What laptop with my usage?

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Coolstavi
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What laptop with my usage?

Post by Coolstavi » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:15 pm

Hey all, my Dell laptop is almost done after 7 solid years. Very happy with how it has gone.

It's time to get a new one. Which one would you recommend based on what I do.

- Heavy internet browsing.
- Listen to music from time to time and videos online
- In case I do something else, I don't want the machine to be completely inept with it.
- Want a decent screen display. None of this 11.6 stuff

That's about it.

What would you buy?

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lthenderson
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Location: Iowa

Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:27 pm

Chromebook

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DaftInvestor
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:31 pm

You didn't say anything about budget? (Important to state before all the Apple fans start chiming in).
Also - are you going to travel with it or is it primarily for use around the house (weight/size)?
Personally if you've been happy with running Windows on the Dell - I'd just go for another one - decided between a 15" or 17" screen by going to a retailer and getting a feel for the difference.

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Conch55
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by Conch55 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:32 pm

Daughter recently purchased a Dell XPS 13. Not the cheapest but offers lots of features. Black Friday is coming so delaying is likely to your advantage.

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Toons
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by Toons » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:33 pm

Ditto
Chromebook
Simple,
Streamlined
Efficient.
lightweight
So portable. :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

Coolstavi
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by Coolstavi » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:34 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:27 pm
Chromebook
Was wondering about this. But for some reason, I have this idea that they are kind of 'cheap'.

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:31 pm
You didn't say anything about budget? (Important to state before all the Apple fans start chiming in).
Also - are you going to travel with it or is it primarily for use around the house (weight/size)?
Personally if you've been happy with running Windows on the Dell - I'd just go for another one - decided between a 15" or 17" screen by going to a retailer and getting a feel for the difference.
I'd like to spend in the 300-400 range. No way I go with an apple.

SrGrumpy
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by SrGrumpy » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:37 pm

Dell made a killer 13-inch Chromebook targeted at the business market, then pulled it. You can get them like new on eBay for upwards of $300. It's the 7310 model.

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Conch55
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by Conch55 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:39 pm

I'd like to spend in the 300-400 range. No way I go with an apple.
Your choices will be limited with many Windows PCs. Chromebook is a better option.

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lthenderson
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Location: Iowa

Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:40 pm

Coolstavi wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:34 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:27 pm
Chromebook
Was wondering about this. But for some reason, I have this idea that they are kind of 'cheap'.
They aren't anymore cheaply made than a regular laptop. They essentially use the same quality of components. The difference and why they are priced much cheaper is that they don't need hard drives and related parts which makes them cost less. It also leaves room so they can be thinner and lighter.

overthought
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by overthought » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:41 pm

I have a personal bias toward Lenovo machines (our family has owned a solid half dozen over the last decade).

For your stated usage, something like the Thinkpad 13 would probably work well, especially if you upgrade the RAM (web browsers are memory hogs). I don't own that model myself, but I got one for my father a couple months ago and he's been very happy with it so far. If you bought it today it would be:
Image

Going with a lower-res (non-touch) screen and 8GB RAM would save you ~$200. You could also wait for the inevitable Black Friday sale and/or check for online coupon codes to drop the price still further, tho probably not below $400.

If the 13" screen is too small for your taste, you might consider dropping ~$150 more for an external monitor rather than buying a bigger/heavier machine (also something my father has opted for and been happy with).

I would personally be wary of any $400 machine if you are really a heavy web and media user, unless you've had one in the past and been happy with it. Not because of low quality, but low performance: Chromebooks and friends tend to have very wimpy processors and 4GB RAM at most. But my definition of "heavy" is 50+ tabs spread across 3 different browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Edge), so YMMV.
Last edited by overthought on Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Coolstavi
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by Coolstavi » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:43 pm

Sounds like a chromebook might be my best option.

What brands would you consider? Is there a certain mb level or ssd (no idea what any of these things mean) that I should make the bare minimum when purchasing?

Forgot Black Friday/Cyber Monday is coming. I should wait til then.

overthought
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by overthought » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:52 pm

Coolstavi wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:43 pm
Is there a certain mb level or ssd (no idea what any of these things mean) that I should make the bare minimum when purchasing?
The "mb level" you refer to is probably going to show up in specs as "memory" or "RAM". That's what the computer uses to keep track of what it's in the middle of doing; too little and it starts wasting lots of time sifting through piles of papers on its desk, so to speak. I would strongly advise against anything with less than 4GB memory, or 8GB if you want to future-proof a bit.

The "ssd" is a type of storage (where the computer stores things while it's turned off). SSD is fast but expensive. HDD is significantly slower but also very cheap by comparison. SSD also handles magnets and being dropped more gracefully, so it's a good idea for laptops. Depending on how many pictures, and videos you intend to store directly on the machine (as opposed to in some cloud account or on an external hard drive), you will want more storage. 128GB would be the bare minimum if you're not storing lots of media, and 256GB is better if you do store things. if that's not enough you'll be better off paying $80 for an external drive to plug in rather than trying to upgrade internal storage further.

overthought
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by overthought » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:01 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:40 pm
Coolstavi wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:34 pm
lthenderson wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:27 pm
Chromebook
Was wondering about this. But for some reason, I have this idea that they are kind of 'cheap'.
They aren't anymore cheaply made than a regular laptop. They essentially use the same quality of components. The difference and why they are priced much cheaper is that they don't need hard drives and related parts which makes them cost less. It also leaves room so they can be thinner and lighter.
Agree they're using parts with same quality/reliability as more expensive machines, but that's mostly because everything is made by the same few manufacturers.

They're cheaper because:
  • Not upgradable. You have to buy a new one when it starts feeling "slow" or "old", just like a phone.
  • Built from low-performance parts (slower processor, wimpy video card, less memory, smaller hard drive). Like a phone or tablet.
  • Those low-performance parts also use less power, which lets them also ship a smaller/cheaper battery for the same battery life.
So the Chromebook will not break or wear out any faster, it will just generally be slower at everything it does vs. a more expensive machine built with higher performance parts.


lightheir
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by lightheir » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:11 pm

Actually, the main reason that they are so much cheaper than similar-spec'd lower-end Windows PCs is that when you buy a Chromebook, you avoid paying the $100 built-in fee that is the cost of installing Windows on a PC.

For a $1-2k laptop, the cost of Windows is only 5-10% of the total price, but for the low end market which is <$500, the $100 cost of including Windows really means that manufacturers have to skimp on the rest of the PC, rendering it significantly inferior hardwarewise compared to a similar-costing Chromebook which obviously doesn't rely on the $100 Windows installation.

I'm sure the manufacturers still get Windows installation discounts in bulk, but any way you cut it, the cost of Windows is going to hobble the capabilities of any <$500 pc.

Lynette
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by Lynette » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:51 pm

Chromebook, of course. I've given some to relatives as gifts and they use them 90% of the time as I do. The small screen is actually nice if you use it mainly for browsing. I'm sitting in my recliner at the moment with my small screen. I think I bought it for about $200. I'd also advise buying another Windows laptop/desktop when you need to do more complex stuff. I've got a desktop, 2 Windows laptops and an Ipad. I use my Chromebook 90% of the time - others have pointed out the advantages but I like a Windows machine for Photoshop etc.

SrGrumpy
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Re: What laptop with my usage?

Post by SrGrumpy » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:01 pm

overthought wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:01 pm


So the Chromebook will not break or wear out any faster, it will just generally be slower at everything it does vs. a more expensive machine built with higher performance parts.
I doubt the difference is significant or cost-effective for the average person. One key area where Chromebook speed does make a huge difference is the boot-up time. It's probably about 5 seconds at most. You'll never get that on a Windows PC.

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