Can you recommend a new laptop for me?
February 10, 2020 12:09 PM   Subscribe

It's time to start the search for a new laptop, and I'm hoping to get some recommendations! Pretty simple (I think) requirements inside:

These days I pretty much only use my computer to edit photos (hobbyist photographer), browse the internet, and watch DVDs. So requirements would be a DVD drive, a large and decent quality display, and fairly portable (not a million pounds).

Non-Apple computer is preferred: I have a MacBook currently but am trying to get away from Apple's walled garden. However, I also don't want a cluttered, user unfriendly operating system, so minimalist and simple is really important to me.

Budget is ideally around $500-600 but could take some time to save more if you have a computer that you truly love and highly recommend. Thanks for any recommendations you can give!
posted by carlypennylane to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Start on The Wirecutter's recommendations.
posted by blob at 12:38 PM on February 10

Big display =heavy laptop. I'd consider a separate monitor at home.
posted by theora55 at 1:28 PM on February 10

Also, you might get more time/ use out of your current laptop by bumping up the RAM, maybe getting an SSD (solid state drive). I use my old laptop to stream video in bed.
posted by theora55 at 1:48 PM on February 10

This Lenovo looks like it more or less meets your requirements, and is about as good a laptop as you can get from a reputable source inside your price range.

In general I think Windows 10 is mostly ok, but I would recommend making install media (using the tool you can get on the Microsoft website) and doing a complete wipe and OS install first thing in order to dodge the various manufacturer-installed malware-esque utilities that will be on the machine (and which would be on pretty much any new Windows machine; it's not a specific Lenovo problem and I would say they're about average as far as that goes).
posted by implied_otter at 2:02 PM on February 10

Are you processing Camera Raw photos? And/or working with very large photo files? If so, you may want some additional processing power (probably not doable in your $500 price range).
posted by hydra77 at 4:25 PM on February 10

Thanks to all for the suggestions so far! hydra77, I do sometimes deal with RAW photos, though I store them on an external hard drive. I will definitely take recommendations for computers that fit my requirements that are over budget if they're really good. This isn't an urgent need so I can take some time to save up if needed!
posted by carlypennylane at 7:16 PM on February 10

I wouldn't be too concerned about the dvd drive requirement. Mammonzon, err, Amazon has a ton of external bluray players (play dvds too).
posted by Chitownfats at 8:12 PM on February 10

I would also recommend ditching the optical drive and getting an external. Between ubiquitous streaming services and USB media in the order of terabytes, I've only really used a DVD drive for ripping media for the last six years or so. This will also keep you flexible if you decide to move back to Apple later.

I'd probably go with a used Thinkpad from within the last 5 years. They're user-serviceable if you're remotely handy, tend to hold decent resale value, and you can get one with an optical drive if that's really a dealbreaker.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:31 AM on February 11

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