Ultraportable, lightweight, sturdy, moderate GPU ability

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by sgtrobo, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. sgtrobo

    sgtrobo Notebook Geek

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    *** whatever it takes, would like to keep it around $1k-$1.5k if possible, don't need a top-end GPU or a ton of storage, so a smaller SSD and "lower-end" GPU should help keep the $$$ down, but willing to pay a bit more for sturdy build and lighter weight

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    a. Ultraportable; 10" - 12" screen ****** lightweight and portable is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, but I still need to be able to read text on the screen so smaller is going to be better
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen ****** 13-14" has to be the absolute upper limit for portability I think
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    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: I've liked the Surface (not Surface Pro = need a real hinge for the lid/screen/keyboard), HP Envy, had success with the ThinkPad, not opposed to having a go at some of the other Ultraportable/Ultrabook types
    b. Dislike: can't do a Macbook
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    *** I'd consider them if there was a warranty

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    *** portable 'take-along' with me on the train (I have to carry it in my backpack, and ride a bike ~15 miles) where I will be using Linux on top of windows, either as a straight VM (i.e. VirtualBox) or within Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (If WSL2 ends up being all it seems to be). Crisp text is a must.
    *** at home, some moderate/lightweight gaming. Discrete GPU would be nice to have as I will be plugging it into a big monitor and would need to have at least 1080p, clear, bright graphics at a decent framerate

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    *** Portability, lightweight, and sturdy build is critical. Only time it'll be on my desk is on the weekend. The rest of the time it'll be in my bag or on my lap

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    *** as mentioned, moderate gaming. Don't need 4k @ 300 FPS or anything, but probably would like a discrete GPU so that I can plug it in externally to a large screen and not have it chugging along, struggling to put out decent 1080p graphics

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    *** I'd like 4-5 hours without having to turn everything to low settings

    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'm ok seeing them online with brands that have good reputation
    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    *** Windows is a requirement

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    *** I need it to do 1080 comfortably with very bright, clear, crisp text (as it will be tiny little letters, I need to see them on the command line!)

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    *** Matte is definitely preferred due to the requirement to use it on the train, but not critical

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    *** Stylishness = couldn't care less. I need it to be sturdy and very well-built for portability. A good keyboard is a must. I always liked the old ThinkPad's pointer thingee in the middle of the keyboard, seems those have made a comeback in a few models I've seen, but not a requirement (at all)

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    *** Not much at all, to be honest. I will be loading and storing a very bare minimum on this laptop. This is an area I'd like to trade out "large storage" for "better performance" and especially "lighter weight" and "cooler/less power consumption"

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity

    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    *** fairly soon, within a month

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    *** a few years

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    *** I have others that could fill in if need be, while sacrificing some functionality

    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'm fine shipping it

    The other questions asked:

    *** I've built dozens upon dozens of them (mostly "back in the day") but it's been several years since I've even looked at the market, so I have no clue what is up with today's computers. I wasn't even aware that Windows had WSL2 now, which is something I'm very interested in using, not so much for Linux development work, but for studying the 'inner workings' of Linux for industry certifications. The last time I bought a laptop, I took the guts out so I could install an SSD, because SSDs rarely came with laptops at the time without insane cost. So 'out of touch' is probably a good way to describe my experience level

    Bottom line importance:

    1) Must be ultraportable. I need to carry it in a backpack ~15 miles on a bicycle, and I don't want it weighing me down (too much). I also don't want it cracking when I pick it up. A sturdy "Ultrabook" is probably the appropriate term here.

    2) Needs to have decent graphics capabilities although, as I am not playing first person shooters or anything, it doesn't need to be a true gaming system. It seems that the GeForce MX{1,2}50 is probably a 'sweet spot' as far as providing a bit of extra graphics ooomph without adding a lot of weight, heat, or battery hunger, although I've only done a little bit of research on them

    3) Need to have a very well-built, well-made, firm chassis and lid hinge.

    4) Needs to have audio-out so I can plug earbuds/earphones in (on the train). Legitimately wouldn't care if it didn't have external speakers as I'll never use them

    5) Some big benefits = the ability to plug it into a docking station (not a deal breaker, not even sure if those still exist?), HDMI without an adapter (not a deal breaker either, it seems USB-C is getting widespread)

    still doing research but the ones I've seen so far are the HP Envy, the Lenovo ThinkPad (not sure if this has a GPU option), the Dell XPS. Even saw the LG Gram which is physically too large due to the screen size (But seems super lightweight)
  2. sgtrobo

    sgtrobo Notebook Geek

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  3. otezs

    otezs Notebook Enthusiast

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    lower end configuration of X1 carbon (or 5th/6th gen) and Dell XPS 13/15 fits your budget

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