Needing advice for buying a laptop

Imp of the Perverse is needing to buy a PC type computer for work. She’s a mac user. She’s gone down the road of Bootcamp and Parallels, and they haven’t done the job for the particular software she needs to run, so she’s biting the bullet and buying the PC.

She needs 4 GB ram, intel processor, and she’d prefer a laptop and windows 10. She’d also prefer new over refurbished. She’d prefer inexpensive and reliable (of course). Here’s the thing, though, when you go looking for this sort of thing, you wind up in a jungle of 3 star reviews, differing ‘best-of’ lists, and generally no real guidance.

Broad advice (Buy german, if you can’t’ buy german, buy japanese) is welcome.
Specific advice (Honda) is welcome
Very specific advice (Honda Fit) is welcome

So. Any advice?

Got the form factor you want, size, keyboard and display, also check out the mouse (touchpad opps), plenty of quality options. Also take advantage of return policies, it’s not a dog, if it doesn’t work out for you (her) you should be able to return it.

It would be helpful to know what the “particular software” is. I use Parallels myself, and haven’t come across any Windows software it was unable to handle.

Macrex, software for indexing. It’s the remapping of the keyboard that has driven her mad.

I’d go for 8 GB ram, although it’s really easy to upgrade why not do so at the start. It’s difficult to differentiate between brands because (I believe) they share manufacturers and so a lot of the parts are as good/bad and reliable/unreliable as each other.

Screens have a wide range of quality, is she going to be doing any work that requires a good screen?
Also the tactile differences are pretty big between manufacturers, so going into a shop and trying out a few would be a good idea.

On brands: I found my Sony Vaio to be very nice to use but a lot of people had problems with theirs; Toshiba as well has fans and others who’ve not had a good experience; Lenovo has a wide range of laptops, some used to be good when they were IBM-manufactured; HP rates consistently well.

Every manufacturer makes cheap disposable plastic laptops, so you can’t just go by brand alone. Instead, look at various “business class” laptops which are built to be durable and easy to repair. In the past I’ve been very happy with a Lenovo Thinkpad and an HP Elitebook.

For a lot less than the price of a new laptop, consider a Windows USB or Bluetooth keyboard. Some of them are pretty portable.

Dell’s Inspiron line for home users has done well by me. My work laptop is a Dell Latitude and it also functions nicely.

Thank you very much. That is a definite possibility.

I recently left MSFT after 13 years and was involved in this area.

First stop, get a laptop running the Microsoft Signature Image. It’s a crapware free image, performance is optimized and you don’t have to spend hours trying to delete all the junk that a brand OEM puts on the machine because they make a few bucks doing so. One place to get the Signature Image is at the Microsoft Store. Generally speaking, if you buy an Intel core i7 loaded with crapware, you’re going to get the performance of a clean/optimized image running a core i5 or i3. To phrase it differently, you’re paying for an i7 performance and getting an i5 in reality.

Second, if keyboard is that important, go test out keyboards. There is a huge variation in keyboards and you want one that fits you.

third, do you care about being detachable or convertible?

Fourth, do you care about being a touch screen? Being a Mac user then by definition you don’t have experience with a touch screen. Me, I think it’s a “should have” feature (nice to have, should have, must have ranking).

Fifth, is trade offs between light weight/portability and battery life. Is Imp a road warrior or just occasionally unplugs the laptop to use elsewhere?

Laptops are all about price, performance, use case trade offs. You have one key parameter, which is 4 GB RAM. Figuring out and stack ranking the other metrics should make the decision easier.

Best of luck and happy to answer questions.

How big of a screen?

For my home use/travel I’m going to buy a Dell XPS 13 to replace a Toshiba netbook.

You can get it with touch screen or not. 8gb ram and 256 SSD.

Reviews on it are great. It leans more towards being a net/ultra book though with the 13" screen.