Laptop under or around $2k

I have an opportunity to put in a request for my replacement laptop here at work. Budget is $1700, and I’m welcome to chip in money above and beyond that if I so desire. I am free to use the computer for personal as well as work projects (nothing is locked down), and, after 3 years, I get to take it home with me and it gets replaced again.

So . . . any suggestions? The last time I built a system was in 2009 (still using it as my home desktop), and I have kind of stopped paying attention to computer things since then.

What’s the latest tech? Are there Windows boxes shipping with thunderbolt yet?

I can always go with a ThinkPad (recommended by our IT folks), but there must be something sexier out there!

ETA: I forgot. My work use for a computer is pretty mundane; office suite kinds of stuff, and the occasional screen-capture/video project. Personally, I play a few games, use the Adobe suite for some graphic projects, as well as a fair amount of audio production. It’d be cool if this computer could take over for my now-aging home desktop.

13" Retina MacBook Pro (the middle stock configuration is $1500)

We bought one for my wife last summer, and she really likes it.

[li] Solid construction–we’ve gotten 5 or more years of useful life out of Mac laptops[/li][li] All the ports you will ever need[/li][li] 9 hour battery life (under real-world conditions)[/li][li] Well within your price range [/li][li] Runs Windows very well either within a virtual machine or as a dual boot[/li][li] Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative suites available[/li][/ul]

I vote with the Mac, also.

I am very happy I converted.

Honestly, for $2,000 you can pretty much get a laptop that includes anything and everything your heart desires.

How about a Dell XPS 12 system? It’s a tablet convertible to a notebook system. 4K (3840 x 2160 touchscreen display), 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, etc. for about $1,400.

Yeah, that is a lot of money for a laptop these days especially given the stated requirements. Most companies won’t pay nearly that much these days because they don’t need to.

If you really want to spend it, you are looking at a mid-premium laptop. The major question is do you want a big laptop that is good at things like gaming or a small, light and stylish one?

Alienware (a Dell owned company) makes custom built premium gaming laptops (also superior for any heavy graphics work) in that price range but they tend to be on the larger and heavier side and mainly marketed to computer geeks with money. They are good but may not be what you are looking for.

Apple is always perfectly willing to take all your money as a personal favor to you as well. Their build quality is good but they build mostly sealed computers that are not easy or cheap to upgrade or repair. It is also harder to get support for them in a corporate environment if something goes wrong.

You could also go the boring route and buy a high-end Lenovo. They are generally good at all price ranges but $1700+ dollars will get you a whole lot of everything from them. They certainly don’t look flashy but they tend to be reliable, well built and easy to service.

I had to get myself a nice laptop for work so I could go on a trip and have the same web development tools available as on my beefy HP desktop. Stuff like Visual Studio, MS SQL enterprise and Photoshop. And several browsers and Office apps, all running at once.

I went with a Toshiba Satellite and was not disappointed. I rocked out a fairly intense project from a hotel room and nothing felt like it was lacking.

There’s nothing really small or portable about the model I chose tho. I didn’t need it to go with me every day just sit on a hotel desk.

I got a 17" model. I think it was about $1700 at Best Buy.

If you’ve got the budget, get the Mac. You can even install Windows on it exclusively if you need to, and it has Thunderbolt.

About all I’ll say is to get a business-class laptop. The consumer-class ones are markedly less durable and flimsier than the business oriented ones.

You can install Windows on a Mac but they are not universally superior to Windows laptops. They are more stylish for some people but they are much harder and more expensive to fix when something goes wrong. I work in high level IT in a very large mega-corp and we are experimenting with the Bring-Your-Own-Device model. Lots of people have brought in everything to iPads to Apple laptops and want help with them when they can’t get something to work. I can tell the techs to try to give it their best shot but when that doesn’t work (and that is usually the case), the person with the problem is on their own with no recourse other than the nearest Apple store and it is likely they will not even know how to fix it because the problem is usually with esoteric, propriety software. The real solution is to come in with supported hardware and stop trying to be a technology fashion statement in an environment where the requirements are already spelled out quite clearly.

I personally would not recommend a Mac laptop in a corporate environment that predominately runs Windows. I know it will run Windows just fine as well but that is only one of many points of potential incompatibility.

There are plenty of premium Windows laptops available as well in every size, shape and form.

I agree with this and would also recommend getting the accidental damage coverage and whatever they call the option where someone will visit you to fix the computer rather than you having to send it in and wait weeks to get it back.

I’d get a Surface Book. A friend has one and it’s damn near the perfect machine.

Don’t forget home and office Dell 4k HD monitors. $1200 for a top quality laptop and $800 for the two monitors.

Good thoughts everyone, thanks!

I’m avoiding the Macbook solution (we’re a mixed OS office) as I am much more comfortable/productive with Windows machines.

It looks like I’m deciding between a Dell XPS and . . . maybe something else. I do love the keyboard on my current ThinkPad, and am a little hesitant to leave that behind, but it looks like the current Lenovos have gone through a keyboard purge/redesign anyway.

It has one major flaw. It is not a laptop. You cannot put it on your lap and use it. It also, annoyingly, lacks and insert toggle. Believe it or not, I have software that uses it.

The Surface Book is most definitely a laptop.

I write substantially all my SDMB posts on my Surface. It’s sitting on my lap as I type this.

I can’t comprehend what **Hari ** actually meant. Some Surfaces are WinRT, and hence not fully app-compatible with a full-up PC. Others are sorta underpowered compared to full-on laptops of the same model year.

But one thing they all excel at is sitting in your lap while being typed on.

What’s an insert toggle?

And thirding the fact that the Surface is absolutely a laptop.

Hari Seldon may have confused the Surface Pro, which is a tablet computer with a detachable keyboard with the Surface Book, a laptop PC, albeit one with a detachable keyboard.

Both are interesting in that they are sold by Microsoft under its own brand, rather than being products of Microsoft’s hardware partners (HP, Dell, Acer, Asus, etc.). Essentially Microsoft is competing with its hardware partners in selling these products, something they were not willing to do for decades.

From what I’ve read, the Surface Book gets very good reviews as a notebook PC.

If you have a Microsoft store near you, go play with one. It’s a great machine.