Looking for a new laptop.
November 27, 2013 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to replace my development laptop with a more powerful model. I'm having a hard time finding a model with everything I need. Do you have any recommendations?

I currently use an Acer Aspire S7 ultrabook, but the low hard drive space, loud fans, poor keyboard, and unreliable constructions have been getting to me. I want to buy a new one, but I'm having a hard time finding everything I want in one model. Here's what I'm looking for in a new computer:

  • Approximately 15"
  • Minimum 1920x1080 resolution
  • Touchscreen (needed for testing touch-based apps I'm working on)
  • 256GB or larger SSD (or easily upgradable to a fast SSD after purchase)
  • Core i7 or comparable processor
  • Good keyboard (subjective, I realize, but at least I'd like to be able to use home/end/pgup/pgdn and other essential editing keys without having to hold a "Fn" button. Numeric keypad is also a plus)
  • Windows 8 64-bit (Pro prefrerred, but I can easily upgrade after purchase so it's not a big deal).
  • Some kind of video out (HDMI/HDMI Mini/DVI/etc. VGA is acceptable, although not preferred).
  • USB 3.0 ports
  • Not an HP or an Acer
  • Good video performance. I don't need to be able to play demanding 3D games on this machine, but if I can I will.
  • Bluetooth
  • Touchpad with gesture support
  • Sold by Newegg (I have a credit line with them with 0% financing for a year, so it's convenient. Not essential though).
I don't need an optical drive, I can plug in an external one when needed. Price isn't terribly important. I'd prefer to spend less than $2000 but $2000+ laptops will be considered.

My best lead so far is this Samsung ATIV Book 6, but according to some reviews I've read it's hard to force it to power down if it locks up (holding down the power button doesn't force power off like on some other machiens), and the fact that the hard drive interface is only SATA2 might limit my options when upgrading to an SSD.

Any recommendations? Thanks MeFites!
posted by Vorteks to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Although some of your requirements are different, you may want to read this recent thread.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 10:33 AM on November 27, 2013

Response by poster: @Gomez_in_the_south - That helps, thanks. Many of the laptops mentioned there aren't quite what I'm looking for, but the Dell XPS 15 Touch is very interesting.

I'm still looking at all options at this point, so please keep the recommendations coming.
posted by Vorteks at 10:48 AM on November 27, 2013

This Lifehacker article was useful. Despite their not-high ranking, I still like Lenovo.
posted by theora55 at 12:52 PM on November 27, 2013

I'm looking for almost exactly the same specifications in a laptop, except I will be running Linux not Win 8.

This Dell machine seems to fill the specs you (and I) require quite nicely at a pretty favorable price.

If you've got the time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on that one as I was near to posting almost the same AskMeFi Q.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:27 PM on November 27, 2013

Response by poster: @mcstayinskool - That is a GREAT looking laptop, for much much less money than the Dell XPS 15 Touch. It also has a better keyboard. I'm not a huge fan of the Dell big-rounded-corner body style, but I can get over it. This review suggests it gets good battery life too. It's a solid contender. Thanks.
posted by Vorteks at 2:17 PM on November 27, 2013

Response by poster: @mcstayinskool - I'm a little concerned about the low-travel keyboard however. Wonder if I can see one in person somewhere.
posted by Vorteks at 2:21 PM on November 27, 2013

I've suggested the Asus UX51VZ before, been using it for most of the year now and it absolutely rocks.

It fits all your requirements [I have the non-touchscreen version, but there is a touch-enabled one].

I'm not sure if there's been an upgrade to Haswell chips, but if they're now running on Haswell - or if a new model/upgrade was released for this year then I'd highly recommend it.

Downside: It's pricey - I expected the price to drop heavily as others started manufacturing thin and light laptops with 1920x1080 panels and dedicated cards. Amusingly the price seems to have gone up from when I bought mine [cheaper by a couple of $100 AND bundled with a free Nexus 7], but I haven't looked around for deals and special offers on it this time around.
posted by xqwzts at 4:14 AM on November 28, 2013

Response by poster: @xqwzts - That machine looks sweet, but I'm having trouble finding the touchscreen model. It doesn't show up on Asus' website, on Newegg, or on Amazon. Do you have a link to it?
posted by Vorteks at 6:02 PM on November 28, 2013

Looks like the touch version was only sold in America at the Microsoft store, it's listed here but currently out of stock.

They've finally released haswell versions of the 13" line [UX301/UX302] so maybe this is being phased out to finally get a haswell upgrade too.
posted by xqwzts at 5:59 AM on November 29, 2013

Response by poster: Made my decision, I ended up getting the ASUS N550JV-DB72T laptop, along with a 500 GB SSD separately to swap into it.

Thanks for everyone's help during the researching process.
posted by Vorteks at 10:00 AM on November 29, 2013

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