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I'm in the market for a new laptop or chromebook and looking for a bit of advice from my fellow brickpickers.

Too much backstory: I grew up using Macs in the 90s because my dad was an elementary school teacher spearheading the use of computers in education in his district. I used an iBook in college that had so many problems, it was awful, but it was mine, then I got a real nice Macbook Pro with my first paycheck after college and it was quite good, only had it's logic board replaced once! All this time I was using Windows workstations for GIS and I became disillusioned with Apple as a megacorporation. My current laptop is a 2016 Razer Blade because I wanted a nice Apple-like form factor but also ports without dongles and thought I'd have time to play video games. Well, this computer runs awesome, but something about it waking up while closed for updates or something basically cooks the batteries and ruins them - so I'm on my fifth battery in four years and it's just failed so time to replace this computer and probably also the battery.

I use my laptop for browsing the internet with 10-25 tabs open (oh hello ADHD): Inventory and Sales in Google Sheets, many tabs of this forum, several different stores, bricklink, Gmail, FBMarketplace. Nothing particularly intensive, just a lot of things at once.

I'm considering a mid-level $400 or so Chromebook perhaps with tablet functionality - would be nice to have a good screen to display downloaded Lego instructions. I've also heard great things about the new Apple M1 chip and that the next generation of Macbook Pro might have functional ports built right into the computer!  I'm also open to sticking with Windows, though I don't have a ton invested in that.

TLDR: The battery in my laptop died so I can't do my work! Any recommendations?

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18 minutes ago, keymomachine said:

I'm in the market for a new laptop or chromebook and looking for a bit of advice from my fellow brickpickers.

Too much backstory: I grew up using Macs in the 90s because my dad was an elementary school teacher spearheading the use of computers in education in his district. I used an iBook in college that had so many problems, it was awful, but it was mine, then I got a real nice Macbook Pro with my first paycheck after college and it was quite good, only had it's logic board replaced once! All this time I was using Windows workstations for GIS and I became disillusioned with Apple as a megacorporation. My current laptop is a 2016 Razer Blade because I wanted a nice Apple-like form factor but also ports without dongles and thought I'd have time to play video games. Well, this computer runs awesome, but something about it waking up while closed for updates or something basically cooks the batteries and ruins them - so I'm on my fifth battery in four years and it's just failed so time to replace this computer and probably also the battery.

I use my laptop for browsing the internet with 10-25 tabs open (oh hello ADHD): Inventory and Sales in Google Sheets, many tabs of this forum, several different stores, bricklink, Gmail, FBMarketplace. Nothing particularly intensive, just a lot of things at once.

I'm considering a mid-level $400 or so Chromebook perhaps with tablet functionality - would be nice to have a good screen to display downloaded Lego instructions. I've also heard great things about the new Apple M1 chip and that the next generation of Macbook Pro might have functional ports built right into the computer!  I'm also open to sticking with Windows, though I don't have a ton invested in that.

TLDR: The battery in my laptop died so I can't do my work! Any recommendations?

I recently bought 3 Chromebooks for the household...here was my process:

I first research if computing power (which define the price points) was even necessary for a Chromebook used mainly for browsing.  Answer: Heck Yeah...the practical application for my household: wife opens a ton of tabs (I don't get this) and the ichips (preferably i5 or better) plus at least 4 gigs of RAM allows for two things that matter to her: fast page loading and accurate and fast touch screen.

We originally went w/ the Samsung flagship ($800)...returned it cuz it was "more show than go" (poor battery life due to its "dazzling display" was a deal breaker), settled on a mid-level Lenovo ($500) and she loves it...and she typically hates EVERYTHING tech; especially new tech.  The Costco Lenovos are priced OK and we can always return it.  couple things i hate about the Lenovos is the certain units have dedicated recharge ports (I hate bringing 3 chargers on trips) and the hinge pinches my (hopefully) leg when I open it. 

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8 minutes ago, $20 on joe vs dan said:

I recently bought 3 Chromebooks for the household...here was my process:

I first research if computing power (which define the price points) was even necessary for a Chromebook used mainly for browsing.  Answer: Heck Yeah...the practical application for my household: wife opens a ton of tabs (I don't get this) and the ichips (preferably i5 or better) plus at least 4 gigs of RAM allows for two things that matter to her: fast page loading and accurate and fast touch screen.

We originally went w/ the Samsung flagship ($800)...returned it cuz it was "more show than go" (poor battery life due to its "dazzling display" was a deal breaker), settled on a mid-level Lenovo ($500) and she loves it...and she typically hates EVERYTHING tech; especially new tech.  The Costco Lenovos are priced OK and we can always return it.  couple things i hate about the Lenovos is the certain units have dedicated recharge ports (I hate bringing 3 chargers on trips) and the hinge pinches my (hopefully) leg when I open it. 

Thanks! This is super helpful to me! I was actually considering the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook as I can get it for ~$500 right now with my wife's educator discount, do you think that'd be worth it?

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1 hour ago, keymomachine said:

I'm in the market for a new laptop or chromebook and looking for a bit of advice from my fellow brickpickers.

Too much backstory: I grew up using Macs in the 90s because my dad was an elementary school teacher spearheading the use of computers in education in his district. I used an iBook in college that had so many problems, it was awful, but it was mine, then I got a real nice Macbook Pro with my first paycheck after college and it was quite good, only had it's logic board replaced once! All this time I was using Windows workstations for GIS and I became disillusioned with Apple as a megacorporation. My current laptop is a 2016 Razer Blade because I wanted a nice Apple-like form factor but also ports without dongles and thought I'd have time to play video games. Well, this computer runs awesome, but something about it waking up while closed for updates or something basically cooks the batteries and ruins them - so I'm on my fifth battery in four years and it's just failed so time to replace this computer and probably also the battery.

I use my laptop for browsing the internet with 10-25 tabs open (oh hello ADHD): Inventory and Sales in Google Sheets, many tabs of this forum, several different stores, bricklink, Gmail, FBMarketplace. Nothing particularly intensive, just a lot of things at once.

I'm considering a mid-level $400 or so Chromebook perhaps with tablet functionality - would be nice to have a good screen to display downloaded Lego instructions. I've also heard great things about the new Apple M1 chip and that the next generation of Macbook Pro might have functional ports built right into the computer!  I'm also open to sticking with Windows, though I don't have a ton invested in that.

TLDR: The battery in my laptop died so I can't do my work! Any recommendations?

I'd recommend the Macbook Air M1. Amazing battery life. Amazing screen. Great keyboard & the best trackpad of all time. Plus the M1 is a beast. I have one along with the new iMac. Highly recommended. Plus they always sell well in the used market if you don't like it. 

Well worth the extra money IMO. 

Edit: Plus if you buy on the educators discount its $900 plus free airpods. Sell those off for 70$ and bring the computer down to $840. I know its above your intended budget but thought I'd give my opinion since you mentioned the M1.  

Edited by dennugsmello
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13 minutes ago, dennugsmello said:

I'd get the Macbook Air M1. Great battery life. Great screen. Great keyboard & trackpad. Plus the M1 is a beast. I have one and the new iMac.  Highly recommended. Plus they always sell well in the used market if you don't like it. 

Well worth the extra money IMO. 

My wife has been using the same MacBook Air 13" since 2013. She somehow taught her classes remotely from it for the past year. If I don't like it, I guess I could just give it to her!

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With laptops, a lot of things come down to personal preference: size, weight, portable vs powerful, etc. 

Thankfully, more and more things are cloud-based, so if you really think 99% would be doable with Chrome, you might be good.
As much as I love Chromebooks, there's always a time when I need to run a full-blown Windows/Mac app or want to load a game and say, "I need a real computer."
So for me, a Chromebook is still an accessory, not a replacement. I do love their simplicity though, near instant-on and updates/security.

I was going to mention the other point that Chromebooks have an end-of-life with support, much like phones and tablets. However, they've extended how long updates last, and I believe I read the Galaxy Chromebooks should be covered until 2028.

Mistakes I've made in the past:
Buying a device with not enough storage & RAM and was non-upgradeable
Buying a laptop with decent-sized screen, overlooking the resolution was <1920x1080
Buying a 17" monster that was 10LBs and carried to work every day.
Buying 10-11" laptops for portability but were too small and/or underpowered.

I've gone all directions of large and small, desktop vs laptop vs Chromebook, and it's very hard to have one device that fits all needs (so I have all 3). It all circles back to personal preference and needs.

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1 hour ago, keymomachine said:

Thanks! This is super helpful to me! I was actually considering the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook as I can get it for ~$500 right now with my wife's educator discount, do you think that'd be worth it?

my wife was far from a "power user" and the battery didn't last a full day

its selling point is the graphics...if that's not a high priority I think when I read reviews, there are settings to reduce the video quality to prolong battery life.

$500 is not bad, but I have a feeling it's going to go on sale for that (to the masses) in the fall.  It's light, very sleek, and lit keyboards is a nice touch...very responsive w/ an i5 and 8 gig ram...can't get anything close to that for less than $700

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42 minutes ago, lodibricks said:

.
As much as I love Chromebooks, there's always a time when I need to run a full-blown Windows/Mac app or want to load a game and say, "I need a real computer."

I've gone full circle...on my Windows laptop I need to run an app but ofcourse it's not compatible w/ Windows...I need a Chromebook!

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14 minutes ago, lodibricks said:

Thankfully, more and more things are cloud-based, so if you really think 99% would be doable with Chrome, you might be good.
As much as I love Chromebooks, there's always a time when I need to run a full-blown Windows/Mac app or want to load a game and say, "I need a real computer."

Yeah, I totally get this. I'm not getting rid of this laptop, just probably keep it plugged in somewhere if I suddenly want to play some games or need a windows app. I'm looking for something easier to take around the house (to the basement) to be closer to the bricks and boxes. 

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Looked at a Samsung Chromebook 4+ at Walmart today, keyboard seemed pretty nice, I opened a bunch of Walmart tabs and google maps and it seemed like a competent machine despite the Celeron processor. However, it had a TN display with some of the worst viewing angles I've ever seen, so even at $154 I had to pass.

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1 hour ago, keymomachine said:

Looked at a Samsung Chromebook 4+ at Walmart today, keyboard seemed pretty nice, I opened a bunch of Walmart tabs and google maps and it seemed like a competent machine despite the Celeron processor. However, it had a TN display with some of the worst viewing angles I've ever seen, so even at $154 I had to pass.

Yeah, I didn't touch mentioning TN vs IPS displays. I remember designing a website with a blue background, then tilted the screen and now it's purple. Can't trust a screen that looks different at every angle. 😛

Also, once experiencing the speed of NVME SSDs, it's hard to go back to slower disks.
Watch that budget goal slowly creep up. 😐

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  • 1 month later...

Update: I ended up replacing the battery in the Razer Blade for the sixth time and this one seems to be delivering longer battery life than others before it. Got a refund from the last battery seller as well, so basically came out even.

So buying a new one isn't really as pressing, as the 6th gen i7 and 16 gb of RAM is still up to the task and then some.

I also used Stud.io for the first time a couple weeks ago and that's more or less convinced me I should get a Windows or Mac laptop rather than a Chromebook. 

Thanks for your help, everyone!

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