Hi everyone, I'm looking into getting a new laptop for university work. Thanks to a scholarship, I can get up to $2000 covered off a laptop purchase (and I'd be willing to pay a few hundred more out-of-pocket too).
I plan on using this laptop primarily for basic web browsing, word processing, and Zoom calls. I may be playing some video games on it like Slay the Spire or Hollow Knight, but these aren't too demanding and most of my time will be spent working anyway. My use case shouldn't require a lot of processing power or a high-end dedicated GPU. After graduating, I'll have more consistent access to my desktop anyway, which already has a dedicated card for gaming and can easily be upgraded to suit my needs if I get into video editing or programming, which further reduces the need for a laptop that can do these things. In light of this, I'm looking primarily at a laptop that is lightweight, has a long battery life, good build quality, and a 14-inch screen, to upgrade from my current 13-inch. I haven't decided whether I'll be dual-booting Windows/Linux or running Linux only, but I do plan on running Linux so compatibility is important. Ports aren't a huge deal since there isn't much need for anything more than HDMI/USB on a college campus and I can get a docking station for post-graduation needs.
After lurking around on this forum and others, I've settled on a few potential options:
- Thinkpad X1 Carbon
- Thinkpad T14s
- System76 Lemur Pro
- MacBook M1 Air (added after suggestions, link to specs)
ThinkPads seem to offer the best build quality and potential to last years after purchase, so I'm leaning towards those, but System76 appears to have upgraded their build quality recently, and I just love their designs as well. Lenovo will be releasing the next-generation X1 Carbon soon, but it may be priced out of my range, and I'd like to purchase soon. Even the Carbon Gen 8 is above my price range, though as I understand it Lenovo usually offers discounts so I'm waiting for the sale on customizable builds (they already have discounts on pre-designed builds). I'm totally open to suggestions not on this list, and I've also read that purchasing refurbished ThinkPads can be the way to go, though I'd like to take full advantage of my budget if possible. If anyone has any experience with the above laptops, reason to recommend one over the other, or knows why I might want to wait on purchasing (e.g. for a release of next-gen hardware), please let me know!
basic hardware comparison
|blank||T14s||X1 Carbon (Gen 8)||Lemur Pro|
|starting weight (lbs)||2.8||2.4||2.4|
|advertised battery life (hrs)||13.6||13.5||14|
|Linux compatibility||compatible||Fedora pre-installed||Pop_OS! pre-installed|
edit: Table working now!
edit2: Thanks for all the suggestions and discussion everyone. I've yet to make a final decision but will update again later.