Portable non-Gaming 15 inch 4K Display Laptop

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by TuxDude, Dec 5, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. TuxDude

    TuxDude Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    255
    Messages:
    921
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Hi Everyone

    I'm looking to buy a 15 inch laptop. My primary requirement is a 4K Display (or at least 2560x1440 resolution) portable or ultra-portable laptop. Prefer to stick with Intel Graphics for better Linux compatibility.

    Dell Precision 5510 seems like a good candidate here. Please feel free to make other suggestions. Thanks!

    1) What is your budget?
    Preferably under $1300, can stretch may be up to $1500 (but trying not to)

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    15" screen
    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    US

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    No strong preferences here just to keep my options wide open. Only requirement would be to prefer a brand known for durability, and making sure the laptop lasts at least 3 - 4 years.
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    No.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Software Development and Photo Editing (Photoshop, Lightroom).

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

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    No.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    At least 4 hours. >5 would be awesome.

    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?
    If possible, yes. Although not a deal breaker if I cannot see them.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    Will be using Linux with Windows 7 in VirtualBox/VMWare. I don't mind running MacOS either if I go the Apple route.

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. (Scroll down to see screen resolution information.)
    2560x1440 or higher. 4K preferably.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (Scroll down to see explanations.)
    Matte is my first preference. Glossy is okay if the reflection level is manageable (like the Macbooks for example).

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Not that much.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Dec 2016 - Jan 2017

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    At least 4 years.

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    At least 256 GB. I have a NAS solution for storage in my network.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    No.
     
  2. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

    Reputations:
    7,162
    Messages:
    28,880
    Likes Received:
    1,940
    Trophy Points:
    581
    The Precision M5510 (which I have) or the XPS15 9550 (basically the same hardware) is an obvious candidate for the shortlist. However, if you opt for the UHD panel then you should also be planning to get the 6 cell battery option as the extra pixels increase the power drain and shown by comparing this and that reviews by notebookcheck. I find the FHD panel to be very good quality and wouldn't be wanting more pixels on a notebook screen (my phone has the same display resolution but much higher pixel density but I hold it much closer to my eyes).

    John
     
    huntnyc and Kent T like this.
  3. TuxDude

    TuxDude Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    255
    Messages:
    921
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Thanks for the info John.

    Couple of questions:

    1. Other than the Precision vs XPS branding, any general differences between Precision M5510 vs XPS15 9550 ? One thing I could find was, I could obtain the M5510 for a cheaper price compared to similarly specification XPS. Also I do not need a Windows license, and so can save some money if I go with a Precision, whereas with XPS I do not have the option to opt out of Windows.

    2. I noticed that if I go with the extended battery, I have to opt for an M2 SSD. I'm guessing the extended battery takes up space in the regular Hard Drive Bay?

    3. What is your feedback about the touchpad and its durability? Do you find the touchback ever gets in the way with accidental clicks when you're typing? This has been a common problem for me with my old Asus Notebook.

    4. I'm also having second thoughts about the display resolution. I think many of the apps do not support proper scaling in Linux environments yet from what I've read. Going 1920x1080 native might be a better choice here. Do you have any feedback about the screen - both good and bad?

    5. Any feedback about the Thunderbolt 3 port? I read some reviews that the USB port with Thunderbolt support might draw more power, not sure if this claim is true.
     
  4. Krowe

    Krowe Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    88
    Messages:
    694
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    76
    1. Precisions are generally more stable, and not as buggy as XPS both hardware and firmware (BIOS) wise.
    2. Yes, the larger battery takes the mounting space for a 2.5 inch drive.
    3. Palm rejection on the precision is good, it just doesn't do random clicks like the crappy consumer notebooks.
    4. 4K is a bit much, but some distros do scale better than others.
     
    Kent T and TuxDude like this.
  5. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

    Reputations:
    7,162
    Messages:
    28,880
    Likes Received:
    1,940
    Trophy Points:
    581
    Using your numbering:

    1. The main hardware difference is that the M5510's dGPU is the Quadro M1000M which is slower than the XPS's dGPU and may be one reason why the Precision appears to be more reliable. Precisions are usually sold with a better warranty package than the XPS.

    2. Yes, the larger battery extends into the 2.5" drive bay. See the owner's manual for details of the inside of the computer.

    3. I have found the (enormous) touchpad to be quite well behaved. Occasionally the cursor has moved while I'm typing, but I'm not sure whether to blame the touchpad for that.

    4. The 1920 x 1080 display is called "Ultrasharp" with good reason. It is the best display I have used on a notebook (see my review for more info). The extra sharpness may be because the anti-glare coating (which reduces sharpness) isn't as thick as on most non-glare display but is still effective.

    John
     
    huntnyc and TuxDude like this.
  6. TuxDude

    TuxDude Notebook Deity

    Reputations:
    255
    Messages:
    921
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Thanks for the info John and Krowe, that helps a lot!
     
  7. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

    Reputations:
    799
    Messages:
    2,294
    Likes Received:
    1,070
    Trophy Points:
    181
    You might also consider a HP Zbook Studio G3. Tigerdirect has an IGP only version of it on sale for $1000 right now which would meet your requirements other than it only has a FHD screen. It will be similar in build quality to the Precision 5510.

    Having no dedicated GPU is great because it means you don't even have to bother with tweaking the system to disable the Nvidia GPU. I fought with the K2100M in Optimus mode because sometimes it would get re-enabled and then the power consumption would shoot up to over 30Wh, which generates much more heat and greatly reduces battery life. The tools to control the dedicated card are much more refined on Windows and I think it gets taken for granted on Linux. Luckily even the Precision 5510 has a special 6440HQ configuration that does not have the Nvidia GPU. I would trade hyperthreading for that benefit in a heartbeat.
     
  8. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

    Reputations:
    7,162
    Messages:
    28,880
    Likes Received:
    1,940
    Trophy Points:
    581
    As I didn't reply to this previously, I would confirm that Thunderbolt is a power hog and best not used when running on battery. Even plugging a dumb USB C to USB A dongle into the port increases the power drain by around 2.5W and my other grumble is that after a short delay the fans come on. Several Thunderbolt driver and firmware updates have been issued and I live in hope that another one will appear which does address the power management of this hardware which currently highlights the efficiency and effectiveness of the power management of the modern CPU packages.

    John
     
  9. jefflackey

    jefflackey Notebook Evangelist

    Reputations:
    96
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    41
    My only issue with the Studio G3 is I can't seem to find a configuration with more than 8 G of RAM and more than a 256 G SSD - even HP's Studio G3 page only offers 3 configs and none of them offer customization options.
     
  10. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

    Reputations:
    799
    Messages:
    2,294
    Likes Received:
    1,070
    Trophy Points:
    181
    In the US, HP has a customizeable model here, although the price isn't as good as the preconfigured models. I think the RTMSMB15 coupon can be used to drop the price a little more, or contacting a sales rep may result in a better discount too.

    That deal from Tigerdirect is great because you can easily add a second M.2 SATA SSD and 8GB of ram (or just replace the PCIe SSD entirely) which would give you a great configuration for under $1500. It still comes with the HP 3 year onsite warranty which is great considering the price.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page