Need a new laptop

I know a thread like this starts quite often, and that some might tell me to just search for the last one. I did, but I’m not a student, I’m not in business, and I don’t know that I need much.

My old (5 years) Toshiba decided to die today, just as I was going to set up a new iPad.

So, I need something.

I use my iPad almost exclusively.
I want a windows computer.
I do a lot with pictures although I am not a photographer. I am the keeper of my
family’s old photos and I am always doing cropping, or resizing, or whatever.
I want it to be fast and reliable (as much as possible)

Ant recommendations on brand, processor, and RAM, which are the only computer things I know anything about? Which antivirus? I don’t like Norton or McAfee particularly.
Thank you for any help.

At least you are not considering a Mac. :slight_smile:

Seriously, Apple hasn’t come up with a Mac upgrade in at least four years and they are being roundly criticized in the trade press. Some are even suggesting since Jobs died, Apple has lost its way.

Consider Dell, HP, Lenovo or Asus. Forget the rest.

What’s your budget?

Do you want a laptop, detachable, desktop or AIO? What kind of screen size?

You say you are the keeper of the family photos and work on them. So, how serious are you? Photo’s are resource hogs if you’re doing a lot of work. If you want to store all photos on the device, then you probably need a lot of storage. This will determine your CPU, RAM and storage.

For anti virus, Windows Defender from MSFT is pretty good and comes with Windows.

Thank you. I’m too old a dog to learn new tricks, so Mac is out.

Budget is under $1500

13" would be fine

Laptop, not a laptop/tablet combo because I have my iPad

I keep a lot of photos on it, but for me that might be a couple hundred where for a serious photographer that’s nothing. No music really.

I was thinking a solid state hard drive. Aren’t those supposed to be better?

That’s actually a generous budget. Your requirements aren’t very specific, and not terribly rigorous. I think a $500 notebook would meet most of your needs (except you probably wouldn’t get an SSD for that).

Do you plan on carrying it around a lot or having it sit on a desk for the most part?

You should go to a store and check out different sizes and weights for what you plan on using it for.

IMHO since you have a tablet I am going to say your laptop will probably be your stationary computer, in which case I suggest you opt for a bigger screen and bigger (easier-to-use) keyboard and not worry about weight.

I recently purchased a Dell xps 13. I like it very much. It’s an ultra-book, so not quite as big as a laptop, but bigger than a net-book.

A thousand times yes. The best performance gains the average user will see is going from a spinning disk drive to an SSD.

You know when you’re running a bunch of programs and you switch from one to another, and it takes like a second or two to switch? That’s the computer having to go pull that program’s state off the hard drive, and it’s so much faster with an SSD.

That said, they are more expensive for the amount of storage you get.

I’ll echo enipla’s recommendation of the Dell XPS 13 if you’re looking for something portable. It’s a great laptop, and quite light/slim.

In all these threads, step 1 is deciding what software you want to run (and then get the computer that does that).

The activities you want to perform are quite trivial. Any new, or even 7 year old, laptop will do what you want. (You could even go older if OS issues are resolvable.)

So it comes down to issues like cost, screen size, weight, battery life and and extras.

For the first 4, there’s a strong relationship. So to get a really lightweight one costs more, etc. One of the main driving forces is based on how much time will you spend lugging it around. The less of that you do (or you don’t care), the lower the price.

For the last one, for example, Mrs. FtG’s laptop has a touch screen (as well as keyboard/touchpad). This makes using it much, much nicer. However, for something like this you don’t know if it is going to be a big help until you’ve tried it for a while.

As others said, it really depends on whether you want something very light and portable, or something larger (larger screen, larger keyboard).

Also, how much disk space were you using on your laptop? SSD is nice and fast, but tend to be smaller capacity. Most laptops with SSD have only 128GB or 256GB SSD, which may very well be smaller than the hard drive on your old laptop. You can get a laptop with 512GB SSSD for under $1500, but it does narrow down your choice quite a bit.

Better laptops have IPS displays, which have better view angle and usually better colors. IGZO is similar.

At that price range I’d look for something with an Intel Core-i5 or i7 CPU, 6000 series (6th generation or “Skylake”). And 8GB of RAM (I don’t think 16GB is worth the price difference if you aren’t multi-tasking multiple memory-hungry software.)

Windows-10 has decent anti-virus capabilities. I don’t think you need to pay extra for anything else.

Lots of brands have good laptops. My HP laptop (almost 3 years old now) has been very reliable. I’ve had good luck with Dell as well.

Some people mentioned the Dell XPS-13, which is very nice but very small. If this is going to be your main computer, and if portability isn’t a high priority, you may prefer a 15.6" or larger laptop. There is an XPS-15 which looks pretty nice (though I haven’t used or seen it in person).

Do you live near a Microsoft Store, or a Best Buy store? Both have a variety of systems from various manufacturers. If you’re not sure what you want, visit one of these stores and play with various models. Try lifting them to see if the weight is acceptable. And try the touchscreen ones to see if that feature is worthwhile.

If you can get to a Microsoft Store, you really need to look at the Surface Pro 4. I equipped a architect client with one to run Autocad, Sketchup and radiosity rendering software, plus web browsing and general office tasks and it’s her only computer. She travels constantly and has docks, keyboards, mice and external 24" monitors for it in each of her offices. But the TSA considers it a tablet and doesn’t even make her take it out of her carry-on bag, yet it is as powerful as any competing laptop. She backs up to Onedrive but always has what she is working on with her.

For that price, you can pretty much have your pick of the really nice Windows laptops.

The Wirecutter recommends the Dell XPS or the HP Spectre 360

They also like Asus Zenbook for a budget pick.

Holey moley, you can get most any top of the line laptop for $1500. I loved my older XPS 13, and absolutely love my Surface Pro 4.

My recommendation is that you go visit a Microsoft Store in person. All the devices run the Windows Signature Edition, which means no crapware, passed fairly rigorous hardware tests for useability, and are optimized for performance. The difference between a Signature image and one without is roughly the difference between a Intel Core i7 performance versus a core i5 (ie, you buy a i7 with crapware and it performs about the same as a much cheaper i5 without crapware. Plus a 30 day no questions return policy for cash.

I seriously recommend the Microsoft Store, and I say this as an ex employee that did not leave on my own free will. Plus I was involved in several products that had to be certified for the signature image to be assorted in the MS Store. My pain but your gain.