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Getting lost with which laptop to buy

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I guess you guys get asked on buying advice a lot, and believe me when I say I have invested a lot of time surfing the web trying to decide which laptop to buy but I just can't make my mind up, so thought I would ask here and get some up to date advice!

I'm a fourth year mechanical engineering student in the U.K. and I need a new laptop to see me through the last year of uni and keep going strong for another three (or more) years in whatever kind of job I get after uni, (this might not be engineering). My budget is around £800, but can probably stretch to closer to £900. As for what I'm after, a decent battery life, ssd, comfy to use for long periods and a reasonable screen (around 13" in size) but I'm not a fan of touch screen laptops, but above all that I would just like a laptop which works and works well. In terms of programs I would like to run, the regulars like word, pp, excel and then light engineering software such as matlab or minor Ansys. I don't really plan on using it to watch films and games, as I have a tablet which does both of those to the standard I need. Also I'm pretty comfortable with both OSs and don't really have a favourite.

After looking around online, visiting an electronics store to see what I like, and asking two of my uncles who work in IT (who both said opposite advice!) I've gotten down to a couple of laptops but just seem to be going around in circles to pick the best one. So they are:

1) Thinkpad T460 (2.8ghz i5, 256GB ssd, 1920x1080 non touch screen, 12GB DDR3L ram, the best battery option they offer, and it comes with a three year on site warranty) all in costs £850
2) MacBook Pro 13" (2.7ghz i5, 128GB ssd, Retina display, 8GB of ever so slightly faster ram, one year warranty, but apple care could be a Christmas present! All in costs £900
3) Asus Zenbook, this came off a recommendation of my uncle, but I don't really like the finish on the lid, and if I'm going to be spending a fair amount of time using it, I don't want that to irritate me every day, but then again if you guys say that's the best one to go for I could always buy a cover... I also have given up trying to find the prices in the spec laptop the 'find your zen' section on the asus website recommends. It says it's the ux310uq but I don't seem to beable to find that anywhere.

So when it comes down to it which would you buy? Thanks for taking the time to read this, and hopefully you can haelp!
post #2 of 16
The Thnikpad has faster CPU, more RAM, and larger and faster SSD for less $$$. Where's the dilemma? smile.gif
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My Rig
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Ex-wife's Rig
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 4460 AsRock H81M-DG4 Sapphire Rx470 Platinum KVR 1600 16Gb 
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2x Seagate 3Tb Samsung 850 EVO 120 Scythe Ninja 3 Rev.B Windows 10 Pro 
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
The only thing which is stopping me buying the thinkpad is my past experience with laptops and desktops, bar none every single windows based pc/laptop me or anyone in my household has had major problems within three years. None of them were supposed to be well made as the thinkpad mind you. On the flip side, apart from a broken iPod (more my sisters fault than apples) we haven't had any major issues with any apple product we have bought, ranging from mac's to iPods. And being a student I don't have tons of money, so I don't want to buy something which on paper should be better and last longer but find it's performance is not going to last as long as the MacBook. I was fine until I spoke to my uncle (who worked for IBM for years) and he said that they aren't really all that for the money, and then the guy in it store recommended a zenbook as well over the thinkpad and ever since I've just been going round in circles frown.gif its basically, I know where I stand with the MacBook, but I don't with the thinkpad, but I prefer the look of the thinkpad!
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by casualjames View Post

I guess you guys get asked on buying advice a lot, and believe me when I say I have invested a lot of time surfing the web trying to decide which laptop to buy but I just can't make my mind up, so thought I would ask here and get some up to date advice!
Snip (Click to show)
I'm a fourth year mechanical engineering student in the U.K. and I need a new laptop to see me through the last year of uni and keep going strong for another three (or more) years in whatever kind of job I get after uni, (this might not be engineering). My budget is around £800, but can probably stretch to closer to £900. As for what I'm after, a decent battery life, ssd, comfy to use for long periods and a reasonable screen (around 13" in size) but I'm not a fan of touch screen laptops, but above all that I would just like a laptop which works and works well. In terms of programs I would like to run, the regulars like word, pp, excel and then light engineering software such as matlab or minor Ansys. I don't really plan on using it to watch films and games, as I have a tablet which does both of those to the standard I need. Also I'm pretty comfortable with both OSs and don't really have a favourite.

After looking around online, visiting an electronics store to see what I like, and asking two of my uncles who work in IT (who both said opposite advice!) I've gotten down to a couple of laptops but just seem to be going around in circles to pick the best one. So they are:

1) Thinkpad T460 (2.8ghz i5, 256GB ssd, 1920x1080 non touch screen, 12GB DDR3L ram, the best battery option they offer, and it comes with a three year on site warranty) all in costs £850
2) MacBook Pro 13" (2.7ghz i5, 128GB ssd, Retina display, 8GB of ever so slightly faster ram, one year warranty, but apple care could be a Christmas present! All in costs £900
3) Asus Zenbook, this came off a recommendation of my uncle, but I don't really like the finish on the lid, and if I'm going to be spending a fair amount of time using it, I don't want that to irritate me every day, but then again if you guys say that's the best one to go for I could always buy a cover... I also have given up trying to find the prices in the spec laptop the 'find your zen' section on the asus website recommends. It says it's the ux310uq but I don't seem to beable to find that anywhere.

So when it comes down to it which would you buy? Thanks for taking the time to read this, and hopefully you can haelp!

What I would get is this particular Dell Latitude E5470, it has a true i5(quadcore), good 1080p display, 8GB of ram and okay battery life. But no SSD, but i guess you could just add an m.2 one or replace the HDD? An 850 EVO in either format is about 75 pounds so thats still more or less within budget?
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Oh no more options :'( what kind of useful life span would you expect to get from this latitude? Cheers
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by casualjames View Post

Oh no more options :'( what kind of useful life span would you expect to get from this latitude? Cheers

Life span in what way? how long before the hardware gets outdated or how long before it breaks? Or both?
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Sorry I should have been more specific! Really I'm working on the basis I will look after it well and anything major that breaks would be manufacture fault and under warrantee. So really I meant how long before it becomes so slow and outdated it's no longer productive to use for work. Cheers
post #8 of 16
TBH most laptops will only have a 3 year lifespan. Fluff n crap gums up the heatsinks and then slowly kills them, and even maintaining the fan, if it's not easily accessible, it can take life off the laptop. Apple kit is more reliable because of the closed ecosystem, but if it breaks, you're gonna fork out hundreds more in repairs too, due to the very same ecosystem. I've been out the game of repairs for a while now, but when I did it, Toshiba's were always well put together laptops. Thinkpads weren't bad, but not brilliant either, and I've not seen any lenovo ones. WIth the type of money you're talking about, would you be able to stretch to something like an Alienware lappy? I've no experience of them, but heard they can be well engineered. might be worth exploring?

http://www.alienware.co.uk/landings/laptops.aspx

I'm just thinking, with you looking at engineering stuff, you might end up bumping into 3 modelling, rendering, CAD and the like, and maybe having a GPU better than an IGP would be beneficial for you, and help with the longevity of the laptop for your needs.

EDIT : http://business.panasonic.com/toughbook/laptop-computers.html
Edited by latelesley - 9/28/16 at 7:52am
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by casualjames View Post

Sorry I should have been more specific! Really I'm working on the basis I will look after it well and anything major that breaks would be manufacture fault and under warrantee. So really I meant how long before it becomes so slow and outdated it's no longer productive to use for work. Cheers

The Dell is by far the most powerful of the 3, it has 4C/4T compared to the 2C/4T of the others, and also much higher clocks at 2.6Ghz base, 3.5Ghz boost. It also has faster DDR4 ram and you can always upgrade it to 16GB or more down the line if you needed it. So it should be the last one to slow down to that point. The downside is that its battery life is also a bit lower than the others of course.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by latelesley View Post

WIth the type of money you're talking about, would you be able to stretch to something like an Alienware lappy? I've no experience of them, but heard they can be well engineered. might be worth exploring?

http://www.alienware.co.uk/landings/laptops.aspx

I'm just thinking, with you looking at engineering stuff, you might end up bumping into 3 modelling, rendering, CAD and the like, and maybe having a GPU better than an IGP would be beneficial for you, and help with the longevity of the laptop for your needs.
You make a good point about 3D modelling and rendering, if his college/uni doesn't have workstations he might indeed need something a little more chunky.

But, no offence, that alienware looks like terrible value to me. The cheapest 1080p model is 1150 pounds, and what do you get? A dinky little dual core i7 and a 960M?

For a 100 pounds less you can get an MSI GS40 with a true quad-core i7-6700HQ and a 970M. I know it might not be quite as solid as the alien ware, nor as good looking, but still. And its not like either are particularly classy looking.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0186CT9EQ

Edit: Sorry for the double post, meant to edit...
Edited by Gilles3000 - 9/28/16 at 8:16am
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