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It’s only been two years since I bought my last laptop. It’s a Lenovo T460s, and I hate it. It has an Intel i7-6600u processor, 20 gb of RAM and a 1 terrabyte hard drive. But battery life is awful.
- I’m a one machine guy. My laptop is my computer. I work from it at home, in the office, and on the road.
- I use it to watch movies on planes, too, so it needs a decent amount of storage but I don’t really care about video and sound quality — any modern premium laptop is going to be good enough for me since i’m not demanding in these areas.
- I’m a Windows guy, but I’m still running Windows 7 Professional. If I can’t get a new laptop to run Windows 7 I will need some sort of customization software to emulate the Windows 7 experience. I don’t want touch screen and I don’t want my computer to try to emulate the look and feel of a tablet.
- I don’t reboot the machine for weeks at a time. I work with a dozen tabs open in Google Chrome and a couple of other applications open, too. I need memory and enough processing speed not to slow me down.
- I hate doing TV interviews over Skype, I almost always insist on using a studio. However sometimes I just have to, so the quality of the camera matters along some margin.
- And I travel, including on American Airlines where seat power isn’t reliable — whether it’s on legacy US Airways planes without power, or American planes where they haven’t serviced the outlets in years and plugs won’t stay in. My battery may not be at 100% when I board and I may be connecting without enough time to charge between flights. I want the machine to work all day. I don’t want to have to keep carrying my external battery which I wrote about when I bought it five years ago.
The logical machine seems to me like it would be the Thinkpad X1 Carbon but I’m worried about battery life. The people who say they’re getting 8 hours of work on it seem to suggest they’re doing that at 50% screen brightness. I like my screen bright.
I can definitely scale down to a 512 mb solid state drive. I don’t know whether the tradeoffs involved in a faster processor make the most sense for me. I don’t care what the laptop looks like, I care only about how functional it is. At some level openability in non-extra legroom coach would be nice, but I don’t find myself sitting in 30 inch pitch often and I don’t think I can work comfortably in that sort of seat regardless of what I buy. I’d rather choose a machine that meets my other needs and is usable with 34-36 inch pitch seats.
Since I use the machine every day, a dozen hours a day and plan to do that for several years I’m not overly concerned about cost savings. A $1300 laptop is going to cost me about 10 cents an hour of use. 10% more or less in either direction isn’t material, my focus is on the best possible match for my needs. But I’m not technical enough to know the direction I should go here.
I still carry it in my Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer bag which they don’t make anymore.
This is my strategy, anyway, at least until the US government brings back the silly laptop ban.
Do you have any advice for me — other than telling me to go buy a Mac? (I’m not going to do that.) Thanks in advance!