Looking for a New 17" Laptop Suggestion
May 14, 2014 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a laptop as a desktop replacement. Main requirement is that it needs to have a number pad on the keyboard. Looking for something high powered.

Needs to have at least 4 USB slots, I use a wireless mouse, a printer, a scanner, and a labelmaker regularly. My ideal would be a 17" ultrabook but it looks to me like you can't find a number keypad on an ultrabook because it sort of defeats the point. Price is not a concern as my company is purchasing it.

Below are two I've been looking at:



Any other suggestions or comments on the above two systems would be helpful. Thank you!
posted by banished to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
HP is making pretty great laptops these days. This one seems to fulfill all your needs, and you can bump up the stats if you so desire.
posted by General Malaise at 12:45 PM on May 14, 2014

This is not a direct answer to your question, sorry, but if you're getting a laptop as a desktop replacement, have you considered getting a more portable laptop and just plugging in a USB keyboard with a number pad at work?

Advantage: you can get a much better keyboard than what comes on a laptop, for far less money. In fact, you can get three of them - one for home, one for work, and one as a quick replacement after that coffee accident.

Disadvantage: you won't have that keyboard on the road or sitting in an airport. If that's a significant use case for your number pad, this won't work for you.

(I plug in an external monitor and a keyboard + mouse at work every day - full desktop convenience at work and ultra-light portability for when I'm walking or traveling.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:00 PM on May 14, 2014

As a former 17in macbook pro owner, who held on to their machine until it was seriously outdated because there wasn't really a path forward... this category kinda sucks now, and i hate it.

You basically have cheap plasticy machines for kids and grandmas to watch netflix/torrents on and play candy crush, and brick-like gaming machines. The acer you linked is sort of both. The only other thing out there is like, the dell precision and hp elitebooks which have slightly outdated specs and all cost >$1500.

On the other hand, if you're willing to get something with a 15in screen the floodgates burst open. There's stuff out there like the thinkpad t540p which for about the same price gets you a 3k/HiDPI IPS display attached to a machine that is an entirely different world of quality, which will essentially last forever.(i've never seen a thinkpad fail because of a design flaw/engineering problem, just user abuse. many of them run for close to ten years). And yes, it has 4x USB ports(2 are 3.0, and it also has thunderbolt!) and tenkey.

Price is not a concern as my company is purchasing it.

If they honestly don't care, and you aren't paying for it then i guess get a precision m6800 or m3800(which is ultrabook like, and a lot more like what you were thinking of... but also a 15in, as i got into above). The trick is that they shoot over $2000 nearly instantly once you start choosing the good specs. It is worth noting that dell still lets you get windows 7 though, even on most of the latest precisions.(if you want it)

Like the thinkpads however they're silent, amazingly well made, and will never overheat or have any silly issues like that.

I'm not ever buying a consumer grade laptop to do work on again. Especially since you said you needed something high powered, they just never seem to put up with being run hard for long periods of time.
posted by emptythought at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sorry, I linked the wrong one. This is what I meant.
posted by General Malaise at 1:25 PM on May 14, 2014

I mean, if price is literally no object

The Razer Blade Pro is an insanely powerful 17" laptop, but it does have a tiny touchscreen where the numpad would be.
posted by Oktober at 1:34 PM on May 14, 2014

I would echo sentiments expressed by emptythought and RedOrGreen. Namely if you add peripherals your choices get better.

a _good_ 15", as noted by ET is likely to be cheaper and better built and the screen size won't matter if you use an external display.

a _good_ kb and mouse are much easier, as noted by ROG, to obtain for a reasonable price.

I will add that using external peripherals allows you to customize your setup for a _much_ better ergonomic experience. And to upgrade the bits as they wear or as improved options become available. I have gone (in recent years) to forsaking desktops in favour of laptop builds pretty much exclusively and I always plan around what needs to be an integral part of the machine and what doesn't.

Currently I am typing this using an 11" macbook air plugged into and external monitor and wireless kb and mouse. Plenty fast, portable when it has to be, comfortable user interface with the peripherals I like. Cheap(isn).
posted by mce at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Peripherals. Another vote for peripherals. The problem is that there just isn't much market for ginormo-laptops these days.
posted by katrielalex at 3:18 PM on May 14, 2014

I agree with emptythought that this is now a problematic category. "Desktop-replacement" 17in laptops tend to be hot, heavy, noisy things: I've used an older Acer Aspire, and it's a wretched annoying machine; Haswell and a SSD may improve the heat/noise somewhat, but the ergonomics on a big laptop were never great and have declined over recent years.

So, yet another vote for peripherals.
posted by holgate at 3:23 PM on May 14, 2014

I got a Toshiba with a number pad a couple years ago. It's fine, but not really a top line machine. Compared to computers I've bought in the past, it had less, or at least less intrusive, junk software on it. It has a flaw in the battery that is apparently common with Toshiba's.

I have found that the very wide laptops can be a nuisance. The are a bit clumsy, and it's harder to get a case that fits.
posted by SemiSalt at 3:41 PM on May 14, 2014

I just got a 15" Lenovo W540 (as mentioned above) for work and it's been nice to use. I purchased many of the upgrade options thanks to my generous budget (SSD, 16Gb RAM, processor and video card upgrades) but I'm sure it's a powerful enough without any of that.

It has a number pad, but I am not a fan of the standard trackpad-like mouse.
posted by maximum sensing at 4:51 PM on May 14, 2014

I recently upgraded to a 17" MSI (don't think this is exactly the same model but gives you an idea). Many USB ports, including 3 x USB3 and 2 x USB2. (I use the USB2s for external mouse and keyboard and keep the 3s for data transfer). It is disgustingly heavy, but because it's a desktop replacement that doesn't bother me much. I don't bother with an external monitor because the one it comes with is as big as my old desktop monitor and I don't really need bigger than that.

For me, the main reasons to go with the beast rather than something smaller and lighter were the two SSDs as well as the normal optical HD and the awesome levels of RAM. Came with 16, I upgraded it to 32GB. I think I am a size queen. Depending on what you are planning to use yours for, this could be total overkill. But I thought I'd chuck it out there.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:58 PM on May 14, 2014

I have a Dell Precision M 6700. I believe it fits all of your requirements and has a number pad. The downside is it is heavy (I think of it as a desktop that can be moved if I need to and I do frequently despite the weight and have traveled with it world-wide, it is really rugged and not chintzy at all). I had it upgraded to the highest amounts of memory and processing power and it is pretty great (my work paid for it as well, and I think it came to around 3500.00 with my upgrades, this was about a year ago). I use it for running a lot of GIS software which is memory intensive and that's one of the reasons for choosing this particular computer. Let me know if I can answer anything specific...but I'm not super computer savvy, so can't promise I know the answers to technical questions!
posted by PinkPoodle at 12:37 PM on May 15, 2014

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