Top my lap... gently. Seeking recc's for used/refurb little laptop
August 28, 2019 9:22 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for a lightweight laptop or notebook or something like that, maybe even a two-in-one, that's going to be relatively inexpensive, light in weight, and easy to use in bed lap desk. Current laptop does not fit the bill. Snowflakes abide.

Because of my disability, I often have to spend large parts of my day in bed. My current laptop is serving as a desktop computer, complete with all the peripherals attached to it, including the second screen. Unhooking everything from this bad boy would be an absolute nightmare, especially when I'm having health issues flaring up to the point that I can't sit at my desk anymore. So I'm looking for something new.

I don't know what the terminology is for what I'm looking for. Basically, I want a laptop. But I want it a little smaller and lighter, I want to be able to access the internet, save files, download, and maybe even handle some light Graphics work in something like canva. I'm a freelance writer, working on getting my business off the ground, Emmys hours upon hours in bed, not working, are driving me nuts.

what else, what else, what else? I would prefer something refurbished or used, to keep the cost down. I don't want to spend more than $200 on this, and I won't spend more than $250. I honestly don't know what that would get me, since I'm just starting the search now. I often get overwhelmed with all the results on Google, hence my coming to the hivemind and hoping y'all will have some answers for me.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad X series would fit the bill, probably an X-220. Plenty of refurbished ones available from resellers on Ebay and elsewhere, and around your budget mark too.
posted by Chairboy at 3:20 AM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Seconding the Thinkpad X-series... if only for their great keyboards. I have an X201 and it's perfect for me.
They're also very easy to install Linux on, if you're so inclined. A good way to make the hardware last longer, because many Linux-based OSses are more lightweight than a modern version of Windows.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:01 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm typing this from an X61, probably half a decade older than the X2xx models people are recommending. It runs fine, except it gets a little hot if I play a bunch of videos. (For a writer, this might be a feature!)

The main thing keeping me from upgrading is that this is the best keyboard I can get.

Also, it has a slightly taller aspect ratio and a matte screen, both of which are better for columns of text than video.

If you go for an X-series, note that they change to a standard chiclet-style keyboard at X230.

The ThinkWiki is a great place to look up hardware specs for older Thinkpad laptops. It's primarily for people looking to install Linux, which Thinkpads usually take very well, so if you decide to do that you'll be all set.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 6:30 AM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Jumping in on the Lenovo Thinkpad suggestions. I have an X130e I bought refurbished a couple of years ago off Woot that I carry to meetings, phonebanks, or into the yard. It runs my word processing, web browsing, a couple very light Steam games and my Slack channels just fine. It cost me $150.

I had to do some trouble shooting last year when the volume control display would not move from the center of my screen, but otherwise I have no problems with it. Battery life is still pretty good and although it takes longer to wake up or open and close large documents than my fancy new laptop does, it's fine and not at all frustrating.
posted by crush at 7:35 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes to a refurbished Lenovo. The X series are incredible.

Once you learn to love the nub*, you won't miss having a mouse when you're laptopping in bed.

If you want to go a cheaper-route, you can get a USB hub for your current machine - plug all of your peripherals into that so all you need to do is unplug the power and the hub then you can take your current laptop wherever you want.

Buy a cheap extra power supply from Amazon and leave that bedside so you can plug-in/ recharge without getting out of bed.

*the little red joystick in the middle of the keyboard that controls the mouse; there's also a trackpad but you can disable it if you find yourself accidentally brushing it
posted by porpoise at 8:24 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you want to go a cheaper-route, you can get a USB hub for your current machine

Or, not as cheap as an USB hub but quite likely cheaper than another laptop: a docking station. To which you can also connect the second screen plus a power supply (docking stations usually come with one). One click and the laptop is disconnected from all that.

Note that X-series Thinkpads (and most of the similar ultralight series by other manufacturers) don't have an optical drive, so if you tend to use one occasionally you would need either an optical USB drive or, in Thinkpad parlance, an Ultrabase, which can also kind of double as a docking station.

Anyway, n-thing the Thinkpad X suggestions.

If you go for an X-series, note that they change to a standard chiclet-style keyboard at X230.

For a chiclet keyboard, the Thinkpad ones are pretty good; most of the other ones seem to be holding a competition on which one can be worse than a Sinclair Spectrum keyboard.
posted by Stoneshop at 11:09 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Team Refurb Thinkpad. And I have had quite good luck on ebay, where there are lots of laptops that have come off corporate leases. I usually have to add RAM, but that is an easy task.
posted by theora55 at 12:25 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older Housing next steps   |   Resources for high functioning alcoholics Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.