Good laptop for college

xyalidysx

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Nov 23, 2017
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My budget is $1500, but I am willing to spend less than $2000 if the computer is absolutely worth it

Things I am looking for:
-Large(ish) screen (14" or 15")
-8th Gen Intel Core i7
-Good battery life (7+, over 50Wh) after heavy use and a lot of Netflix binging
-Backlit keyboard
-Touchscreen (doesn't have to be a 2in1)
-Not much gaming
-8GB ram or greater
-Storage is preferably 500GB or 1TB
-I'm from the US

Options I am looking at:
-Lenovo Yoga 920
--Love it but pretty much just issue with screen size. I am used to bigger screens so I don't know if a drop from a 15.6" to a 14" would be too significant. Also, poor speaker placement and other Lenovo computers have that weird keyboard with the red thing that I do not like much.
-New Dell Inspiron 15 7000
--Love everything about it except the small battery (which is a big deciding factor)
-Dell XPS line
--Perfect except that the camera is a bit weird (which is not that important to me but still notable) and the XPS 15 has a 7th Gen Intel Quad Core processor, and rumors about the XPS 15 with 8th Gen are for next year and I need the laptop now.

Honorable mentions go to the HP Spectre x360

Any suggestions of which of these computers I should get or anyone I did not mention? I know nothing about computers but I do need it to be fast and reliable for the rest of my time in college (4 years). Thank you!
 

RandomGuy42

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Jan 1, 2017
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Those seem like pretty good options- here's what I think about them.



TL;DR (Too Long, Didn't Read): Get the Lenovo Yoga 920- the Inspiron 15 7000 is way too heavy and has a slow hard drive, and the XPS 15 has a major screen issue. The Yoga 920 fixes all of these issues and even throws in a fingerprint sensor for the $1,400 price.





-Lenovo Yoga 920
--This seems like a pretty good option. I know that you said that you didn't need a 2-in-1, but this is one of the best. The battery life is outstanding, the trackpad is great, and the keyboard is awesome (this model actually DOESN'T include the red dot, which doesn't affect usage that much anyway). Lenovo's keyboards are outstanding, much more comfortable to type on than the ones produced by a certain company named after a fruit. I think that this would be your best option, due to the combination of really good small things (great battery, high-quality screen, etc.) and the customer service from Lenovo is spectacular in my experience.

About the screen size-
-Going from a 15.6" to a 14" laptop can seem weird at first- the keyboards seem to be spaced differently, less overall screen space, etc. However, Lenovo has found a way to include the same keyboard and trackpad as larger models. This makes the transition easier, and the high-quality screen will make text readable, even at small sizes. I'm not trying to sound like a salesman here, but I think that a 14" laptop is the ideal size, striking a perfect medium between portability, usable screen size, and battery size.





Key specs for the $1394.99 model:

-Intel Core i7-8550U @1.80 GHz
-8 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM (User-upgradable, unlike the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 and the HP Spectre x360)
-512 GB PCIe SSD
-Intel HD Graphics 620 (Since you won't be gaming much, this should be fine, and can handle light gaming fairly well.)
-Fingerprint reader (Not included in the price for the Dell XPS 15)
-1920x1080 13.9" FHD IPS touch display (This is an amazing screen resolution even for a 15.6" laptop, so seeing it on a 14" is a bit of a surprise).






-If you want to spend $1799.99, you can get these specs:

-Intel Core i7-8550U @1.80 GHz (same as above)
-16GB of DDR4-2400 RAM
-1TB PCIe SSD
-4k screen (3840x2160)
Rest of the specs are the same, but this more expensive model does include a stylus, which Lenovo calls the "Bluetooth Active Pen." Having tried out this so-called "Active Pen," the connectivity is pretty bad- I would opt for the less expensive (above) model.





-Dell Inspiron 15 7000
--This one seems just ok. Even though it has more RAM for the base model, you are spending more money for the included GPU (which you probably don't need, since you said that you aren't gaming a lot) and the 1 TB hard drive is a painfully s l o w 5400 rpm drive. On top of that, the low battery life would make this laptop hard to use for 4 years of college. Also, it's a lot heavier than the Yoga 920 (5.8 lbs vs. 3.02 lbs- that's a 2.78 lb difference, which can be backbreaking over long periods of time.) Instead of this one, I would highly suggest the Lenovo Yoga 920.





-Dell XPS 15
-- From my experience with the XPS 15, it's an all-around great laptop. The keyboard's good for typing. The trackpad works. The screen and battery life are good. Why not get this one? A few small annoyances- The RAM is soldered on, smaller hard drive, and you most likely don't need the included fancy video card. The big issues- 1. 7th gen i7- this won't have as long of a support time as the 8th gen processors. Even though the one from the Yoga 920 is a typically-slower "U" model, it beats the i7-7700HQ in benchmarks and performance tests. I would say to not try to hold out for the 8th gen CPUs because the price will go up by a few hundred dollars. 2. Screen bezel issue- Since Dell decided to put such small bezels on this laptop, they somehow forgot to put on adhesive on about 1/3 of all of the screen bezels. The result? The bezels tend to come off of the display, allowing dirt and other foreign materials to become trapped within the layers of the display. Personally, I have seen this happen to my friend's XPS 15, and he was also sent the laptop without the fingerprint sensor. Even though you ᵐᶦᵍʰᵗ get a laptop that's unaffected, but I personally wouldn't take the risk. Dell's service and customer support have been in decline, with people constantly being put on hold for hours. Even though you might end up getting a better GPU, I just don't see taking this chance as logical. Anyway, the XPS 15 is a good laptop, but Dell's lack of support for its customers makes it a hard sell. Instead of this one, I would definitely suggest the Yoga 920, unless you happen to find an amazing deal for a good price.


Here's a picture of the screen peel issue: http://forum.notebookreview.com/attachments/xps15-9550-screen-peel-jpg.130334/

-You can't see it in the picture, but in person, light also "leaks" out of the sides, making the light visible from the side of the laptop.






I hope this helps you to make a decision. I tried my best to be unbiased (you can see how that went- heh.) and to provide my honest opinion. I wish you the best of luck in choosing a laptop, and if this was too long/hard to read, just read the TL;DR at the top.







Cheers,


RandomGuy42
 

xyalidysx

Prominent
Nov 23, 2017
2
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510
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Hello!

Thank you for your thorough response. It was very helpful!! The other option that an employee at Best Buy suggested to me was the Surface Laptop, but I read many reviews online and I don't know if it's worth it. I think I am going for the 920. Thanks again!

Best,

Dobhriste
 

RandomGuy42

Commendable
Jan 1, 2017
45
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Glad that I could help! Even though my answers can be a bit lengthy (ahem... always) I try to make them concise and accurate. The Surface laptop is also a good laptop, but not repairable or fixable at all (just look at ifixit.com and find a teardown of the surface laptop to see what I mean). I think you made the right choice.

(P.S. If you're going to sit through long college lectures, or do pretty much any lengthy activity, I would recommend a good [wireless] mouse. I like this one: https://www.amazon.com/VicTsing-Wireless-Portable-Receiver-Adjustable/dp/B013WC0P2A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1512357071&sr=8-3&keywords=wireless+mouse

Or, if you're feeling a bit insane and/or have a larger budget- https://www.amazon.com/VicTsing-Wireless-Portable-Receiver-Adjustable/dp/B013WC0P2A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1512357071&sr=8-3&keywords=wireless+mouse )


Good luck!


RandomGuy42
 
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