New business-class laptop, $1,500 budget

BenK1010

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Jul 1, 2013
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Hello,

I am looking to replace my 7 year old Dell Inspiron E1705, which still runs just fine. My primary reasons for replacing it are that it is too old for modern Windows development and is too old to expect to be reliable for long, and also is huge (17" and `10lbs)

Purpose This laptop will be used for software development, occasional graphics work (as a hobby, not professionally), and sundry productivity/everyday stuff.

Other Requirements Must have good performance (excluding games) and be portable with decent battery life (4+ hrs) - so something that has a good balance these specs.
It should run all non-game software for the next 3+ years.
Must have sturdy construction!

Budget is $1,500.

Etc I would definitely prefer Windows 7. Apparently, many W8 laptops can't run W7 because the hardware doesn't have the right drivers, so you can't just install W7 on a laptop that comes with W8.

I guess that means I'm going for a business-class laptop, and I'll build a desktop for the fun stuff later when I have the funds.

Thanks in advance for all your help!
 

kevinp4966

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Nov 3, 2011
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I'd suggest a MacBook Pro 15" you can get unbievable quality, a fantastic spec and you can dual boot with windows.... Though I have no idea why you would use windows over osx...

No I'm not a fan boy but honestly the money you pay is well worthwhile.

Errr I don't know who told you windows 8 systems can't run windows 7.... The hardware is exactly the same and the drivers can be found on the manufacturers website... Microsoft are offering free "downgrades" from windows 8...

Edit: maybe forget the remark about the MacBook Pro.. Thought your budget was GBP not USD... Sorry
 

jaguarskx

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My general recommendation would be a Lenovo ThinkPad either the 14" T430 or 15.6" T530; both are priced similarly at $722. Both have 1366x768 resolution screens but can be upgrade to 1600x900 and 1920x1080 (T530 only). Additionally, an option nVidia NVS 5400m graphics chip can be added for applications that can make use of it. I suppose it is about as powerful as the Intel HD 4600 found in Intel's current generation Haswell CPUs (Halfway between the nVidia GT 710m and 720m).

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/t-series/
 

mesab66

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Since you don't need a high end GFX card then your choices will be very greatly expanded (and cost be greatly reduced).

There are many options available, of course.

What I would suggest is a visit to a custom builder - not to purchase! - only to check what component selections are available.

(Only) as an example, check out the laptop section at http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/

This will give you many ideas for a final build - and maximum price!. However, If you are happy with the final price (whether here or any other custom builder) then as an added bonus, they will almost certainly be able to install W7.

Alternatively, match your build selection to any pre-built (off the shelf) option. Unfortunately, as you've found out, W8 dominates.

 

Indefatigable

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The Lenovo Thinkpad T530, Dell Latitude E6530/E6540, and HP Elitebook 8570p are decent choices. I'm not certain that the Elitebook gets more than four hours of battery life though.
 

BenK1010

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I didn't know there were custom laptop builders. Do you know of a good one in the US?

As far as Lenovos go, lenovo's own website contains a number of terrible customer reviews for the T series - it seems quite a few have gotten lemons lately. But the most common complaint is the change of the keyboard from the older design, which I'm not familiar with.

Ultrabooks like the Samsung that was posted here may offer long battery life but you pay a price premium (because of special thin parts) and take a performance hit for that. I'm fine with a bigger, more traditional design as long as it's 15" or less. I feel that size has more of an effect on portability than weight, so a 5lb 15" laptop isn't vastly superior to me than a 3lb. 15" Ultrabook laptop.

 

jaguarskx

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Just take into consideration that people who have complaints about products are more likely to post a negative review compared to people who are happy with their purchases and posts a positive review. However, what's important is your comfort level. If the negative reviews are deterring from buying a ThinkPad, then by all means do not buy a ThinkPad.

With regards to the keyboard... the older style keyboards is really, really good, Very accurate and good amount of feedback. Very solid keyboard for a laptop and quite possibly the best keyboard to type with in a laptop. I like the keyboard of my 2003 ThinkPad T40. That has been recently changed to the more current trend of the chicklet or "island" style keyboard where the keys are spread out more so that they are on their "own island". I have never tried out the newer ThinkPad keyobard, but I can say for a fact that I do not really like chicklet style keyboards. I find them to be mushy and not very accurate; my typing speed is slower on my Lenovo IdeaPad Y470 vs. my old ThinkPad T40.

As for a custom laptop site try www.xoticpc.com/

If you just want a laptop that relies on solely on integrated graphics, then consider the 15.6" Sager NP2650 which has 1920x1080 resolution screen and a quad core i7-4700mq with the Intel HD 4600 graphics core. It sells for about $764 base price. However, battery life is only rated at 3 - 5 hours.

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np2650-clevo-w650sz-p-5843.html?wconfigure=yes

You can also consider the 15.6" Samsung Series 7 that is available for pre-order. It's not an ultrabook, but the battery may be integrated into the laptop. If so then that means should you have problems with battery life, then you need to send it in for servicing (a big negative for me). Anywaste, battery life is rated at 9.2 hours. It uses the older generation quad core i7-3616qm and has a GT 640m graphics chip. But it only has a 1600x900 resolution screen. Starting at $1,085.

http://www.xoticpc.com/samsung-series-np700z5cs01us-preorder-p-5480.html?wconfigure=yes

 

kevinp4966

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Nov 3, 2011
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I'd suggest a MacBook Pro 15" you can get unbievable quality, a fantastic spec and you can dual boot with windows.... Though I have no idea why you would use windows over osx...

No I'm not a fan boy but honestly the money you pay is well worthwhile.

Errr I don't know who told you windows 8 systems can't run windows 7.... The hardware is exactly the same and the drivers can be found on the manufacturers website... Microsoft are offering free "downgrades" from windows 8...

Edit: maybe forget the remark about the MacBook Pro.. Thought your budget was GBP not USD... Sorry
 
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