Any suggestions for a laptop for graduation?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by bluerazz, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. bluerazz

    bluerazz Newbie

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    Hi! I am about to graduate in CS and I am looking to get a computer that I will be able to use for the next couple of years as I try and find employment. So I am looking for a laptop or portable desktop that can last a while. Currently I am between System76 and ThinkPad, but am open to any suggestions.


    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    No budget! This is a graduation gift from a couple of my family members and they said they'd cover it - but I would rather not take too much advantage of their generosity by asking for like a $3000+ laptop or something.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    I prefer something around 15"-16" screen because I like to see more code on the screen without strain. 17" is a little too big for me, but I'd be willing to carry it around if it is a more reliable product. Same goes for a computer under 15", reliability is what I find most valuable.

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like:
    b. Dislike: Apple (I have never really had a good experience with their products), Commercial Lenovo computers (I have had maybe 2 in my life where the hard drive burnt out in under 2 years, and I am a bit hesitant because of spyware found on them)
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    I would consider it, but since it is a gift, my family wants to give me a new one.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    I plan on programming, maybe video and audio editing, and casual web use. I want this to be my work laptop though too so it should be able to handle some big tasks as far as programming goes. I have practice in game development, app development, software development, and many other aspects of CS but I don't know what I'm going to be doing for work.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    I travel a small bit from city to city, but I do not plan on moving it around all that much. Maybe from room to room?

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    The only game I have on my computer is the Sims, but that is because my Surface cannot handle anything more than that. I'd like to get into gaming, but it isn't a biggie for me.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    I will probably always be near a power source, and I don't mind carrying a charger. But maybe around 3-4 hours is an okay amount incase I ever want to work at a coffee shop or at the airport.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    Online is fine.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    I have only ever really worked with Windows, and barely have experience with Mac OS. They're both fine, but my problem with both seems to be their speed. Mac OS has been faster in my experience, but I always go back to Windows. I have heard great things about Linux, and am down for that. No opinion on Chrome OS

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer?
    The lowest resolution I could go is High Resolution: 1080p (1920x1080), but since I like video editing and may be in game development, I would prefer Ultra Resolution: 3K/4K (3200x1800, 3840x2160, etc)

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    I like matte screens, but if a screen is glossy I do not mind finding a screen protector that is anti-glare, since glare is usually my problem.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    No, just reliability so something that feels sturdy is a big thing to me.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    I am sick of relying on Cloud services because of the limited space my Surface has! I miss having a lot of hard drive space, so I would love 256 GB.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity

    16) When are you buying this laptop?

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    I plan on using it as long as possible. I am a bit tired of buying a new laptop every 2 years because I did not take time to research a quality product. But the next one I buy won't be a gift probably, and so I need something that will last me till I can make enough money for myself to buy another good laptop.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    I do have a Microsoft Surface that I use for the majority of my work but I would be lost without a reliable laptop for more than 3 months probably.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?
    I would like a warranty, but I do not mind having to shop or on-site. I live in an area with not a lot of tech options so I would probably have to ship it anyway.
  2. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    Welcome. The ThinkPad T15 ought to be a good fit, or the HP EliteBook 850 G7. Both are available with 4K/UHD screens and have great keyboards.

  3. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    A ThinkPad will net you an outstanding keyboard and stick for all that programming, though keyboard quality is somewhat subjective. The standard 1080 display on the T15 or T15p, if you want the better GPU, are uninspiring. I'd opt for the much better 4K LCD if you buy a T15(p). I suspect the same for the HPs, though I am not as familiar with them. The Dell XPS 15 is a handsome well made notebook that offers gorgeous screens, regardless of whether you pick the FHD+(1920x1200) or 4K(3840x2400). Good luck and welcome to NBR.

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