Looking for a versatile/durable high performer

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Tayottt, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. Tayottt

    Tayottt Newbie

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    1) What is your budget?

    $700-2100

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    a. Ultraportable; 10" - 12" screen
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    d. I’m looking for something in the 14”-16“ range

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?

    United States of America

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    I lack experience with brands. Im looking for brands that provide quality performance for 5-7 years.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    No.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Video editing, software engineering, entertainment (watching videos, listening to music occasionally, and a bit of gaming)

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

    I’ll be taking it to workspaces whenever I need to collaborate with others (2x a week) so I need something relatively modest (not gaudy) but also strong (won’t be destroyed if it drops once or twice over a 5 year span).

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)

    I could see myself playing League of Legends or Overwatch.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    7 hours or more preferably. I need a laptop that wont give me battery problems assuming regular use (4hrs/day) over a period of 5 years.

    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?

    I would prefer to see it in person, even if I choose to buy it online I will go to a store to feel it first.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.

    I’m used to PCs, but if a Mac is the best choice I could assimilate.

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)

    Most likely high resolution, but ultra could be good as well.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)

    Tough to say. If I’m in a work environment then maybe matte, but for entertainment perhaps glossy.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?

    Yes. I don’t want the stereotypical gaming laptop design or anything too ostentatious. Something black or grey, sleek, and durable. I also would like a strong keyboard/touchpad that doesn’t malfunction with regular use.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?

    512 - 1 TB

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop?

    Within the next 6-8 weeks.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?

    5-7 years.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?

    1 week.

    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?

    Depends on the quality of the warranty. If it’s a strong warranty that lasts 3+ years I would be willing to pay a bit extra. Whatever I get needs to have a 1 year standard warranty.

    After doing some early research I’m looking at the following:

    Eluktronics MAG 15
    Eluktronics Mech 15 G3 (slightly out of price range)
    Razer Blade 15
    ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14/15
    ASUS ROG Strix Hero III
    MSI GL65 9SDK-039


    The MAG 15 and the Strix are currently the leaders in the clubhouse. I love the battery life and sleek design of the MAG, and I like the specs/price on the Strix ($1550).

    The MSI GL65 seems like a solid option as well. It’s $1100 with comparable specs to what I’m looking for. I see some reviewers note that the battery life is suspect/bad. This worries me.

    If you have any other suggestions please tell me. I really want to feel a few laptops out before I take the plunge. Also, I don’t know where to shop online for the best laptop deals. So far, I’ve been looking at company sites, Microcenter, and Amazon.
     
  2. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    You mentioned not wanting a laptop with overtly gamer aesthetics, but all the models you're considering have them in some form or another. Also, none of those laptops will give you 7 hours of battery life, at least not without some serious tweaking, and even then you likely won't reach it. Since you're looking for something a bit more on the professional-looking side, I would consider a Thinkpad T495s with an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU. It has a business-like form factor, great battery life, and its RX Vega 10 integrated GPU would be able to handle some light to medium gaming.
     
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  3. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    You might consider getting a quote for a Dell Precision 7540 with 9750H and RTX 3000. Dell usually has sales and coupons every now and then so it may be worth it to wait a bit until a good deal comes along. Micro Center has the Precision models on display so you could take a look at them in person if needed.

    The only one I would consider out of your list is the MAG 15, but you may want to ask Eluktronics directly what kind of spare parts they will sell you after warranty expires. If you can get things like a replacement keyboard, battery and cooling fan I could see it lasting beyond three years.
     
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  4. Tayottt

    Tayottt Newbie

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    I suppose you are right. It’s been a while since I purchased a laptop, so I have memories of gaudy gamer laptops that were geared more toward the 14-22 y.o crowd. Nowadays most of the laptops that I’m looking at with “gamer specs” are more toned down.

    I’d like for you to expound on this “serious tweaking” thing. Among my list, I think the G14 has the best battery life followed by the MAG 15. Is a solid video editing laptop with 7 hours of battery life a white whale?

    Looking at the Thinkpad 495s, and I think I will add it to my list. Thank you sir.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  5. Tayottt

    Tayottt Newbie

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    How durable are Dell laptops these days? Genuinely curious. The laptop you suggested it a bit out of my price range once I added some of the specs I would like. Still, I will add it to the list of laptops I test. Thank you.
     
  6. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    It really depends on the line. The Precision is their high end business model, so it is pretty durable.
     
  7. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Deity

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    I would be surprised to see a laptop exists which precisely satisfies this ambitious set of criteria, out of the box no less. Right off the bat, if you can only live for up to a week without the laptop, you need to buy a laptop with on-site service and extend it to 4-5 years. The only company I'm aware of that provides this is Dell (and potentially the likes of Lenovo and HP for their business customers).

    7h of battery life will be hard even with light use such as browsing. The ballpark is reachable with the Alienware m15 after some tweaking: 80 something WHr battery would require power draw in the region of 12-13W. My m15 is drawing 13W as I'm writing this response. I could get to 9-10W by reducing the number of tabs. Needless to say, forget about 7h of battery life while video editing at full speed, but tools such as ThrottleStop will allow you to optimise Intel CPUs and specify exactly how much CPU power you want to have in battery mode.

    Precisions will be out of your price range, but take a look at the Alienware m15 R1 - apart from the lid (which can be covered with a sticker of your choice if needed), the laptop features a very professional design, and you should be able to get a variant with 9750H CPU and extended on-site support into your price range.

    One nice thing about Alienwares is that you can pick a model with the cheapest GPU - and later upgrade your setup with the fastest eGPU on the market, the Alienware Graphics Amplifier (+ a suitable desktop graphics card), if you need more GPU power at the desk.
     
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