Buying a new laptop

Forum Forums General Hardware Buying a new laptop

  • This topic has 9 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated Sep 15-9:29 pm by Brian Masinick.
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  • #67077
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    blur13

    Hi!

    Some background: all my hardware is at least 10 yrs old. My desktop, with antix, can handle just about anything I throw at it. My laptop is an eee pc 1015bx, with the HDD switched to an SSD. Its got 750 MiB of RAM and a weak processor. I’ve replaced the battery with a more bulky version that provides around 8h of active use. I really like the form factor, the 10.1″ screen, and it weights in at around 1.2kg. Using antix and some really frugal software it’s become my daily driver. I can use Zoom. I can use LibreFox. I can use spotify using ncspot. The only use case thats difficult, if not impossible, to handle is the combination of Zoom and collaborative editing of Google Docs. So I’m considering buying a new laptop. I’d like some advice on what to get. The requirements are:

    *Being able to use a modern browser and a modern video conferencing software at the same time

    *Small form factor, preferably a 10″ screen (even though that seems a rarity these days)

    *100% compatibilty with Linux

    *Easy to take apart and upgrade

    I’m looking for a brand new computer, in the price range of about USD 500.

    Any tips, advice, things to keep in mind?

    thanks!

    • This topic was modified 1 month ago by blur13. Reason: added requirement
    #67078
    Member
    calciumsodium
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    I just bought my college age son a brand new HP 14″ laptop with i5 processor, 8 GB of ram, and 256 GB SSD hard drive. The laptop is really thin and light and can fit into his backpack along with his books. They said the battery should last 10 hours. I paid $499 at Walmart. He just installed arch linux on this computer.
    He loves it.

    Edit:
    Prices have gone up a lot. At that Walmart store, there were laptops for sale at $600, $750, and some over $1000.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by calciumsodium.
    #67084
    Member
    blur13
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    Thanks for the tip! I’ll look into it.

    #67128
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    olsztyn
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    *Easy to take apart and upgrade

    This quality is nowadays rather difficult to find in new laptops. And this is one, among other reasons I no longer buy new models. Particularly not replaceable batteries, hard disks, memory, keyboards… Hard to take apart if you care about end result of one you take apart and put back together…
    They are no longer made to be taken apart, and quite the opposite, intentionally difficult by design… They make them so most users are not able to upgrade and eventually buy a new one, advancing profits for the manufacturer and contributing to garbage contaminating our earth…
    In contrast, all my older Thinkpads are made by design to be easy for the user:
    – Swap-in batteries
    – Easy access to upgrade memory and disk drives
    – Easy replacement of keyboard. I always have spare keyboards, which bought on eBay for about $20. Many Thinkpad models share the same keyboard model.
    – Easy and troublesome taking them apart to replace other components.

    One such I have comes close to your form factor requirements – screen 12.1 inch, i7, SSD. Lenovo Thinkpad X220. And you can buy one on eBay for a bit more than $100, used one in great shape without disk.
    But if you are looking for a new one, then it is a different price range and what you get is not easily upgradeable.
    Just my experience…

    #67138
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    wildstar84
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    I’ve always bought used “corporate”-grade laptops (Dell Latitude, HP Elitebooks, Lenovo Thinkpads) which are generally higher quality, easy to get parts for / repair / upgrade, etc. which are swapped out (“refreshed”) by companies looking to stay up to date with latest tech. (needed to run the latest Windows). These machines are generally 1 generation back from current, inexpensive (usually $350-600), widely available, cleaned & refurbed, usually only maybe a scuff or two on the lid, etc. I’ve found these great for Linux, easy to work on / upgrade, etc. sturdy and long lasting! Another big plus is that docking stations (I mostly use mine at my desk) are also easy to get and they usually have good matte screens, keyboards, and have both a trackpoint AND a touchpad (very handy)!

    #67143
    Forum Admin
    rokytnji
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    I like Dell. I cannot lie.
    Amazon has a 5490 Latitude for 399

    Sometimes I drive a crooked road to get my mind straight.
    Not all who Wander are Lost.
    I'm not outa place. I'm from outer space.

    Linux Registered User # 475019
    How to Search for AntiX solutions to your problems

    #67147
    Member
    blur13
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    I’ve heard a lot of good things about the older thinkpad range, and in particular I’ve got my eye on the X220. As I understand it, its the last of the X series to be of the renowned “thinkpad” quality, especially with regards to the keyboard. Anyone got any experience with the “made for linux” brands? Eg System76, Tuxedo, or Framework?

    https://frame.work/
    https://maximevaillancourt.com/blog/why-i-use-a-thinkpad-x220-in-2021

    #67181
    Forum Admin
    rokytnji
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    They are above your 500 range

    https://system76.com/laptops/darter

    Sometimes I drive a crooked road to get my mind straight.
    Not all who Wander are Lost.
    I'm not outa place. I'm from outer space.

    Linux Registered User # 475019
    How to Search for AntiX solutions to your problems

    #67190
    Member
    blur13
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    hahah yeah, didnt even think about that. And with an off-center keyboard I wouldnt want it anyway…

    #67297
    Moderator
    Brian Masinick
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    Regarding System76, I’ve never owned one, and yes, they are not cheap, but a friend of mine had one and he had excellent service with it, and he was always able to install whatever version of Linux he wanted to use.

    This mini line: https://system76.com/desktops/meerkat is a bit more affordable than their other models, but it’s still over $500.

    Regarding the Thinkpad X220, Amazon.com has two options currently priced between $240-250.

    Ebay even has one for under $100, though I recently had an unpleasant experience with a used smartphone that had a bad display; at least I was able to return it.

    I’ve used Swappa with positive results for phones. I bought a computer for my wife this week through Amazon and received it less than 48 hours later and it was priced well under $500.

    I’ve dealt with Tiger Direct in the past; they appear to have a few reasonable deals well under $500 too
    https://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_slc.asp?Lprice=200&Hprice=499.99&CatId=4935

    Brian Masinick

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