Looking for new laptop advice

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abwriter10

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Want something sturdy, reliable. Am not a gameboy, don't do music videos, basic quality for youtube video playing is fine... use primarily for writing and researching the internet. Will probably have to learn and use Zoom on it sooner or later.

The problem is that when I go to a tech review site, every site has different recommendations as to brand and model of laptops. Which site do you trust?

Is there a price point where if it's below that, I'm probably buying something of low quality and if it's over that, I'm probably buying something beyond my needs?

Any recommendations?
 

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What operating system? (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome . . . )
 

Al X.

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I use a Lenovo Yoga model, which is light, compact, rugged, and has literally traveled the world. That is in my opinion the biggest bang for your buck.

But in any case, it's the little things that will get you. The performance of all the major brands are going to be similar and plenty powerful enough for what you are doing, but things like keyboard layout are more important than most people think. I would go to an electronic store, and play with some floor models to see which layout works for you best. Prime example - HP laptops, great on paper, sturdy enough, but I can't stand the keyboard.
 
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H.L.Dyer

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I recently got a chrome book for myself a couple of months ago (the hp x360 celeron 2-in-1 touch). Would I recommend it? Ehhhh. What I like about it is the duality of having a laptop and a tablet if I need it. It’s also small and lightweight (ideal for transportability), yet the 14 inch screen is comfortable on the eyes. I also like that since it’s a chrome os, it comes with Google drive preinstalled as a shortcut so getting to my files is a simple click away.

The drawback is more of a personal thing because I’ve always grown up with Windows os, so switching from that to Chrome os was a bit of a learning curve. The trackpad also doesn’t have a right mouse button so in order to right click to edit a word it is advisable to get a usb mouse as well as a multi port usb plug in since it only has one usb slot. The biggest drawback for me when it comes to the chrome book is that one of the main differences of chrome book is that it does not support .exe files and so requires you to download apps through the Google play store. Sadly, this means that I can’t get Scrivener on my chrome book. Though this was admittedly more of an oversight on my part by not doing my homework enough before purchasing.

Overall, I’d say it does the job by being a writing pc, but I would rather recommend something with windows os more with how versatile it is by comparison compatibility-wise.
 

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Recently, I bought an HP Chromebook. It is a nice machine. Chromebooks are secure, you don't need any antivirus protection. But you can't just download stuff from the net. You can only buy apps from the chrome app store. It is fast and cheap because it has a small memory. If you use a lot of files, it is stored in the cloud and after a minimum of storage space is used, you need to pay for more.
In the end, It got on my nerves. I bought an HP with windows 10. That has a secure operating system, but you can turn it off. The chrome book is fine for checking Emails and looking at eBay. But I would not recommend it to a writer.
 
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ChaseJxyz

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Chromebooks can be really cheap, but they are very limited in the apps they can run. If you mostly write in Google Docs and that's all you really want to do and money is an issue, it's a good choice.

If you want a machine that you don't have to think about too much and looks are important to you, then get a Mac. They're much more expensive, though, and very rarely are on sale, though you could probably find a used one through Craigslist if having the newest one isn't important to you.

Considering you said you need to learn how to use Zoom, I imagine that you're not very familiar with tech, so you probably aren't going to want a Linux machine, which generally requires a bit more of knowing what you're doing compared to Mac or Windows.

If you want to use Word, Scrivener or stuff like that and you want lots of options then Windows is best. The laptop I bought was based on what had the best keyboard and a midprice point. My roommate wants a decent gaming laptop that is lightweight (because she's small) with a higher price point. Do you need a laptop that's smaller or lightweight? What is your budget? Are looks important? Do you want something that will last you many years or only a few? Is having a touchscreen important? What about pen input?

Honestly if you go to Best Buy (or the equivalent where you live) and look at what they have, that'll give you the best idea of what you want. Seeing devices in person and feeling the keyboard will help a lot.
 
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abwriter10

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Thanks guys. Your responses are more helpful than those web computer review sites.

Yes, technology not my strong suit but I'm trying to catch up. I better stick to Windows, still using Windows 7 but realize that I have to move to Windows 10.

Am not looking for the cheapest, I've learned my lesson. Looking for durability and something that will last. Light would be good but don't want to sacrifice durability. Have been to Best Buy. Large selection but how do you know which are "good?"

Am beginning to narrow choices down to Dell and Lenovo. They're both good, right? But which models within them? That comment about the keys pressed in on the Lenovo model doesn't sound too good (see, I read all your responses carefully).

Thanks again for your insights, keep em' coming.
 

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I really respect Wirecutter, now owned by the NYT, because they actually use the hardware they review.

 

Al X.

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Thanks guys. Your responses are more helpful than those web computer review sites.

Yes, technology not my strong suit but I'm trying to catch up. I better stick to Windows, still using Windows 7 but realize that I have to move to Windows 10.

Am not looking for the cheapest, I've learned my lesson. Looking for durability and something that will last. Light would be good but don't want to sacrifice durability. Have been to Best Buy. Large selection but how do you know which are "good?"

Am beginning to narrow choices down to Dell and Lenovo. They're both good, right? But which models within them? That comment about the keys pressed in on the Lenovo model doesn't sound too good (see, I read all your responses carefully).

Thanks again for your insights, keep em' coming.

I'm a little gun shy on Dell, as there was a time when I used to order desktop PC's for the company. Dell was a good deal at first, then the quality started to go downhill, to the point where plastic cases would fall apart and units would arrive literally with power and drive cables not even plugged in internally, then their customer service got so bad they wouldn't even tell me they didn't plan on fulfilling orders they didn't fulfill. But, on the other hand, that was a long time ago, and maybe they've come back around.
 

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I do not recommend Dell for anything except some high-end servers, with support contracts.

We used to buy Dell boxes for faculty, and kept finding that they were selling used computers as new.
 
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stephenf

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I'm a little gun shy on Dell, as there was a time when I used to order desktop PC's for the company. Dell was a good deal at first, then the quality started to go downhill, to the point where plastic cases would fall apart and units would arrive literally with power and drive cables not even plugged in internally, then their customer service got so bad they wouldn't even tell me they didn't plan on fulfilling orders they didn't fulfill. But, on the other hand, that was a long time ago, and maybe they've come back around.
I bought a Dell from their website. You could buy returned machines at a bargain price and Dell seemed OK. More recently I bought another Dell, the price did not seem such a bargain and it was a poor machine. But Dell is not the only ones on a downhill path. Some time ago bought a Mac. At the time windows was complete rubbish and usually packed up completely are a couple of years. In comparison, the Mac seemed to be advanced alien technology. Eventually, after, Apple stopped supporting the machine making it obsolete, the hard drive packed up. I replaced it with a new Mac. The screen is nice, but the machine not as good as the old one . Already it is moving to the out of date category. I would never buy another Apple product.
 

benbenberi

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For a basic workhorse tool for writing, zooming, & internet stuff, laptops are essentially a commodity product now. They all have basically the same capabilities, run similar software, offer equivalent features. The only really decision is which OS flavor you want. Windows is the standard. Linux if you like to have to think about your computer for its own sake. Mac if you want to spend $$$$ on something really pretty (or if you're already embedded in Apple's ecosystem). Chromebook if you want to spend very little and will never need to use it offline.

Pick your price point, go to a place where you can try out a bunch of machines, and buy the machine in your price range whose keyboard and screen feel good to you.

Brands? People slam Dell these days. Macs aren't as polished and trouble-free as they used to be and they're still very expensive. I've personally had good experience lately with HP.
 
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JB Morgan

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Managed IT services provider here. You brought up a good question about a price threshold where, below it, quality plummets right along. It's absolutely true. Below $600 for a laptop is usually junk ,and will be terribly slow in about a year. Intel processors still have better life expectancy than Ryzen. 16GB of memory is quickly becoming the gold standard amount of RAM. Above all, make sure you have an SSD (Solid State Drive), not just a hard drive. Good luck!
 
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WriteMinded

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I'm also about to buy a laptop. I'm perfectly happy to purchase refurbs, so that's my plan. Refurbished HP laptop and buying it via Newegg because, having bought from them before, I know they are reliable and helpful.
 

abwriter10

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Is HP your brand of choice or is what's available from Newegg? Which model of HP were you looking at (HP was not high on tech reviewers' listings)? I'm assuming if a model is good enough to be sold reburb, it must be pretty good new.
 

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Have you looked at this one? Pretty good ram, and i5 processors are tolerable. I used a T420 that I bought refurbished for several years
without issue, and it had half the ram. It really boils down to what you want, and how much you're willing to pay to get it. Good enough to get the job done is another matter. The laptop I linked to is probably fine for your needs, unless it's a lemon, and if it's a lemon newegg has a good return policy.
 

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I'm also very happy with my MacBook Air (2020 M1).

Some reasons:
1. No fan & no machine noise. This really helps me as a writer.
2. MS Word has a focus mode with a custom textured background. It looks really nice, and it helps me keep focused in my work. There's also a good Apple dictionary and thesaurus tool while still in the same focused screen. Assuming it's enabled, tap on a word with three fingers, and it gives more suggestions than Microsoft in most cases.
3. The base model is more than enough for writers. I eventually upgraded to 16 GB memory & 2 TB SSD storage, because I don't see myself needing another computer for 20+ years.
4. Very fast processor. Everything loads instantly.
5. Very thin and portable.
 
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cmhbob

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Posting for anyone hitting this thread who's looking.

Consider the SuggestALaptop subreddit. The entire purpose of that board is to help you find the right machine. They have a form that you fill out, then the subreddit members will look at it and give you a good suggestion.

 

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