Need a New Laptop

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Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
So I searched and saw a thread like this one posted about every year. Since it's been a year, I figure I'll go ahead and put the question out once again: any good laptop recommendations?

My current laptop (Lenovo ThinkPad EDGE 14") has served me pretty well for about five years. I've replaced the battery twice and now this one doesn't hold a charge. The system runs pretty slow (takes several minutes to boot-up). Now, it's doing this thing where the screen gets scrambled and the system freezes if the computer is jostled in the slightest. The only way to restore it is to unplug and restart.

Since I'm about to get some money back from the IRS, I was thinking I would replace my laptop. Here's what I'd like to mainly use a new system for:

- Writing
- Publishing (church bulletins)
- Bible Study (mostly Logos)
- Reading
- Audio Editing (sermons)
- Photo Editing (family pictures and social media, for the church)
- Video Editing (home movies and possibly social media, for the church)

Here are some of my top considerations for a new system:

- Good battery life, for working in a variety of places at home, in the office, or around town.
- Portability, not too large or heavy, but still big enough to be used as my main working system. Probably 13 to 14 inch screen.
- Durability, to withstand some abuse from being around kids and travel by plane.
- Affordability, hopefully not much more than $600.

So, with all that in mind, do you have any top-rated brands or product lines that I should look into? Any really good bargains right now? What are some of you other pastors using? Are there any pastors that have been successfully using tablet-type computers with little keyboards for your main work system?

Thanks in advance for any counsel you may have. Blessings!
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Anymore, you're likely to have many options and you should set priorities to determine which features are worth the limited dollars you're investing. You can get a wafer-thin system, but spend $$$ for that feature. The graphics work you mention would make me lean toward higher processing capabilities $$$ and screen real estate $$$. You could compromise on storage and rely on either an external drive or cloud storage. Then there's traditional laptops vs. the tablet/laptop hybrids. (I love mobile tech, but go back to a desktop for graphics programs.) And if you haven't switched to Windows 10 yet, count on a productivity lag since new systems will ship with my less-than-favorite platform.
 

johnny

Puritan Board Sophomore
I just brought a Lenevo Y700 gaming laptop.

I got tired of my thin laptops breaking so this one is big and heavy,
Gaming laptops are also future proof in that you can upgrade them like desktops.
They also have bigger screens which is great too.
 

Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
Any makes or operating systems to stay clear of? What about Chromebooks? Can they do the work I need, or are they more for browsing/consuming media?
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Adobe has been rolling out programs that run in an Android environment. I'll use them for basic edits, but revert to desktop for any serious work. You might be using different programs, but I figure you're not likely to encounter anything over the life of your new computer than what Adobe now requires. Also, even on my husband's lightning-fast system, Logos can lag, it's not very efficient.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
A friend recommended a Lenovo T- 420 Thinkpad to me 5 years ago and it has been running fine ever since. He took an older Lenovo Thinkpad and sent it back to the factory for reconditioning and it came back good as new. If I had it to do over again I'd have gotten a flash drive. I have one in my tower and it boots up in seconds. So sending yours back for reconditioning might be something to consider. Add any bells and whistles you might want at the factory.

Edit, I said 'flash drive', when I meant a solid state drive.
 
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VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I'll add my own absolute requirement, regardless of the computer: a solid state hard drive (Like the one Rich posted above).

I personally use a full blown Windows 7 tablet computer (Samsung Series 7 Slate)--it's now about 4 years old. It still boots up from completely off in less than 15 seconds. It also is very fast even with a middle of the road processor. It is perfect for my peculiar demands, but if I were to get a regular laptop, I'd still demand an SSD. I've been spoiled.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
What about Chromebooks? Can they do the work I need, or are they more for browsing/consuming media?

I doubt you could run Logos on a Chromebook. It's a very basic computer and operating system that won't run many (if any) proprietary applications. Most of the "apps" for Chromebook require a constant internet connection.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
You'll get all kinds of answers but you should easily be able to clear all those requirements in the OP for the budget you have in mind. You might even have quite a bit to spare.
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
I went from the Thinkpad Edge to a Lenovo G780. It's been a fine computer: inexpensive, sturdy and a good-sized screen. I do a lot of photography work on it, and it hasn't missed a beat in years. Running Windows 10.
 

TheOldCourse

Puritan Board Sophomore
I wish I had read this yesterday, but on a common day check out slickdeals.net. It's a community-sourced deal website that post deals from around the internet on many things with an emphasis on tech and they regularly have the best deals out there for laptops. Some may be more powerful than you need, but I often see great deals on mid-range laptops as well such that you could easily come in under budget.
 

monoergon

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello,
based on your requirements, these two laptops are good choices:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-15-6-laptop-intel-core-i5-6gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-black-silver/4476800.p?id=1219751663433&skuId=4476800

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-g70-80-17-3-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-1tb-hard-drive-black/4928800.p?id=bb4928800&skuId=4928800

They give you enough RAM memory and their processor is from Intel, which is more efficient than AMD processors. Also, many studies suggest that the bigger the screen is, the higher the productivity of the user will be. Since you'll use it for ministry, doing research and writing sermons in Word is more enjoyable and productive if your screen is larger.

Two things to keep in mind:
1. The Lenovo has no reviews, so we don't know if it is actually reliable. The Asus is definitely a better choice because it has lots of reviews and great specs.
2. Battery life is very subjective. The best thing you can do, for any laptop, is to read the reviews. The BestBuy reviews section provides a search option. Search for "battery" or "hour" to rapidly find out if anyone has written about that.
 
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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
A mac is the best battery you'll in any computer. It is also very durable....i've dropped my computer numerous times and it's fine. They are also very portable. The only downside to a mac is the price.
 

Darryl Le Roux

Puritan Board Freshman
As above.

MacBooks are tough as nails and run flawlessly. I would opt for a 2012 MBP, whereby you can upgrade the RAM and the HDD to an SSD. We do that here in South Africa as it is by far the cheapest choice for us. New MBP's go for the equivalent of roughly $2000+

I found a 2014 MBP retina for $1000 this side, so I am sure you could find something that side in your price bracket.

I made the switch to OSX and I have not looked back. Unless you are wanting to hack into NASA or do heavy gaming, go with Windows. But if you are state side, I do not see why anyone would not get a MBP and just run parallels for their windows needs if OSX cannot run it.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Since your upper limit is $600, I would not recommend a Macbook. You'd have to get a pretty old one in that price range.

I would second Rich's recommendation of an Asus Zenbook. One of the best new laptops you can get.

Chromebooks are probably a no go, unless you can do everything you want to do in a web browser, specifically Chrome. You can try and see if you can now.

Whatever you do, get an SSD. It makes so much difference with speed of booting, launching apps, etc.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Also, if you're willing to get a used computer, a used business-class Thinkpad is about the best buy you can get, if you value a well-built machine and good specs. I got a tablet (with active digitizer) + laptop convertible with an older generation i7, 4GB of RAM, and an SSD for my wife for about $400 on eBay.


Here's a guide:
http://ktgee.net/post/49423737148/thinkpad-guide

Buying a new Thinkpad is not as recommended, due to spyware concerns and build quality seems to be going slightly more down each generation (and I'm typing this from a W550s, but I probably would look elsewhere).
 

sonlight

Puritan Board Freshman
My personal choice is Mac. Although, I must admit, as time goes by, they seem to be like Microsoft in many ways. The key to Macs, though, is the OS. It's based on BSD. That is a Unix type operating system. You can go and get yourself a blank slate PC laptop and load it up with Linux Mint, Ubuntu or Free BSD but then you have to worry about getting commercial software to run on it. I suppose it all depends on what software you need to run. I have Logos, Accordance, Olive Tree, Bible Analyzer and a few others that all pretty much need a major platform to work. Bible Analyzer works in linux but not the others. Overall, if you just want something that works and you don't mind the price tag, get a Mac. I think you could get by with an air but with the video editing, just go for the top end 15 inch Macbook Pro. Last I looked they were 2 grand but there is always used and reconditioned models.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Since 1984 - Wow!

My personal choice is Mac.

I have had Macs since the very first 128K machine. That was about 32 years ago. Now I have a dual monitor Mac Pro with 16 Gig of Ram and 4TB of disk space. I simultaneously run Windows 10 on my Mac.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
You have to love how every time in one of these threads a person asks for recommendations for a $600 computer the response is "Buy at $2000 Mac! You really need that." Like money grows on trees. Call it the Bernie Sanders recommendation league. :lol:
 

Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
You have to love how every time in one of these threads a person asks for recommendations for a $600 computer the response is "Buy at $2000 Mac! You really need that." Like money grows on trees.

First of all, I really appreciate all the recommendations and viewpoints. I am now strongly leaning toward a Apple-refurbished Macbook Air ($790 on eBay) for many of the reasons above. I do understand why people would recommend the higher-end laptops for my request, because it is not like a blender or shotgun. This is something I will depend on for my work many, many hours a week for years to come. A good carpenter knows; you don't skimp on tools.
 

sonlight

Puritan Board Freshman
Not your typical Mac user....

You have to love how every time in one of these threads a person asks for recommendations for a $600 computer the response is "Buy at $2000 Mac! You really need that." Like money grows on trees. Call it the Bernie Sanders recommendation league. :lol:
I did say that if money isn't an issue then go with Mac and to check out used and refurb. You get what you pay for. I've got a half dozen throwaway PC laptops in various states of death here. My wife usually gets another one every year as the old one is about done. I should probably spend more than 400 for something decent but they serve their purpose while they live. I've had my Air for almost 5 years now and it still works... bought a 13 inch Pro for 500 used a few months ago made the same year as the Air, 2011. It works fine, too. My iMac is 2011 and it's fine too. I put 12 gigs of ram in it and it does OK. I have no use for Sanders or Hillary for that matter, either. :) I'm not a typical Mac user I guess. I'm so conservative, I consider Rush Limbaugh to be a bleeding heart liberal... LOL
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
You have to love how every time in one of these threads a person asks for recommendations for a $600 computer the response is "Buy at $2000 Mac! You really need that." Like money grows on trees. Call it the Bernie Sanders recommendation league. :lol:

I buy one mac computer to every three PC computers my sister buys. In the long run i save money even though it costs more up front.
 

monoergon

Puritan Board Freshman
If you buy a Mac, it should have at least an Intel i3 5th generation processor, with at least 4GB RAM memory.

If it has an SSD, it will run much faster than a laptop with a hard drive. However, SSDs are very expensive.

There are many free cloud services for users to upload their personal files online (e.g. Google Drive, Mega.nz, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.). This allows one to free up memory in their SSD or hard drive by saving personal files online. In that regard, you don't have to purchase an SSD that has more than 250 GB because you can save your files online for free.
 
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