Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

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Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by Bobby206 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:08 am

In the market for a new home/work laptop. I have a 13" Dell XPS which is exactly 3 years old and the keyboard is giving out. I had it checked and it is a hardware issue. It still works but is too frustrating with some keys not working right and not worth $400 to fix. So looking at something light, good battery, for use at home and travel. I work in the legal world and do not do gaming or other high video card needs. I travel a fair amount. I have seen a lot of Surface Pros out there and they look cool but I don't know much. I know there are a lot of tech experts on here so hoping to pick your brains. What's the latest and greatest? What to avoid? What do you love? Best machine for the money. I'd like to spend about $1,000 for the machine plus software.

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by onourway » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:18 am

My first suggestion would be to just pay up to fix the XPS which is still a great computer today. There is no reason to spend more than this.

If that is off the table, I would suggest you stretch your budget for a Lenovo X1 Carbon and buy the 5 year on-site repair warranty with it. It's not worth thinking about a few hundred dollars one way or another for your main work productivity tool that should easily last 5 years.

I have owned several Surface devices and would not own another. All failed in one way or another, usually fatally, and Microsoft support was pretty much the worst I've ever encountered in 15 years of dealing with IT. The devices are awkward to use on anything but a perfectly flat surface of adequate size, they struggle to get anywhere near the stated battery life, and the screens are literally like a mirror if you have overhead light of any sort. Lots of better options out there if the Carbon is too dear for you. (Anything in the Thinkpad line, really - look at the T series. Pick your size and budget).

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by bryanm » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:44 am

I'll post the counter-anecdote to onourway's comment. I owned a Lenovo X1 Carbon for a few years. It failed multiple times. I purchased the highest level of warranty from Lenovo, but after 3 onsite visits failed to fix the issue (a failed screen or connector--physical, not software), I went and purchased a Surface book.

Other than Apple products, the build quality of Surface's is the highest you'll find. I suspect that I broke the Lenovo through rough use--I tend to through my laptop into my bag and am sometimes less than gentle with it. The constant pressure seems to have broken the hinge/screen connector somehow. The Surface is much tougher in my experience. My experience with power management in Windows devices has also usually been sub-par (including the Carbon). The Surface's are the first that function basically like an Apple--you can close the lid, walk away for days, and come back to a battery that's basically where you left it. The combination of first party hardware/software is really a powerful thing.

I would not recommend the Surface Pro for all the reasons onourway mentioned. However, the Surface Book and Surface Laptop are superb. I personally have the Book, and use the tablet mode mostly for meetings. (I'm also in legal, for what it's worth.) In hindsight, I would probably prefer the Surface Laptop for it's weight reduction and lower price-point. If you do buy one, get the business-level warranty. The service is better and the term is longer. I've had to use it twice, and while they don't do onsite visits, they don't have the parts/coordination problems I saw with Lenovo. Rather than sending out a 3rd party tech with some extra parts, they typically just swap the laptop out.

(I assume you're not interested in Apple products. If you are, Apple products are some of the best software/hardware out there. They charge a premium, however, and many orgs are MS-based.)

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by onourway » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:51 am

An additional counterpoint to bryanm's comment is that we have been nearly 100% Thinkpad in our office for nearly 15 years. Our laptops are used on blue-collar job sites all over the world, and we typically put them through a rotation where they are in regular use for at least 7 years and semi-regular use for 10+ years. We have never had a single unit that failed in the way bryan describes. I'm not saying it can't/won't happen, but in general Thinkpads are designed with longevity in mind, with parts that can be replaced. They publish very detailed repair manuals, and business support is good (native English speakers out of NC). With Microsoft you either go to the store where you are at the whims of the particular associate you encounter, or you try their call center which was, in my experience, a byzantine maze of people who barely spoke English and had no power to do anything except transfer you to someone else where you got more of the same.

It is also my understanding that even the regular Surface laptops are fully encased in adhesive so all repairs are 'send it in and get a replacement' which is far less convenient than having a tech come to your location and replace only the specific failed part.

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:52 am

When the keyboard on my 4 (?) year old ThinkPad went(x230), I bought a new one for $40 and had it installed in 10 minutes. Try that on a Mac (or most other consumer grade machines).

Go with the old style ThinkPad (NOT the Carbon) and it will run for a very long time (I still have a vintage 2006 machine as a music server) and repairs are easy due to the modular construction.
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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by jgalt133 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:57 am

I have both the XPS 13 and the Surface Pro 6. They are amazing machines, but I consider them to serve very different purposes. The XPS 13 is my travel workhorse (I have a desktop for when I'm at home or the office) and is perfect for computational and programming tasks. The Surface Pro 6 is the family computer and is great for travel since it easily converts to a tablet (e.g,. watching movies and looking up information). Typing on a Surface Pro is fine as long as you have a table or desk. When balancing in your lap, it'll get annoying after a little while.

For a single work + travel computer, I'd recommend the XPS 13 over the Surface Pro simply because it's better for typing on the go.

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by jgalt133 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:58 am

Also, if you want to be confused by a plethora of options and opinions, see

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by elcadarj » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:18 am

Costco has the Lenovo T480s for $1249.99

8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U Processor (1.8GHz Base, up to 4.00 GHz)
16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM
512GB PCIe Solid State Drive
14inch Anti-glare LED Backlit IPS FHD (1920 x 1080) Display
802.11 Wireless AC, Bluetooth 4.1, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10
Approximate Weight: 2.9lbs

I bought one earlier this year and am very pleased. Wirecutter chose it as their recommended "Best Business Laptop",

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by Rajsx » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:38 am

Go with a THINKPAD

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by Winston19 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:46 am

I have the Surface Laptop 2 and like it a lot. When I bought mine Costco had the best deals. The face login is a great feature.

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by playtothebeat » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:57 am

For those with the XPS, do you find it runs hot/loud? I’ve read numerous reviews suggesting that.
I’m in the market for a laptop for around-the-house use but also do some photo editing in Lightroom

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by Dialectical Investor » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:08 pm

I haven't owned a Thinkpad since the IBM and "deathstar" days, so can't comment on today's build quality by Lenovo.

I'll offer a plug for the Dell Latitude 7000 series. Very boring yet serviceable machine when outfitted with an i5 or i7, 14" screen, 8GB RAM (you may want 16), and a 256GB SSD. Very quiet except when under heavy load.

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by mattshwink » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:09 pm

Got my wife a HP Spectre x360 (i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) for personal use and travel. We got it on a Cyber Monday deal for $950 (with tax). She loves it. She even has had times where it's useful to fold it and use it as a tablet.

I previously (for work) had a Surface Pro 4 (with a Surface Dock at work and home) that I absolutely loved. The two work laptops I have had since I have not loved as much (both Dells).

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by Katietsu » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:16 pm

Are all touch screens about the same level of reflection? I was considering a Microsoft Surface 2 Laptop but felt like I could use it like a mirror.

I know that touch screens are all glossy. But is there a best in class for reducing reflections when used in a brightly lit room?

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Re: Best Laptop/Surface Pro - $1,000 +/-

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:20 pm

Consider an HP Elite X2 1012 G2 ... SwzMlcheZV

This is my work laptop. 2 in 1 with removable keyboard and pen.

I have 2 at home from this eBay reseller. They are barely used demo models. Both of mine had the wrapping on the cords. Maybe used at a trade show or for a demo.

The linked one is a 512 SSD, 16GB RAM, i7 with stylus pen. The keyboard and size is fantastic. I have it hooked up to a USB 3 docking station and 2 monitors at work.

Something to consider if you don't want to spend $1,000+. I picked the HP Elite over the Surface Pro.

Here is the product page:
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