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icewilly
junior member


Reged: 11/21/14
Posts: 2
Solid Brands/Lines for both: Yoga style and mid tier traditional
      #47347 - 11/21/14 04:02 PM

Been watching your reviews and they are great. I am in the market for a laptop and the selection is so vast it's hard to even begin searching. The waters are so muddied with brands that cut corners or whose build quality is sub par.

Here are my requirements and what I am thinking to date:

-Variable budget: expect something like $500 to $1200
-i5 4th Gen or better CPU
-4GB ram minimum, but 8gb preferred
-1600x900 res min, 1080 preferred
-Touch Screen if selecting Yoga style, if not Yoga no requirement for it
-Anti Glare screen preferred, but seems touch panels won't have this
-Solid quality on keyboard and mouse. Good typing feel/travel, minimal flex, non glitchy trackpad (synaptic)
-Good to very good build quality. Does not necessarily require metal housing or premium materials
-Ability to hook up to external monitor, keyboard/mouse. (HDMI pref. or DP)
-Average battery life would be suffice, but better is always... better.
-No gaming, no need for discrete gfx

Screen size is somewhat variable, I am currently considering two categories... the Yoga style notebooks (which would be in the 12-13" range, or a more proven work horse (thinkpad/XPS) in the 13-15" range.

Yoga Style...

I am gravitating to the XPS 12 (haswell) because I like the idea of protecting the keyboard and of the possibility for lower cost deals if I wait, along with the solid keyboard experience. I am not a fan of the 4gb of memory (non upgrade-able), but price/specs on the 8gb variants are beyond what I require.

The Inspiron line is also a possibility (esp the 7000 series 13"), and I like the upgrade-able ram options and would immediately remove the HDD for an SSD I have waiting to go inside. It seems like the human interface experience is decent as well.

Given the XPS is the premium option, and the Inspiron is the more budget option... what other brands/models might be comparable to each? Thinkpad Yoga-XPS, regular yoga-Inspiron? Any other players in this section with quality keyboards/build feel? Asus?

Traditional Style
If we aren't compromising on specs to accommodate a flip touch screen, then it seems like a much more direct question. I am not looking for a super premium laptop to WOW anyone. I can get the specs I want in the Lenovo U530 series for like $700 with sales, but I worry about the keyboard/trackpad feel and overall build quality of the non thinkpad lines. Are there any brands/lines in the midrange that consistently deliver good experiences for <$1000? Dell Inspiron/Latitudes? Lenovo's other than the T/X series (which seem too expensive to get i5/8gb/1080p) Asus?

--------------------------------------

I can parse through the different models and specs in each brand line, but mostly I am looking for solid brands/lines that don't take the shortcuts I worry about.

Even a list like this would be immensely helpful to trim down on the brands and lines I am combing though.

Yoga Style:

Dell XPS - Premium build and materials, top tier keyboard experience, price range xxx
Dell Latitude - Mid range build and materials, mid tier keyboard, price range xxx
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga -
Lenovo Yoga - etc etc

Regular style Style:

Dell XPS - Premium build and materials, top tier keyboard experience, price range xxx
Dell Latitude - Mid range build and materials, mid tier keyboard, price range xxx
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga -
Lenovo Yoga - etc etc

Thanks for any help, and keep up the good work!

Edited by icewilly (11/21/14 04:21 PM)


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LisaGModerator
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Reged: 07/11/02
Posts: 8574
Loc: Texas
Re: Solid Brands/Lines for both: Yoga style and mid tier traditional [Re: icewilly]
      #47354 - 11/21/14 09:53 PM

The Dell Inspiron 7000 series offers a great deal of bang for the buck. You lose the fancier looks of the XPS, but in terms of functionality, that series has it. It's also worth looking at the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga for its robust build, excellent keyboard and good trackpad. For traditional designs, there's also the Asus Zenbook UX303LA we reviewed not too long ago-- chic metal casing, very good keyboard, 1080p touchscreen and a decent trackpad. It even has upgradable RAM.

--------------------
Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview


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icewilly
junior member


Reged: 11/21/14
Posts: 2
Re: Solid Brands/Lines for both: Yoga style and mid tier traditional [Re: LisaG]
      #47356 - 11/23/14 05:51 PM

As a follow up, after much research I ended up going with the Lenovo U430 Touch. Got a good deal on it at $600, and had a pretty solid keyboard and built quality. Screen wasn't 1080p, but its hard to find 1080p touch screen on the mid tier of laptops. Touchpad may be irksome, but with the touch screen as a fallback it should be alright.

Cross shopped the Yoga style computers, Dell 2-in-1s, and Inspirons, but requiring ethernet ports, HDMI ports, and a good battery life (~10hrs)... Lenovo was the only one that ticked all the boxes.


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