Opinions on Laptops

So...I am in the market for a new laptop! I have been a faithful Dell laptop user for years. I had one workhorse that lasted a good long time, and one piece of junk that I have been very unhappy with. Granted, the workhorse cost much more than the piece of junk, but I am very anxious to making sure that my next laptop is a great one!

I'd love to hear your opinions or points of view on any of the following considerations:

Dell vs. HP (I currently love my HP laptop provided to me from my work)

Microsoft 365 vs. Microsoft which lives on my device (I must have Publisher!)

HHD vs. Solid State Drive

Buying laptop at a retailer like Staples or Best Buy vs. buying directly from the manufacturer

Any other considerations? I mostly need it to surf the net, create word, excel, and publisher docs, and occasionally make simple edits to music files using Audacity.

(FYI a Mac, which I know is awesome, is out of my price range. And I know about the Google suite instead of Microsoft, but I know MS better and I feel like it has more options.)

Jersey Girl Jersey Girl
Jan '20

What is your price range?

For Windows machines I have always been an IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad fan, mostly due to their awesome keyboards.

Jan '20

I’d like to pay no more than $1000, if possible. Staples had a few Lenovo laptops on display. What do you like about the keyboards?

Jersey Girl Jersey Girl
Jan '20

I was told by a computer expert to NOT get Dell any longer.

Those that are more reliable that don't have defects and issues are:

HP; Lenova; Acer; Asus.


Get an Intel or AMD.

Processer: I-3 to I-5.

AMD: A-10 or A-8.

RAM (memory): Minimum 4 Gigs; Maximum 8 Gigs.

Storage: 500 gig (basic) or 1 TB.

Buy from Costco, Sam's Club or BJs for best prices.

This information will be saved until my HP finally dies. I've had it almost 5 years.

Hackresident Hackresident
Jan '20

Lenova is a good laptop - I use it for work & use Office 365 on it.

Have been on Lenovo's for a couple generations now. Remember, it's not only the purchase price, but with today's machines, the warranty/maintenance contracts are critical. I strive to get a 3-year, and then strive to update for another 3 since I am getting 7 - 10 years from a machine. As you might surmise, I am on it quite a bit. Over the life of the product, half my spend on these is usually for the support contract. Seems to be the nature of the industry. Probably the Thinkpad, and Apple, are the only PCs out there with a real history.

Thinkpads are legendary as pretty rugged, reliable machines, but you pay a premium for the old IBM brand name and case design. Not sure there's much of the actual brand left inside at this point but you can't go wrong with it because they are trying to extend the reputation, especially for business. Check the price vs. the equipment (memory, disk size, etc.), you can usually see the premium.

I jumped ship on Thinkpad for the last two and got other Lenovo brands, Yoga, IdeaPad, etc. Seem pretty good, love the finger-scanning for password. Fast and secure. For me, I need a "real" keyboard, I bang em pretty hard, and if I have to hunch over, bring my arms together to hack at those little ones ---- ain't worth any amount of savings. I opted for the SSD mostly because I tend to put my $$$ in HW as in cpu size, speed, solid-state anything, in order to maximize how long it remains "modern," and reduces failures (moving parts).

Ripped the screen off the last one, not my fault, bad hinge design, and I use the bigger 15+inch screens so they have a lot of flex to them. I was very careful, but the one time I grabbed the screen by the corner...… New one had redesigned hinges, redesigned screen case, so I must not be the only one.....

If you get depot maintenance, I think the closest Office Max Lenovo Depot is in Union which is a bummer. I only know because they foolishly sold me one more maintenance contract so I guess I am about to get a new refurb for my screen-less mega machine (it folds everyway but loose, and now it's even loose :>) On the new ones I got home service; that should be a rush.

Even with the Lenovo's that approach of full size kb; I use add-on keyboard and mouse unless on the move. Sometimes, even on the move I grab the mouse since I find it faster/easier than the heat-seeking pads.

I know, TMI, but I have a full-size keyboard :>)

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jan '20

I have bought Lenovo laptops twice and did not love them. Consider Acer or Asus instead. My employer uses Acers. Acer has some very nice looking laptops that can also be folded in such a way as to serve as tablets.

Also, SSD is worth the investment. Your machine should hopefully hold up longer with an SSD.

Don't get anything less than an i5 processor. One of my Lenovos is an i3 and it is frustratingly slow.

SquirrelGirl SquirrelGirl
Jan '20

You could easily get a MAC for less than 1k

Lenova - good, but has never held a battery charge since day one. Acer - I had a huge problem with their product services department - twice. Chromebook - love it. HP - never had problems with two of them. I would (personally) go with HP, but love having Chromebook as an extra.

Jan '20

Most of this discussion is a rehash of this previous discussion (other than the Movie making software part):


Would never recommend Toshiba anything.

Dell is mediocre but their service isn't. If you don't buy their service your only option is to buy a new one. They have several lines of laptops, the low end ones are not good.

HP has definitely got some good ones, would easily buy over a Dell. Asus is OK. Acer has had quality control problems.

My personal programming workhorse is a Lenovo for the last two. Ever since they went away from the pointsticks that I can't stand, they've been great. Slim but very rugged. The keyboard has been very responsive, same table touch screen so you can flip it like a tablet or use it normally.

SSD you get less for your $. For some things it can be faster, but not everything. I wouldn't count on it making your computer last. An HD is a really easy fix for a laptop. It's all about what your priority is - if you need lots of space you don't want to put out the money for SSD. If you're swimming in space with 100 GB then the extra speed for small files is probably worth it.

Buy it where ever it's cheap. No advantage where you get it from.

Today I agree with i5 at a minimum. The difference in price is next to nothing between i3 and i5. For what you're doing an i7 is not necessary.

I like my MSI

My wife has a Lenovo that has been fine for her needs.

A few general points:

1. laptops (or systems as a whole) purchased from Staples/Best Buy/Costco, etc. are generally lower end consumer systems that are made for those stores. This is not to say they are bad systems, but USUALLY, those are made with lesser quality components. I'm a fairly heavy user (not gaming, though) and I was blowing through HP laptops almost 2 years to the day purchasing a system from one of the stores mentioned above. Finally, I bit the bullet and purchased a Lenovo Thinkpad direct and it still going strong more than 5 years later. The bottom line is if you buy consumer products, don't expect them to last as long as business-class systems.

2. SSD vs HDD: As a general rule of thumb, you should spend the little extra money for an SSD. The speed difference is very noticeable, but don't skimp on storage space. All drives need a certain amount of free/available space to work efficiently, but SSD's do require more a little more free space. The only main drawback to an SSD is if there is a drive failure, data recovery is not as simple as it is with an HDD and it is possible everything could be lost. Failure rates are typically less with SSD's since you don't have any moving parts, though.

3. Office versions: This becomes a tough one and I guess a lot depends on your situation. If there are multiple people in the household, Office 365 Home may be the better bet since that give you 6 users and all their devices for $100/year. If it is just you and only one device, purchasing outright may be the better solution as long as you don't need/want the most recent version when it comes out.

jnnjr jnnjr
Jan '20

Thank you everyone! This has given me a lot to think about. :)

Jersey Girl Jersey Girl
Jan '20

Don’t spend to much money as all computer hw - they slow down after updates and application installs - so I used to replace mine every 4 -5 years until I switched a iPad full time and yes I am in IT for 25 years and find the windows operating system is garbage

LibertyThinker LibertyThinker
Jan '20

i would not spend more than $500 for what your looking for unless your looking to do some hard core gaming on it which i doubt. i put solid state drives in the 4 laptops in my house, even the 2 laptops that are from 2012 and 2013 run like new. SSDs are coming down in price all the time so you can get them fairly cheap now.
here is a great deal i found at walmart that would work for what you need, if you need more hard drive space than 256 gig you can always buy an external portable 1TB for around $50.


cant go wrong for $319 and can even do decent gaming with it if you really wanted to.

i have a CompTIA A+ cert and have been fixing computers for close to 20 years.


NJ wannabe NJ wannabe
Jan '20

Get a Dell Precision.

BrownEyesGuy BrownEyesGuy
Jan '20

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