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I need a new lap top and it's a jungle out there


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I just bought a Dell Inspiron from Microsoft Store (no bloatware.) The touch pad intermittently stopped working to the point the pad itself didn't budge when pressed. So I sent it back. I was hesitant about Dell but thought I'd give it a try after a couple of decades. No more.

There is just way too much out there and they all get good and scary reviews. Has anyone gotten one recently they are happy with? I want a touchscreen, i5 or above. No bigger screen than 15'. (The Dell was 15.6 and bigger than I needed.) So pretty much the level before they put "gaming" into the description. I have a travel computer so the battery isn't a deal breaker. 

Any suggestions? Anything I should avoid or look for in a lap top?

Also, since they seem to be without DVD players and I do like to watch movies occasionally...and burn CD's..., is there an available external for every lap top lacking an internal drive? 

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I go through computers pretty regularly.  Dell quit being a viable product for many many years ago and I just have never considered them again.  

Last year I bought an MSI laptop.  It is not for everyone; I was looking for some unique characteristics - big screen, good sound, blah, blah, blah.  It has been an excellent machine and you might look at some of their products.

If I was going to buy a new laptop today I would look at two machines:  1) Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - it simply has the best of everything out there for a small, lightweight computer.  2)  HP's Spectre 13.3 - it is the thinnest computer made today - very lightweight and has all the power anyone would need.

I have bought almost every brand made.  HP has always been reliable for me.  I have never owned the new Microsoft products, but they appeal to me and have excellent write ups.  I tend to buy leading edge stuff - not cutting edge.  

Don't worry about an external drive - those are easy to obtain for any computer you buy.  I always look for great audio, good screen, 

I have transferred all of my files to the cloud - there are a large number of companies with free use of a large cloud resource - Apple and Microsoft among many others.  I don't think anyone needs a huge hard drive as a result.  I watch Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix alot - those are all streaming.  I cannot remember the last time I used a hard disk/DVD to watch a movie.  If I burn something I use a memory stick and keep a large number of them around just for that use.  

Hope this helps.  I suspect you will be fine with whatever you choose in today's world.  

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2 hours ago, juliann said:

Thanks guys! Storm, that is the second recommendation for a Surface 4. Tribe, I didn't know you could "build" your own computer like that!

In addition to my laptop, I have a Surface Pro 3.  I love them both, but use them for very different things.

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12 hours ago, juliann said:

Is the Surface a little delicate? I want something that is as sturdy on my lap or on my bed as it is on a table. As in I can move it around by the keyboard, tip it to go to sleep with a video.....

I don't find my Surface to be delicate.  I use it every night (in tablet mode) for catching up on some reading, etc.  I attach the keyboard and use it to catch up on some work, either in locations where pulling out the 17 inch laptop is inconvenient or when I am traveling for work.  It's quite flexible, much more so than an iPad, for example.  However, for what I do, I wouldn't consider a Surface to be an outright laptop replacement.  My work often requires use of large, complex, spreadsheets for calculations, etc.  So, the smaller Surface doesn't really lend itself to regularly doing that type of work on it.  It's good for an airplane, but I wouldn't want to do that daily.

Edited by ttribe
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2 minutes ago, juliann said:

Ah, I have a smaller detachable laptop. I guess I can't quite detach from the idea of a sturdy 15 in screen type thing. I do type a lot so I need a comfortable keyboard.

Well, I must admit that I really like the Surface keyboard, but it is a little cramped compared to the keyboard on my laptop (which also has a number key pad...essential for an accountant).

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16 minutes ago, juliann said:

OK, I guess that rules that out assuming they are all the same size. I have to be able to type for long periods when I am working on stuff.

The Surface does have a good keyboard, but (IMO) it's not the same as fully functional laptop.

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14 hours ago, juliann said:

Is the Surface a little delicate? I want something that is as sturdy on my lap or on my bed as it is on a table. As in I can move it around by the keyboard, tip it to go to sleep with a video.....

I think you will find the Surface is built to be moved about a lot and used in all kinds of conditions - used as both a Tablet and a laptop.  It is not ready, as it stands, for military combat, but normal, rambunctious use is expected. 

My MSI has a very large screen - the biggest I have seen on a laptop.  I use the larger screens - not only because I look at a lot of numbers and financial reports in my work and my eyes are not what they once were - but also because I prefer to use a full size key board with 10-key to the side.  This is a workhorse of a computer - it is not light, but I still manage to use it for all of my business meetings away from the office when needed.  It really is a replacement for a desktop computer.

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7 minutes ago, juliann said:

Nice. Do they make them...or something equivalent.... with a 15 screen? The Dell I returned had a 15.6 and it seemed really big.

Ask and ye shall receive: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/searchpage.jsp?_dyncharset=UTF-8&_dynSessConf=&id=pcat17071&type=page&sc=Global&cp=1&nrp=15&sp=&qp=&list=n&iht=y&usc=All+Categories&ks=960&fs=saas&saas=saas&keys=keys&st=HP Envy 15

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17 minutes ago, juliann said:

I'm seeing different numbers like 1TB memory. This doesnt' have i7 I take it?  Is it smart to go with Windows 8 when I keep them a long time? (I currently use a 7 and 8, still like 7.) I'm afraid to upgrade after reading all the glitches.

Actually, to be clear, the 1TB references are to storage (i.e. the size of the hard drive).  The memory is the RAM and, in the case of the first one on the list at the link I provided it has 6GB (my laptop has 16GB, for comparison).  If you keep scrolling down a little bit you'll start seeing versions with i5 and i7 processors (mine has an i7).

As to the version of Windows, I am extremely pleased with Windows 10.  Once you adjust to the new interface, 7 just feels antiquated.

ETA:  I think THIS is the one - http://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-envy-x360-2-in-1-15-6-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i7-12gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-hp-finish-in-natural-silver/5238400.p?id=bb5238400&skuId=5238400

Edited by ttribe
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5 minutes ago, juliann said:

I think you would ultimately be fine either way.  I have a personal preference for the best available within a reasonable price range, so I would normally go with i7.  I had an i7 in my Dell that I just got rid of and it still ran really well 5 years on, so buying the top end at the time provided me quite a bit of longevity.  Plus, for $100 I think it's a pretty cheap upgrade.

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