New Laptop 3 replies

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Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#1 7 months ago

So I'm looking at replacing my old laptop with something a bit nicer and newer in the next month or so. Price range is about $1000-1300 (USD). So far, I've mostly narrowed it down to a couple options - HP Spectre x360 (13.3 inch or 15.6 inch - probably the latter) or Lenovo Thinkpad T480 (or T480s).

The Spectre offers some pretty alluring specs at a price point that may be just over my desired budget, but it's close enough to where I'd either pay a bit more than I wanted to, or wait for a sale. The 4k HDR display is supposedly amazing, the 72 Wh battery (on the 15.6 inch version) is very beefy, the performance is good, and the construction is solid. However, as with most laptops these days, the keyboard is mediocre and the touch pad uses the newer single-button, glass pad tech that I'm not sure if I'd like or not.

The 14-inch Thinkpad is less fancy, but is supposed to be more rugged and definitely is more expandable. The keyboard, touch pad, and peripheral ports are what get my attention the most. Thinkpad keyboards are known for being among the best for typing, which is what I'll be doing quite a bit with this laptop, and the touch pad is more the old school kind that I'm more familiar with. The battery life depends on the model - the 480s has a 57 Wh battery while the 480 has a combo battery that ranges from a 48 Wh battery to a 96 Wh battery, and is replaceable. Probably the biggest downside is that the display isn't particularly special The 1080p version is supposed to be clear and sharp, but is a bit dim and is not HDR. A 2560x1440 display is available as well, but is an additional $200 in both models.

Any opinions/additional recommendations for consideration? Do you have a preference of the newer touchpad vs. the older touch pad? And in your opinion/experience is a 1440p display worth an extra $200 over the 1080p display? I always have trouble with enough real estate. My main desktop monitor is 1600p and IMO is the perfect resolution for a 30-inch monitor. Pack that into a display that is about 1/5th of the display area, and it seems like it'd be difficult to make efficient use of those pixels.

MrFancypants Forum Admin

The Bad

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#2 7 months ago

Check out this site, it has very in-depth reviews of all sorts of laptops:

In the ultrabook area I really like the Dell XPS series with the almost border-less displays. Asus usually has laptops with the best case quality (if you don't count Macs).

When it comes to input devices laptops generally suck, in my opinion, never noticed a big difference between the keyboards and touchpads (with the exception of the Mac touchpads with that vibration tech that feels like a click, that is pretty good).

Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#3 5 months ago

By the way, I ended up picking up a fairly well-spec'd Thinkpad T580 (here) for around $1200 USD after some sizeable discounts. I haven't used it a whole lot, but I like it so far and I don't see that changing any time soon.

It looks and feels nice - robust but not flashy, with design focused on where you care the most. Has a built-in Ethernet jack, which you don't see very often, 2 USB type C ports, and 2 standard USB 3.0 ports along with a physical audio jack. The keyboard feels great, and the touchpad is serviceable even on a 4k display (can't really compare its quality to other new laptops - my previous laptop is 8 years old). The battery life is quite good as well - easily lasts  through an 8-hour work day of medium to light-load work. Display is good looking. Could be a bit brighter maybe but I've used it outside in the shade once with no visibility issues. I'm really glad I went with the 4k version, as I can pack quite a bit of work onto the display at once. Biggest downside is probably the hard drive interface; if you opt for an NVME SSD, you only get a PCI express x2 interface rather than the stander x4 interface. The result is that drive speeds cap out at something a bit over half of what top NVME drives give you. But I went for an even slower drive - standard SATA interface - to save about $100. For now, at least, the SSD speed is more than adequate. Oh, and it had almost no bloatware! I don't know if that's a new trend or what, but that was nice.

Here's the specs listed:

  • CPU: i5-8350 4 core/8 thread 1.7 GHz
  • GPU: GeForce MX150
  • RAM: 8 GB, single module
  • Display: 15.6" 4k
  • Battery: Internal 32 WH + external 48 WH

These Thinkpads feel a bit of what you used to expect from Apple - paying a premium for improved build quality and reliability over competitors.

Next up is getting one of those thunderbolt-to-PCIe breakouts and playing some maxed out TW3 or... Battlefield... or whatever the latest-and-greatest graphically demanding game happens to be.

Last edited by Superfluous Curmudgeon 5 months ago

FileTrekker Über Admin

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#4 5 months ago

I like the old IBM stylings of the Thinkpad line, even though they are Lenovo now. Traditional business laptop look. And that red nubbin. Heh.

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