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I’m in the market for a new laptop. It seems there are no decent mid-range 15” laptops anymore: if you want a 1080p display, you’re paying US$1000+ (which is absurd to me; 1080p panels are cheap). Even at $1000 in the 15” category, you’re dealing with low-build-quality plastic it seems.

I had thought I’d found a good deal with the Lenovo Ideapad 330S-15ARR, but it has a known ACPI bug that causes Linux kernel panics and the latest BIOS update breaks all sorts of things (and doesn’t fix the ACPI issue either). Additionally neither the microphone nor the touchpad are supported by Linux (I feel like it’s 1998 again!).

I don’t need much. I don’t game on my laptop. I write code. I just want a 15” 1080p display because I have crappy vision and something that doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart if I sneeze on it…

So, my fellow crustaceans, what laptop do you use? What drew you to it?

(For the record, I’m pretty close to just biting the bullet and dropping $1800 on a Purism laptop, which meets all my requirements except the fact that I’m a frugal guy…)

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    I use an X200, it’s running Libreboot and Alpine Linux, it’s fast enough for everything I need it to be. I don’t game very much. Thinkpads are almost always well built. I love them so much.

    if you want a 1080p display, you’re paying US$1000+ (which is absurd to me; 1080p panels are cheap).

    A quick gander on Ebay shows an X230 with an i7 with a 3.6GHz processor, an SSD already fitted, and 8GB of ram. It comes in pristine condition with the charger and dock included. Oh, and a 1080p screen.

    It costs $310.00, plus $20 shipping (There are others in good nick with roughly equivalent specs (~2.9Ghz) for $40 cheaper)

    The default screen is kind of crap (1080p), but for an extra $80 - $130 and a spare hour you can upgrade it. One redditor bought a 2k screen (2560x1440 IPS) mod kit from China and it worked (https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/8c009g/thinkpad_x230_ips_screen_mod_not_1920x1080_but/).

    Not only are Thinkpads well-built, and infinitely upgradable (There are some people in China who are making fresh motherboards for my X200, for example :) ), but almost all models of the Thinkpad have keyboard drains, so you can spill liquid on it and it’ll drain out the bottom.

    EDIT: Oh, and it’s a 14.1”. It looks like you might be able to get an X240 that’s 15”. FYI I’m looking here: https://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/TFT_display

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      I also have an X200 (Intel Core2 Duo P8600 - 2.4 GHz) which I Libreboot’ed. I’m running GNU GuixSD on it rather than Alpine (though I have Alpine on another machine). I installed a replacement AFFS screen [LCD HV121WX4-120], which makes the display decent, a new wifi card (Apple Airport Extreme - Atheros AR9380) which allows for 802.11a/b/g/n 450M Dual-band 2.4/5 GHz without blobs, a Samsung EVO 860 SSD, and 8Gb of RAM (the max it allows). It’s a decent machine, and the physical build feels great (it’s my favourite laptop in terms of the physical feel of the thing).

      I also have an X230 i7 (Intel Ivybridge - Core i7 3520M - 3.6Ghz) which I Coreboot’ed & me_clean’ed (so close to Libreboot’ing, but not quite), which I also upgraded to an IPS screen (the screen swap is easier than on the X200), with 16Gb RAM (its max) and a Samsung PRO 850 SSD, and the wifi card changed (to a 7WCGT Dell Atheros AR5BHB112 802.11n Bigfoot Networks Killer 1103 PCI-E Half Mini, with the same capabilites as the AR9380 above) again for a blobless experience. That machine is very fast, and the difference from the X200 is noticeable and the option of backlit keys is nice (though I marginally prefer the feel of the X200’s keyboard). It will overheat when under heavy load if I’m not careful though (the X200 doesn’t have this issue).

      I have a couple of nitrocaster’s FHD mod kits and a couple of 1920x1080 screens, but I haven’t had a chance to try to mess with soldering the mod in yet. (I also have a couple of X220s; and I planned to ‘practice’ on one of them before messing with my X230, which I’m somewhat hesitant to do…)

      I can’t imagine using a laptop other than a ThinkPad and my only regret is that I learned about joys of ThinkPads ‘late in life’ and wasted time&money on lesser laptops. They’re excellent machines to buy used (I’ve never bought a brand new one).

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      “(For the record, I’m pretty close to just biting the bullet and dropping $1800 on a Purism laptop, which meets all my requirements except the fact that I’m a frugal guy…)”

      One more thing to consider: vote with your wallet for ethical companies. One of the reasons all the laptop manufacturers are scheming companies pulling all kinds of bloatware, quality, and security crap is that most people buy their stuff. I try where possible to buy from suppliers that act ethically to customers and/or employees even if it costs a reasonable premium. An recent example was getting a good printer at Costco instead of Amazon where price was similar. I only know of two suppliers of laptops that try to ensure user freedom and/or security: MiniFree and Purism. For desktops, there’s Raptor but that’s not x86.

      Just tossing the philosophy angle out there in case anyone forgets we as consumers contribute a bit to what kind of hardware and practices we’ll see in the future every time we buy things. The user-controllable and privacy-focused suppliers often disappear without enough buyers.

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        One more thing to consider: vote with your wallet for ethical companies

        Don’t forget the ethics of the manufacturing and supply chain of the hardware itself. I would imagine that the less well-known a Chinese-manufactured brand is the more likely it is to be a complete black box/hole in terms of the working conditions of the people who put the thing together, who made the parts that got assembled, back to the people who dug the original minerals out of the ground.

        I honestly don’t know who (if anyone) is doing well here - or even if there’s enough information to make a judgement or comparison. I think a while back there was some attention to Apple’s supply chain, I think mostly in the context of the iPhone and suicides at Foxconn, but I don’t know where that stands now - no idea if it got better, or worse.

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          Apple has been doing a lot of work lately on supplier transparency and working conditions, including this year publishing a complete list of their suppliers, which is pretty unusual. https://www.apple.com/supplier-responsibility/

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            Technically their list of suppliers covers the top 98% of their suppliers, so not a complete list, but still a very good thing to have.

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              Most other large public companies do that too, just not getting the pat on the back as much as Apple.

              http://h20195.www2.hp.com/v2/getpdf.aspx/c03728062.pdf

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              You both brought up a good concern and followed up with reason I didn’t include it. I have no idea who would be doing good on those metrics. I think cheap, non-CPU components, boards, assembly and so on are typically done in factories of low-wage workers in China, Malaysia, Singapore, etc. When looking at this, the advice I gave was to just move more stuff to Singapore or Malaysia to counter the Chinese threat. Then, just make the wages and working conditions a bit better than they are. If both are already minimal, the workers would probably appreciate their job if they got a little more money, air conditioning, some ergonomic stuff, breaks, vacations, etc. At their wages and high volume, I doubt it would add a lot of cost to the parts.

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              Funnily enough

              The Libreboot project recommends avoiding all hardware sold by Purism.

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                Yeah, that is funny. I cant knock them for not supporting backdoored hardware, though. Of the many principles, standing by that one make more sense than most.

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                  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought purism figured out how to shut down ME with an exploit? Is that not in their production machines?

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                  I agree, which is why I bought a Purism laptop about a year ago. Unfortunately, it fell and the screen shattered about 5 months after I got it, in January of this year. Despite support (which was very friendly and responded quickly) saying they would look into it and have an answer soon several times, Purism was unable to tell me if it was possible for them to replace my laptop screen, even for a price, in 6 months. (This while all the time they were posting about progress on their phone project.) Eventually I simply gave up and bought from System76, which I’ve been very satisfied with. I know they’re not perfect, but at least I didn’t pay for a Windows license. In addition my System76 laptop just feels higher quality - my Librem 15 always felt like it wasn’t held together SUPER well, though I can’t place why, and in particular the keyboard was highly affected by how tight the bottom panel screws were (to the point where I carried screwdrivers with me so I could adjust them if need be).

                  If you want to buy from Purism, I really do wish you the best. I truly hope they succeed. I’m not saying “don’t buy from Purism”; depending on your use case you may not find these issues to be a big deal. But I want to make sure you know what you’re getting into when buying from a very new company like Purism.

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                    Great points! That support sounds like it sucks to not even give you a definitive answer. Also, thanks for telling me about System76. With what Wikipedia said, that looks like another good choice for vote with your wallet.

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                    Raptor but that’s not x86

                    Looks like it uses POWER, which surprised me because I thought that people generally agreed that x86 was better. (Consoles don’t use it anymore, Apple doesn’t use it, etc)

                    Are the CPUs that Raptor is shipping even viable? They seem to not have any information than “2x 14nm 4 core processors” listed on their site.

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                      The FAQ will answer your questions. The POWER9 CPU’s they use are badass compared to what’s in consoles, the PPC’s Apple had, and so on. They go head to head with top stuff from Intel in the enterprise market mainly sold for outrageous prices. Raptor is the first time they’re available in $5000 or below desktops. Main goal is hardware that reduces risk of attack while still performing well.

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                    Dell XPS 13 9350 (over two years old now). Previous two were ThinkPad X series. None of them with 15” displays, though.

                    My main problem with cheap laptops, and even some expensive “consumer market” laptops is flimsy keyboards with poor key travel or (worse) flex in the top of the chassis when typing (I’m a relatively heavy typist.)

                    Plus I value a docking station or a USB type C cable where I can quickly plug in/out at my desk.

                    (Your priorities may vary, of course.)

                    If you’re on a budget, I recommend looking for something high specced and a couple of years old. My laptop before this one was bought used (two years old) and had belonged to the CTO of a high frequency trading company. Was optioned up completely when new, so build quality and specs were still way above anything available new at that price.

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                      I have had the XPS 13 9343 for around ~three years I think. I think it’s great.

                      If you’re on a budget

                      I bought this particular one refurb from Amazon for ~$900. I feel like I gambled and got lucky.

                      After having used this one for so long, I think I’d prefer a laptop with more memory. Everything else has been excellent.

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                        I bought my laptop used as well. It was in person and the person let me test it, so it didn’t feel like a huge gamble, but it was more time consuming.

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                        Another (new) xps user. Enjoying it so far, had a Zenbook before this and was cheap components by comparison. I’ve only had mine for 3 months, so far far I’m very happy.

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                          Thanks. I’m looking at the XPS15. the non-touch model is a strong contender.

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                            Have an xps15 with Linux, no trouble whatsoever and it’s an amazingly nice experience.

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                              Maybe I just got a bad release, because I’ve usually had good luck with Dells, but my XPS 15 had tons of thermal problems. The battery started swelling and popped off the trackpad! It was a refurb unit off eBay (but Dell certified), so who knows.

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                              After dragging my heels forever, I finally settled on an XPS last week as a replacement for the endless series of 2011 Macbook Pros I’ve been wearing out for the past 10 years (2007 Macbooks before that). I don’t like buying new hardware, so ended up with a 4K 9550 / i7 quad / 32 GB RAM from eBay.

                              The machine is almost everything I was hoping for, including the touchpad, with one exception: the panel response time is so bad you could measure it with a sand timer. Looking around, it seems this is a long-running complaint with XPS. I’m chatting to the seller to see if he repasted the machine because there was some trick to make the panel behave sanely, but otherwise, looks like this is not the Macbook replacement I’ve been dreaming of :(

                              Currently travelling with my trusty beaten up “hobo” Macbook Pro and its barely functional keyboard – it’s almost impossible to beat this machine, and it’s increasingly looking like its final replacement is going to be yet another 2011 Macbook Pro

                              Note that many of the XPS 13 models have soldered disk / RAM.

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                              @lorddimwit

                              If you are willing to spend as much, the XPS 15” is great. For a cheaper option, consider Dell’s Inspirons. https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/new-inspiron-15-7000/spd/inspiron-15-7580-laptop/dncwwc120h. They used to be of awful quality but the new series is decent (15” 1080p IPS, metallic body, thin bezels, great linux support, reliable build quality, comes with dual-drives - SSD and HDD together). I’ve been using one myself since over a year now. But don’t expect more than 3 hours of battery life for serious work, webcam is garbage, and the aluminium edges will cut your wrists.

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                                That’s an interesting subreddit. People on it are allowed to post affiliate links, so they are incentivized to participate and link the best option for the person requesting the laptop. Amazon’s commission on laptops is ~2.5% (according to a random blog post I found) which isn’t bad at all.

                                Some people seem to be replying to a majority of the posts, which, if people follow through and pick their suggestion, leads to a good bit of pocket money.

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                                Lenovo X260 with Linux (mostly Fedora or Debian) and OpenBSD. It’s a 13-14 inch model, so it doesn’t meet your requirements on screen size, but maybe there are 15 inch equivalents available. My laptop runs Linux perfectly and I couldn’t be happier with it.

                                Some things I like:

                                • Keyboard quality and feel
                                • Keyboard backlight
                                • Double batteries for easy swaps
                                • Modifiable and expandable to your taste
                                • Rather good Linux/BSD support
                                • Not so many gimmicks or dumb features I don’t use
                                • Matte screen (oh how I hate glossy panels)
                                • Quite sturdy enclosure
                                • Price! I bought it nearly new from someone for about 400 euros. Even now (some years later) they are very cheap second hand, and if you look at the right place they will be practically new.

                                What I dislike about it is that malicious companies like Intel have their spyware and backdoors in it. But going for Purism or alternatives is simply too expensive for me, so it isn’t an option for me.

                                I hope you find this info useful!

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                                  I hope you find this info useful!

                                  I did, thank you.

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                                    I have a friend at my local hackerspace who does a lot of stuff to cripple/disable the Intel stuff. I helped him flashing some BIOS chips of ThinkPads. It’s kinda easy once you get the hang of it, we did two together and I think he did like 10-20 in total now. Also super interesting to learn a bit about how stuff works.

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                                      I had my work get me one of these, but I forgot to specify not to get the low-res version, because it never crossed my mind that in this day and age it would still be possible to buy a 1366x786 display, but unfortunately it still is. I’d imagine it’s a decent machine if you don’t get stuck with the lousy-display variant tho.

                                      My personal machine is an X301 which is a lot nicer since it’s from the 16:10 days, plus it has a carbon-fiber/magnesium palm rest instead of plastic like the newer models. The performance isn’t nearly as good, but it’s serviceable once you put ublock origin on it.

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                                      Get a used thinkpad. At 1yr old they are still decent hardware yet not so expensive.

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                                        I use a Thinkpad T470 (running Linux), and have been using T-series thinkpad laptops for the past 6 years or so. IIRC it cost around a thousand dollars. The thing that made me pick the thinkpad, honestly, is the red nub mouse, which I get a decent amount of use out of.

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                                          The red nub/TrackPoint is what finally made a laptop usable for me as a lap top. I’ve never got the hang of touchpads, but the TrackPoint is amazingly easy to learn and a joy to use. I even ended up buying a ThinkPad keyboard for a couple of desktops because they also include the TrackPoint.

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                                          Just yesterday I got delivered a Thinkpad X62: the chassis of an X61 with an SXGA+ IPS screen and totally custom i5-based motherboard designed and fabbed by the utter lunatics of the Chinese 51nb forums. So far, it’s everything I’ve wanted from a laptop since I had to move on from my venerable X40 back in 2012 or so; time will tell if the quirks of custom hardware outweigh the fantastic keyboard, good screen and ideal form factor. I paid just over $900 on Ebay, but as a rare frankensystem, availability and price vary incredibly widely.

                                          Prior to that (in other words, until yesterday), I used a Thinkpad X201s. Also an odd duck of the Thinkpad world, it gave me tolerable screen resolution (1440x900), tolerable performance (a ULV Arrandale i7, 8GB RAM) and a non-chiclet keyboard. It’s not perfect—performance is no better than “okay” with the modern web, there’s some keyboard flex in the upper right, the port arrangement isn’t fantastic—but it’s pretty good, and makes it past all my strict laptop dealbreakers. IIRC, I paid roughly $300 for it back when I bought it, but it’s also rare and infrequently available.

                                          For what you’re looking for, my advice—fully intended to be subjective, which you should feel free to disregard—would be to look at used Thinkpads. If you’re less insistent than me on a non-chiclet (i.e., decent) keyboard, this T450s on Ebay meets all your requirements, and I’ve had (embarrassingly…) many good experiences with Ebay Thinkpads.

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                                            The X62 sounds incredible; I hope they keep making them. Maybe I’ll pick one up once my X301 finally keels over.

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                                            Several 2004 vintage ThinkPad T42p’s, mostly. Reason: good screen, good keyboard, a relatively sturdy and repairable machine which runs Linux just fine. It has two disadvantages compared to more modern machines: the maximum memory capacity is 2GB (no way around this) and it uses a PATA interface (solved by using an inline PATA-SATA adapter).

                                            Developing on older machines makes sure whatever you develop works on older machines.

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                                              ThinkPad T42p

                                              Just curious what distro / wm / setup you use to get maximum mileage out of such hardware?

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                                                Debian (sid), booting to the console, running X11 through Xsession (startx), Xmonad. The only area where older hardware like this really shows its age is when browsing Javascript-heavy sites. uBlock in ‘advanced’ mode (plus uMatrix, when desired) helps here. I run heavier jobs on the servers, currently two Intel SS4200’s (Intel E2220@2.4GHz, 2GB) soon to be replaced with a HP ProLiant DL380 G7 (dual X5650@2.66GHz, 128GB).

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                                              +6 months in, I’m extremely happy with my ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th gen) with the HDR screen.

                                              It’s decently priced with frequent deals from Lenovo. I’ve seen a fully loaded model go for as little as $1600, or respectably spec’d at $1200ish. My second choice was the new Dell 13” XPS but my impression is that the average build quality is substantially worse than ThinkPads (there is no shortage of variance in any brand, but this is from an anecdotal relative comparison on social sites). Personally, I’ve had zero hardware problems with the ThinkPad so far.

                                              My previous laptops were a decade worth of 13” Macbook Pros. After intentionally breaking away from Apple’s lock-in ecosystem, my biggest fear was getting a laptop with a screen that was inferior to my aging retina MBP. Thankfully the X1 Carbon 14” HDR screen is a very solid upgrade over it. Also the 2.6lb weight is just a joy, I often forget it’s in my backpack altogether. Really it’s the perfect form factor for me.

                                              The biggest unexpected upgrade was the keyboard, I just can’t get over how much more I enjoy typing–unconsciously it got to the point where I would dread writing anything on my MBP (partly due to a defective keyboard design that Apple replaced a few times to no avail). The other thing is the ThinkPad community is huge on reusing/modding/repair/longevity. You can get great devices at amazing discounts if you’re willing to go used (they don’t retain their resale value as well as Apple devices, despite lasting way longer). If you’re price-sensitive, I would strongly recommend going with a used ThinkPad.

                                              Lenovo is kind of a mixed bag, but the ThinkPad division is still going strong. Linux support is well above average (more than I’ve come to expect, at least)–there was some drama with the new “modern sleep mode” (s0i3) that is actually comparatively battery inefficient but default in Windows 10, and Linux folks threw a fit for a few months until Lenovo backported a BIOS toggle for good ol’ S3 sleep, recovering a little bit of respect.

                                              Overall, very happy to have moved on from Apple and would buy ThinkPad again. There’s a few decent 15” options, but I’m less familiar with them.

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                                                I was very happy with my X1 Carbon gen 4, until a few weeks ago it was run over by a taxi, and I have to report that sadly it has not survived this experience. Only thing I am not sure about repeating when the insurance eventually comes through is the QWHD screen, just because it required an awful lot of faff to make usable with my preferred niche Linux window manager (Sawfish, though lately I’ve been trying to convert mysel to xmonad)

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                                                  I’ve been running the gen 5 for a while now and I love it.

                                                  Definitely concur on the form factor and keyboard. I sometimes prefer it over my mechanical board. Currently running debian, but I’ve distro-hopped and had pretty good luck.

                                                  I sure like this machine!

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                                                  A 15” MacBook Pro. 2016 model, purchased refurbished from Apple. Don’t love the touch bar, but don’t hate it either (I don’t tend to use function keys a lot, and with BetterTouchTool it becomes not-useless. Adjusting the brightness and volume is really no more difficult than it was before. I think the fuss about the touchbar is way overblown, but I agree that Apple has also shamefully neglected it - it could do so much more out of the box). I do like the new keyboard.

                                                  I just want something that’s built really well, runs quiet and cool under normal use, with good battery life, a good screen and a touchpad that’s not shit, Just Works, and doesn’t run Windows. There’s really only one option out there AFAIK. For me, it’s worth it.

                                                  Oh, and the aspect ratio of the MacBook Pro is much better than any of the TV ratios most other laptops use (maybe excluding the Surface?). They’re too wide and not tall enough.

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                                                    At work I’m using one of the newer MacBook Pros with a touch bar. Physical build quality is good, but I find the touch bar annoying, and it wasn’t supported well by Linux when I tried it. I’ve also had a bunch of software problems, especially around networking and tethering to my iPhone. And of course it’s stupid expensive. I wouldn’t buy one for myself.

                                                    At home I have a 2013 MBP running OSX. I bought it specifically to run Capture One photo software, but I also use it for development work. Build quality is really good, and it worked great with Linux the few times I’ve tried the live version of Mint. I’m about ready to throw Linux on it and buy something newer for photo work, but, like you, can’t decide what to get instead.

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                                                      A three year old 13” MBP, issued by work. It’s perfectly cromulent.

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                                                        Same, but I’m running Windows 8.1 Pro in Boot Camp, and Apple just never cared to fix any of the driver issues on Windows. Webcam randomly stops responding, Thunderbolt isn’t plug-n-play(?!), random hangs when connecting/disconnecting MiniDP.

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                                                        Lenovo X1C 4th Gen, wrote about it here: https://amontalenti.com/2017/09/01/lenovo-linux

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                                                          Nice write-up!

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                                                          Asus Zenbook UX305C – it’s basically a knockoff Macbook Air with more Linux-friendly hardware (intel wireless, etc). It works pretty well with OpenBSD out of the box as well (but does lack trackpad drivers at the moment). Reasonable build quality. My only complaint with the build is the screen hinge is a bit loose. The high-dpi screen is nice too.

                                                          At this point though, I’d probably just go with the Purism laptop as well – I haven’t bought one yet, but the idea of being able to upgrade laptop hardware is alluring. You’re not going to find that anywhere else (except maybe in a ThinkPad – but I have little trust for Lenovo anymore…)

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                                                            I have a ThinkPad x250. It is a small, portable machine and runs quite well. You can find them cheap on ebay. Previously I had a t420 and an x200.

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                                                              I mostly use two laptops, a 12 inch Macbook and a 15 inch Macbook Pro with TouchBar. No other laptop is worth anything to me, because every other laptop uses 16:9 screens, while my Macbooks are 16:10 (sadly nobody makes a 4:3 laptop anymore).

                                                              (Some?) Microsoft Surface laptops use 3:2 screens, which are great, but the build quality of the machines is a sad joke compared to Apple laptops. And they only run Windows well. Compared to a ThinkPad, running Linux on a Surface is frustrating and insane if you depend on the machine to do your job. So even if the hardware were better, they’d still be of no use to me because of crappy Linux support.

                                                              And speaking of Linux, I ran Linux/FreeBSD/OpenBSD on my desktop machines for 15+ years, but today I find deskop Linux to be a much worse experience than desktop Linux in 1997. Back in the day, Linux desktop was competitive, it was better than Windows/Mac desktops. Today, it’s a joke.

                                                              So sadly, I only use macs for desktop these days, even though I still have about 15 ThinkPads around here. That being said, I only use laptops if I am traveling. If I am not traveling, I never open my laptops. I use my iMac.

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                                                                I agree with the sentiment of the state of the linux desktop as a ‘joke’, but I’m a bit curious as to why you think that is – care to elaborate?

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                                                                  I used Linux as a daily driver for about 10 years, even demanded a Linux desktop at work after using a VM and proving the increased productivity. But eventually about 3 years ago work bought me a Mac which has everything I need from Linux, plus all of the benefits of running a manufacturer-supported OS on stock hardware. My time with tech support time decreased, almost all my scripts transferred seamlessly to Unix, and I almost never have to drop to the CLI to do anything anymore. Plus software just works, and the GUI is a first-class citizen with almost all of the software that exists. It’s hard to say that with Linux software. And Microsoft Office without any hacks.

                                                                  I know Macs aren’t the new hotness anymore but the complaints I hear mostly revolve around things I don’t do with laptops anyway: touch the hardware inside. I’ve never opened a laptop, even when I had the ability to. So while I understand the concern, it’s nothing that’s keeping me from using a Macbook. It’s not a perfect experience, but it’s better than anything I’ve used before it.

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                                                                  I have two machines that I use regularly.

                                                                  • MacBook Pro 13”, 2017 model, $1200.
                                                                  • ThinkPad X230 with the IPS display, $160 off eBay, put an SSD inside.

                                                                  I love both of these. The X230 has a keyboard that I quite like, while the MBP has macOS (if you’re into that kinda stuff). It’s interesting that to me these machines are kinda equivalent while the cost is an order of magnitude different.

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                                                                    A 2013 Macbook Air.

                                                                    I was annoyed to find that newer electronics weren’t necessarily better than my 4/5 year old gear. I got a new 2017 Macbook Pro for work and a reasonably good value phone around the same time, but I ended up being rather disappointed by them both. It makes me wonder if it’s related to the demise of Moore’s Law. The generational differences in tech during my formative years were vast. These days? I think I’ll stick with my Macbook Air until it bites the dust.

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                                                                      Google Pixelbook. I got the i5 version for cheap from a friend who won one. I love it — I do most of my development on a few servers at home, and I have the option to drop into the local Debian container as well if need be.

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                                                                        I got one of these and the screen ratio is really incredible and bright but I had to get rid of it because it was so damn reflective. I wanted to like it, but it just drove me bonkers; now my kids play Minecraft on it.

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                                                                          Yeah a matte screen would be an awesome update! I think the 2 will come out next year, hopefully we’ll see some more options.

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                                                                            The 2 came out several years ago and was still glossy. Strange that they’re forward-thinking enough to buck the widescreen trend but not sensible enough to realize what a disaster glossiness is.

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                                                                        When I buy laptops, I go to a second-hand laptop shop with a Debian Live USB and ask to try it on the laptop before buying it, just being open about why, and just quickly checking wifi, backlight.

                                                                        I use an Acer now. It did have a weird graphics card issue, but up-to-date Arch Linux is apparently ok on it.

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                                                                          I’ve did same thing with LiveCD’s for hardware, compatibility testing. A bit of time invested upfront can save a lot of time and money later. I like the idea of doing it at second-hand shops. Haven’t done it since only two, rip-off shops in my area when I last looked. I’ll try to keep it in mind in case I move.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            A bit of time invested upfront can save a lot of time and money later.

                                                                            Exactly, < £100 is not that expensive. Second hand shops may also be more accepting at letting you try out already-used laptops. I’ve found Middle Eastern owned shops to be particularly relaxed with this.

                                                                            Using somewhat lower end hardware may also be better by reducing electronic waste, and may push you to be a better programmer as you’ll notice bloat easier.

                                                                        2. 4

                                                                          MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015).

                                                                          I bought a Mac almost exclusively for a better experience of reading text. The retina screen (not just the high definition, but also its brightness) and OS X’s font rendering engine made it actually pleasant to read text on a screen; especially so if you read a lot of Chinese text: with all those complex strokes in Chinese characters, reading Chinese in low-definition screens was never a comfortable experience [1].

                                                                          [1] Anti-aliasing exists, but often works miserably for small Chinese text. A common workaround in Linux was to configure fontconfig to fall back to a bitmap font for smaller texts, but tweaking fontconfig is really a hassle; to make things worse, browsers often do their own font rendering which means that the workaround doesn’t work for browsers, which is where I happened to read most Chinese text.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            I tend to use Thinkpads from the tail end of the IBM era. They go for less than a hundred bucks on ebay (barely used), and they work great if you stick linux on them & use a lightweight WM – so long as you don’t try to do any web browsing, you’ll be fine with a ten year old laptop.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              How’s your luck been buying replacement batteries? I have an X301, and I can get the standard battery but I’ve bought a couple of new knockoff Ultrabay batteries that have both quickly lost capacity; within a month they were down to 20%. IIRC none of the IBM-era models had LED-based displays, so you’re not going to get anything that’s usable in bright light, right?

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                I’ve never had much luck with battery life on any laptop – I’ve rarely gotten more than 20 minutes out of any of them – so I’ve taken to avoiding relying upon laptop batteries at all except when physically moving a running laptop to a different room. As a result, I haven’t invested in replacement batteries.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  I still have a couple non-Ultrabay batteries for my X301 which get me a couple hours each, but maybe I’ve just been lucky.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    I think I somehow just have very power-hungry habits: I get 20 minutes out of the batteries on new laptops too, & of various brands.

                                                                            2. 3

                                                                              I use a Thinkpad T560 issued by work and I absolutely love it. I’ve always had an affliction for Thinkpads. My personal machines are a Thnkpad x201 (which I will retire I think, or make a 100% Linux box. Or a server, idk) and recently just bought a refurb T440s which is probably the sexiest piece of hardware I’ve ever owned.

                                                                              I’ve had great luck with my old HP Envy 4 as well, but its be relegated to my bed-side Netflix machine.

                                                                              Edit: Also, every one of these machines save for the T560 cost less than $1k CAD.

                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                You can get an ASUS VivoBook 15 for ~300-400…. Otherwise take a look at the HP 250 G6 they come out at ~500. Not sure why you need to spend >1000 if you can’t afford it?

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  That’s my problem; I can’t seem to find a decent laptop for under $1000. I found several that should be okay, but they all have one fatal flaw or another. Screen resolution seems to be the most common; laptop manufacturers apparently have secretly agreed that 1024x768 is “good” and anything better is “premium” (which is absurd to me, since every TV and phone made in the last ten years has met or exceeded that resolution).

                                                                                  Thanks for the pointer on the VivoBook. I’ve had good experiences with ASUS in the past. Checking it out now.

                                                                                2. 3

                                                                                  The 2018 Macbook Pro with 32gb of ram and 6 cores.

                                                                                  It’s awesome, except the touch bar is a poor UX and a “force touch” like detection of erroneous touches away from being great.

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    I’ve been using the Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro for some time now (from AliExpress). It’s a 15 inch, 1080p, aluminium laptop. At first I discounted it as an option as I thought the Nvidia graphics would be problematic (for open source drivers), but later I read a bit more on it and realised that it’s actually switchable and only uses the Intel graphics unless you set it up otherwise. So turns out it was perfect! AFAIK, the only thing that doesn’t work is the fingerprint reader, which I wouldn’t have used anyway. The NZ adapter that came with the charger is unreliable cheap garbage, but you can either replace it or the charger itself (as the laptop itself is so cheap). I also bought a keyboard cover for the hell of it, which I thought would be really obnoxious, but I don’t even notice it, so that’s nice… Anyway, I’ve been very happy with it, and it’s very affordable, so well worth considering.

                                                                                    Edit: Also, if it’s important (it was too me), the fans generally stay off unless you’re compiling something or trying to game on it, so in general usage it is totally silent. The fans can be a bit noisy when they do come on, but it’s only rarely. I’ve never timed it, but the battery seems to last around 6 hours for me.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      Same here, it very good laptop for work.

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                                                                                      I’m currently using a Macbook Air from 2013. I got it fully specced at the time but I’m starting to run up against the limitations of my machine.

                                                                                      I’ve been eyeing a new machine for a while and making the plunge to switch back to a linux based machine. I have about 5 pages worth of orgmode notes detailing hardware wishlist, replacement software for current workflow, & prospective machines. Currently my top 2 contenders are the X1 Carbon & X1 Carbon Extreme, but I still have reservations about both. X1 for the limitation of 16gb or ram and the UHD 620 GPU & the X1 Extreme which I’m worried about the Nvidia GPU & it being relatively untested at this point.

                                                                                      Work has offered several times to buy a new machine, but I like the whole BYOD thing. We are also a small shop & the dev team runs on macs & I’m a huge fan of the new Mac keyboards or trackpads. It also only solves the work part of it, as I don’t want to use a work machine to do work on personal projects.

                                                                                      For you I’d recommend checking out an older T series from Lenovo’s Thinkpad line or the System 76 machines, both of which sound like they may fit your bill .

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        I have the original Surface Book (2016) and I really like it. I use the screen-flipping feature and the pen a lot (for reading old books in Drawboard and making notes on them). The aspect ratio is nice too (3:2).

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          This is what I have as well. The build quality and aspect ratio are fantastic, and since I’m the rare developer who prefers Windows it’s a perfect fit for me. I don’t use the pen all that often, but it’s handy for annotating screenshots occasionally.

                                                                                        2. 3

                                                                                          I recently got the ThinkPad P52. It’s heavy and bulky (just under 2.7kg), but it has good build quality, decent hardware and good expansion options.

                                                                                          I previously combined an Ideapad 720 (15”), a ThinkPad X230 and a desktop but I got rid of everything but the X230 and the P52 now.

                                                                                          If I had to buy a laptop now I’d probably consider getting either the ThinkPad P1 or X1 Extreme because they provide similar hardware to the P52, but in a considerably more mobile package. Also, and probably more importantly, they have a numpad-free centered keyboard.

                                                                                          (At work I have a Dell Precision 5510, which is also an excellent device)

                                                                                          Sadly, even though I really wanted a good AMD Radeon-based laptop (great experience on Linux, no driver/optimus hassle), they are hard to come by, especially if you want something at the higher end of the spectrum.

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                                                                                            I use 2011 ThinkPad T420s and sometimes ThinkPad X220 and I still remember how great the 2007 Dell D630 was with its extended battery sticking out from the front creating additional palm rest.

                                                                                            Yes, I miss the 1080p that I had in the W520 and T520 but they are REALLY large and heavy. T420s and X220 are very light and compact and I also like very much the bottom slice X220 battery, laptop is still quite compact and small but little taller … and battery time is great then.

                                                                                            Why I use them? Real 7-row ThinkPad keyboard is second to none if it comes to type anything on a computer.

                                                                                            The only today 1080p alternative that I know is ThinkPad 25th Anniversary Edition as it also has real 7-row ThinkPad keyboard. It costs $1800 new and about $1000 used/refreshed/refurbished … and I will buy it sometime when the price will be round $500, probably after 1.5-2.0 years.

                                                                                            From other options ThinkPad Carbon X1 5th and 6th generations get good review from the users - besides new ‘island’ keyboard downgrade.

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              X220 and T420s are also my current favourites – using an external monitor (UHD resolution) most of the time, though.

                                                                                              Strangely, with the T420s the external monitor (Dell Ultrasharp) turns black from time to time. From my observations it seems the GPU (Intel HD Graphics 3000, same as in the X220) switches off the external port with higher CPU loads. Observed with multiple T420s/Dell-combinations.

                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                X220 user here as well. It just works with FreeBSD [1], so I don’t feel compelled to spend money on anything new. USB 3.0 and nvme drive(s) might be nice, but mirrored SSDs (sata and msata) give descent i/o. Maybe I’m just ignorant to what I’m missing, but ignorance is bliss, right? I am certainly not loyal to Lenovo, but their ThinkPads just seem to work well for me and I have built up a lot of muscle memory for the pointing sticks, which are not common on other laptops.

                                                                                                [1] wireless, suspend/resume, brightness, webcam, and sd card all work.

                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                  USB 3.0 and nvme drive(s) might be nice If you get ThinkPad X220 with i7 CPU then you will have one USB 3.0 port. For the record also T420s has one USB 3.0 port on the back.

                                                                                                  About performance difference between current laptops and 2011 ThinkPads T420s and X220 the Intel CPUs are faster by about 25-35% only. The power usage is a lot better as these older CPUs had 35 W TDP while current ones have about 15 W and they are even ‘configurable’ to have even less.

                                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                                  If you go back one generation further, the X201 has a nicer screen since it was from before they went to 16:9. A 10% increase in pixels is definitely worth the minor performance drop.

                                                                                              2. 3

                                                                                                Lenovo Thinkpad T480s. I’ve had laptops from the T4x0s range for a while now. I usually connect it to a regular display, so the 14” screen is hardly ever a problem. 16 GB of RAM, could be extended to 24 if I feel the need (I actually had 20 GB in the previous T460s, so I don’t ;)). NVMe drive makes a difference compared to previous SATA SSD, the i7-8550U is excellent.

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  I’ve been buying thinkpads for many years now (T42, X200T, ThinkPad Yoga, and now X1 Yoga) and have been constantly impressed by the improvements I saw with every new model. The new X1 has an amazing keyboard that feels even better than the praised IBM-era ThinkPad keyboard. And the best thing is that there is now a discrete GPU dock for Thunderbolt ThinkPad, which solves the problem with laptops: energy efficiency and light weight or powerful GPU.

                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                    I’ve been using an Acer Chromebook 14 for well over a year now. Installed linux the day I got it, have been perfectly happy with it ever since. Lightweight, long battery life, specs more than enough for coding, web browsing, full hd movies, that sort of stuff. Aluminum body. The thing costs only a couple hundred bucks so even if you happen to lose/break it, you can get several replacements and still stay below $1k.

                                                                                                    They now seem to have a 15” version with probably slightly more up to date hardware as well: https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/NX.GPTAA.002

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                                                                                                      Consumer laptops have lower build quality and lack in things like panel or battery. IMHO, if you don’t want to pay new prices, used machines are very valid; as long as its a premium or enterprise model like a ThinkPad, Surface, XPS, MacBook, Latitude, or whatever, it’s hard to go wrong.

                                                                                                      For what I’m using, I use an X230 Tablet as my daily driver for being out and about. I used to use a Surface RT, which worked pretty well, and got hideously good battery life, but Windows RT was a bit restrictive even with the jailbreak. I do have an X201, but the screen and battery are so dire that I don’t use it as a laptop and keep it docked onto the UltraBase of shame.

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                                                                                                        Thinkpad X201s: was a great laptop, cheap off eBay, died due to GPU failure & blue screens. Ran Debian & WindowMaker, good times. Great while it lasted. $250

                                                                                                        2013 MacBook Air 11”: my favorite size laptop, favorite OS. Smaller than you’re wanting. $700 refurb, closer to $400 now

                                                                                                        Alienware 15 R3: my main. More $$ than you’re wanting, but built for gaming. “Just” 1080p, 120Hz matte display. Great keyboard, build quality. Windows only. <$2k new, maybe cheaper now

                                                                                                        I recommend refurb Apple hardware from the Apple store, generally speaking.

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                                                                                                          I have a 13” LG Gram, but there is a 15” model.

                                                                                                          • 1080p panel
                                                                                                          • Last Generation (7xxx Intel) for $500-600 on eBay
                                                                                                          • Excellent Linux support, everything “just works” if you use a user friendly distro like Fedora or Ubuntu.
                                                                                                          • Insane battery life, I easily use it on medium-high brightness all day and then have 30-40% leftover.
                                                                                                          • Lightweight - advertised as the lightest possible laptop
                                                                                                          • Metal frame - Doesn’t feel like metal because it’s some weird alloy they’re using to keep it light, but it doesn’t feel cheap either.

                                                                                                          Obviously isn’t fast, but it’s light, has good battery life, and gets the job done.

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                                                                                                            I have 2 I use, most frequently a T440 for running OpenBSD current. I am a recent convert to OpenBSD and targetting older thinkpads I grab used off of craigslist works well for me. Other than that I am a fan of chromebooks for the hardware working well with linux out of the box. I have been a crouton user on ChromeOS for a while now and with the linux app support if linux is your main OS I consider it a no brainer. I like my laptops to be efficient, not high horsepower workstations in laptops. For high horse power I prefer going to my thinkserver workstation. I want laptops I can run all day and need the touchpad as little as possible. Possibly not the best answer for someone looking for something new. But if it helps, best of luck.

                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                              Asus E403SA. I bought mine used for $100.

                                                                                                              • 1080p 14” display
                                                                                                              • 128 GB EMMC storage
                                                                                                              • 4 GB RAM
                                                                                                              • Quadcore Intel Pentium

                                                                                                              It is so nice.

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                                                                                                                About five months ago I bought a Librem 15v3 from Purism. This was to replace the MacBook Air and Mac Mini that I was using for personal stuff.

                                                                                                                The purpose was to replace macOS with Linux on my personal computer and reduce the number of tools I was using on a daily or weekly basis. Add Purism’s privacy and security stance and I felt I made the right decision.

                                                                                                                During the first couple of weeks I was happy with this choice. But after the initial setup of the laptop I kept running into little things that would frustrate me. It was a mix of software and hardware issues and it made me feel like I was constantly “rerolling a d&d character”.

                                                                                                                After the new 32gb MacBook Pros came out I was able to refresh my work laptop with the new model. The faster six core processor and 32gb of memory along with what I feel is a higher quality of software and hardware and I was able to stop fighting my tools.

                                                                                                                We ended up buying one for my Wife and I took her old MacBook Pro for personal use.

                                                                                                                I do have a Librem 15 (L15V3-US-TPM) that I’m looking to sell.

                                                                                                                • Keyboard: English (US)
                                                                                                                • TPM: Include
                                                                                                                • Memory: 16GB (1x16GB)
                                                                                                                • Storage (M.2 SSD): 500GB (NVMe)
                                                                                                                • Storage (2.5” SATA 3 SSD): 120GB
                                                                                                                • Wireless: Include Wireless
                                                                                                                • Warranty: 3 Years (started May 2018)
                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  Do you have any examples of these issues you had with the Librem 15? In my experience using a MBP after years using nothing but Linux laptops I felt the same way: the OS X environment had constant little hurdles, everything seemed to be different for no reason etc. I wonder if your issue like mine is mostly one of familiarity?

                                                                                                                2. 3

                                                                                                                  For personal use, I have a Mid-2015 13” MacBook Pro which I bought to replace my 11” MacBook Air. I always keep my laptops for 4 years and max out the spec. The considered a 12” MacBook “Adorable” to replace the MBA11, but it was underpowered at that time. The MBP13 has been reliable with good ergonomics (screen and keyboard), but I wish it was lighter since I had gotten used to the MBA11. Battery seems to be doing OK at 87% after 291 cycles

                                                                                                                  Recently, I’ve started to hit some performance limits with the MBP when using Lightroom. I got a Fuji X100F camera which has been sweet, but the CPU and Disk I/O issues are noticeable when working with a lot of RAW images in a large catalog. It was doing OK with my old Canon EOS 7D RAW files.

                                                                                                                  For work I run the original Surface Book and have a Lenovo W530 as backup. The SB is pretty good, but doesn’t overall compete well with the MacBook Pro of the same generations. There are just so many compromises with the 2-in-1 design that annoy me. I have not had any recent Windows 10 issues that others may have reported, but then I generally don’t have OS problems that others seem to have with the same hardware. The W530 is an aircraft carrier which I now only access over Remote Desktop. It does have a nice chiclet keyboard, but the screen was terrible. The newer Lenovo W-series appear to have better screen options, but that’s only from looking over the shoulder of others.

                                                                                                                  I have an X220 and X230 I use for testing, mucking round with desktop Linux distros, and having a clean machine where I have no distractions. They keyboards are fantastic and performance is still fine for most web dev tasks. There are better options if you need longer battery life.

                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                    Surface Pro 4 runs Linux very nicely nowadays!!!

                                                                                                                    It’s one of those purchases I regretted for about a year, decided to try install Arch on it and I’m pleasantly surprised.

                                                                                                                    Audio, hardware buttons, touch screen, pen, all working out the box with the following kernel patches applied: https://github.com/jakeday/linux-surface

                                                                                                                    It has been a struggle fighting with multiple DPI when docking at work, and in the end I gave up and decided to turn off the surface display when using external screens.

                                                                                                                    Shame they only supplied it with 4GB ram, I’m not sure who they were aiming this device at if it were intended to run Windows in the first place.

                                                                                                                    Screenshot

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                                                                                                                      why does crappy vision mean you need 1080p? wouldn’t it make resolution less important? or if anything a lower resolution would be better because fonts would be larger by default?

                                                                                                                      written from an x61… for a larger screen i’d recommend thinkpad t61, t400, t410, t420, or t430. i think those are mostly 14”; there were 15.4” models in the t61 and t500. meets your frugality requirements for sure, and everything else feels flimsy in comparison.

                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                        Probably means as opposed to HiDPI, although with scaling set up that shouldn’t be a problem. My only experience with scaling is with our living room PC hooked up to the TV (only 1080p, but far away), and while not everything is perfect I haven’t had too many problems.

                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                          Probably means as opposed to HiDPI, although with scaling set up that shouldn’t be a problem. My only experience with scaling […]

                                                                                                                          I have a desktop workstation with a 4k screen and (integer) scaling is not a problem, at least on GNOME. Both Gtk+3 and Qt applications work perfectly fine. The primary exception are some Gtk+2 apps like Inkscape and The Gimp, which have tiny controls. Interestingly, I also run some Tk applications, which have also worked great with scaling since Tk 8.6.

                                                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                                                        I spent lots of time researching and for me the important features are:

                                                                                                                        • Light-ish (around 2-2.5kg)
                                                                                                                        • Good GPU (for gamedev and video editing)
                                                                                                                        • Upgradable RAM/HDD
                                                                                                                        • Great keyboard

                                                                                                                        I said fuck it and went for an Aorus X5 v7, quite expensive but extremely happy with it. If I didn’t care about upgradable and gpu, I might have gone for an Aero 15X instead.

                                                                                                                        Around $2000 (depending where you buy it) but it’s the main tool of my craft, you can’t cheapen out on that, I believe.

                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                          I’ve got a T430s running Arch/KDE and it’s so nice. I paid ~200 for a higher-end variation and an SSD upgrade on ebay. Super zippy, boots within a few seconds, handles my entire workload like a dream. It’s an older-ish Thinkpad so really solid construction and the keyboard is a dream

                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                            I got a Thinkpad T580 with a 15” 4k screen and am really happy with it. The keyboard feels good, the machine has 32 GiB of RAM and the whole deal was less than 2000 Euros.

                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                              My personal laptop is a 2015 15” MacBook Pro with a 1 TB SSD

                                                                                                                              Work is a 2018 15” MBP, all stock.

                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                I went from a 2009 mbp 15” (holdout due to the matte screen), to… a Mac Pro desktop.
                                                                                                                                I did eventually pick up a macbook retina 12” a couple months ago, for travel/remote work.

                                                                                                                                If you do decide to pick up a Purism, please report how it goes! I considered the librem 13 for quite a while.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  HP Spectre 15 inch. All the hardware was supported by the current stable Linux kernel when I got it. It’s been solid since. (I had an XPS 15 but I had a lot of battery issues and therm throttling problems with it).

                                                                                                                                  Before that I used a MSI gaming laptop for Linux development, but recently I upgraded the SSDs on it and turned it back into a Windows laptop. Still really good for being four years old.

                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                    I’ve found the laptop market to be full of gotchas. Some models skim on the costs by having DDR3, others don’t have a PCIE m.2, others have rubbish battery & cooling or weight too much.

                                                                                                                                    Personally I ended up going with tux computers, which I’d recommend if you are based in Europe. They resell laptops from one of the like 3 Chinese companies that actually make the case+screen+board+CPU bundles and they add components for s very tiny markup.

                                                                                                                                    To give an example, a i7 kabylake r m with 16gb at 2666ghz (and good latencies for that fq, don’t remember what they are right now), 512GB of Samsung 970pro nvme, ~8h working battery life, with a weight between 1.3 and 1.5kg, will cost you 1.1 - 1.3k depending on the exact model of screen& chassi and a few other tweaks.

                                                                                                                                    They also have a nice lack of anti-features, batteries and screens that are easy to replaces, no components soldered in, cases that are easy to open… Etc.

                                                                                                                                    The real selling point is that they have a penguin on the window key.

                                                                                                                                    But, if you want to go cheap and are happy with a sata.m2 and mehish battery, look into an Asus. Besides those two issues, they have some too-good-to-be-true stuff in the 500-700$ range.

                                                                                                                                    The xiaomi stuff is also catching up, give it 1-2 years and their ultra-portable laptops will offer the same value proposition as their phones

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      I’ve been using a Thinkpad T520 for awhile. Very happy with it. My dad gave it to me a few years ago when he upgraded. It has a 720p panel but there are also 1080p ones available. It’s big and sturdy, at the cost of its heft. I’ve ran Debian and Arch Linux on it with no issues. And if a T520 is too hefty you could drop down to a 14” T420, or a newer T5X0 if ports or processors are an issue.

                                                                                                                                      But I’m sure there are many others recommending you Thinkpads ;^)

                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                        I am currently using a MacBook Pro Escape 2016. I cannot recommend it. The keyboard has problems. Having 2 USB-C ports is very limited. Many of the hardware components are not supported by Linux.

                                                                                                                                        I was drawn to it, because I had primarily used Macs since 2007 and was very with them. Both hardware-wise and macOS. Unfortunately, both have gone downhill, whereas prices have gone op. When I am not on the go, I am now using Linux again >50% of the time (on a Dell Precision workstation).

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          Four year old MBP late2013 15”. Largely sitting out and waiting for my ideal machine - something surface-like, 14-15in 16:10 display, usb-c ports for charging, with a detachable keyboard / precision trackpad that still works wirelessly. Even then I’m still a fan of macOS (I use windows 10 daily / recently tried kubuntu, both have rough edges that bother me).

                                                                                                                                          The lenovo X1E, Eve-V, surface pro, pixel slate, matebook x pro, razer blade have all been tempting but there’s usually some checkbox missing. Despite all the macbook criticism (including my own) I’m impressed this machine still holds itself together for daily use five years later and feels nicer than many of the newer windows laptops I occasionally try out.

                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                            I bought a new old lenovo x260. Came with 1080p IPS screen, 8gb ram, 512gb SSD and an i7. New when released this would have cost me ~2000€, I picked it up for 960€ with shipping. Still a pretty big investment, but I can upgrade or replace all hardware, have a 3year extended warranty and this thing is a real joy to work with, even the card reader and fingerprint sensor just work out of the box on Linux. Secondhand this would even have been cheaper but I wanted a new one for a change.

                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                              Acer C720. I kinda want a thinkpad carbon x1 though.

                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                At $dayJob i use a Lenovo T470 with an i7 and mechanical dock. Does what I need and doesn’t throw problems in my way (that’s a jab at Touch Bar).

                                                                                                                                                At home just Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 + keyboard cover and a tower PC, but that doesn’t fit the topic as I don’t use them for coding.

                                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                                  I have a ThinkPad P50, quad core Xeon, 64GB RAM, 2.5 TB storage, 15” 4k screen. I’ve had this for a few years and I love it.

                                                                                                                                                  If I were to upgrade, I’d likely buy the ThinkPad P52 with the six core Xeon, or the ThinkPad X1 Extreme since it’s smaller and about as powerful. Still, I’m likely to wait until I can get a ThinkPad with 128GB of RAM.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                    In the sub, $1000 market there’s slim pickings. I wonder if this is the tablet affected size or gouging.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                      The Ideapad I had fell apart really quick. Sticking to a Macbook for now.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                        Asus zenbook3, pretty happy with it, specially because it is light as a feather!

                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                          I use the E570 thinkpad, it’s my first laptop and my only problem with it is the 1366*768 screen resolution.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                                            what laptop do you use?

                                                                                                                                                            I use an IBM X60s thinkpad, refurbished by GlugLug (now MiniFree) with LibreBoot.

                                                                                                                                                            What drew you to it?

                                                                                                                                                            It was the first laptop to get FSF’s “Respects Your Freedom” certification. I bought it as soon as it was announced. I also find the 12” screen to be just right for a portable machine; it’s larger, but lower resolution, than the OLPC XO-1 I was using previously, and not as cumbersome as the 15” machine I had a decade ago.

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                                                                                                                                                              MSI GF62VR - 7700HQ, 32GB, 1TB M2 SSD, 512 GB SATA SSD, 6GB GTX1060 Ubuntu + XFCE

                                                                                                                                                              My 2014 15” macbook died, and I needed something that day. I would not go back to Apple due to the lack of upgradability and inability to self-service. the MSI is a combination of plastic and aluminum. I carry it around almost every day and it has been fine. The display is lackluster but it runs DisplayPort 1.2 so I run three monitors and rarely use the screen unless I am out of the office.

                                                                                                                                                              If I had time I would have gone with a Thinkpad P51, you can get some really good deals on the closeout or refurbished areas of both Lenovo and Dell’s sites. They have a T580, 8650U, 16gb , 1TB M2 for $1053

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                                                                                                                                                                Totally not helpful for your needs, but I use an Alienware 17 R5. It’s a great big battleship chunk of iron with a glorious 17” display and beautiful scissor keys with lovely travel.

                                                                                                                                                                After years of being annoyed with Apple laptop’s with their anemic keyboards and small screens it’s a total delight :)

                                                                                                                                                                Runing Ubuntu 18.10 on it and Windows 10 for games until Proton makes that unnecessary :)

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                                                                                                                                                                  I would just like to cast a vote for looking into refurbished ThinkPads. After an incident involving a huge amount of water and my new ThinkPad T470s, I had to get my hands onto a replacement computer fairly quickly because I didn’t have a backup machine at the moment.

                                                                                                                                                                  I bought a refurbished T440 with a 256 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, 1080p display, a decent CPU, and very fair batteries for approx. $500. The computer looked like new, and while the performance difference was somewhat noticeable (I believe NVMe drives in the T470s make a lot of difference), it was fast, portable and very usable.

                                                                                                                                                                  ThinkPad does have 15” models as well, and they’re also popular among refurbishers.

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                                                                                                                                                                    A bit late to the game, but let me chime in as well:

                                                                                                                                                                    My daily driver is a Lenovo ThinkPad T460s. M.2. SSD upgraded and 16 GB RAM added after I bought it. I saved some 40% of the list price by buying it refurbed on eBay. Prior to T460s I’ve had T440s, X230, X200 and have handled a fair share of different models in a support role in a previous job. They’re sturdy, easy to repair and take apart and usually have good Linux support.

                                                                                                                                                                    I’m currently looking at the Lenovo A485 which is basically a T480 with AMD Ryzen instead of Intel Core. They’re a bit too pricy for me at the moment (even more as my T460s is still perfectly adequate), but I’m hoping I’ll stumble upon a refurbished one on eBay some time within the next year.

                                                                                                                                                                    Buying from eBay is highly recommended if you’re in Europe. In my experience, with my last three laptops bought that way, you save a fair bit off the list price, the warranty is usually world-wide and with the Global Shipping Programme you can pay any import tax in advance. Haven’t had a problem so far.

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                                                                                                                                                                      I have an older HP 13” x360 with 16 GB of RAM and a 6th-gen i7, running Fedora. I was drawn to it because the screen (which is hi-DPI) and keyboard are quite nice, it’s highly portable, components I cared about were well-supported by Linux, and it’s got a touch screen for when I want it (e.g. for testing Android apps), and I was able to buy the laptop on a heavy discount, since the 7th gen x360s were coming out at the same time. The main drawbacks are that the graphics are underpowered (fine for either an external hi-DPI display, or an internal one, but not both at once, and not for games), and that it just predates USB-C charging, so I have to carry around an extra power brick when I’ve also got my work’s MacBook Pro.

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                                                                                                                                                                        I own three laptops:

                                                                                                                                                                        • Lenovo Thinkpad T440p
                                                                                                                                                                        • Dell XPS 13 (9370 model)
                                                                                                                                                                        • Macbook Pro (given to me by work, for work)

                                                                                                                                                                        My beloved is the Dell, but my T440p is always there in case I need it.

                                                                                                                                                                        T440p initially drew me in because it was Linux compatible, not so expensive cause I bought it on an offer, I can upgrade the CPU if I want, and it’s Lenovo.

                                                                                                                                                                        Dell XPS I bought it because I was gonna be doing some backpacking and carrying around the brick that is the T440p wasn’t a good idea, I thought. It has served me well, no problems. It also drew me because I previously owned a Dell (Vostro 1500) and I had no trouble opening it up to fix problems I found.

                                                                                                                                                                        The Macbook I have because work. Personally I’d never buy a Macbook because I disagree with Apple’s ethics, even if I do like their ecosystem.

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                                                                                                                                                                          All of the ones I have are used but run everything very well. I have an HP ProBook 4540s with Fedora 28 and I recently installed OpenBSD 6.4 on my previous laptop which is a Toshiba Portege M400. I just need to get a new keyboard and battery for it and I need to find the stylus to see if it works. Very happy with both laptops.

                                                                                                                                                                          At work, I have a Dell Latitude D620 running FreeBSD 11.2 and an ancient Dell Inspiron 9200 running Slackware -current. Breathed new life into those old beasts.