Need thoughts on some laptops im looking at

Looking for a new laptop. What I know I want: 12 to 14 inches, 16+Gigs of ram, 256Gigs+ of storage. I want something small a light weight. I havent used Windows in about a year, had bad expirences with it last year with multiple machines. My buddy convinced me to give them another go, but Im not willing to try Windows on my main device, so Im willing to consider windows on a secondary device. My buddy has the Surfacebook 2 and the Surface GO, stated he had no issues with them and I figured being Microsoft devices they probably work well with Windows. On a secondary note I have read its not nessarily that hard to install Ubuntu on them if all else fails. I also provided some non Windows options that Im considering as well.

*The dock column is just to notate that I might need a USB-C dock for extra ports or for video out. I may at some point have an extra external monitor to use with my laptop while in bed.

** The Price columns are with Accidental damange coverage and without, both include the 6% Michigan sales tax Ill have to pay.

*** The rows that are crossed out are machines Ive marked off the list due to cost. While I could afford them as I have been working thru the apocalypse and have not really been going out, I just cant justfisy paying nearly $3K for any machine, unless its a custom desktop.

Whats your budget?
Whats your use-cases for a laptop?
What phone do you have?

Use case is just surfing, streaming and that kinda of stuff. Maybe digitizing and transcoding some movies for my Plex server. Maybe some light gaming but gaming is not the number one concern.

Budget wise, the laptops listed are at prices Im OK with, so.

Phone wise I have an iPhone.

I was kinda leaning towards the Surfacebook 3. It has a dGPU which means I could do light gaming, as I think my friend is missing his gaming partner. But Im pretty much open to anything. For the last year or so I have used Ubuntu on my desktop (Primary machine).

If you’re going for 13" presumably your looking for something portable and relatively light weight?

I’ll be honest, in my opinion, if those are concerns for you, and that’s the size you want, just don’t worry about gaming, its not worth it. Unless light gaming means rouge lights and point and click adventures, in which case any laptop will do. (put a new GPU in your desktop if it needs it instead for gaming)

The SurfaceBook is nice, its an interesting concept, but not light weight. It’s bulkier as well, and not really worth it unless you actually want a tablet also? (if you do want a tablet, that can also be a laptop (but heavier) then its worth a look)

Get a MacBook. Id consider if you actually need a MacBook Pro. the Air is even lighter, thought to be honest the pro is light enough in my opinion. You can’t really beat the integration either.

Unless there’s more info that could help you make a decision. Personally id really consider if you really want to game on a laptop, especially if you already have a desktop.


By gaming I would mean like Stardew Valley and maybe Killing Floor 2 (maybe). Might pickup Diablo 1 on GOG however if I go windows. Its an old game I wish to play again. I dont play AAA titles and I stick to mostly the indie titles. But I do have a Nintendo swtich. Also my desktop is a 2600x, 16 gigs of ram and a RX5700, so its no slouch, but Ubuntu does limit the gaming expirence becuase some games dont perform well.

By light weight I mean doesnt weigh as much as a gaming laptop. I figure the surfacebook can weigh nearly as much as my 15" Lenovo y50-70 did, that thing was a pain to lug around.

Well Ill be using this in bed, so it might be a good feature. Ive never used WIndows with a touch screen so Im not sure how well it works in a tablet environment. I just figured with a GTX1660 it would be a nice dip back in to the WIndows pool as Id be able to do a little bit more with it, if I choose.

The issue I have with the Air is the high end model with the quadcore is like $1200 which is the same price as the lowest end Pro, but the pro comes with an 8th gen chip vs the 10th gen. My other concern is with Apples quality, Ive watched Loius Rossmann, so I know Apple doesnt nessarily mean qualtiy, at least on Computers, the iPhone is the best phone I have ever had. Besides calls what else does the Intergration with the iphone provide? Also be mindful I have never used MacOS, so what are some things I should be aware of there?

can you deal with or want macos? i say this as a massive macos fanboy.
and personally i think macos is worth it (there is a 1 week or so adjustment period for new macos users) but…

if not then don’t think about booting a mac into windows and expecting the same sort of battery life, etc. macbooks CAN run windows in boot camp but the drivers are nowhere near as good in terms of battery life, trackpad palm rejection, etc.

i’d pick the mac, but i’m a mac user.

i’d rule out the surface machines due to bad experience with surface products (basically frequent hardware failure and totally shit tier hardware support; dell support is 10x better) personally so no mac = get the XPS, unless you plan to run macos.

linux and ubuntu on brand new mac hardware is normally a shit show, and i don’t think linux will even work on any new mac with a t2 security chip yet. so again. mac = macos unless in a VM.

i’ve got an i7 2020 air myself. it’s light use only. i do dabble in xcode but if that is a primary use case definitely go pro. . if you want to do more than basic terminal plus web stuff i’d recommend stepping to the pro as it has much better cooling potential and higher watt processors. the air WILL do that stuff. but it will be louder and slower at doing it than a pro.

battery life will generally be better tho and it will put out less heat into the chassis/you due to the lower power processor in it. so better LAP top but less powerful and the pro is better as a portable you move from desk to desk.

depends what you want. do like the air form factor, weight, etc. just don’t expect it (or any ice lake 9-12 watt laptop) to be a power house. because they aren’t.

Hey there,
I personally would wait for more Ryzen 4000 notebooks to come out as the Lenovo something 14-ARE is cheap as f for what you’re getting and can be upgraded to over 32GB, has a massive battery 512GB of storage, you can save 100 bucks for not getting windows pre-installed, it can play games and the screen ain’t bad either!

Surfacebook weights significantly more than the mac of the xps.

It’s fine, great if your a big one note user or artist. But its no ipad which is better (imo) for a general use touch screen.

That suggestion really comes down to portability, sure spec wise its on the lower end, but with that comes a lighter laptop.

The only real issue ive heard of is the potential keyboard issue from their old keyboard design, thats now gone with the new models.

Keep in mind while im not disregarding the issues Louis brings up, he only ever gets to see broken laptops.

icloud is good at keeping your stuff in sync

This also gives a good overview of their ‘continuity’ stuff.

The big ones that i find most useful are the following

  • universal copy/paste - for example, i can copy a piece of text on one device and paste it on another
  • AirDrop - does what it says, easily send files to and from devices. You may have used it if you have family with iphones, same thing, except it works across all apple devices.
  • instant hotspot integration is really good. Other platforms have something similar but this is Apples usual Just Works ™
  • continuity camera - supported in many apps and integrated into OSX, allows you to capture documents or photos directly from your iPhone or ipad straight into your mac.

Its a Unix OS not Linux. Keeping that in mind, while the terminal will be extremely familiar it will not be exactly the same. ( Its still more like Linux than it is Windows in many respects)

The OS filesystem structure is obviously different as well.

Theres a different command layout that will take some learning

Microsoft Edge is great if you want a chromium based browser (edge on ios is also very good btw). Safari is good, but it may not provide everything you want.

(Microsoft apps all work really well on both iOS and OSX.)

The way of working is a little different. Generally all very much the same, but you can also tag your files (you already have this on iOS)

For the OS its self, honestly apart from some of the above, different file system, different commands etc. its all very much similar.

For a Linux or Windows system.

On the Linux side, integration is difficult to non-existent. You’ll very much have two separate devices.

On Windows there is some integration. OneDrive is generally quite good, similar to iCloud. If you’re using Microsoft apps on a Windows and iOS device you’ll find a decent amount of integration that will just make your life easier.

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Does standard Google Chrome not exist on MacOS? Sorry but Microsoft had its chance with web browsers. Internet Explorer still haunts my dreams. So browser wise will be between Google and Apple products.

Does Safari support extenstions or at the very least offer Ad blocking and Lastpass? is Apple care worth it? I have broken a laptop before. But on my last two I never had to use the extneded warraney/Accidental damage. One last thing, what should I look for in a Type C Dock? I may or may not buy one, it will depend more on if I want hook up to an external monitor or not at a later date.

Ill probably just get the pro I listed above as I think the air is a bit too anemic for me when it comes to performance. As Ill be probably using this machine for at least 3 to 5 years. Id imangine 16 gigs of ram should be enough?

It does, it just depends how much you want google in your life.

This is a bad position to take as you’ll loose out on good software because of old personal bias. Edge is based on Chromium but with better integration into the Microsoft world, it also has some unique features to Edge being built which look interesting.

Quite frankly if you want a chromium based browser you simply do not need to use Chrome and be stuck with Google anymore, they all render web pages the same and the new Edge works quite well (hence the recommendation as a chromium based browser). It works with chrome plugins as well.

Yes to both.

Thats probably personal preference and depends on what existing insurance you already have.

It really depends on what you need. Some monitors have Type-C and dont require a dock of any sort.

I have a little lenovo type-c hub with USB PD etc. great for hooking up to non type-c devices and sd cards etc. has hdmi as well.

But you can also go the opposite end with desk hubs that are $200~ and have all the bells and whistles.

Used to be an Android user up till 1.5 years ago. So Google is still a big part of my life. I exclusivly use Googles produtivity software as its Free. Plus I heavily use Hangouts as it works on all OS’s. Though I also use Discord in some instances so I guess I could go without hangouts.

Well Its what I use on my Ubuntu machine. Its what I have used for a decade at least. Im used to Chrome and all its quarks. But if Safrai will do extensions Ill probalby swtich to that. I like Safari on the iPhone so Id assume it would be just as good on MacOS. For the record I have tried other browers. Mainly Firefox, but I just didnt like them.

Dont have an insurance. I mean the standard warranty just covers manufacuture defect. So If I want protection for Accendtial damange Id have to buy Apple Care, Square trade is more expesive than Apple on insurance, thats pretty sad.

So any of the $60 to $70 ones on Amazon should work just fine. I found a few I liked.

Thanks for all the insight.

I honestly don’t think you should get ANY of the new Macbooks. They all have SSD’s soldered to the board, as well as RAM soldered to the board. If ANYTHING happens, your data is completely gone, unless you opt for a very expensive motherboard repair, which may not even recover the data.

The latest Macbook Pro with a non-soldered SSD are SOME of the 2017 and 2016 editions, and they themselves are riddled with problems like flexgate and garbage keyboards.

Just don’t buy an Apple laptop. It’s not worth it. If you REALLY want OSX, buy a Windows laptop which has Hackintosh support.

Also, don’t get any of the Microsoft Surface devices. They’re all steaming piles of crap as well.

Thats not a hardware problem, that’s not keeping a backup problem…
Your scenario doesn’t make sense either. soldered or not, if your SSD dies you’ve still lost the data. The build of the hardware has no effect.

No Eden, stop being an Apple shill. You’re a tech user, and YOU KNOW that when most devices die, it’s not the storage to die, it’s something else. If Apple continued to use modular SSD’s (even the proprietary ones from 2016-2017), OR THE LIFEBOAT CONNECTOR, people could still recover their data if their laptop dies. This is the case for most laptops; if something goes wrong and you NEED your data because you didn’t back it up (as most people don’t backup their devices), you pull out the storage drive, buy a cheap adapter, and BAM, you have your data.

FUCK APPLE. This is 100% an anti-consumer move, and NOBODY, not even you Eden, should be trying to back Apple up for this. Yes, people should backup their data, but YOU KNOW that most people don’t.

Nobody should be buying the new Apple laptops. It was bad when they removed easily-removable batteries. It was worse when they soldered the RAM to the board. It was horrible when they moved to type-C only and rivetting the keyboards to the chassis. But soldering the SSD to the board makes the laptop absolute garbage. Fuck Apple.

Edit: ANYWAY, back to OP. Not OP, as I said earlier, don’t buy any of the new Macbooks. It’s not worth the price, nor the risk.

SSD or old HDD drives are no less immune to die when compared to rest of the computer components. Dying computer can take what ever components with it, hard drive included, so the argument of having soldered hard drive in this case is not really sound. Nobody should think that removable SSD inside the laptop can be used as additional fail safe for data recovery if laptop dies. If laptop dies and removable SSD doesn’t, someone was just lucky who managed to dodge the bullet this time.

This is unnecessary. Please keep the discussion civil. You can argue, debate and get your point across without profanities.

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I’m looking for a small portable laptop as well. I’m going to be running linux so I’m not as OS independent as the OP. Main features I’m looking for are durability, linux compatibility, and battery life.

To add some more candidates to the mix for the OP, here is what I’m considering:
ASUS Zypherus G14 - looks really sweet, but I don’t really need a discrete GPU. No webcam. Reviews point out it is a little noisy. Part of me really wants it though.

Lenovo with ryzen 4000 - They are supposed to be offering some options with the new ryzen cpus and no discrete GPU. I haven’t seen any details on it yet. We use lenovo laptops at work, we have probably 5-10% of them in for repairs at any given time. Small issues/bugs to major issues. Support seems lacking. When they work, they work well.

System 76 Lemur Pro - really tempting since it will probably be the most compatible with linux. They also support open source heavily. Runs open source firmware/controller. System 76 used to just re-brand Clevo machines but I think they are doing more now. My old laptop is a system76. About 7 years old and still going, broken plastic parts though.

Just thought I’d add some more candidates to the mix.


If the OP didn’t have an iPhone I would have the XPS at the top of my list (due to its weight compared to the SurfaceBook). This is about a good option for the OPs needs.

This just isn’t the case in the real world. Regardless, this is also the wrong problem. Data should be backed up. And in fact a MacBook might be a good choice here because of the iCloud integration. OPs files on all his devices will always be backed up and available.

It depends on their needs and how it will work within their current setup. In some cases a MacBook is an excellent choice, others not so much.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, an iPhone changes the recommendation here. There is a reasonably significant gain in productivity and ease of use that could be had by going with the MacBook.

A SurfaceBook considering the OPs thoughts im not sure I would recommend. Unless they don’t might the slight increase in weight, the SurfaceBook does have its interesting points.

The XPS is the ‘generic’ laptop choice, its a good laptop, decent build, light weight. Linux lowers its easy of use when considering things like backup, syncing files between devices etc. over Windows and OSX. Personally is go with the XPS with Windows over Linux in this category as it would give better functionality between laptop and phone via OneDrive and Microsoft apps.

But ultimately I recommended the MacBook at my top choice because it would do everything needed and more than the other options.

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Are you just putting in some of the options you’ve found or do you also want some recommendations? If its the latter make another topic as well for yourself as you’ll get better responses.

Just putting more options out for the OP, not looking for recommendations.

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Part of the reason I was looking at Surface Products is because Microsoft has issues with some updates. Ive had driver issues in the past on my custom gaming rig (Which is why I use Linux on my main machine). I figure I would not have driver issues with a Microsoft device. My moms Lenovo computer had a MS update take out her video drivers. My though process is maybe Id have less issues with Windows on a device designed by MS. The issues with WIndows is why Im considering MacOS and Linux based machines. Ive also looked at System 76, but im not sure about their quality as well.

Thats the case with many thin and lights. The Dell XPS is the same way I belive, at least with the RAM. Its the price you have to pay if you want a thin and light, you sacrifice upgradability and serviceability. But my days of lugging around a big ass gaming laptop are over.