Can you recommend a new laptop?

December 3rd, 2010 by Alistair MacDonald Leave a reply »

About a month ago my good old Sony Vaio laptop started playing up and kept crashing and refusing to switch on. It has served me well over the last 5 years but it is now time for an upgrade.

The trouble is that I am a bit out of the loop when it comes to hardware and I could do with your advice and recommendations. I need a laptop that is good for a variety of development. Some of this is for the Windows environment but this can be dine in a virtual machine if needed. I think a decent keyboard without a strange layout is my main requirement.

I have had a good experience with my last two Vaios so would like to stick with them, but there are not any in the range that tempt me at the moment, and they are not cheep, so I am looking at other options.

Suggestions so far, with reasons why I have not just gone with it…

  • Apple MacBook Pro – Expensive. Nice hardware but really expensive.
  • Dell Vostro – Can be really nice machines, but really bad experiences with defective hardware and Dell support on many occasions. Would not want to buy direct because of it.
  • HP – Nothing really wrong with HP and we had several at the office. Just a bit boring.
  • Lenovo ThinkPad – Used IBM ThinkPads in the past and was not overly taken by them, but that was a long time ago.
  • Toshiba Satellite Pro – Again nothing really wrong, just a but boring.

So, what would you recommend and why. Also what else should I be looking out for in terms of processor, chipset, or anything else.



  1. Pete Hindle says:

    You could try a Thinkpad for longevity – reflow repairs ( over in Fenham are nice people. If you really want that shiny new hardware smell, I would recommend a MacBook – not the MacBook Pro, just the MacBook. It’s £150 pounds cheaper and almost the same.

  2. A MacBook Air 11inch is well worth investigating. Light, small, compact, durable, battery lasts forever, no moving parts… I got the bottom of the range, and it is clearly superior to the MacBook Pro. Try one out for size, and join those of us who prefer our OS based on Unix… ;)

  3. @adambanksdotcom says:

    Last two laptops I bought were HP. Keyboard is the big difference from similar rivals – much less flimsy. Also nice design touches and great customer service – replaced two dead batteries so far (I don’t blame mfrs for duff batteries, the technology is dodgy) without any questions. MacBooks are streets ahead of anything else for build quality, but the non-Pro MacBook is still plastic and not really in the same league IMHO.

  4. aefaradien says:

    I I have been looking for a new laptop for 6 months with no success… so good luck! But then I am a hard-core Ubuntu fan and don’t want to give any sales figures to either Apple or MS.
    I use a thinkpad at work because that is what i was issued. it works well and everything plays nice with Ubuntu… I just don’t think the high price lenovo charge is worth it given the shody build quality.

  5. Q says:

    Toshiba every time.
    They need upgrading before they die. They simply last and last. The Tosh tools are well worth having as well.

  6. Paul J White says:

    Ha, I laugh at anyone who maintains MacBooks are well built these days. In the past, yes, but I hear of almost daily fails, and a friend is on to his 4th screen in under two years.
    What you probably need is not flash, but bulletproof. Ubuntu, dual boot into Win7 when you need to. Any of the mid range Toshibas, or Dell business range would be a pragmatic choice. I’ve used both, and we equipped Hotspur School with about £25K of them. Very, very low incidence of problems.

    Of course, we know Alistair is going to read all this and go his own sweet way, as usual :)

  7. A quick thank you to all of you for your help and recommendations. I am about to post a about what I went for and my initial review of it.

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