Business Laptop Suggestions Request

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the11diesel
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Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by the11diesel » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:55 pm

Fellow Bogleheads-

I need to purchase a new business laptop (PC not Apple) for my consulting firm and I and am looking for suggestions.

My primary objectives are to find a laptop that is:
(1) durable (i.e., won't crumble while traveling),
(2) has a fairly large and crisp screen (for all those late nights looking at spreadsheets) and
(3) reasonably priced.

I do finance and accounting consulting, so this laptop will be used primarily for Word and Excel applications (never for gaming, etc.)

Thanks in advance for your suggestions/recommendations.

-RJ

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Sandtrap
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:14 pm

High end Dell Laptop.
Windows 7
Microsoft Office/Business.

or

Lenovo Thinkpad P51
Microsoft Office/Business

Had high end business IBM laptops since the "butterfly keyboard", Thinkpads, and then the Lenovos. All solid.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

investor997
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by investor997 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:26 pm

Avoid HP EliteBook. I've had stability issues with mine, plus the display is not IPS so the colors are washed out and viewing angles are poor. Lastly, it only has a full size DisplayPort connector; no HDMI.

mega317
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by mega317 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:13 am

I would prioritize weight over screen size if you're traveling with it, which would push me to 13 inch rather than 15 inch. Then if you really need real estate and are usually home get a separate monitor.

I have loved all of my Lenovo laptops. Currently a Yoga, bought used for 300 bucks and handles everything I need, which isn't much more than Word, Excel, and a browser tab or 20.

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Conch55
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by Conch55 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:32 am

I went through a similar decision making process 7 years ago and settled on a Dell Latitude with Intel i5 processor, Intel on-board graphics and 14" screen. My must have list included a DVD/CD burner, at least 3 USB ports, slot for a smart card reader and decent screen resolution. The PC has been all over the world and held up well. More recently I swapped the hard drive for a solid state one and doubled the memory. Runs Windows 7 and Office 2010 with no issues.

the11diesel
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by the11diesel » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:01 am

Thanks for the replies.

A little additional info - while I travel with my laptop, it's usually short distance. Also, I don't mind a little extra laptop weight if it means greater durability and/or larger screen size.

Currently, I am using a Lenovo Flex 3. It's okay, but both mine and my partner's have been starting to fall apart in less than two years of fairly moderate use.

Any additional comments/suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

Thanks.

-RJ

ASpenderInRecovery
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:28 am

For what it's worth..I run a region for a national IT provider and the reps I manage sell laptops to many large commercial organizations. The most popular laptops we sell are below. All models have proven themselves consistently in the market:
- Dell Latitude (models/options vary)
- Lenovo Thinkpads (models/options vary)
- Lenovo X1 Carbons
- HP Elitebooks

If you like Microsoft products the Surface Book is also gaining popularity.

the11diesel
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by the11diesel » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:31 pm

Helpful stuff. Thanks y'all.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:40 pm

mega317 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:13 am
I would prioritize weight over screen size if you're traveling with it, which would push me to 13 inch rather than 15 inch. Then if you really need real estate and are usually home get a separate monitor.

I have loved all of my Lenovo laptops. Currently a Yoga, bought used for 300 bucks and handles everything I need, which isn't much more than Word, Excel, and a browser tab or 20.
It depends upon whether or not the OP is sitting a hotel evening looking at spreadsheets (in which case - having a separate monitor at home does little good). If travel is primary while working - then it might be worthwhile to add an extra pound for a few extra inches of screen.

Personally I love Lenova thinkpads regardless of which size you decide to go with. Rugged and serious (and I personally love using a trackpoint instead of a touchpad - but Lenova has both ... and of course many prefer to plug in a mouse).

frisbee
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by frisbee » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:14 pm

Thinkpad. Windows office isn't demanding, so look at the E series (I've owned Thinkpads since 2001). More upscale and my preferred is the T470s. The previous mentioned P series is more workstation class and is overkill. Get a 15" model. Extra screen is killer

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Pajamas
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by Pajamas » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:14 pm

Thinkpad.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:03 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (laptop).
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

IHateCasinos
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by IHateCasinos » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:04 pm

Lenovo Thinkpad.
a 2015 or 2016 Thinkpad carbon x1 is a nice sweet spot currently.
NOT an ideapad. thats a different thing.

But the new microsoft surfacebook launched today looks v nice, or the surface laptop.
but I'm on a thinkpad for almost 20 years now.

gips
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by gips » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:20 pm

I've been purchasing dell lattitude ultrabooks off of the dell business outlet for our business and family. Suggest you wait for an applicable coupon (30% off is typical) to show up on their facebook/twitter site. Comes with a three-year, on-site warranty. the laptops is priced between $600 and $700. Any and all issues (and I've had some) have been fixed within two days by an onsite, dell technician.

TravelGeek
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:35 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:14 pm
Thinkpad.
+1

I have personally purchased several Thinkpads. Very happy with all of them.

My employer for years provided crappy Dell Lattitude machines. We finally switched to Lenovo and I now have a Thinkpad. So much better.

Also endorse the suggestion upthread to prioritize weight over screen size. Large laptops get heavy fast if you have to carry them around a lot.

takeshi
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by takeshi » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:23 am

Already mentioned above but I'd easily recommend a Dell Latitude or Lenovo Thinkpad and that's just from a reliability standpoint.
the11diesel wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:55 pm
reasonably priced.
Please provide a number or range. One's "reasonable" may not be the next's so you can't just assume that we all think the same as you. I don't purchase my work machines so I have no idea what they run but I tend to keep my personal machines for a long time and invest quite a bit in them.

If I recall correctly, there's a bit more of a premium on the Thinkpad versus the Latitude though both come in ranges.
mega317 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:13 am
I would prioritize weight over screen size if you're traveling with it
Each has to determine his/her own priorities. From what was presented so far it seems to me like screen size trumps portability. If I was a heavy spreadsheet user I would probably also put screen size over portability. However, I'm in IT and almost always have to have my laptop with me so portability trumps all else for me even though the small screen is sometimes annoying.

Winkdinkerson
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by Winkdinkerson » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:38 pm

I bought a Lenovo X1 Carbon with i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256 SSD drive 5 months ago. Extremely light (2.5 lbs), and I really like Lenovo's keypad . Also excellent battery life, compared to my 3 year old Sony VAIO. Liking it very much.

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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:05 pm

frisbee wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:14 pm
Thinkpad. Windows office isn't demanding, so look at the E series (I've owned Thinkpads since 2001). More upscale and my preferred is the T470s. The previous mentioned P series is more workstation class and is overkill. Get a 15" model. Extra screen is killer
I looking to replace my 7 year-old HP Pavilion laptop and have pretty much settled on the Lenovo T470 series.

Is there that much difference between a 14" and 15" display? To get a 15" display, I'd have to upgrade to the P series - which is in the next higher price class.

My main requirements are a good quality backlit keyboard and 1920 x1080 display resolution. Secondary requirement - an SSD instead of HD drive.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

jbranx
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by jbranx » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:33 am

I've pretty much used all the brands over the years with MC or my own home use. Lenovo Thinkpads have consistently since IBM days been the most reliable for long-term use. I currently have the T470 with SSD 14in and find it super in all respects. Their website and other support is very good. This laptop travels well and easily connects to a large monitor at home if needed.

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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:48 am

Thanks, that's exactly what I wanted to know. I'll probably go for the 256 GB SSD.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

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Dendritic Tree
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by Dendritic Tree » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:53 am

I personally have a MacBook Pro, but my employer uses Lenovo Thinkpads for their business laptops and everybody seems very satisfied with them.

LawyersGunsAndMoney
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by LawyersGunsAndMoney » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:52 am

Dell XPS 13 with the new Kaby Lake CPU. Get it without the touch-screen for durability and lack of complications.

They offer a core i7 Kaby Lake CPU model with 256GB SSD, which I'd grab.

Could also get a new Mac Book Pro and run windows on it.

Greatly prefer the XPS to the Latitude for size/weight for travel.

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:23 am

Another endorsement of ThinkPads, I have used them since 1990, great durability, decent depot service, and an array of accessories.

The MacBooks fail on the last count, I use a docking station with my X230 and can attach a great number of accessories with a variety of connections, even going back decades in age.

If you have a service need, Lenovo will overnight you a box, include a label for overnight return shipping, and usually get you the machine back in 3 business days. I am not so familiar with the new style ultrabooks, small and thin equates, in my mind, to hot and fragile so I avoid them.
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lazydavid
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by lazydavid » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:57 am

LawyersGunsAndMoney wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:52 am
Dell XPS 13 with the new Kaby Lake CPU. Get it without the touch-screen for durability and lack of complications.

They offer a core i7 Kaby Lake CPU model with 256GB SSD, which I'd grab.

Could also get a new Mac Book Pro and run windows on it.

Greatly prefer the XPS to the Latitude for size/weight for travel.
There's a Latitude version of the XPS 13--two, in fact. I have the 7370, which uses core m processors but is fanless and weighs less than 2.5 lbs. The 7380 has core i processors and weighs just a tenth of a pound more.

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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:42 pm

I just pulled the trigger on a Thinkpad T470 with an i5-7300U CPU, 256 GB SSD, and backlit keyboard. Lenovo is running an on-site sale until October 29th.

I found a discount code (google for them) and also signed up for a new customer incentive to get $$$ off your first order. However... every discount code I could apply was more expensive than the product on sale. For some reason, Lenovo is pricing these "sale" products differently than the normal configuration price - even though the part numbers are identical.

To get the best price, start from the home page --> Sale "Weekly Deals" --> Professional laptops --> T470 --> Customize. I also tried configuring the T470s to the same CPU and features, but it was more expensive.

None of my discount codes would work with the sale configuration and I'm guessing that they don't want any further price reductions.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

ArcticMike
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by ArcticMike » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:47 pm

Lenovo

My wife has a T520 and I have a T430s. Both have been outstanding laptops, with good displays and keyboards for regular use.

I'm considering an upgrade to a newer model but it's not essential - these things just work.

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gunn_show
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by gunn_show » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:43 pm

TheGreyingDuke wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:23 am
Another endorsement of ThinkPads.... I use a docking station with my X230 and can attach a great number of accessories with a variety of connections, even going back decades in age.
+1... love my little ThinkPad x240...upgraded to 8gb ram,.. upgraded to extended battery (can get 4-7 hrs on that for flights, airport, etc. depending on the apps being used)... like GreyingDuke I use it at home as remote worker plugged into docking stations connected to dual 27" monitors, keyboard, etc, so acts like a desktop at home. Although the 240 is smaller, I think 11 or 13 inch monitor w/ touch screen, I love it for road travel, and since it doesn't matter at home with the monitor setup, it's perfect for traveling sales folks..
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ImUrHuckleberry
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:50 pm

the11diesel wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:01 am
Thanks for the replies.

A little additional info - while I travel with my laptop, it's usually short distance. Also, I don't mind a little extra laptop weight if it means greater durability and/or larger screen size.

Currently, I am using a Lenovo Flex 3. It's okay, but both mine and my partner's have been starting to fall apart in less than two years of fairly moderate use.

Any additional comments/suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

Thanks.

-RJ
My first Lenovo was great but my last one also fell apart in less than 2 years. I went back to Dell with a Latitude.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:21 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:42 pm
I just pulled the trigger on a Thinkpad T470 with an i5-7300U CPU, 256 GB SSD, and backlit keyboard.
I am now the proud owner of a Thinkpad T470. Long story short, it is exactly what I was looking for. The form factor and build quality is very good, I have no issues using this laptop over a long period of time.

The touchpad and keyboard are decent quality and very intuitive to use. The display is far better than the old lower-res laptop. A few apps have some blurry fonts, perhaps this is a driver problem.

As for Windows 10, I took a pragmatic approach and performed a first-boot power-up with no networking connected - no ethernet cable and the laptop did not have my wifi password. The result was a local account which eliminated the need for a Microsoft login ID.

I decided that Win 10 had a more intuitive user interface than Win 7 and decided to keep it (vs. installing Win 7). Done so far:

- Disabled the camera and microphone in the BIOS
- Disabled every privacy setting I could find
- Uninstalled OneDrive, including the registry hack to remove the icon from file explorer
- Removed all the live tiles
- Removed Cortana search from the task bar. It took up too much space and is not needed (for my purposes).
- Created a recovery image on a 16 GB USB drive (the Win 10 license key is in the BIOS)
- Installed security tools - KeePass, VeraCrypt
- Installed Malwarebytes (deactivated license on Win 7 laptop, activated on here in Win 10)
- Installed LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox, Chrome.
- Copied over my personal files, configured email and web browsers to use the profile data.

- Next up: Backup to external USB HD, then whole-drive encryption with VeraCrypt.

The battery life is "as advertised". Status is shown for each battery (front and back), which is nice.
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

McCharley
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by McCharley » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:44 pm

I am curious why not a Mac?

I am typing this on a Lenova Yoga 2 Pro which I would not recommend due to unresolved flickering issues and pre-installed malware ("superfish"). We have two of these machines, bought around the same time, and we got them because they have high resolution and touch screens.

If I was to get another laptop it would be a Macbook Air. It does not have a touchscreen, but this turns out to be a feature I don't use as much as I thought I would. The build quality on the Macs is great. I don't think I'd get a MacBook Pro unless I needed the processing power (which it does not sound like you do).

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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:09 am

McCharley wrote:
Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:44 pm
I am curious why not a Mac?

I am typing this on a Lenova Yoga 2 Pro which I would not recommend due to unresolved flickering issues and pre-installed malware ("superfish"). We have two of these machines, bought around the same time, and we got them because they have high resolution and touch screens.

If I was to get another laptop it would be a Macbook Air. It does not have a touchscreen, but this turns out to be a feature I don't use as much as I thought I would. The build quality on the Macs is great. I don't think I'd get a MacBook Pro unless I needed the processing power (which it does not sound like you do).
Unlike Apple, Lenovo and others (Dell, HP)make several lines of laptops. The Yoga is trendy and sleek, but compromises on durability and endurance.

The Thinkpad line stands on top of the Lenovo heap in terms of quality, flexibility, and reliability. Not to mention, unlike the aforementioned Macbook Air, it has room for all sorts of connections, including a docking station that offers even greater opportunities foe expansion.

If you want sleek and stylish, I suppose a case could be made for the Mac but if you value a more rugged machine, the Thinkpads come on top.
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Momus
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by Momus » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:16 am

This is pretty much the perfect all around non gaming laptop deal for now... 8th generation quad core with 8 threads! 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, 1080p screen for $520
... No way you can beat the specs for the price.

https://slickdeals.net/share/android_app/fp/332467

lazydavid
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by lazydavid » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:15 am

Momus wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:16 am
This is pretty much the perfect all around non gaming laptop deal for now... 8th generation quad core with 8 threads! 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, 1080p screen for $520
... No way you can beat the specs for the price.
I beg to differ. It might be cheap, but that doesn't mean it's a deal.

I would never recommend Lenovo's consumer products (which is what the Ideapad is) after they got caught multiple times preinstalling malware on them. Aside from the previously mentioned superfish, another one disabled Windows Update and was so pernicious that it would be automatically reinstalled even if you threw the drive in the garbage, installed a brand new one, and installed Windows by hand using an image downloaded directly from Microsoft.

fishboat
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by fishboat » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:11 am

Dell Latitude series.

I used Latitudes my entire career and had virtually no issues. I did modeling and would run them for days at 100% CPU/RAM usage..they'd just chug along and finish the task intact..no issues..and ask for what's next.

My last two were a D630 & 6420..both worked great. I'm(retired) running an off-lease D830 now($85)..no issues..just runs. The 630 & 830 were/are heavy..but they are really old. The 6420 wasn't bad in terms of weight. Latitudes are business laptops built for stability first and price second. Corporations buy/lease them by the 1000's at a time and won't tolerate(can't $$$$ in lost productivity and labor to fix) any service issues due to poor or cost-cutting quality.

Good after-purchase service and maintenance(Dell SupportAssist) help too to keep your laptop current. Parts or upgrades, specific to your laptop service tag#, are readily available through Dell or PartsPeople. Dell chat is available to help with decisions/questions.

(I'm mid-stream in purchasing/upgrading a Latitude for a friend..knee-deep in this topic for the last few days)

This is a wiki to give you a summary of the Latitude line:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dell_Latitude

You could save a couple bucks by picking up recent off-lease units..available..everywhere.

Thinkpads have a good rep too..never used one. I'd not buy anything made by HP..Elite or otherwise...same for Apple.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by fourwheelcycle » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:41 am

We have the Lenovo X1 Carbon 4th Gen. and the most recent MacBook Pro 13" with fingerprint ID. Both are excellent and lightweight. I prefer the Mac and my wife prefers the PC.

However, the PC periodically gets viruses or locks up for other reasons and my wife has to take it in to her office support staff, since I cannot help her with it. I am working on her to switch to Mac. Her her office supports Mac and I can help also, especially with access to AppleCare phone support.

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peterinjapan
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by peterinjapan » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:35 am

Consider Macbook. I do a lot of serious Windows development in Parallels, which lets you run Windows inside your Mac at full speed.

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8foot7
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Re: Business Laptop Suggestions Request

Post by 8foot7 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:38 am

I just bought a Lenovo P51. Should arrive tomorrow. It is heavier than I want, but was the only way to get 64GB of RAM in a single machine that I could reasonably take somewhere (I run many virtual machines). Current machine is a 2011-era ThinkPad X220 which I very much love and has held up well, along with a homebrew desktop that bit the dust back in the summer. The X220 is the ultimate traveler's machine if you ask me, but I don't travel as much as I used to.

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