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  1. #1
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    Buying a Laptop in Covid Times

    So my current laptop is toast and the timing couldn't have been worse. I was hoping I could wait out Covid but its not looking promising. I've read through the laptop threads on here but many of them are out of stock. Any recommendations on a Windows laptop that actually in stock and where to buy? Costco?

    I don't need anything fancy but I want to buy something quality. "most bang for you buck" category most likely. Looking for a laptop that will last many years. Something that has a good battery life and is fairly portable (thin) and ~15inch screen. Not really interested in a tablet/laptop hybrid unless its a laptop first and a tablet second.

    Anyone else have to buy during Covid?

  2. #2
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    Just grabbed one of these for my lab https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...apad_5_14.html. Haven't gotten to play with it yet but seemed like a decent computer on paper.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using TGR Forums mobile app

  3. #3
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    Mine shit the bed at the end of April, and I ended up with this from Best Buy, which has been excellent so far:

    ASUS - Zenbook Flip 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 - 1TB SSD - Gun Gray

  4. #4
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    Late to the party, I've finally come around to the Lenovo party.

    I'm not sure of their budget offerings, however.

    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  5. #5
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    I buy refurbs from Tiger Direct. Have probably bought a half dozen over the years and only one wasn't awesome. It was ok but not awesome.

    They have good deals on Core I5s. The one I'm typing on is a Dell Lattitude E7450 Core I7 I bought for my wife and she promptly retired so I inherited it. It said it was a refurb, but there wasn't a mark on it. Touch screen, 8GB RAM, can't remember the hard drive but I know I paid under $500 3 years ago.

  6. #6
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    First off- any computer running Windows can be put into "tablet" mode, but without a touch screen, that really only gets you an on screen keyboard that can be used with a mouse. The laptops that are better at dual mode are the touch screen units that have the 180 degree screens so you can fold the keyboard under and just use the touch screen instead of a mouse or the keyboard touchpad and buttons for moving around the screen.

    You stated you want thin- most of the time these days that means it will be an Ultrabook. No DVD drive included (have to go external USB if you REALLY need one of them- most do not even need them any more though as even software is either a download or can be loaded from a USB flash drive if the company is so old school that they sell a license and a copy of the installer instead of the download option.)

    Here are a few options that should be available and in stock (not Chromebooks-Windows OS):

    Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2-ARE 20T80005US 15.6" Notebook - Full HD - 1920 x 1080 - AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Hexa-core (6 Core) 2.30 GHz - 8 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - Glossy Black ($700 or so price range)

    or

    Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen1 20U30022US 15.6" Notebook - Full HD - 1920 x 1080 - Intel Core i5 (10th Gen) i5-10210U Quad-core (4 Core) 1.60 GHz - 8 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - Black (Price: $1000 or so)

    There are a few refurbished deals out there, but prices are really pretty high right now as there is a pretty big shortage with all the WFH and School teaching/lessons via computer. Systems that 6 months ago sold as refurbished good quality (power adapter, tested and good battery and minimal scratches or wear on the system) were going for $250 to $300 are now many times 20 To 35% Higher right now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    468
    Quote Originally Posted by fleaches View Post
    Just grabbed one of these for my lab https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...apad_5_14.html. Haven't gotten to play with it yet but seemed like a decent computer on paper.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using TGR Forums mobile app
    Quote Originally Posted by RShea View Post
    First off- any computer running Windows can be put into "tablet" mode, but without a touch screen, that really only gets you an on screen keyboard that can be used with a mouse. The laptops that are better at dual mode are the touch screen units that have the 180 degree screens so you can fold the keyboard under and just use the touch screen instead of a mouse or the keyboard touchpad and buttons for moving around the screen.

    You stated you want thin- most of the time these days that means it will be an Ultrabook. No DVD drive included (have to go external USB if you REALLY need one of them- most do not even need them any more though as even software is either a download or can be loaded from a USB flash drive if the company is so old school that they sell a license and a copy of the installer instead of the download option.)

    Here are a few options that should be available and in stock (not Chromebooks-Windows OS):

    Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen 2-ARE 20T80005US 15.6" Notebook - Full HD - 1920 x 1080 - AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Hexa-core (6 Core) 2.30 GHz - 8 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - Glossy Black ($700 or so price range)

    or

    Lenovo ThinkPad L15 Gen1 20U30022US 15.6" Notebook - Full HD - 1920 x 1080 - Intel Core i5 (10th Gen) i5-10210U Quad-core (4 Core) 1.60 GHz - 8 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - Black (Price: $1000 or so)

    There are a few refurbished deals out there, but prices are really pretty high right now as there is a pretty big shortage with all the WFH and School teaching/lessons via computer. Systems that 6 months ago sold as refurbished good quality (power adapter, tested and good battery and minimal scratches or wear on the system) were going for $250 to $300 are now many times 20 To 35% Higher right now.
    My knowledge on laptops is almost zero. Seems like a lot of people are on the Lenovo train so I'll probably go that route. But why is the top laptop that fleaches suggested more expensive ($700) than the bold one RShea suggested ($740)? The fleaches one has more ram and storage, same size screen. Or is it just a better deal?

    One other thing. If I put my price point at $500 would I be losing a lot of value? Didn't realize laptops had gotten so expensive these days. Not really interested in refurbished, seems too risky and not worth it with the price increase.

    Thanks for all the input

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brundo View Post
    My knowledge on laptops is almost zero. Seems like a lot of people are on the Lenovo train so I'll probably go that route. But why is the top laptop that fleaches suggested more expensive ($700) than the bold one RShea suggested ($740)? The fleaches one has more ram and storage, same size screen. Or is it just a better deal?

    One other thing. If I put my price point at $500 would I be losing a lot of value? Didn't realize laptops had gotten so expensive these days. Not really interested in refurbished, seems too risky and not worth it with the price increase.

    Thanks for all the input
    Very simple explanations. The Ideapad is Lenovo consumer level line and systems. Built cheaper for big box and lighter occasional use - case is cheaper plastic, screens side by side are going to be probably noticeably different in quality, warranty sometimes can even be different. The Think pad line from Lenovo is their business class units. Most have better cases, (not just plastic- molded with better materials), nicer keyboards- including some models that will handle a bit of liquid spills better due to their design of that, screens are most always matte (less glare) but that Ideapad states it also has a Matte finish screen but an IPS which many sub $500 laptops will not have.

    Tough & durable
    Durability tested to withstand the harshest environments, the ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 AMD is tested against 12 military-grade requirements and more than 200 quality checks to ensure it won’t let you down. Not only can it perform everywhere from the freezing cold to a hot desert, it can also handle accidental knocks, drops, and even spills.
    is the description on the case and design of the business class unit. Most of those will not be mentioned on the Ideapad.

    Maybe a difference in the Windows 10 (Home version probably on the Ideapad), and the Thinkpad can be ordered with either Home or Pro (business version again), but that has the Pro edition which is more costly.

    That Ideapad is an Intel CPU quad core and the $700 one I linked is an AMD Ryzen 6 core CPU also- so like purchasing a car with a different engine in a sense and have to compare each and read the reviews.

    I'd have to spend some time to compare each item for item. And while that unit was in stock last night when I wrote that, I now see it is backordered at my distributor, so just have to jump on the stock when it is available sometimes and not wait around.

    As for your under $500- that probably will be a heavier and consumer level only unit, or a refurb unit in a better class laptop. You state refurb is not for you, and that is fine, just like some have no problem getting a pair of used skis that maybe have one set of holes drilled in them but have plenty of life and runs left in them if they were well taken care of and checked out vs only buying a new set of skis for of course much more money out of the pocket.
    Last edited by RShea; 09-15-2020 at 01:20 PM.

  9. #9
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    Do you for sure need windows? I'm a chromebook proponent, but realize there are a few blocking use cases remaining. Something to consider at least

  10. #10
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    Any budget friendly laptop options for High School aged kids?

    Looking for the ability to join Zoom calls or whatever service the school is using for remote stuff. Access Google classroom and Gmail. Good battery life.
    Not interested in any gaming ability.

    The school gave them all Chromebooks but they seem like pieces of shit.

    Id like something they can possibly transition into college with.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
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    Would add that you should probably get a laptop with the most possible Ram if you want it to last a while. Storage drives are easy to replace with more capacity on most laptops, but many now solder the Ram in place so it can't be upgraded. IME computers most often become obsolete when newer, more resource hungry programs start to outstrip the memory available. And second that you should look at reviews for processors, just because one has a higher clock speed or more cores does not necessarily mean it will perform better (especially comparing between Intel and AMD). If you aren't gaming or running resource hungry applications in parallel you may not notice much of a difference anyways.


    Sent from my Pixel XL using TGR Forums mobile app

  12. #12
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    I have an old $500 laptop. It was a dog till a put a solid state drive in. Consider your storage needs. Prices of SSD's have come way down, but a big one in a new system can be expensive.
    Honestly, the Surface looks pretty nice.

    I never really bother giving out specific model numbers because it changes so fast. And focusing on even the brand can be kinda pointless. Although I'd probably look at Lenovo and Dell first.

    Costco for $700 isn't a bad idea. Especially if it's one that has been knocked down to that. Costco membership purchases come with some pretty good perks as far as support and warranty/returns, but typically they don't have any "steals".

    Oh, and don't get less than an Intel i3 and 8GB of RAM. I5 and 16GB and a nice SSD if possible.
    And yeah, be aware that you probably won't get a cupholder I mean cd drive.
    Oh, and you probably wanna spring for a full HD 1080p display. I don't have that and kinda wish I did. My laptop isn't my primary computer though.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fleaches View Post
    Would add that you should probably get a laptop with the most possible Ram if you want it to last a while. Storage drives are easy to replace with more capacity on most laptops, but many now solder the Ram in place so it can't be upgraded. IME computers most often become obsolete when newer, more resource hungry programs start to outstrip the memory available. And second that you should look at reviews for processors, just because one has a higher clock speed or more cores does not necessarily mean it will perform better (especially comparing between Intel and AMD). If you aren't gaming or running resource hungry applications in parallel you may not notice much of a difference anyways.


    Sent from my Pixel XL using TGR Forums mobile app
    RE- soldered memory- again that is MORE so on the cheaper consumer level devices, they may only have 1 slot or memory on board as a cost savings. Business class units usually can't get away with that as some can do OK with 8 Gig off memory, others need higher than even 16 Gig of Ram for their needs....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by HD333 View Post
    Any budget friendly laptop options for High School aged kids?

    Looking for the ability to join Zoom calls or whatever service the school is using for remote stuff. Access Google classroom and Gmail. Good battery life.
    Not interested in any gaming ability.

    The school gave them all Chromebooks but they seem like pieces of shit.

    I’d like something they can possibly transition into college with.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Sounds like the description on the Chromebooks to a Tee... So the question is what do you not like about the school issued units? Low end entry level Chromebooks, beat up recycled from others and reissued or just a low end cheap unit? Nice Chromebooks are even harder to find now than Windows laptops- if for no other reason as every school district around was spending the summer trying to order and get thousands of them in to issue to students (and teachers too) for remote class efforts come the August or September start of virtual online classroom teaching.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by brundo View Post

    Not really interested in refurbished, seems too risky and not worth it with the price increase.
    Do you know what percentage of "new" laptops get the full QC? Less than 10% (more like 1%). Do you know what percentage of refurbished laptops get the full QC treatment? 100%. It's an absolute requirement to be sold as a factory authorized refurb. You're far more likely to get a DOA laptop bought new than a refurb. I buy all of my audio and video components as refurbs because I know for sure they won't be bricks when they arrive at my doorstep. Do not fear the refurbs, they are your best bet. At a $500 price point on TigerDirect, you're going to get high-end components and a better processor than anything you can buy in that price point at a big box store.

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