Power Laptops for 2011. Advice sought.

Given that technology moves on rather more rapidly than the other areas of Arrse, I thought I'd post a new thread rather than resurrecting the ZX81 thread using the search function.

I'm looking for a new laptop. I've done the usual trawls through the reviews but given the amount of choice out there was hoping that the experts on Arrse could narrow my choices down a bit.

Attempting to be realistic, I am looking for something that, in order, is:

  1. Very rugged, but not necessarily ruggedised.
  2. Has huge disk space (preferably dual drive)
  3. Has superb performance for graphics and sound
  4. Does not require a flatbed lorry to carry it.

    Most of the time I would use it for work - Office suite - but I would like to use it after work for videos, gaming, image processing and the like. I have been looking at gaming laptops and was drawn to the Asus G73Jh, but I'm a bit concerned about size/weight & ruggedness.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



Dell 1760, 17+ inches screen, 4 Gig and 64 bit job , 320 GB HD, was looking for one on Ebay. Around £500 for the dogs bollox if you look at this.

Some nice bargains on FleaBay
Thanks RD, a pretty good site. But I couldn't find a laptop up to spec - I'm really hoping for about 1TB HD, i7 CPU, and 8GB RAM.

How about this for laptop geek porn:

ASUSTeK Computer Inc. - Notebooks - ASUS NX90Jq

Probably too big, heavy, & delicate for what I am after, but ooohhh!
PC Pro have given a rave review to the DEll XPS 15 with the new Sandy Bridge processor. Their "A List" is always a good place to start.

Dell XPS 15 (2011) review | Laptops | Reviews | PC Pro
Thanks 4(T),

I had trawled through PC Pro (Good Site) but had not noticed that laptop. I like it, but I'd need more than the max HD (640GB) capacity - I'm nearly maxing out on 500GB and I've had to shunt some files off to get this far.
What are you storing to require that much storage? Would a second removeable drive help? Because from what I can see that extra storage is going to really hurt your walllet.
Because of the work I do I travel a lot and work for many clients. To enable me to do my work I often need to take hi res photos and, on occassions, videos. I need to keep a library of these (as well as a huge amount of documents) to enable me to effectively do my report writing etc. Add to that, that I have had a few laptops die on me mid-job, I tend to save ISO copies of the essential programes - Office, Photoshop etc.

Yup, I know. Storage = money, but at least it's getting cheaper.
Oooooh, me want. Me very much want.

I bet battery life's shorter than a Welshman, but me still very much want.
For sheer build quality, ruggedness (but not ruggedised!) and sheer reliability I find you cannot go wrong with a Lenovo Thinkpad. You pay extra, but there is a reason for that. When mankind has extincted itself the cockroaches will all be blogging on Thinkpads. Tye may not look exciting, but they have it all under the hood. Try and avoid Sony laptops as well. The after sales is appalling as is the hardware.
I'd recommend the T510 (small but very powerful) and I'm writing this on a T400. I forgot to add that Thinkpads also have the best keyboards in the business as well. If you are after something with clout though try the 'W' series. You've never lived until you've had a duel-screen laptop :)
This will upset the PC IT geeks out there but have you considered the Mac Book Pro? I made the move to "the dark side" last year and would never go back. Pros with Mac: fast, strong build, high resolution screen, high performance software for photo and video editing, easy to use, MS Office available, no virus problems, light weight and the best battery life on the Market. Cons: not many games available, expensive to buy but genuine software is cheaper and the current HD is only 500 GB. You can run windows through a Mac if you want.

Now expect thousands of replies slagging off Mac buy the worshipers of Bill Gates but they are wrong!


Book Reviewer
IMO, laptops are unrealistic for serious gaming unless you spend a fortune, and then you're pretty much locked to that spec. external drives are getting cheaper and cheaper though, and it also makes it easy for data to be moved. (I've seen 1tb Toshiba external drives going for £40 new recently). had a look at Morgan? Cheap Asus X71Q-7S066C - 49258 - discounts & offers
I agree with Speedy re Thinkpads. The only problem from your point of view is the small capacity HDD. Although if you want to store ISO images and other rarely used files should really consider external capacity.
Just specced at T series from Lenovo. (Might want one these myself soon.)
System components
Intel Core i7-2720QM Processor (2.20GHz, 6MB L3)
Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64
15.6" HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display, Mobile Broadband Ready
8 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)
Keyboard UK English
UltraNav with TrackPoint & touchpad plus Fingerprint reader
720p Camera
320 GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
DVD recordable multiburner
Express Card Slot & 4 in 1 Card Reader & Smart Card Reader
6 cell Li-Ion Battery - 55+

You may be in danger of falling into the MoD trap of not wanting to compromise :)


Book Reviewer
I'd look for Core I7 with plenty of Ram and not worry too much about the hard drive. Just make sure you have USB 3 ports and portable hard drive.

I'd recommend the Sony Vaio i'm using but the casings not the most rugged.
Thanks for all the answers:

@ RE Samurai
I don't have a pony tail and goatee beard, so I am barred from owning a Mac. But on a more serious side, it would make no sense whatsoever to go Mac - all my software is PC.

Very good suggestion - I hadn't thought of Lenovo. I was using an old IBM Thinkpad last year for a short time and I was impressed by the build quality.

It's a shame that the hard drives are only 500GB max, but I suppose if I got my admin together I could keep a lot of files on external disk. Looking at the W series, apart from the disc size, it really does seem to tick all the boxes. Thanks.

I'm not a serious gamer, more the type who dips in to games every now and then. Even then I'm not really into the shoot em ups that require mega machines to get them running nicely, so a high spec laptop is good for me.
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