Author Topic: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide  (Read 5514 times)

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2016, 05:24:49 AM »
That sounds like a great pick. Seems like the HP Pavillon x2 12-b020nr is what you purchased, although you found a price on it that I haven't seen. Please report back on how you like it.

rabarrett

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2016, 12:29:28 PM »
It's technically the 12-b096ms, but I think it's identical with the b020nr except that MS doesn't install the bloatware (though even this point is arguable since I think much that comes as part of Win 10 could be counted as bloatware.  Still, it's less than what HP itself would install.  I bought it for $549 minus $54.9 for the education discount (I'm a teacher).  From what I can tell, not many other sellers offer that discount (at least HP doesn't appear to).  MS dropped the price by another $10 the day after I bought it.  I suppose if I go back there I can get them to give me another $10 off, but I'm not sure how they handle that (yet I have 30 days to return it so....).


ASUS looks like their laptop line is getting really nice.  I just read about their unit that is coming out in August.  It's out of what I believe in paying (since I'd rather spend half as much and buy another computer twice as soon), but it looks very strong and sleek.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 01:09:28 PM by Ari Altman »

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2016, 01:11:45 PM »
It's technically the 12-b096ms, but I think it's identical with the b020nr except that MS doesn't install the bloatware (though even this point is arguable since I think much that comes as part of Win 10 could be counted as bloatware.  Still, it's less than what HP itself would install.  I bought it for $549 minus $54.9 for the education discount (I'm a teacher).  From what I can tell, not many other sellers offer that discount (at least HP doesn't appear to).  MS dropped the price by another $10 the day after I bought it.  I suppose if I go back there I can get them to give me another $10 off, but I'm not sure how they handle that (yet I have 30 days to return it so....).


ASUS looks like their laptop line is getting really nice.  I just read about their unit that is coming out in August.  It's out of what I believe in paying (since I'd rather spend half as much and buy another computer twice as soon), but it looks very strong and sleek.

Awesome to hear about that discount. You definitely got a great deal on it. Here's the direct link at microsoftstore.com.

Just note that it looks like MS goofed up the weight specs on this model. It lists 2.2lb, but that may be just the tablet. I believe the full weight is 3.2lb. Maybe you can report back on that (should be easy to tell if it's 2.2lb or 3.2lb even if you don't have a scale!).

rabarrett

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2016, 10:16:49 PM »
I had a kitchen scale handy, so I just weighted it:
entire laptop = 3.17lbs (3 lbs 2.75 oz) (1.44kg)
     (and just to be clear, I didn't count the adaptor or anything extra--just the tablet/monitor and the keyboard together)
just tablet/screen = 1.66lbs (1lb 10.5 oz) (.75kg)

MS gives it as
Weight
Tablet + keyboard: 2.16 lbs (0.97 kg) Tablet: 1.66 lbs (0.75 kg)

So it looks like they got the tablet weight right, but someone was drunk when they weighed the laptop as a whole

So I think they got the tablet weight right but someone just mixed the total weight with another laptop?

One of the nice features of it (that is hard to notice until you see it in person) is that the laptop feels like a really solid, well constructed whole.  This is something I wouldn't have anticipated, knowing that it detaches.  Then, when you take it apart, the tablet seems like a really well constructed, durable tablet.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 10:21:27 PM by rabarrett »

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2016, 10:27:41 PM »
I had a kitchen scale handy, so I just weighted it:
entire laptop = 3.17lbs (3 lbs 2.75 oz) (1.44kg)
     (and just to be clear, I didn't count the adaptor or anything extra--just the tablet/monitor and the keyboard together)
just tablet/screen = 1.66lbs (1lb 10.5 oz) (.75kg)

MS gives it as
Weight
Tablet + keyboard: 2.16 lbs (0.97 kg) Tablet: 1.66 lbs (0.75 kg)

So it looks like they got the tablet weight right, but someone was drunk when they weighed the laptop as a whole

So I think they got the tablet weight right but someone just mixed the total weight with another laptop?

One of the nice features of it (that is hard to notice until you see it in person) is that the laptop feels like a really solid, well constructed whole.  This is something I wouldn't have anticipated, knowing that it detaches.  Then, when you take it apart, the tablet seems like a really well constructed, durable tablet.

Sounds like a great product overall. Awesome that you had a kitchen scale handy, the perfect tool to get to the bottom of this mystery!

The weight is totally reasonable given the screen size and specs... I was hoping you wouldn't be disappointed that it wasn't 2.2lb (which would basically be impossible with current technology).

This is actually a very new product, and HP hasn't done much to market it, despite a significant price advantage versus Lenovo and Asus, its two main competitors in this market. Looks like you stumbled upon a real winner!

cwedgeworth

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2016, 10:11:55 AM »
Hello, ive followed TBG for quite a while now and have been fortunate enough to build the "Supreme Dream Machine" twice and i love it. I am now in the market for a laptop and i was curious as to your thoughts on the Alienware 17R3. I like the way the laptop feels. Size and weight arent an issue with me. I like the option of the 4k display although the 4gb 980m wont be able to power most games at that res. I have never seen you recommend one and generally your opinion and my own seems to be rather similar. Just curious as to out side of price if there is a major downside to that machine. Thanks in advance :D

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2016, 10:58:29 AM »
Hello, ive followed TBG for quite a while now and have been fortunate enough to build the "Supreme Dream Machine" twice and i love it. I am now in the market for a laptop and i was curious as to your thoughts on the Alienware 17R3. I like the way the laptop feels. Size and weight arent an issue with me. I like the option of the 4k display although the 4gb 980m wont be able to power most games at that res. I have never seen you recommend one and generally your opinion and my own seems to be rather similar. Just curious as to out side of price if there is a major downside to that machine. Thanks in advance :D

Welcome to The TBG Forum, cwedgeworth! Wow, you have built up two Supreme Dream Machines? I'd love to hear more about them - maybe you'd like me to feature them in The Gallery?

Now, as to your question on the 17R3, here's my personal opinion: 4K displays don't belong on laptops. The resolution is just far too high to make any sense on a 17" screen. 2560x1440 would most definitely be enough on that size screen, and it requires just 1/2 the GPU power, based on my testing. Unfortunately, 1440p is not a common resolution on laptops, and most manufacturers have made the leap from 1080p directly to 4K. The truth is that 4K displays are a huge buzzword in the industry, because they offer four times the resolution of 1080p screens, and this helps sell products to a reluctant consumer audience that is buying fewer and fewer PCs. What they aren't disclosing, however, is how 4K screens eat up battery power, and while you're probably going to run a 17R3 plugged in most of the time, when a component sucks down power without producing any tangible benefits, I can't get behind it.

This really all started with Apple's "Retina Display" mumbo-jumbo, and in time I think we'll look back and realize the race to ultra-high resolutions on small screens made about as much sense as the megapixel wars in the digital camera industry, which is now collapsing in on itself. Consumers realized lots of megapixels weren't giving them better photos, and they stopped buying cameras all together, instead using smartphones for their photography needs.

cwedgeworth

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2016, 12:08:23 PM »
Thank you! I'd have no problem with sharing my machines. (One of which i sold to a buddy) I also built your 1,500 build as well but i sold that. I made a couple changes on my machine as i wanted a custom watercooled gpu and cpu set up and i went with two 980ti's over the titan x's but otherwise its pretty close.

As for my original question,

i went and tested out your recommendation for the ultimate gaming laptop in store and my only real issue with it was the keyboard on it. I just liked the way the R3 felt in comparison and the obvious flashy design AW is known for. I guess my real question was as ive never seen them featured in the buyers guides in the last couple years ive been following you i wanted to make sure there wasnt a huge thing im missing as a lot of other sites recommend them. (I really mean that, im pretty sure i own everything you've put on the top of the buyers guides from the Asus 4k display all the way to the mice/keyboards/speakers)

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2016, 12:22:48 PM »
Thank you! I'd have no problem with sharing my machines. (One of which i sold to a buddy) I also built your 1,500 build as well but i sold that. I made a couple changes on my machine as i wanted a custom watercooled gpu and cpu set up and i went with two 980ti's over the titan x's but otherwise its pretty close.

As for my original question,

i went and tested out your recommendation for the ultimate gaming laptop in store and my only real issue with it was the keyboard on it. I just liked the way the R3 felt in comparison and the obvious flashy design AW is known for. I guess my real question was as ive never seen them featured in the buyers guides in the last couple years ive been following you i wanted to make sure there wasnt a huge thing im missing as a lot of other sites recommend them. (I really mean that, im pretty sure i own everything you've put on the top of the buyers guides from the Asus 4k display all the way to the mice/keyboards/speakers)

The Alienware laptops are definitely uniquely-styled, and offer pretty good value for money. The 17R3 is $2,079 at Amazon right now, which is great for the specs. But the Asus GL502 ROG Strix has the same specs, other than its 15.6"/1080p screen, and costs nearly $300 less, which is an amazing deal, and weighs about 3.5 lbs less to boot. That's a HUGE difference in terms of portability.

I guess you could say that if I have a bias, it's against big, bloated laptops. That's been a theme in the laptop buyer's guide for quite some time. It's easy to throw in "features" like a 4K/17.3" screen when weight is irrelevant to the designers; it's a lot harder to design a laptop with the same computing power that qualifies as a thin-and-light. That's what Asus has done, and that's why I highlight it in the guide.

If you'd like a Gallery profile of your Supreme Dream Machine published, just send the specs, three photos, and a few sentences sharing your impressions to theguru@techbuyersguru.com

Abowman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2017, 06:45:00 PM »
Just read the update on the laptop guide. Some nice notebooks on there! Have you considered adding an entry level gaming laptop? Like the new Dell Inspiron 15. You can get it with a GTX 1050 for only $800. Definitely the cheapest laptop I've seen with a new graphics card.

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2017, 08:59:52 PM »
Just read the update on the laptop guide. Some nice notebooks on there! Have you considered adding an entry level gaming laptop? Like the new Dell Inspiron 15. You can get it with a GTX 1050 for only $800. Definitely the cheapest laptop I've seen with a new graphics card.

Thanks for the tip - the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming is perfect for mobile gamers on a budget! I just added it as a lower-cost option in the midrange gaming laptop category.

LunchboxSenior

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2017, 10:47:29 AM »
I always enjoy reading your reviews and appreciate the effort you put into them.  I recently purchased a new laptop and used your older guide as a starting point.  While your suggestions were great, they didn't quite meet my niche needs (decent battery, light weight, and at least semi-professional appearance for grad school with a little bit of gaming power and the ability to run VR in a pinch).  I researched for a while and finally landed on the Gigabyte Aero (14" QHD IPS 2560x1440, 7th Gen Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ, GTX1060 6GB GDDR5, 16GB DDR4 2400MHz (8G X 2) , 512GB M.2 SSD SATA III, 4.19 lbs, $1749).  I also looked at the Asus GL502VS-DS1 (15.6" 1920X1080 IPS LED @120Hz, Anti-Glare G-Sync, 7th Gen Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ, GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5, 16GB DDR4 2400MHz, 128GB M.2 SSD SATA III, 1TB 5400rpm 2.5" SATA III, 4.93 lbs, $1699).  While I liked the extra graphics power and 120hz G-Sync in the Asus, I choose the Gigabyte for the battery life (~6-7 hours general use, 1-2 hrs gaming) and portability I believe I will need for grad school.  I think either of these would fit in well between the mid-range and ultimate gaming laptops you recommended.




« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 04:08:10 PM by Ari Altman »

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2017, 04:13:33 PM »
I always enjoy reading your reviews and appreciate the effort you put into them.  I recently purchased a new laptop and used your older guide as a starting point.  While your suggestions were great, they didn't quite meet my niche needs (decent battery, light weight, and at least semi-professional appearance for grad school with a little bit of gaming power and the ability to run VR in a pinch).  I researched for a while and finally landed on the Gigabyte Aero (14" QHD IPS 2560x1440, 7th Gen Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ, GTX1060 6GB GDDR5, 16GB DDR4 2400MHz (8G X 2) , 512GB M.2 SSD SATA III, 4.19 lbs, $1749).  I also looked at the Asus GL502VS-DS1 (15.6" 1920X1080 IPS LED @120Hz, Anti-Glare G-Sync, 7th Gen Intel Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ, GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5, 16GB DDR4 2400MHz, 128GB M.2 SSD SATA III, 1TB 5400rpm 2.5" SATA III, 4.93 lbs, $1699).  While I liked the extra graphics power and 120hz G-Sync in the Asus, I choose the Gigabyte for the battery life (~6-7 hours general use, 1-2 hrs gaming) and portability I believe I will need for grad school.  I think either of these would fit in well between the mid-range and ultimate gaming laptops you recommended.

Thanks for those suggestions. The Gigabyte Aero makes sense for you. The reason it wouldn't make the Laptop Buyer's Guide is that it's a very niche product, being ultra-slim, ultra-light, and slightly expensive for the specs. I try to keep the guide to a "top 10", so I have to make some cuts somewhere. The previous version of the Asus actually was a pick in the Winter guide, and now the 17" version is. Having seen a bunch of gaming laptops in action, I feel Asus and MSI offer some of the best bang-for-the-buck, which is one of the prime considerations in the Buyer's Guide.

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2017, 07:49:12 AM »
This guide has been updated for Summer 2017 with eight of the best home, work, and gaming laptops!

Reyort

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Re: The TBG Laptop Buyer's Guide
« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2017, 12:17:29 PM »
Ari, my budget for a new build just got cut thanks to Harvey. So I am going to have to get a laptop for now.  What is your opinion of Acer's Predator series? I am looking at the Helios 300. Thoughts on this being a temporary trading rig?
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 12:19:06 PM by Reyort »