Feb 14, 2017
Need to buy a laptop.

Not sure which is the one appropriate for my needs.
I can't end up regretting a purchase.

Too many choices among the
Dell Latitude/XPS models
& the
Lenovo Thinkpads/P50/T460/T470/... Thinkpad X1-Carbon etc.

My requirements are :
1) few heavy-duty IT Applications, & the occasional movie watch for kids.
2) need a longer battery life, helping OCCASIONAL travel
(not too frequent, so I don't want to sacrifice performance for too fancy "ultra light" ness).
3) always online, with multiple browser windows open (18 to 25)

IT application needs :
Shall install heavy IT tools like a couple of databases :
4.1) Teradata & MySQL say,
with multiple browser windows open,
4.2) along with the regular MS Ofc line,
4.3) & my currently more important
DevOps tools like CHEF/PUPPET/DOCKER.
The last lineup of tools is for study, & mock-up project purposes, as am thinking of shifting my career towards DevOps.

I may require i5 minimum.
QUAD CORE is important, I feel.
Please correct me.

"Ultra light", "fantastic screen", "convertible", "touch screen" ….
These are not must-haves for me.

Performance (due to those applications),
Virtualisation (DevOps, AWS)
longer battery,
a li'l future-readiness ....
are what am looking for.

I'd hope for a 2-to-3 year hassle free experience.

My choices now :


Dell XPS.
Dell Precision.


ThinkPad X1 Carbon / X1-YOGA (not sure)
Thinkpad T460.
Thinkpad P50.

Is my shortlist right ?
Please help.

Thank you.


Hello, Don:

From your background details, I'd say you're looking at a 15" medium-strength workstation in the $1,000 - $1,300 price range.

Going by your short-list, this means a Dell Precision 15 or ThinkPad P-series. The X 1 Carbon is much too focused on ultra-lightness and sleekness to be a serious option for your particular mission and the Yoga, while offering great practicality, is designed with a mission clearly different from yours. The same goes for the XPS - capable and great-looking but also a bit off-target.

I agree that quad-core is preferable to dual-core given your need for computational power. Dual-core CPUs will offer (slightly) better battery life and they are typically designed for ULV-type notebooks. A quad-core is going to make up for this difference once you open your 'heavy duty IT applications'. On that note, I'd recommend 16GBs of RAM and an SSD.

As for 'future-readiness', I'd say 2 to 3 years is a fairly modest request, and most laptops will do that. A Precision or a ThinkPad T-series is likely to stay with you for well past 5 years. ThinkPads enjoy a widespread reputation for solidity, although some of that may be down to 'good PR'. I have used several ThinkPads for work-related tasks (mainly X and T series), and they will break and crack like most other laptops. Part of their reputation probably comes from the fact that even when cracked and broken, they will still work. I have no hands-on experience with Dell's Precision machines, but I have no reason to believe they should be less durable or reliable. Maybe they just need 'better PR'.

A few other points about the future: Go for an IPS panel and, if possible, a dedicated GPU - something like 2GBs. This will turn your capable workstation into a useable and enjoyable multi-tasker, and this is bound to make your investment much more worthwhile.

My biggest problem is that Dells are generally more expensive than comparable Lenovos, and this also applies to workstations. Going by my presumed price range above, I found this 15.6" ThinkPad P50 on Lenovo's web page:

Starting at $1,155 you can get 16GBs of RAM and a 256GB SSD for $1,338. Other specs include a quad-core Skylake i7 and a Quadro M1000M dedicated GPU (it says 4GB but I'm pretty sure that's a typo - it has to be 2GB). You also get a 2K IPS panel.

A similar setup in a 15.6" Precision 5510 will land you at $1,816:

The Precision 15 3000-series is only available with TN panels. Battery life on the P50 has been tested by at 8:25 hours (March 2016). This was with a 4K display and a 4GB Quadro card. The version linked above should give you at least an hour more. The Dell Precision 5510 was tested at 5:34 (with specs similar to those in my link). For more information:

Now, you don't have to agree with my preferences and if you're OK with a TN panel, you can get great specs in a 3000-series Precision. Similarly, if you're only ever going to use your laptop for work, the HD 520 Intel IGP in a ThinkPad T560 will bring the price down to something like $1,200.

If you want a recommendation, it would be the Lenovo ThinkPad P50. It is the less expensive option and you get a capable workstation that can double as a great multi-tasker.

Best of luck,


I would go with the thinkpad t series.
The dell xps won't be able to handle it and it is designed more for the average user (13 inch). The 15 inch is good if you need graphics power. The p series is for 3d modelling and rendering . The carbon and yoga - no way, stay away from these. They are not strong enough. The dell precision is the equivalent to the thinkpad p series.
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