Laptop Recommendations

Folks, what’s a good laptop? I need recommendations. Not a Mac, not touchscreen, and ideally not one of those evil things where you have to log into Outlook every time you want to use it. Something that wouldn’t give me any trouble for at least 3 years and not run out of local memory immediately.

I’ve been extraordinarily unlucky with laptops. As a result, I have only desktops at home and at work. But now I need something portable. What would you get that’s low-maintenance, sturdy, and doesn’t have any unnecessary fanciness of touchscreens or other weird stuff? Size, weight, battery – none of that matters. I want something that I can open and start working. The last one I had couldn’t be started without Outlook, and I hate it for it.

And please don’t say refurbished if you don’t want to hurry me to my grave. I already had refurbished and am still waking up with night terrors from it.

Do you have a laptop that serves you well? Please drop links.

21 thoughts on “Laptop Recommendations

    1. I got the MacBook Pro last year and I’m absolutely in love with it. It seems that the M1 chip is much more powerful than the old Intel one and solved the problem of the noisy cooling which was annoying and one thing I hated about Mac laptops in the past.

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      1. I’ve used mac’s since before osx and I do prefer them, although they’re horribly expensive so I wouldn’t buy one for myself. Don’t like the touchbar at all.

        It used to be my job to be fluent in Mac and Windows. Ultimately it cones down to personal preference and how much you’re prepared to spend.

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  1. Even though I hate the company, its founder and their products, get a Microsoft surface go laptop. Well under $1k, 8Gb ram and 128gb ssd if you need more space, get the 256gb model for slightly more.

    Why recommend this? Just furnished a high schooler with one.

    Pay attention during set-up, it’s entirely possible to set it up using a local (not Microsoft online) account but because they don’t want you to use a local account they steer you away from it.

    Also disable cortana (might be gone in Windows 11 I think) unless you enjoy having wire taps in your house.

    You could get a cheap laptop and install Linux on it but I suspect you may not be interested in that path 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seconding the Surface Pro recommendation. It’s as easy to carry around as a tablet but it’s a real PC with a real operating system.

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  2. I have been running a Dell XPS 13 for more than 8 years. Never missed a beat, always carried without special protection, beautiful thin bezel screen, light and great battery life. Highly recommend it.

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      1. Base model surface go for you then. It does have a touch screen but by default (no option) and you can just not touch it.

        I second Dell laptops, we have used that brand for about 20 years here at work. Go with whichever is cheaper.

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      2. I also have a Dell XPS that I have been using for many years – probably 8 or more? I like it except that the wifi card is terrible. It only works if I am in the same room as our router. If I move one room away it loses the signal and I have to use an external wifi card. It is a known problem with this model, though maybe they fixed it since I got mine.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Third vote for Dell. Pre-2000 Dell was better, but they’re still very good. Great longevity, and their customer service is excellent should component be problematic. If you aren’t savvy about getting a new laptop set up, find a locally-owned tech shop owner and pay him a hundred bucks to set it up exactly like you want it. I’m not a fan of laptops that come with pre-installed software. They always have a ton of junk and spyware included that slow your computer down and make it perform terribly. Pick a Dell style you like in terms of size, weight, and functionality, then put only the software you specifically need on it (or have the tech guy do that too, as they’re absolutely aware of the drawbacks of pre-installed stuff and will get your laptop set up to run cleanly and smoothly for years).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here. Dell is good. My sister has a Surface, but hers didn’t come with a keyboard.

    Lenovo and Asus are also good brands. And I second paying attention when you set it up—I just have a fingerprint to open my Dell, and while I do have a Microsoft account I don’t have to log into it all the time. I don’t use Outlook at all except for work, I just have an account for Word and Excel because I use them all the time.

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  4. I fixed windows computers for years and only used windows operating systems. You sounds like a corporate type user and would probably like something like the HP Elitebook range.

    That said, I finally got around to using a Macbook for the first time a couple of years ago and would not go back to the windows operating system for internet and word applications for any reason.

    It is absolutely worth the day or two of getting used to the slightly different layout and commands because once you do, everything works very well and is remarkably stable.

    Being able to zoom into portions of the screen by pinching the trackpad is indispensable for heavy readers, as is the ability to switch between things using 3 fingered swipes, so imo, reconsider the mac.

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  5. …literally all I do is use Word and the Internet. I don’t even watch YouTube videos!”

    My bias is nothing that has Widows XXX. My second bias is Linux OS.

    Having said that, considering your requirements I recommend an Acer Chromebook. I think any of them would do what you want but you don’t specify how much memory you might need/want. I avoid the memory issue by using The Cloud.

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  6. You could get a Dell XPS 13 series that’s absolutely top of the heap for about $1700.
    There’s a new version that’s come out in the past month or so that’s supposed to be even greater.
    Myself, I’ve been using an Acer Aspire 5 laptop for the past couple of years and have added an 256 SD card for extra storage.
    Just checked and it goes for less than $400 on Amazon.

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  7. You won’t like the price, but this is the type of hardware we like around here …

    Google: Panasonic Toughbook 55

    WordPress keeps eating comments with a link BTW.

    Look for older models on eBay.

    Pros: It’s MIL-SPEC hardware.

    Cons: Chipset support gets tricky if you don’t use the version of Windows that model was designed for.

    Used previous models can cost as little as 10% of the current model.

    They’re also RF leakage resistant because they are low-end Common Criteria compliant so N might like one to try with an SDR.

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