A 2019 Guide to Laptops
November 8, 2019 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I found a great deal on a laptop (I think!) but I'm woefully out of the game on what to be looking for. I want to use it for school, programming, some games. I mostly want it to last!

The laptop in question is an HP Spectre x360 on Best Buys site for $500 off the normal $1600. I dunno if I'm allowed to link it here because I don't want to seem like I'm shilling. But this looks like a great laptop and is well reviewed on tech sites. I really need something reliable for grad school and I love playing magic the gathering on my work laptop but that's not intense.

Years ago I bought a crappy laptop that fell apart and I hated it. I want to do better! Something that will last.

So like... are these specs at all decent? Or what should I really be paying attention to I suppose? Though if I bought this and it lasted years I'd be again out of the game when the time rolled around again...

HP Spectre x360 Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop:
NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card
10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U processor
16GB of DDR4 RAM
15.6-inch 4K display with touch support
512GB Intel SSD
posted by OnTheLastCastle to Technology (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'd say the plusses are:
good amount of system RAM, relatively big storage drive, medium processing power, big screen

The negatives:
underpowered graphics card for gaming (although probably fine for Magic the Gathering), and the specs show it's 4.7 lb.

Battery life. I've seen 84 WHr for battery size, which is fairly big for a laptop but a lot of factors go into what that means for actual real-world time (processor + graphics card + screen brightness + your app usage.)

4.7 pounds is really heavy in my book if you're lugging it to grad school classes or the library everyday, but if you're intending it to mostly sit on your desk at home that could be more feasible. (That's up to personal preference-- I'm willing to give up screen size to have a lighter backpack.)
posted by bluecore at 11:04 AM on November 8, 2019

I think that 4k display is probably more than you need for a 15" laptop and if you can find something identical that's just hd it would likely be cheaper (well discount aside at any rate) and you'd see better battery life. (which is not to say such a model exists, I have no idea)

Also you may be paying a slight weight premium for the fact that it's a 2-in-1. If tablet use is not key to how you see yourself using it (and 4.7 lbs seems like it'd be way too much for that purpose anyways) you might be able to get the same specs in a lighter package without it.
posted by juv3nal at 12:33 PM on November 8, 2019

I have meta-advice, which is that by far the best resource I know of is the /r/suggestalaptop Discord server. It's filled with people who have nuanced opinions about the build quality and internal component quality of the different apparently identical laptops on the market, and who have accumulated huge amounts of anecdata about the virtues and demerits of the existing laptop lines.

I would see what they have to say about the HP Spectres.
posted by value of information at 5:03 PM on November 8, 2019

For what it's worth, my colleague's HP Spectre x360 suddenly died yesterday. HP support were excellent and managed to retrieve the files but they had to loan him a temporary laptop. No one knows how exactly it happened, but we suspect it was due to a power surge from an external monitor. It was connected to the laptop with an HDMI cable.
posted by far flung at 10:07 PM on November 8, 2019

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