Which laptop do you recommend?


#1

Hello friends,

I’m a long time Macbook user, and I’m planning to make a switch to a Linux based laptop. I’m somewhat familiar with Ubuntu, so I’ll perhaps go for that only. Which laptop would you recommend?

The usage will be programming, mostly web development using Rails. I never do any gaming or movie watching on the laptop, so I’m not keen on hardware optimized for that. I do however need good build quality, because my two year old will sometimes use it (actually she’ll climb on it, drop it or simply shut it :slight_smile: )

Long back there used to be a Thinkpad T-series that everyone was fond of. The hardware was great but heavy. I’m not sure if that is the case now. On Amazon and Flipkart I see the likes of Lenovo G-series and Dell-Inspirons (I think) selling well.

How much RAM works okay for typical Ubuntu setups? On the Macbooks these days, a 4GB non-SSD is a bit slow. Are there any good ones with SSDs? I’m used to a 13 inch screen, but I see the 15 inch being more mainstream in Linux world, is that the case?

Share your opinions/experiences please.

Edit: Budget is definitely a constraint, but for this discussion, lets assume its not.


#2

I would suggest any Lenovo business laptops which have at least 4 to 6 GB of ram and a i5 processor. I have not checked the prices but that should be around 50k to 55k. The advantage you get here is the great piece of hardware. I personally hate their touchpad but their keyboards are awesome. I would recommend that you look at it.


#3

Thinkpad is the obvious choice.
As Aravind suggessted, somewhere around 50k-60k.

Tough what you kid would like is the little red mouse scroller, in the middle of the keypad.

And please NO Dell Inspiron. I really hate those Dell laptops. They just get heated up too much, and 15 inch is too much for programming. I would still suggest a 14 inch.

Also HP keypads are really good.


#4

Thinkpad is the best option. If you want a lightweight machine you can go for thinkpad x series. it comes with ssd also. 8gb ram, 4th gen i5 or i7, 250 gb ssd or 1tb hdd, with no external graphic card would a perfect machine for GNU/linux. btw as aravind said their touchpad is kind of crappy but when comes to keyboard its as good as macbook pro. 15inch is bit too much I always wish I would have bought 14inch machine.


#5

I own a Thinkpad E530c, one from the lower-end Thinkpad edge series, got it for 42.5K in Feb 2014.Currently running gnome-ubuntu 14.04LTS, using it mainly for web development/RubyonRails. Never had any complaints, everything runs smooth.

Hardware specs that I have

Usually I would have one unicorn server, thin server, rails console, vim process, redis-server inside a tmux session, along with at least 15 tabs open in Firefox. The system status at this time would look as in the pic below(lot more tabs than 15).

Keyboard is really good, but the touchpad felt very delicate initially. It takes sometime to get familiar and productive with it, after that its the best. Any new person who uses my system will frown at the touchpad, as I do with theirs.

Build quality is good, but not sure if its good enough for your scenarios. It needs to be charged often, it takes just 2.5 - 3 hours to drain the complete battery. I believe that the battery performance would be good in the superior series like L, T, X, W. X series.

Since you want to move from Macbook, I would suggest laptops form Thinkpad T series or Thinkpad X series.

For a fact

ThinkPads are the only laptops certified for use at the International Space Station. (We never get tired of saying that.)

Links which I referred before buying
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7684775
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6973737


#6

Thanks for all the great answers guys. Looks like Lenovos are the most preferred choice.
I’ll check some more and post here if I find something interesting.

Thanks again


#7

Consider getting a second hand one. A lot of people throw away very good i3, i5 laptops because Windows runs slowly on them. GNU/Linux will run easily on hardware Windows users would normally consider low end.

Buying second hand will save a lot of money as well as prevent one more laptop from wasting away in a junkyard.

olx.in or quikr.com might be good places to look. Always verify and be satisfied with the laptop before paying, of course.


#8

@zerothabhishek Can you share the reason for trying out linux laptop? Is it for development purpose, where you need kernel level changes (say Cloud computing) or is it pure fun to play with a customisable OS ? Just curios :smile:


#9

Never get laptop with dual graphics solution(like Optimus). @ramaseshan i really like using dell xps 13(battery is really good).


#10

@arunisaac Good suggestion. Have never purchased from olx/quikr will give it a try this time.

vysakh0 Nothing that sophisticated. Just plain and simple Rails-development work. I will probably not customize anything other than the UI. Moving to Linux because I’m sort of fed-up of Mac-OS, and feel Linux(-es) are better than the Mac/Windows. I could be a little incorrect on the last part, lets see.

@samdraz Will keep that in mind. A little curious about the why though.


#11

@zerothabhishek

Well, I definitely think the GNU/Linuxes are better than Mac or Windows! :smile:


#12

I bought a Lenovo Thinkpad T420 second hand and I’ve been using it for 2 months with no major problems. I saw an ad in olx and went to Madurai from Trichy to meet with the seller and inspect. I bought the laptop for Rs.17.500 after memory testing using memtest and then testing the HDD smart data for error logs. Also checked the fan, display, all USB ports. The laptop seems to have been used for about 2.5 years though the seller claims it as 1 year. But then I consider it as a good deal as lenovo thinkpads have proven durability and are the only ones to qualify to be operated in ISS.

A few minor problems - the laptop came with a poor battery backup and duplicate charger. The charger fails to operate above 240V and had to replace it with another one.

Specs:
Intel core i5-2520M
4GB RAM
320GB HDD
Display 14.1" , 1600*900 resolution
Graphics card 1GB - but the graphics card performance is very poor for games.


#13

@solariiknight Thanks for sharing your experience


#14

Recently got a Dell Vostro from http://ubuntu.snapdeal.com/. Its good. Go get one.