommendations made by others are competing with yours?

It simply doesn't make good purchase sense to buy a laptop of equal quality with less specs for a higher price.

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19 hours ago, Nick H. said:

My experience says that HP is terrible. I've known several people that have had HP laptops and they have all burnt out after a year or so.

 

I would suggest checking out Lenovo. They aren't the prettiest things in the world, but they are durable and for your price range you can get something that will meet your requirements. The only part they can fall down on (especially if you're using a graphic intensive program) would be battery life.

I second this. 

Here at my house we had 2 HP laptops (one was a cheap model but the other was a high end unit) and they both failed with just a little over a year of use. 
Now we have 3 Lenovo laptops and a Thinkpad8 tablet and we're very happy with them. One of the Lenovo laptops is from 2008 and it was a low end model at the time but it still works just fine running Win10. 

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2 hours ago, xendrome said:

It simply doesn't make good purchase sense to buy a laptop of equal quality with less specs for a higher price.

It depends on the individual and their preferences.  You still came across as if yours was the only choice.  And a link I provided had it at a lower price than yours, also the Lenovo had a DVD burner/writer (it may be important or not to the OP).  Again the OP requested suggestions not critique of others suggestions.  I'm sure he is capable of making that decision.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Raze said:

It depends on the individual and their preferences.  You still came across as if yours was the only choice.  And a link I provided had it at a lower price than yours, also the Lenovo had a DVD burner/writer (it may be important or not to the OP).  Again the OP requested suggestions not critique of others suggestions.  I'm sure he is capable of making that decision.

 

 

$888 on the second link, $11 less for that laptop.. really? That's not a good purchase decision in any world. 950MX over 1050 Ti in a 15.6 form-factor laptop. Maybe if you can find a new one on Ebay for $650 or something then cost/performance wise, that's not bad..

Edited by zhangm
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I have a 8 yo 17" HP Envy that I replaced with another HP Envy 3 years ago.  Both still work fine, but then again, I actually maintain them, cleaning the vents, keeping them cool and so on. I also believe that larger laptops tend to last longer due to better heat dispersal, but YMMV.

 

That being said, I really don't have brand loyalty, I just pick what's best at the time. I know you're saying graphics are not important, but having discrete graphics tends to improve the useful lifespan of a laptop. So if size/weight are not an issue, I would find a 17" with a 1920 x 1080 screen and a mid range geforce card. Load up with RAM and try and get a SSD or at least a hybrid.

 

Dell has the Inspiron 17 5000 for about $1000 and the Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 for $1200. There's always a coupon somewhere, so that price will be lower.

 

HP has the HP Envy 17t, for about $1049.

 

So, look around, compare a few models and read reviews. Check the support forums too, if you see a lot of complaints about failures, it might be a good idea to go with another model. When I say a lot of complaints, I mean it, think 100+ not 10.

 

Good luck.

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Thread cleaned. Stay on topic.

 

Edit: something I forgot - get an extended warranty. One that doesn't require you to ship out to a depot for service. NBD on-site or something. You'll probably get dogpiled by work. Having a broken laptop isn't something you'll appreciate during those times.

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Just to add, I have an Inspiron 9100 from 2003 that still works as well. Good laptops can last a very long time if they are actively maintained. Unfortunately, the P4 monster won't run anything past Windows 7 x86 and it's not SATA. So I had to retire it.

 

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@_Truman   I hope you're finding some good recommendations.

 

Here's a website that may help with your buying decisions - https://www.laptopmag.com/best-laptops

 

By the way, welcome to Neowin.

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Posted (edited)

Dell XPS 15 - 9560
$1,179.00

New

Processor: Intel Core 7th Generation i7-7700HQ Processor (Quad Core, up to 3.80 GHz, 6MB Cache, 35W)

Windows 10 Home 64bit English

256GB PCIe M.2 NVMe Class 40 Solid State Drive

8 GB DDR4 Non-ECC SDRAM 2400MHz (2x4GB)

15.6inch FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB

1 Year Premium Support- Onsite Support After Remote Diagnosis and Software Support Warranty

Free Shipping Included

Dell Outlet XPS 15 - 9560 Laptop

Outlet Price$1,179.00

 

http://outlet.us.dell.com/ArbOnlineSales/Online/InventorySearch.aspx?c=us&cs=22&l=en&s=dfh&brandid=2201&sign=PXhcOSHtr1T4IOw%2fPR7UdRuFRRts5%2fqgxWZTcl18afydquccydYXov7r0GMBEw8oUkhOuwcxP8%2bbL5WpP8N5VEmtsHRCMs3H8R%2f8tjayM%2fXMT%2bi%2f44vP07x0EuGMxTLjWntlFDrNRGnDNXRQDr5PUcp4C5gjjZA9QdCHai5FPyZO6x%2fNJ8hbjQKgfh%2bwVBe8cmQbGPGCBWsToRI13K2Foo3jV2oo6zEUVNCvv7PBbdBdsUO1zDDmV%2b%2bNQZjHpSG3Sp%2foJPRZ8NEH7TxHcgirAAWFpqbsFSNIlquJCdiDmvvUd0BkWFabucMeZSxm4%2f2I44thFQXg4aE%3d

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On 7/15/2017 at 2:46 PM, Nick H. said:

My experience says that HP is terrible. I've known several people that have had HP laptops and they have all burnt out after a year or so.

 

I would suggest checking out Lenovo. They aren't the prettiest things in the world, but they are durable and for your price range you can get something that will meet your requirements. The only part they can fall down on (especially if you're using a graphic intensive program) would be battery life.

Depends on the age of the HP in general - I prefer newer HP to older (my two Pavilions straddle the difference).  I prefer Pavilions in general - on both the desktop AND portable sides of the HP Pavilion fence.  In terms of Pavilion portables, I prefer at least two core (preferably four-core) - however I have NO preference toward either AMD or Intel in terms of multi-core (both my Pavilions are AMD-driven; however, my Mom has an Intel dual-core Atom-powered Pavilion portable, and an i3 Pavilion AIO).  Least-liked portable brand?  Amusingly, it's Toshiba's Satellites, followed by (shockingly) ASUS - you think that HP is bad on portables, I think ASUS gets sloppy seconds from HP parts suppliers (I recognize a lot of common parts between the two companies on portables, and ASUS has even worse quality); right now, I have an X45/K45 that is driving me buggy - and the complaints on it are legion - and longer than a Pavilion of the same age - and I used to prefer ASUS motherboards.

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13 minutes ago, Mockingbird said:

Dell XPS 15 - 9560
$1,179.00

New

Processor: Intel Core 7th Generation i7-7700HQ Processor (Quad Core, up to 3.80 GHz, 6MB Cache, 35W)

Windows 10 Home 64bit English

256GB PCIe M.2 NVMe Class 40 Solid State Drive

8 GB DDR4 Non-ECC SDRAM 2400MHz (2x4GB)

15.6inch FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB

1 Year Premium Support- Onsite Support After Remote Diagnosis and Software Support Warranty

Free Shipping Included

Dell Outlet XPS 15 - 9560 Laptop

Outlet Price$1,179.00

 

http://outlet.us.dell.com/ArbOnlineSales/Online/InventorySearch.aspx?c=us&cs=22&l=en&s=dfh&brandid=2201&sign=PXhcOSHtr1T4IOw%2fPR7UdRuFRRts5%2fqgxWZTcl18afydquccydYXov7r0GMBEw8oUkhOuwcxP8%2bbL5WpP8N5VEmtsHRCMs3H8R%2f8tjayM%2fXMT%2bi%2f44vP07x0EuGMxTLjWntlFDrNRGnDNXRQDr5PUcp4C5gjjZA9QdCHai5FPyZO6x%2fNJ8hbjQKgfh%2bwVBe8cmQbGPGCBWsToRI13K2Foo3jV2oo6zEUVNCvv7PBbdBdsUO1zDDmV%2b%2bNQZjHpSG3Sp%2foJPRZ8NEH7TxHcgirAAWFpqbsFSNIlquJCdiDmvvUd0BkWFabucMeZSxm4%2f2I44thFQXg4aE%3d

Comparatively to the unit I posted above for $899, the CPU is slightly faster, but the GTX 1050 is garbage to the 1050 Ti, along with it being 8GB in 2x4GB sticks, can't just add a 8GB stick for $60. So  you are paying a premium almost $300 for a slightly faster CPU, way slower GPU, no free ram slots and the XPS name badge.

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3 minutes ago, xendrome said:

Comparatively to the unit I posted above for $899, the CPU is slightly faster, but the GTX 1050 is garbage to the 1050 Ti, along with it being 8GB in 2x4GB sticks, can't just add a 8GB stick for $60. So  you are paying a premium almost $300 for a slightly faster CPU, way slower GPU, no free ram slots and the XPS name badge.

Sure, if you are only looking at specs, but Dell XPS 15 has a much better "build".

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1 hour ago, Joe User said:

Just to add, I have an Inspiron 9100 from 2003 that still works as well. Good laptops can last a very long time if they are actively maintained. Unfortunately, the P4 monster won't run anything past Windows 7 x86 and it's not SATA. So I had to retire it.

 

I'm going to be retiring Big Pavilion for different reasons - it's the older of my two Pavilion portables AND the one with the largest display.  The problem there is that it has the oldest GPU among all my hardware (it already defaults to the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter - which is why it's getting retired).  If I can get my newest-to-me portable - the ASUS X45C/K45 - to cooperate - that is what will replace it (it's the burliest portable, with a Sandy Bridge i3); the problem with IT is that it overheats all too easily AND has a power-brick issue; in addition, it tops out at only one SODIMM - because of the expense involved, I may well go with a reconditioned Surface 3/Surface Pro instead (there are three Microsoft Stores in the local vicinity in addition to various Best Buy locations; their issue has been inventory sell-through has been fast).

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