Buying a new laptop

2019/03/06

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My old laptop was a Lenovo G505s, which I bought in 2014 before starting university. It served me well and got me through a Master’s degree & 6 months of work/travelling. However, there were a few things that started to grind on me. The original battery life was horrendous so I bought an extended one on Amazon. During my time in Chiang Mai, the case split so I had to get rid of it. I bought a “new” one from a computer mall but it would end up dying at 50% charge. The laptop was also incredibly heavy at 2.4kg – almost 33% of my total belongings! My performance requirements are quite low, as I generally live in a terminal and a web browser, but it was struggling to load some web animations my friends had made.

When I was in Kuala Lumpur, I noticed electronics there were significantly cheaper than I had seen elsewhere. I bought my headphones there for £30 cheaper than I could have bought them in the UK. I actually considered buying an Apple Macbook but they are having SO many issues that I knew I’d have to give it in for repair in 12 months anyway.

Not having bought a new laptop in 5 years meant I was a little out-of-touch with what was considered high-end. My online research indicated the two best laptops out there were the Lenovo X1 Carbon and the Dell XPS 13. My friend and I went around different stores to test them out and see if they had them in stock. The XPS 13 is a great laptop but I don’t like the webcam position and the USB-C only ports. I’m not ready for that dongle life. I decided to look for an X1 Carbon.

We eventually ended up in a store and asked the attendant how long the delivery time on a mid-spec model would be. He said 4 weeks would be the earliest they could do but they had the highest-spec model in stock. I was planning on moving on to Bali to meet a client a week after so waiting for it was out of the question. I was ready to walk out the store and just leave it but my friend asked me “how much is it worth to you to get it now?”. The model they had in stock was almost 50% more than the one I was looking for. I could have left it, and coped with my existing one but it meant those issues would still be there. The laptop is an allowable business expense and it’s one of my only expenses as a consultant, so the cost was immaterial. I should invest in the equipment I use in order to work effectively. In the end, I decided to go for it.

The attendant opened the box to show that it was fine and started to set up Windows on it. I was planning on replacing it with Arch Linux so I told him to save his time. They threw in a free wireless mouse, a backpack and two baseball caps.

We left the store with everything in a woven bag and I was super paranoid. I was holding something more expensive than all of my other belongings combined. We got in a Grab and went home.

I plan on writing a blog post once I’ve used the X1 Carbon a little more but I already absolutely love this machine. It weighs 1.13kg, has a 14 hour battery life and the keyboard is absolutely amazing to type on. The WiFi chipset also works out of the box with Arch, something my crappy Broadcom one did not do before. The Bluetooth also works flawlessly so my Bose pairs really well.

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