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Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:11 pm

It seems to me finding a Quality built laptop from anyone these days is a difficult thing. Sure we can throw some names out there that most of us seem to associate with quality (What comes to mind is Asus, Toshiba, Lenovo). Unfortunately all of these companies seem to put out 100's of different models, some of which have a dozen variations of the same model. I feel like its a crap shoot when purchasing a laptop on whether it is designed to last. It used to not feel this bad, but with the current inexpensive cost associated with mobile computing, it seems like everyone and their brother is making laptops. Anyone know of a good place that reviews the designs of laptops and their value and quality of build. I know that their was that one website that broken down the new MacBook Air and said what they believed its worth and ease to repair was. I'm trying to find a way to determine a laptops reliability without just simply reading other users reviews or hoping for the best. Even the brand names I mentioned above have had a slew of troubled machines that totally detracted from their otherwise attractive builds.

Anyone come across a certain brand and model that they believe is rock solid (not just a brand in general). Looking for the most part to stay $800 and below, nothing ultra high performance, just a good everyday web surfing, video watching, office productivity, college student like Laptop.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:06 pm

I was too looking for a laptop at the $800 price range but maybe is my old age, lugging a 5lb laptop is not too comfortable for me. It seems anything at that price range seems to weigh a little too much for my shoulder. The closest candidate on my list was the dell laptops and the Vizio thin an light. It seems nowadays, no one makes a decent laptop. The ones that have a good cpu give you minimal ram that's not upgradable or they give you good cpu and 8gig ram but they give you a horrible TN screen...I'm not too picky about the design, but I do want something that doesn't feel like it will crack into a million pieces if it gets banged the wrong way.

I just ordered a Lenovo Yoga 13" in orange. I did my research by lurking in forums like notebookreivew to read on user experiences. I almost pulled the trigger on a Samsung Series 9 13" but the 4gig ram (soldered onboard, not upgradable) was a deal breaker for me. From what I've read of people's experience, it seems like a solid laptop with great build quality.

This seems to fit in your price range and the specs look good. But I have yet to find any credible reviews or in-depth user experiences so I was hesitant to pull the trigger.

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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:30 pm

I like/trust Asus, Lenovo, and Apple for good build quality. But when you get into budget laptops (say $600 and below), even those companies have to make sacrifices. That also doesn't mean that other companies can't make well-built laptops.

When you say you want a "rock solid" computer, are you just reffering to physical durability? The problem that I see with your request is that there are a million different aspects that go into determining a laptop's worth, each being just as subjective as the next. Some examples: included hardware, touchpad quality/response, keyboard feel, and screen quality, chassis material to name a few. Generally "business/professional - series" laptops feature a higher build quality and durability than "consumer-grade" laptops. If you want to take it a bit further, you can look at military-grade if you want to throw your laptop around a lot. The durability you require could also be different than what someone else needs. If you frequently expose your laptop to harsh conditions, physical abuse, drops, etc and my laptop sits on a desk 100% of the time without opening/closing the lid I could make a much less durable laptop last longer than your "ultra-durable" one.

You also have to keep in mind that as you're stepping up in durability with better hinges, stronger materials (than plastic), etc you're adding cost that will have to be balanced by less capable hardware to ring in at the same price point. You want to find a balance where your chassis will survive long enough for the hardware inside to go obsolete (also subjective). Buying a laptop chassis that will last 10 years with hardware that is barely capable of keeping pace with todays' tasks is obviously not worthwhile.

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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:40 pm

Two excellent laptop review sites are: ... .48.0.html

I think a great laptop is the Lenovo Thinkpad x230. The two above sites have reviews of the x230. To get an IPS screen, choose the "Premium HD" display option (adds only $50 to cost): ... ction=init

To get the lowdown on what components are in the dizzying array of Lenovo Thinkpads, get this PDF:

Good luck.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:53 pm

That Lenovo looks nice.

I am in the market since my wife's HP Mini died, and she hates the keyboard on my HP DM3. Thinkpads are probably still the best built laptops out there.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:54 pm

Thinkpad T Series and MacBooks are the only lines that you can confidently buy any reasonably recent version of.
For anything else you should investigate the particular model.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:02 pm

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Sager/Clevo.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:06 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Sager/Clevo.

I think Clevos are good but the last thing that springs to mind is "Quality Built". They are the very definition of generic, with generic screens, generic keyboards, generic styling and generic plastics. What Clevo lets you do that others don't is tailor a laptop far more than anyone else, one component at a time.

I'm on my 2nd Clevo and both of them could be called good value, adequate quality and tastefully styled, but really the word that best describes them is mediocre. When you consider that there are plenty of bad laptops out there with horrific screens, spongy keyboards, driver and bios issues, woeful cooling and a wealth of reliability issues, "mediocre" suis me just fine.

If you want real build quality get a Macbook pro and stick Windows on it, a Dell XPS15 if you want one that's pre-Windowed, or fork out for a business-class HP Elitebook. Whist most Asus laptops are in the same quality-league as Quantas and Clevo (in other words, plasticky but serviceable), their Ultrabooks are really rather special, I have kind of fallen in love with the UX31A which basically gets me the screen spaces I used to have in a 17" model, but in something half the size and weight and with 5 hours of battery, not two.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:03 pm

vandy wrote:

I bought a VIZIO thin and light ultrabook and found out that the screen is great, the crapware-free Windows installation is great, but the quality of every other component, particularly the keyboard and the track/mouse is the worst I've ever seen, worse even than I thought it was possible to produce. Worse still, the range of wireless Internet access is far lower than any other laptops currently residing in my house. I loath my VIZIO and highly recommend running, not walking, as far away from this steaming turd as you can. Put another way, my VIZIO is the worst laptop (by far) I've ever owned, and I've owned a Dell Inspiron 5150.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:15 am

Every company makes a few lemons, so I always research a particular model and even wait until there are enough of them out there to see how they fare with end users. I can agree that quality is generally good with Apple, Asus, and Lenovo hardware. If you find a deal on the Lenovo x230 you can get a very portable, functional machine with a solid keyboard. Having a good keyboard has proven to be so much more important than I ever expected. Go with the IPS option if the display is at all important to you, though. Speaking from experience, the contrast and viewing angles on the x230's basic display are not so good.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:47 am

NoahC wrote:
always research a particular model...<snip>
....Lenovo x230 <snip>
....solid keyboard <snip>
....the contrast and viewing angles on the x230's basic display are not so good.

Sound advice. Early Lenovo were keeping the IBM Thinkpad legend alive but now they're content to release so-so models that are average in all respects except keyboard, which is still a pretty important part, admittedly I'm noticing more flex in their chassis and the build-quality of connectors seems to have lowered over time too. They seem to have moved away from their core strengths by chasing the silly "thin and light" market when really people are more worried about "nice to use and good battery life"
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:08 am

An i5 Dell XPS14 ultrabook might fit your needs. Build quality on par with MacBook Pro, really solid. Not sure about US prices though...
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:49 am

It really depends for what the laptop is going to be used. Then of course the budget, but these days you can get a good quality laptop without spending much money.

I'm very pleased with my Acer Aspire V5 571p laptop. I have it for only two months though.
I agree that Lenovo laptops are really good builds, they may be slightly more expensive but they're good.
I've had bad experience with a HP laptop, the battery died very fast. They generally have bad reviews
Macbook Pros are stable laptops and function very well for daily tasks. I had the chance to own one too.

For others I can't really comment because I haven't tried them on long term.

This one is a decent laptop for the price:


If you're a student, these might suit you well:
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:32 am


I've been looking for something to replace my dell lat 820? for years.

crap screens and insane power envelopes on ultra books drove me crazy.

Even high end models like the Lenovo X-1 made you make stupid can get the high-end cpu, but only if you get 4GB of memory. If you want 8GB of memory, you have to step down a CPU because INTEL knows better than you. :evil: The loss of that 10 minutes of battery time is not acceptable.

Anyway, to heck with their BS restrictions and artificial limits on screen size(for price but also because the INTEL IGP can't really drive anything higher)...just try and find a 1920x1600 screen that my 8 year old laptop has. :wink: the lenovo w530...bought 32GB of memory on sale at Newegg for $100, and have a 500GB Samsung 840 on the way for $330.

all told, I7 3720,1920x1080,Quadro k2000m, 32 GB 1600 cas 10, and a 500 GB ssd, along with the 500GB hdd for back-up;
all for less than $2000. :P

Out of your price range I know, but $1000 less than what you would pay for the same APPLE. (and you can only get 16GB at time of purchase)

Also lighter than I expected...same as my daughter's mac pro ret.
(power brick is substantial however)

anyway...the day I can't carry 6# is the day I start either physical therapy at the gym or check into the nursing home. :wink:

Built like a tank and built to last...not instant failure when the installed(non-replaceable battery in the Mac)fails.

F their ultra books :evil:
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:21 am

Lenovo is ok. I was a huge fan of theirs for a long time and bought Thinkpads for a while. However, those were all used. Then I bought a new one in mid '11. It was a pretty expensive T420s model. The machine was decent, except a crappy screen. But it had the motherboard replaced twice by now. Reliability was iffy at best. Needless to say I'm a little disappointed and might look for something different next time.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:46 am

Buy a used Macbook Pro with a dual or quad core processor and stick windows on it.

Search Craigslist.

Lots of Apple fanatics want the latest and greatest and sell their 1 or 2 yr old perfect condition MBP at deep discounts.
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Re: Quality Built Laptop

Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:54 am

Yeah, like others have said, it really comes down to model.
Everyone is trying to get cheaper and cheaper.
First Laptop I bought was a MicronXKP.
It was$4000, back in 99? but kept it 8 years. Still booted last I checked. (insane slowness)

If you want something substantial, you are going to pay a little more and need to carry a little more weight.
That is why I always end up with business/WS class laptops.

I'm not willing to spend $1000 to $2000 on a toy that needs replacing every two years.
My Dell still works from 2005. I pulled the HD and installed it as a VM on the new machine. :lol:
On the other hand, I don't need a $6000 WS from HP either.
$1500 for great bones, and the ability to upgrade as I want seems to be the sweet spot for me.
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lightweight, but not slow or thin for the sake of dumb marke

Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:14 pm

I had a x220T, decided the tablet thing wasn't for me so I just got a x230. Its definitely sturdier than the consumer pure plastic builds without being too heavy. (Low 3lbs or less, much of the lower chassis is magnesium alloy)

It doesn't use the slower <2ghz "ultrabook" cpus but standard speed 35W cpus, so mid-high 2.x ghz with a >3 ghz turbo is the norm. Various battery configurations, 4/6/9 cell.

Last week, lenovo retail store had a pretty big discount, it was better than their BF deals IMO.

Right now, there are a good count of heavily discounted x230s on the outlet, and quite a few of them have IPS screens. If you stick to the new condition models, they really are still new in the box with a fresh 1yr warranty that starts from your purchase.

I even saw some SSD+IPS configs around $700, hell of a deal IMO.
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