Laptop Purchase Advice Received

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Rachel's laptop has become ... eccentric. Like a toddler, or an aging relative, who won't get up in the morning, won't go to bed at night, and won't play nicely with others, I'm afraid The Admirable Crichton has taken to not starting up properly, not shutting down properly, and occasionally just refusing to connect either over ethernet, or Wi-Fi.

So it's time to replace him, and preferably while we can still easily get data off him, and onto his replacement. Rest assured, he won't be binned, he will be checked out, refurbished, and have a new life in one capacity or another.

But we need to get a replacement.

Opening up recommendation sites, blog posts, marketplaces, etc., one is instantly over-whelmed with "stuff" ... I hesitate to call it "data" or "information", and one immediately gets an overpowering urge to go and do something else. Anything else.

So I posted the question to Mathstodon, Twitter, and Facebook, asking what we should be considering when filtering the offerings, and I was pleasantly surprised by the prompt and useful responses. Needless to say, with a limited budget we were unable to take all of the advice, but it was all considered and put in the mix. Here is a summary of the advice.


It was strongly recommended to get an Intel i5 or i7. When asked, the follow-up was that AMD Ryzen would be fine, but again, 5 or 7. Having a 4-core ~2 GHz seemed to meet with approval ... no one suggested that it was wrong or otherwise ill-advised.


Here it was unanimous that 8 GB is the minimum, and for Windows 10 the strong vibe was that 16 GB was recommended.

Bulk storage

Multiple people recommended SSD over HDD, some to the point of saying that they would never again get a HDD, and would only ever consider getting a SSD. Obviously the larger the better, with 512 GB the most popular figure. It was again suggested that Windows 10 pretty much forces using a SSD over a HDD, with speed of random access being the main concern.


Some people are surprised by the inclusion of Bluetooth, but we use it regularly to transfer photos from our phones to our laptops. Not to transfer them directly is a lot more tedious, so when Bluetooth works it's exactly the right thing to use.
We need USB 3.1, HDMI, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, but Thunderbolt 3 was also suggested and recommended. We have no experience of that, so it was interesting to see it show up.


For a R/W DVD people said that a USB DVD was good enough, and the absence of a DVD on the machine itself shouldn't be considered a problem, and certainly not a deal-breaker. People were less sure about a USB Ethernet dongle, but in general, lack of ethernet should not be considered a deal-breaker.


It was strongly recommended to aim for 90% or more coverage of SRGB, and that for serious photowork we should consider covering the Adobe RGB space.

Makes and Models

There were several specific recommendations, but it was interesting to see Lenovo mentioned multiple times. Others included Dell (a few times), Asus, and ThinkPad (once each).


For a machine that can be used as a tablet, having a plastic case was strongly dis-recommended. Purchasing from Costco was recommended (or at least, suggested), as the person in question had received outstanding customer service from them.

So there you are, those were the recommendations. We managed to hit most of them, and with some it's a case of we'll get what the machine has. As I said, time and budget constraints were at play, but I think we've done well enough. If you are curious enough, send me a message and we'll tell you what we choose.

We await the arrival of Bunter ...

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