Which laptop brands are best?

biggles

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https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/laptop-brand-ratings

What do folks here think about those rankings? Focusing mostly on system stability and reliability.

I have had a myriad of problems with an MSI Dominator laptop purchased in 2016. Enough to consider dumping it right now even though the hardware is still decent. For instance, right now the laptop shuts down when battery is at around 35%. I tried running the MSI battery calibration program. It ran for 3 hours and then the laptop turned itself off. WTF? No messages from the program stating whether it did anything to help.

MSI ranked 9th out of 10 from the laptopmag article. Consistent with my poor experience.

I was surprised to see HP on top. I owned an HP Pavilion laptop around 8 years ago and it sucked big time. Maybe they have improved in recent years?

Reading the above article along with others makes me think Asus is one of the best, true or not?
 

jmilcher

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Oh you mean Windows laptops....

You don’t want to hear this. I have owned a large number of laptops in the last 20 years. And by far, my MacBook pro’s have been the best build quality, by far.
 

Kardonxt

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If I was worried about reliability or support I would go with a business line such as Dell latitude or HP elitebook with onsite warranties.

I've never met a gaming laptop that seemed like it was worth a damn. ASUS and Alienware are the only ones you can somewhat reasonably find parts for if you need to repair them. Anything more obscure like an MSI or overpower is pretty much impossible to repair unless you luck out and they cloned some chinese whitebox, sager esk.

It sounds like your MSI battery has a dead cell, calibration won't help with that.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Oh you mean Windows laptops....

You don’t want to hear this. I have owned a large number of laptops in the last 20 years. And by far, my MacBook pro’s have been the best build quality, by far.
If you had to make a bet, it'd be on Macbook Pros.

I've been very pleased my 3 XPS laptops (one 15", two 13") over the last few years.
And if Macbook Pros aren't acceptable, you can bet on a Dell XPS.


Beyond that, I highly recommend visiting a retail store and seeing whose keyboards, trackpads, and overall ergonomics you prefer. Literally everything has a shortcoming that bothers someone, so it's worth the time to make sure that you can live with the shortcoming(s) in whatever you decide to order.
 

Kardonxt

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I also agree with the others that Macbook Pros have been exceptionally reliable for me. Personally, I would have to make considerably more money to buy one with the intent of dailying Windows on it lol.
 

UnknownSouljer

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I've had 4 Macbook Pros (in addition to other Mac desktops)
2008 - 15" Macbook Pro 2.4GHz c2d
2010 - 13" Macbook Pro 2.4GHz c2d
2013 - 15" Macbook Pro 2.0GHz i7
2019 - 15" Macbook Pro 2.4GHz i7

All of them have been more or less bulletproof. The 2008 had a faulty logic board after a year and a half, but that was covered under Apple Care warranty. So the $750 repair was free. I also coincidentally always recommend getting the extended Apple-care if you plan on keeping the laptop for more than a year. Other than that, no issues. Some of these machines I've owned for quite a few years. The 2013, I had until just this past May. It worked flawlessly, it just couldn't keep up with my 4k workflow, and it was just time to upgrade.

MacOS is a joy to use especially from a productivity standpoint. I absolutely hate Windows 10. And I also care about my privacy. Between my VPN, LittleSnitch, Firefox, and macOS, I can be reasonably sure that I'm doing at least the minimum stuff to keep me secure if by no other means than through obscurity. As I absolutely also hate trackers that track everything I do on the internet. At least the VPN and cookie blocking anonymize what I do and macOS itself has zero built in spyware unlike Windows 10.

MacOS gives me access to virtual desktops, better hotkeys, excellent encryption, full 64-bit (32-bit has been fully depreciated), Metal everything (faster more optimized everything), and a much better touchpad/f-keys. I have zero desire to ever go back to Windows. I only boot Windows to game on games that aren't also available in macOS, and as I'm not a hardcore gamer anymore in the least, those times are far between. I likely won't bother again until Cyberpunk 2077 comes out, and even then I was semi-holding out for CDPR to port it to macOS like they did for Witcher 1/2 (although they didn't for 3).

Anyway, rant over. I feel that over the past 10 years I've had far fewer issues on Mac rather than all the issues I had on Windows for the over 15 years preceding my switch.
 

Spun Ducky

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The rankings are fairly in line for what i would expect although HP at the top surprised me, but that could be the business line carrying weight. Apple near the bottom isn't surprising at all though. Tons of recalls and plenty of problems they have ignored that should be recalls. High failure rate in quite a few models even though the price is an absolute premium.
 

UnknownSouljer

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The rankings are fairly in line for what i would expect although HP at the top surprised me, but that could be the business line carrying weight. Apple near the bottom isn't surprising at all though. Tons of recalls and plenty of problems they have ignored that should be recalls. High failure rate in quite a few models even though the price is an absolute premium.
I would say the ranking are garbage because they’re based largely on the opinion of the writer. It’s an editorial. Not objective.

“That's why every year we put the top brands on the hot seat and rate them across several categories, including reviews, design, tech support, value and innovation.”

To your point though even this article rated Apple near top marks for support and reliability. The ranking for Apple had to do with “stale design” and “nothing priced under $800”. While also listing a pro of buying a Mac as blistering performance. So no, not high failure rate. Not high failure rate at all.

Bottom line: this guy is all over the place. I wouldn’t use that chart for anything regardless of which brand you're interested in. Certainly not as a tool for making a purchasing decision.
 
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KarsusTG

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Oh you mean Windows laptops....

You don’t want to hear this. I have owned a large number of laptops in the last 20 years. And by far, my MacBook pro’s have been the best build quality, by far.
This is flatly false. They are pretty and give the illusion of quality, but they are really terrible. They also basically melt if you use them for anything intensive. If you just want to watch tv on it or write php/html, it's a decent machine. It's sad and hilarious to watch the smoke come out of them when you use them for cad or anything remotely intensive. Louis Rossman is a youtube guy I watch that runs a repair shop for apple products. Some of the crap you see on that channel is frankly jaw dropping.

A good series would be a Dell XPS or Thinkpad series. I hear the zbook series is pretty good, but don't have any experience with them.
 

Commander Shepard

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MacBook Pro held the build quality trophy for a long time. I owned several 15" and 13" MBPs from 2007 - 2016. All were outstanding laptops. I switched to Dell XPS in 2017 for the 4K IPS touch screens and was very pleased with the build quality. IMO, the XPS line is every bit as premium as the MBP, now.
 

dvsman

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I've had a bunch of Dell (various sized XPS models, last was a XPS 13 9360) and Alienware laptops - all upgraded due to specs / FOTM / new hotness. Every single one still works just fine if I plug it in (okay some need a hard drive to be stuck back in too).

My last Alienware was the BIG AW18 w/ 4940mx, 980m in SLI, 32gb + loads of hard drives. After that I decided to go back to building desktops and only last year went back to having one "gaming" laptop since they had shrunk and were now thin enough to not be ridiculous (Gigabyte Aero 15).

I also still have a 2013/14 Macbook Air which I had bought to test out and while Mac OSX wasn't for me, that one also still runs like a top, even with the latest upgraded OS.
 

ssj925

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We have a bunch of Dell's at the house (Latitude and Precision series only), lots of Alienware's (Area-51m, M18xR2, M14xR2, 13 R3) and some Mac's (Macbook Pro 15 Retina Late 2013, MBP 13 Late 2011) all have been solid.

I think more importantly is the class of laptop. I don't normally buy cheaper Inspiron models from Dell for example.

I've owned Dell's most of my life (Business class mainly with some Inspiron) and they have been solid. When people need computers fixed I normally see HP, ASUS, Apple, Acer, and Lenovo more.

Honestly kinda surprised seeing HP on top.

Apple, maybe because of their 2016-2019 macbooks the rating is less lol but 2011 to 2015 models were solid.
 

Aurelius

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Now that Apple appears to have sorted out the MacBook Pro's glaring issues with the 16-inch model, I'd put it back in the upper echelons.

The thing that irks me about Windows laptops is that there's a class system of sorts where you're punished for not buying the highest-end models. Aw, sorry, you could only justify an Inspiron or Pavilion? Hope you don't mind spending hours on the phone with mediocre tech support when your cheaply made system invariably breaks. Yeah, buying the high-end models may get you long warranties and higher-quality support, but that's because everyone else gets thrown under the bus.
 

ssj925

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Now that Apple appears to have sorted out the MacBook Pro's glaring issues with the 16-inch model, I'd put it back in the upper echelons.

The thing that irks me about Windows laptops is that there's a class system of sorts where you're punished for not buying the highest-end models. Aw, sorry, you could only justify an Inspiron or Pavilion? Hope you don't mind spending hours on the phone with mediocre tech support when your cheaply made system invariably breaks. Yeah, buying the high-end models may get you long warranties and higher-quality support, but that's because everyone else gets thrown under the bus.
Lots of companies, such as Dell , offer the same support for the lower end models as the high end models too, just gotta pay a bit more to get it.

I do agree though that for many companies this is an issue. For Apple, it doesn't matter which product you have.
 

XiP

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I own the following currently HP (ZBook 15 G5), Dell (Precision 5530), Lenovo (X1 Extreme Gen 1), Razer (Blade 15 Advanced 2019 RTX), Microsoft (Surface Book 2 15").

The HP ZBook is the best in terms of build quality hands down. I generally agree with that list. There's some other brands that I would put on that list such as Panasonic and Fujitsu, but they may be more business oriented.
 

Ripskin

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Best can be very subjective. What "best" are you looking for?

Build quality, configuration, hardware options, display, bloatware, overall thoughts?

Also comes down to price range and some offer good higher tier models while the lower tiers are not so good and others vice versa.
My personal experience is: My wifes lower end Acer from 5 years ago is meh. Wifi card is crap otherwise its decent for the 450 it cost.

My Gen 1 Surface pro is great. I just replaced it thanks to the keyboard failing. Passing it down to tablet usage only and likely for my daughter.
I bought a Lenovo Yoga C940 to replace it and love it.

I considered Dell and HP 2 in 1's but Lenovo allowed me to configure the hardware better for what I want to pay for and its foibles from reviews seemed less of a problem than some of what others called out.
Each model I looked at from Dell and HP against the Lenovo looked good and I would have liked but for me I got what I wanted and am happy.
 

YeuEmMaiMai

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HP above Dell, I think not, HP build quality does not stand the test of time. I have used nothing but Dell and I have machines that are still in use that are a decade or older..
 

IdiotInCharge

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HP above Dell, I think not, HP build quality does not stand the test of time. I have used nothing but Dell and I have machines that are still in use that are a decade or older..
Yup, something like Apple / Dell / Lenovo depending on persuasion, then everything else. For me, that leaves Dell... ;)
 

mnewxcv

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Lenovo is best if you need something rugged and reliable.
Apple is best if you need something reliable and need to fit in with Apple folk.
Msi is best if you need budget oriented high performance.
Hp is best if you need a basic laptop that does enough for your price point.

I can't recommend Dell until they resolve their long standing issue with cpu performance being diminished on high core laptops when running on battery.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I can't recommend Dell until they resolve their long standing issue with cpu performance being diminished on high core laptops when running on battery.
This is a feature. The moment you unplug a laptop, battery life matters more than peak performance.
 

mnewxcv

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This is a feature. The moment you unplug a laptop, battery life matters more than peak performance.
not sure if you are being sarcastic. In actuality, it is about limiting power draw from the battery as to not overload it. I have used Dells and other brands with 8750h CPUs. My MSI can get identical CPU scores in cinebench on battery as on AC, while the Dell, no matter what settings you change, is always half or less on battery than on AC. It is a design flaw, not a feature.
 

IdiotInCharge

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not sure if you are being sarcastic.
I'm really not.

. In actuality, it is about limiting power draw from the battery as to not overload it.
Or run it down?

My MSI can get identical CPU scores in cinebench on battery as on AC
The cake: you're running performance benchmarks on battery power.

Somehow you may feel that this is a valid use case, but the reality is that MSI halfassed their power settings and Dell didn't. Which is to be expected, really.
 

mnewxcv

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I'm really not.



Or run it down?



The cake: you're running performance benchmarks on battery power.

Somehow you may feel that this is a valid use case, but the reality is that MSI halfassed their power settings and Dell didn't. Which is to be expected, really.
You really have no idea what you are talking about. Running the benchmark was a matter of proving my point. High core dell laptops are unusable for productivity on battery power.
 

IdiotInCharge

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You really have no idea what you are talking about. Running the benchmark was a matter of proving my point. High core dell laptops are unusable for productivity on battery power.
Yes, laptop manufacturers should strive to minimize battery life!

:meh:
 

luisxd

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You really have no idea what you are talking about. Running the benchmark was a matter of proving my point. High core dell laptops are unusable for productivity on battery power.
Lmao unusable for productivity on battery power, if anything it's better since you get more time on battery power and therefore more productivity
 

mnewxcv

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Lmao unusable for productivity on battery power, if anything it's better since you get more time on battery power and therefore more productivity
If you want to check emails all day that's fine and not do any cpu intensive work. That being said, it isnt any better than making a custom power plan that does the same thing. The difference is dell makes the decision for you.
 

Rustler

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I bought a cheap Lenovo for 300 bucks a couple of years ago, I finally upgraded the memory to 16g and replaced the 5400 HD with a SSD drive, now it is easier to use it was so slow before.
 

NIZMOZ

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This is flatly false. They are pretty and give the illusion of quality, but they are really terrible. They also basically melt if you use them for anything intensive. If you just want to watch tv on it or write php/html, it's a decent machine. It's sad and hilarious to watch the smoke come out of them when you use them for cad or anything remotely intensive. Louis Rossman is a youtube guy I watch that runs a repair shop for apple products. Some of the crap you see on that channel is frankly jaw dropping.

A good series would be a Dell XPS or Thinkpad series. I hear the zbook series is pretty good, but don't have any experience with them.
And anyone with a brain would know Louis is not someone you want to listen too. He has hated Apple since the day he started Youtube. He has always had an issue with Apple and a lot of the stuff he complains about happens on other laptops too. I've been in IT for 30 years, and can tell you without a doubt MacBooks are more well built than any Windows laptop. It made Windows laptop manufactures to step up their game when they saw people were buying more Macs. They did, but they still have their issues. For a Windows Laptop, I'd look at the Dell XPS 15-17, or HP x360 Spectre as those are two of the best rounded machines you can get. Business, get a Lenovo Thinkpad T490. Personal use, and something with some power, a MacBook Pro 16" is a killer, but you also pay a lot for it. I had the 2019 15" before I sold it, it had no issues working it hard with video rendering. I built a gaming system, and now I am going back to a laptop since I never game and the MBP is high on my list again.
 

NIZMOZ

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I've had a bunch of Dell (various sized XPS models, last was a XPS 13 9360) and Alienware laptops - all upgraded due to specs / FOTM / new hotness. Every single one still works just fine if I plug it in (okay some need a hard drive to be stuck back in too).

My last Alienware was the BIG AW18 w/ 4940mx, 980m in SLI, 32gb + loads of hard drives. After that I decided to go back to building desktops and only last year went back to having one "gaming" laptop since they had shrunk and were now thin enough to not be ridiculous (Gigabyte Aero 15).

I also still have a 2013/14 Macbook Air which I had bought to test out and while Mac OSX wasn't for me, that one also still runs like a top, even with the latest upgraded OS.
I got my Dell XPS 13 9360 sitting on my desk right now and I'm typing on it with the case open because the battery decided to get puffy and cause issues for the machine. Ordered a replacement already, just waiting for it to come in. Not being that old, I wouldn't have expected that.

20200730_181645545_iOS.jpg
 

dvsman

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Sorry to hear that, man. Do you leave it plugged in all the time? I normally run mine until it dies so the battery doesn't stay at 100% for a long time. Since it's a Word / email machine, it still lasts for quite a bit before running out of juice.
 

NIZMOZ

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Yes, its usually docked till I need to take it with me on a trip.
 

Andrew_Carr

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I'd probably rate Dell higher honestly. I've used a lot for work and they've always been fine. Their desktop keyboards have also been good. By far the best build quality laptop I've had is my Alienware 15 R3 (as an old alienware hater it's hard to swallow my pride and admit this). It's not sleek, light, or metallic like an Mac, but it's very well-built, and aside from needing a repaste on the heatsink (not strictly needed, but to bring temps down), there's not really any issues with them. Keyboard is great except for the odd layout, and I could see it lasting for a very long time.

I've had HP laptops for work computers recently as well, and while they were ok and didn't have any issues, they gave off that cheap, plasticky feeling. Good, powerful little machines though that did fine with a lot of travel.

I wouldn't touch a razer laptop with a 10 foot pole based on my experiences with their peripherals. Although they look sexy and nice like everything else they make.
 

JustinC

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HP is indeed the best laptop manufacturing company.
I am typing this opinion from my AMD HP laptop.

They are the best hardware makers of laptops.
The only problem is they should get Wifi cards for their laptop not from RealTak but from some other mass manufacturer.
No matter which laptop I chose, the guys at RealTek make the Wifi cards just impossible of running on Linux OS.

Other than this, I have no qualms at all.
 

NIZMOZ

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HP is not the best manufacture. Lenovo/Thinkpad has had that trophy for years. I consider them to be #1, Dell #2, and HP 3rd. We switched from Dell to HP at our company, and we have had so many issues with the HPs in comparison. They also do feel cheap. Even the servers do. That is why we still use Dell servers.
 
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HP is not the best manufacture. Lenovo/Thinkpad has had that trophy for years. I consider them to be #1, Dell #2, and HP 3rd. We switched from Dell to HP at our company, and we have had so many issues with the HPs in comparison. They also do feel cheap. Even the servers do. That is why we still use Dell servers.
Gotta disagree with this. Last year I had a Thinkpad T490 for a few months and also tried out an X1. Poor build, chassis and screen full of flex, mushy keyboards, jumpy/non-responsive trackpads, dim/blurry screens, gimped ports (TB only x2). Lenovo has really driven down the brand over the last decade.

I swapped the T490 for a XPS13. So much better in every respect. The XPS15 and higher-end Vostros I played with at the time also generally came off better than the Thinkpads.

Best laptops out there in terms of build quality are Macs. But the almost obscene cost premium and some design choices (the keyboard, stupid touchbar replacing the F-key row on the MBP) drove me away. Though if the current Air had been available last summer I might have stayed with them.
 

Snoflo

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In my experience the best Windows laptops have always been the upper echelon of noteboooks from the HP ZBook, Dell Precision and, to a lesser extent, the Lenovo Thinkpad P line. All are mobile workstations that with decent specs will cost from $3k to over $10K.
 
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