Laptop recommendations
August 30, 2016 10:24 AM   Subscribe

MeFi, you are all so very wicked smaaht in recommending the best things. Can you help me find a laptop that fits my needs?

I need a new laptop! I'm a working, traveling stiff who is also in graduate school for clinical psychology with an industrial concentration. MeFi, I trust all of you internet people, especially with your gadget and technology recommendations as you have never steered me astray. Help plz:

- This will be my primary personal computer. I do not want a Mac. I would like a windows pc
- Needs to be lightweight and easily transportable since it will be traveling with me regularly abroad as well as from home/school/work/coffee shops.
- Needs to have a good battery life and not crap out every 5-6 hours.
- I will be regularly be running and constantly using Microsoft Office applications (and all at once) -word, excel, MS Project, visio and PowerPoint
- Will be installing, regularly running and using SPSS - this is a requirement.
- May eventually be using it with SAS, but not sure yet.
- I have a Canon Powershot SX530 camera and will be doing lots of photo editing and such.
- I prefer smaller screens - 13 inches is almost too big for me, so I'm a big fan of the small screen computers.
- Internetting, obviously, so needs to be speedy with wifi connections.
- I may be doing some light music downloading.
- I am not a gamer and won't be using it for gaming.
- I'd prefer to not have an external storage, because I find it a little annoying, but it is not a deal breaker whatsoever.
- Budget: I'd like to stay under/around $2,000, but am willing to go up to $3,000 for something that is incredible and makes my wildest data-crunching dreams come true.

I was looking at the higher end Lenovo Yoga hybrids, but then got overwhelmed and figured I would start here.

posted by floweredfish to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You'd probably be well served by the Dell XPS 13, which is a Wirecutter recommendation for most people.
posted by General Malaise at 10:38 AM on August 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Came here to say Dell XPS 13. With your relatively roomy budget, it's the best-in-class.
posted by dis_integration at 11:04 AM on August 30, 2016

If you get the XPS 13, get the one with a touch screen. A touch screen makes scrolling and zooming tremendously easier, to the point that when I use a laptop without a touchscreen, I'm frustrated. Consider the Surface Pro 4 if you want to use the machine as either a tablet or pseudo-laptop. I have a Surface Pro 3, and it's an excellent computer. The Surface Book is also an option given your budget, but it's probably overpriced for what it is.
posted by cnc at 12:36 PM on August 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

A word to the touchscreen on the XPS is that it will unfortunately drain your battery much quicker than the standard screen: about 30% less of the excellent battery life of the non-touch. Perception would be "just okay" to "pretty good" on that front. The above Wirecutter link recommends it as their upgrade pick, so factor that in. To me, it's just personal preference, re: touch.
posted by a good beginning at 3:40 PM on August 30, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks so much so far for the recommendation! I guess I'm just worried about the laptop running SPSS with regular other functions (as in, it can handle that, right?). I will also eventually using either SAS or R with it.

Interested to hear more!!
posted by floweredfish at 8:45 PM on August 30, 2016

I just bought a new laptop that I just love. The screen is 15.6" but it is very light. They do have some with smaller screens Lenovo Yoga
posted by JujuB at 11:08 PM on August 30, 2016

Best answer: I know someone who is using a lowly Macbook Air (2014 model) to run SPSS and your aforementioned Office applications, so the horsepower of the Dell XPS 13 should be plenty for your stated goals (SPSS system requirements here).

I would definitely recommend 8GB RAM, with a 256GB or larger hard drive / solid state drive. For running concurrent applications, the more RAM, the better.
posted by thewildgreen at 11:16 PM on August 30, 2016

Best answer: I guess I'm just worried about the laptop running SPSS with regular other functions (as in, it can handle that, right?).

Get the i5 or the i7 version, with 8gb of ram, and you'll be running SPSS on it for another 5 years no problem.
posted by dis_integration at 8:53 AM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

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