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Laptop advice

Started by Sun_Worshiper, March 21, 2023, 08:22:43 AM

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I accidently killed my laptop while changing the battery (I foolishly thought this is something I should do and could do on my own) and now I'm in the market for a new one. The deceased laptop was a Dell XPS 13, which I bought in 2017. I was happy with it, but the world has changed over the last six years and so I'm wondering if this is still my best bet. I also have questions about how much RAM I need (8 or 16GB).

For some context, I am not constrained financially, but I am cheap and get sticker shock, so I'd like not to break the bank on this. I am also a simple man when it comes to home computing (this is a laptop for personal use), so I don't play games or download movies or music - this laptop will be used to brows the web and to occasionally work on word docs or ppts.

I have read lots of articles online about what I should do, but now I turn to my wise friends (and enemies) on the fora for some advice, so...

What kind of laptop do you have and are you happy with it?
What advice would you give to a hapless laptop shopper?
Any other thoughts on computers/laptops/tablets that you'd like to share?


I regularly use two laptops. One is a work-issued HP. The other is a personal ASUS chromebook. Several years ago, a forumite recommended that I investigate chromebooks when I asked the question you're asking, because I was in the market for something easier to travel with than the HP. Although the chromebook has a smaller screen than the HP, it is brighter, sharper, and has better colors. Instead of a bulky charging brick, it's a 2" x 3" cube. The build quality of the chromebook is superior. Working with Word and Excel files is very easy. One loses some of the functionality of MS Office desktop applications when using Docs and Sheets, but I find it similar to what happens when using Microsoft 365 Word and Excel online. Google makes updating the OS and apps ridiculously easy. File changes are automatically backed up on the cloud whenever you are online. Since I have an Android phone and use Google for cloud storage, it's very convenient. A high end chromebook will be ~ $400.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.


I was tired of Lenovo lemons (I had one fantastic one, then a series of crap ones), so I bought an MSI gaming laptop. I play a few games occasionally (not much since the hatchling hatched, but I look forward to doing so again soon), so that's a consideration for me. I also use it to watch stuff  I love this laptop, it's fantastic. It cost about $800CAD.

For your purposes, the difference between 8 and 16gigs of RAM is basically non-existent. You can always add more yourself, too, but for the activities you describe it won't matter.

The bigger issue, I think, will be the size of your hard drive and whether it's solid-state or what.
I know it's a genus.


From what I understand, Dell XPS is still very highly regarded.

Get a solid state hard drive. The boot time difference is astonishing.


I've had my Dell XPS 13 for at least four years now. It's much faster than my desktop.


After a leaking water bottle drowned my Microsoft Surface, I quickly got a list of cheap laptops and went to Best Buy. The guys told me Lenovo were easiest to fix so I have a Yoga. It's fine.

The guys may have been full of it because I think they are all now single-unit blocks of glue but hey. It works fine.


For home use, I have an HP Pavilion with 8 GB of RAM and a solid state drive that I paid around $600 for. Have had it for a couple years now and have been pleased. I don't do anything fancy, just surf the internet, pay bills, etc.
I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now.

Wahoo Redux

Quote from: ergative on March 21, 2023, 10:20:46 AM
From what I understand, Dell XPS is still very highly regarded.

I have a new Dell Inspiron.  Within the first 8 months I had two major hardware malfunctions and it spent two weeks in the Best Buy service center (and read your Best But warranties----they are filled with hidden costs).  I find that many of the functions are problematic.  The geek in the Geek Squad said, and I quote, "Dell has fallen out of grace."  He suggested Lenovo next time.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.


I have a macbook air for personal and macbook pro from the institution. I had a Dell XPS prior to this faculty role and was adamantly anti-mac, but I have been converted. My macbook air weighs less than 2 lbs so it is great for travel. If you have used an iPhone, a macbook is pretty much similar and easy to figure out (once Windows 8 hit I could no longer figure it out with ease, but that is just me of course). It is worth the money in my opinion. I am on my second macbook pro for work and it is very nice too. The major difference between the two besides weight is that the air has 2 USB-C ports and the pro has 4.