Refurb X1 Extreme vs new XPS 15 vs Refurb X1 Carbon vs new/refurb T480 vs Something else?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by bardophile, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. bardophile

    bardophile Notebook Enthusiast

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    My biggest concerns are longevity and reliability, as I'm unable to avail warranties most of the time. I have happily used my Thinkpad X220 since 2011. It's getting old and tired but if it weren't for my eyesight, I'd probably just try to keep it going. As I no longer travel with my computer as much as before, I would much prefer a bigger screen.



    1. I'm not sure how much of an advantage a 15.6 inch would be over a 14 inch.
    2. It looks like a refurbished X1 Extreme and a new XPS 15 would cost about the same (with 256GB HD and an i5 processor.) Which would be the better choice?
    3. I think an FHD display should be fine, but hearing a lot of criticism of the T480 FHD display...so am wondering about that..
    4. Until I read about the Extreme, I was pretty much trying to decide between the T480 and the Carbon. I'm leaning towards the Extreme because of the screen size and upgradeability of storage and RAM in the future.



    General Questions


    1) What is your budget?

    USD800 to 1200

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    I find my x220 screen too small now. Would prefer a 15inch screen, but am considering 14inch ones as well. 13 inches is too small.

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?
    USA
    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Lenovo Thinkpad, Dell
    b. Dislike: Don't much care for HP
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Yes
    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Spreadsheet and Light database work, some coding, a lot of word processing and web browsing. I tend to multitask a fair bit.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Both, but usually transporting by car, rather than needing to carry it long distances.

    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?
    5 or more.

    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?

    Prefer seeing, but am ok to buy online without seeing.

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

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    1080p. Better is ok. Would love 1920*1200.

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

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Only a little.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    256GB should be plenty

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    I need it to arrive by mid July.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    6 to 8 years.

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

    I have a backup machine, so could make do.

    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'll be using the computer in Pakistan, so unlikely to get on site warranty.
     
  2. JRE84

    JRE84 Notebook Deity

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    x1 extreme hands down
     
  3. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    You had a nice run with your X220, but longevity probably comes down to plain old dumb luck more than anything else. The T580 is about a half pound heavier than the X1E, but forgoes the dedicated GPU, which often creates heat and noise. Nothing you're doing says dedicated GPU to me. The T580 offers the non-touch 4K LCD and I've seen them in the outlet sub $1,000. The X1E is already over your stated budget.
     
  4. bardophile

    bardophile Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'm not too keen on the offcentre keyboard and TouchPad setup of the T580. Otherwise, yes that seemed like the obvious choice.

    I've narrowed it down to choosing between a new T480 or a refurbished X1 Extreme. Couldn't purchase the Extreme new.
     
  5. The Underdog

    The Underdog Notebook Guru

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    If you have some flexibility in timing, wait for sale prices and just keep monitoring. The swings in price can be pretty significant. Just an example: I purchased an X1 Extreme - 4k/8750/16gb/256gb nvme with 3 year onsite + accidental for $2.2k CAD before tax during the Black Friday 40% off sale in Canada (<$2k CAD without extra warranties). FHD and i5 would have brought it down a few hundred $.

    I found that for offers available to me, the XPS and X1 extreme started to even out value-wise at mid-higher end configurations. I unfortunately saw fewer significant dips on the XPS line during the time I was shopping, but that might be a Canadian pricing thing.

    But as ZaZ pointed out, it's not clear why you'd need a dedicated GPU. The primary tasks you've listed can really be covered by a wide range of modern laptops. If you like Thinkpads, don't have specialized gaming or workload or convertible or creative/editing needs and mainly just want a comfortable screen... I would probably just monitor the deals section on the Lenovo site and buy the cheapest 15.6" option with an acceptable screen.

    Even upgradeability might not be an issue for you... do you anticipate your needs changing so much that you can't solve storage with an external drive and you suddenly need more than 16 gb of ram? The X1/XPS investment is only really worth it if you're planning for a bunch of more intensive uses and don't think you can just buy a new laptop that meets those needs in Pakistan down the road.

    If this option is open to you, consider buying a cheaper laptop now and a new one in a few years if your needs change, rather than trying to pick something now that last 6-8 years.

    If you like Lenovo, also look into leaks on the new Lenovo lineup (https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/astmup/official_2019_refresh_specs_release_dates_and/) to see if anything interests you. That would be cutting it close, though.
     
  6. bardophile

    bardophile Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thank you both for your detailed comments I really like Thinkpad keyboards and build quality. My impression is that ranges other than the X and T lines tend to not have materials that are quite as good and that this significantly affects longevity. Would you say this impression is inaccurate?

    The dedicated GPU is probably not something I will make much use of, realistically.

    Upgradeability is something I want to retain. My experience has been that my computing needs do sometimes change significantly enough that lack of upgradeable hardware leads to a lot of frustration. Edited to add: Purchasing a new computer isn't always an option when that happens, given that computer options in Pakistan are more limited and significantly more expensive.

    I realize that I'd be spending a fair bit of money for what are largely comfort of use issues (quality of keyboard, positioning of TouchPad and keyboard, size of screen), but over my projected 5+ year use time, the added cost seems worthwhile. Are there cheaper computers that would meet those requirements?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
  7. Rekted

    Rekted Newbie

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    If you were to ask me, personally I'd go for the X1 Extreme.

    It's always handy to have the dedicated GPU on standby, rather than it not being there when you need to perform some heavier tasks that requires one. I am also assuming here on the amount of heat dissipated from a GTX 1050 (Max-Q?), wouldn't be significant, nor would it be much looking at the tasks you want to do. Basically you're not stressing the laptop to make it sweat right?.

    If u're looking at upgradability, there's nothing much you can do with either of your choices (or even other laptops in general), other than the RAMs, the SSDs and the battery.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  8. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    I would buy NEW every time. Warranty and service. Buying used you forfit both of those. If you are not a hardcore gamer where you need more power every couple of years because of new game advances, ANY computer available today will run for YEARS. So, at this point in computing time, nitpicking specs instead of buying a new device is not a smart thing to do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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