Help - Grad School 2-in-1 Comparison (X1 Yoga, Spectre x360)

mpantano

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Apr 6, 2017
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My sister is beginning grad school this fall and is looking to get a new laptop for it. This will be her only machine, but she isn't too much of a power user (medical field). She wants something bigger than 13" and, she expected to be using equal time as a tablet (writing notes) and laptop (typing, Netflix), so the pen is important (function, feel, storage, capability, etc). She will be out at class during the day and also working a job, so battery life is vital! I advised she try to get one with a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port. This has led to two machines:

Lenovo X1 Yoga
HP Spectre x360 15t

Both of these have new models, with the new Yoga about a month away. Do people have feelings about either of these? The new Yoga will have an OLED option. Would you expect this to be worthwhile? From a tech spec point of view, they can be made very similar. How is the tech support with either company and how often do you need it?

Are they any other 2-in-1's that fit the bill that you can recommend?

Small note. I am looking for a laptop too (and am seeking some advice, if you want to answer my other thread) and I'm wondering if vendors may offer a discount when buying two machines together.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
Your sister may not be a 'power user' but she clearly doesn't mind spending money...

Joking aside, both machines are very expensive, and the X1 Yoga with an OLED panel will cost her $2,200, like this one on Amazon US:
https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-ThinkPad-1st-Gen-20FQ005XUS/dp/B01IOXJJM4

If she can settle for an FHD IPS panel, the price drops to $1,400 from the Lenovo Shop:
http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-x/X1-Yoga-1st-Generation/p/22TP2TXX11Y

Battery life is listed at 11 hours for the FHD version and 9 hours for the OLED version. Weight starts at 2.8lbs (FHD) and 3lbs (OLED), neither has a Thunderbolt port. As you pointed out yourself, there's an updated Yoga version coming soon, and this might explain the 'fire sale' price on the Lenovo Shop and elsewhere. You could also do a search yourself for 'X1 Yoga' and you'll find a host of offers around $1,200 - $1,300.

On the HP Shop you'll find this 15" HP Spectre convertible priced at $1,500:
http://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-spectre-x360---15-bl075nr

The specs are superior in every respect starting with a Kaby Lake i7 (with an HD 620 IGP) backed by a 2GB nVidia 940MX dedicated GPU. It's a larger screen format, of course, and the 940MX card itself doesn't impress any reviewers, but even so you're unlikely to find this graphics combination in any current X1 laptop.

The Spectre is noticeably heavier, at 4.4lbs, but battery life is listed at 12+ hours (9 hours video playback). And it has a Thunderbolt port. Lenovo have never been pioneers when it comes to battery life and their specifications are generally very 'optimistic' (excepting the ThinkPad line).

As a Lenovo user myself, I can say that any support for Lenovo's consumer-grade products (non-ThinkPads) is a hit-and-miss proposition - they just don't seem to understand that consumer support is not the same as business support. It's not useless, it just takes longer and can be very frustrating. Fortunately, you rarely need to call them because the machines are generally well-built and easy to mend yourself.

I have no hands-on experience with HP's customer support, but my theory is that HP have been selling consumer-grade products longer than Lenovo, which is a Chinese company that only entered the consumer world some 10 years ago when they bought IBM's PC Division, and so would have more experience with servicing 'regular' people. But it's just a theory...

I would recommend the HP Spectre. Unless your sister is particularly enamoured with the Yoga's design (personally I think the Spectre is the better-looking machine), the HP is available now with great specs and a reasonable price tag, while you'd need to wait for a new X1 Yoga that might not ultimately offer the same specs or turn out to be hideously expensive. Note that OLED panels are still very expensive regardless of the laptop brand.

As for discounts: If you buy online you'll probably have to be a business client to benefit from any bulk discount, and by bulk I mean at least 10 units. But a phone call could answer that question. If you go into a physical store I think you stand a much better chance of 'haggling' your way into some discounts with 2 laptops.

Best of luck to both of you,
GreyCatz.
 
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