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What laptop should a starting online entrepreneur buy?

Mr.Rob

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I hope I'm posting this in the right discussion area. Hopefully a moderator can move it to the right place if I'm off the mark.

I'm just starting my entrepreneur/digital nomad journey and well first things first I need to get a good laptop to see me through at least the next 2 years.

What I Will Use it For: Building (but not coding), managing, and scaling websites ranging from e-commerce to search sites to blogs. I don't know how much power is required to manage small-medium websites but I'd imagine more wouldn't hurt. (I know that's vague but I'm clueless w/ tech)

Connectivity: I will likely be living in a 3rd world country with potentially shoddy internet connection. A laptop that would mitigate this issue better than others would be preferred.

Budget: $500-$1,000 however if its truly worth it and necessary I can go over.

So gentlemen, any recommendations that could fit the bill here?

-Rob
 
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JAJT

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Whatever you get, make sure it has a solid state drive as it's primary drive.

Not a hybrid. Not mechanical.

You want Solid State.

Hard drives have become the #1 bottleneck for computer speeds these days. Almost every other part of the system is faster than even a good mechanical drive and no amount of RAM or Processor speed can overcome this.

If you aren't going Mac (I personally wouldn't, but that's me) I'd also suggest a Dell. Dells have been rockstar machines for me. Something in their Lattitude line would work. I assume they have SSD options as a customization.

Avoid Lenovo. I've had nothing but shit experiences with them.
 

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garyjsmith

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I have a Lenovo Flex 3 and like it quite a bit. The complaints I've seen have come from people who also use it as a tablet. The flipping of the screen apparently does something to the wires and causes a disconnect. If you use it as a laptop, it's good.

That said, I'm a desktop guy and only use a laptop when I need to work from my car. Not a fan of laptop keyboards. For a desktop, if it's even up for consideration, I'd have someone build you one. If you need a guy, I have one; he built my beast to my requirements.
 
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lowtek

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I'd get a Linux laptop from System 76.

top reasons to use linux:
1) open source software - means it's free
2) easier to develop - any software or websites you develop are going on a linux server, might as well use the same OS for development
3) higher security - fewer viruses and fewer ways for them to get in
4) better use of system resources - linux runs much lighter than windows, doesn't fragment your files, and doesn't bloat up to the point of needing a reformat every few years
5) more control - apple locks you into their walled garden, and windows10 is outright spyware that you can't turn off. Windows 10 also forces updates on you, whether you want /need them or not - tough shit if it breaks some critical piece of software

I'm very anti microsoft these days and cannot, under any circumstances other than a gaming rig, suggest that you go with the windows route. You can't turn off telemetry (your choices are some spying, or lots of it), you can't turn off updates, you have to manually turn off advertisements ( ... in an OS that you pay for ), and it's a much broader target for malware.

Apple is kind of sort of OK, but you pay more for less power and less flexibility.

Linux is the happy medium of high productivity, lower cost ( the OS is free ), more stability, and more control. Long gone are the days of it being a pain in the a$$ to install ( which you wouldn't have to worry about with system 76, they work right out of the box), and any issues that crop up are easily found on stack overflow.
 

JAJT

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Don't know about the T470 but my T440p is a paper weight right now.

- Battery died in the first year. Won't hold a charge for even half a second if the lights flicker during a storm.
- At it's best it took 7-10 minutes to boot up fully with only minimal startup programs
- The docking station (if you can call it that) was total garbage. It's USB 3 based and it lost my dual monitor setup about 50% of the time I restarted the computer. Often took 20-30 minutes to figure out how to get them to talk again. Sometimes I lost 3-4 hours trying to debug it through drivers, updates, power cycling, prayer, etc...
 
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Scot

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I use a 7 year old Samsung piece of crap. I'd rather spend the money on the business. My laptop works just fine (albeit a little slow) at typing up blog posts or modifying my wordpress site.

If you're not planning on doing any heavy photo/video editing or actually hosting your website. You don't need anything powerful. You can also backup all of your important work to cloud services like Evernote or Dropbox.

This isn't the solution for everyone or even you, but if you're being scrappy, spend that $1,000 on making a sale.
 

Sequential

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Depends how much money you have really.


What I did is go on ebay, find a used, good condition Dell N5110. Then I bought a cheap (but has turned out to be just as good as the expensive Samsung SSD in my gaming computer (I no longer game)) Adata SSD, ( Ultimate SU800 SSD | ADATA ) and paid someone £10 to put the SSD in (not quite a simple upgrade in N5110, you have to take keyboard off etc). Then I put linux on it - I wanted no frills, and speed, so I chose Xubuntu which is very quick, it takes about 10 seconds to boot to desktop and that's only because I encrypted it and have to type in the password. Everything loads instantly, having played on a $3000 Dell XPS in PC World there is minimal, if any, difference between my laptop and that one for loading times or performance for browsing etc.

All in all this cost me £300 and has lasted a while now. I also upgraded the ram to max which is 6GB.

Linux is very good but there are issues. For example on mine, Flash is out of date. I can't upgrade it. Whether I install it via the software installer or the command terminal, there is always an error. It's looking like i will need to reinstall Xubuntu over it to get Flash to work.
 
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lowtek

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Sequential

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As nice as system 76 sound, why don't they allow you to configure graphics options? I would rather buy an XPS 15 and put linux on it myself because then I get a 1050ti which is great for CUDA apps like Photoshop.

S76 appear to use Intel chipset graphics?

Intel® HD Graphics 630. OUCH.

Then ports. 1 vga, 1 hdmi. No dvi, no dvi-d, no Displayport.
Battery only 6 cell. Dell's etc do up to 9 cell. 30% more battery time.

Not looking good, is it?
 
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biophase

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Are you strapped for cash?

Personally I buy the cheapest laptop I can every 2-3 years. If you are on a budget there's no reason to get anything fancy at all. You just need something that gets the job done. I use a Asus laptop that cost me $349.

If I had $1000 to start a biz. I'd put $350 or less into the laptop and spend the remaining $650 on whatever else I needed. You want to put the most money in revenue generating expenses.

So for example let's assume I had nothing and wanted to sell on Amazon.

$350 laptop
$400 product
$250 ppc

much better than

$1000 laptop
saving more money for inventory
 

lowtek

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As nice as system 76 sound, why don't they allow you to configure graphics options? I would rather buy an XPS 15 and put linux on it myself because then I get a 1050ti which is great for CUDA apps like Photoshop.

S76 appear to use Intel chipset graphics?

Intel® HD Graphics 630. OUCH.

Then ports. 1 vga, 1 hdmi. No dvi, no dvi-d, no Displayport.
Battery only 6 cell. Dell's etc do up to 9 cell. 30% more battery time.

Not looking good, is it?

GPU drivers on linux are hit or miss, I think that's why S76 uses the integrated graphics.

The dell is quite possibly the better buy - I'm not a huge S76 fanboy.

I'm a linux fan boy :)
 

OldFaithful

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iu
 
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Mr.Rob

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Wow you guys all rock on this is super good discussion for my needs. I read everyone's post and will use all this info in decision making.

Basically my options are
A.) Buy cheap/inexpensive and use residual cash flow towards revenue generation
B.) Buy something quality now so I don't have to upgrade down the road

A few questions:

@lowtek
GPU drivers on linux are hit or miss, I think that's why S76 uses the integrated graphics.

The dell is quite possibly the better buy - I'm not a huge S76 fanboy.

I'm a linux fan boy :)

I like the Systems 76 laptops. There a good price and seem to pack a punch on specs for the money. I'm not too worried about the less than ideal graphics that Sequential noted.

Do you know how many years I will get out of an S76? (I assume you own one?)

Also Ubuntu OS scares me, I assume that's the name of Linux's system?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

@Raoul Duke @Invictus
What do you guys think of this refurbished Macbook Pro? --> Apple MacBook Pro® 13"- Intel Core i5 - 8 GB Memory - 256GB Flash St (S11022043) | eBay

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
@biophase
Personally I buy the cheapest laptop I can every 2-3 years. If you are on a budget there's no reason to get anything fancy at all. You just need something that gets the job done. I use a Asus laptop that cost me $349.

If I had $1000 to start a biz. I'd put $350 or less into the laptop and spend the remaining $650 on whatever else I needed. You want to put the most money in revenue generating expenses.

Not strapped for cash but the shit ain't growin' on trees either and everything I spend on a laptop can't be spent on direct revenue generating activities as you point out. I'll weigh this seriously as I make a decision.

What do you do for business biophase?

-Rob
 

G-Man

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Yep.

My company owns 2 Lenovo laptops.

Never again.

x3. I've had 2 lenovos. Thought the first was a fluke. This last one I just paid $150 to an IT guy to fix an impossible BSOD. It would have gone straight to the dumpster if there hadn't been un-backed up pictures of my kid on there. Eff Lenovo.
 
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Mr.Rob

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What are you using your laptop for?

This is as good as I can articulate it at the moment.

Building (but not coding), managing, and scaling websites ranging from e-commerce to search sites to blogs. I don't know how much power is required to manage small-medium websites but I'd imagine more wouldn't hurt. (I know that's vague but I'm clueless w/ tech)
 

Ninjakid

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This is as good as I can articulate it at the moment.
Sorry didn't read that part.

You don't need a particularly powerful laptop. You shouldn't need to spend more than $700

EDIT: there's too many kinds of laptops out there, so I can't tell you specifically what to get, so probably only need something with 4GB of RAM, a dual-core processor, and a solid state drive (you don't NEED solid state, but it kicks a$$ over hard drive)
 

lowtek

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Wow you guys all rock on this is super good discussion for my needs. I read everyone's post and will use all this info in decision making.

Basically my options are
A.) Buy cheap/inexpensive and use residual cash flow towards revenue generation
B.) Buy something quality now so I don't have to upgrade down the road

A few questions:

@lowtek


I like the Systems 76 laptops. There a good price and seem to pack a punch on specs for the money. I'm not too worried about the less than ideal graphics that Sequential noted.

Do you know how many years I will get out of an S76? (I assume you own one?)

Also Ubuntu OS scares me, I assume that's the name of Linux's system?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

@Raoul Duke @Invictus
What do you guys think of this refurbished Macbook Pro? --> Apple MacBook Pro® 13"- Intel Core i5 - 8 GB Memory - 256GB Flash St (S11022043) | eBay

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
@biophase


Not strapped for cash but the shit ain't growin' on trees either and everything I spend on a laptop can't be spent on direct revenue generating activities as you point out. I'll weigh this seriously as I make a decision.

What do you do for business biophase?

-Rob

I don't own an S76 laptop - I use linux on the desktop (Ubuntu 16.04). I suggest them because owners typically really like them, and they are reviewed pretty well.

The Dell may be a better option - make sure you check that out too. @Sequential pointed out they have more ports and a better battery - these are quite important factors. The better GPU is a nice to have, but not critical.

@biophase is our resident eCom wizard, and someone whose opinion generally carries a lot of weight around here. And for good reason.

I'm partial to ubuntu because it's free, gives you complete control, and doesn't spy on you. The learning curve is much shallower than it used to be, and it's viable as a daily driver. I've been running Ubuntu for two months and have only booted back into windows a couple times.
 
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JasonR

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The best one you can afford if it's your only computer. At a $1k budget buying apple won't get you very far unless you buy used. I buy a laptop about very 2-2.5 years, in fact I just bought a new one (15" MacBook Pro but it was 3x your budget). I travel a lot and need my laptop to be 100% reliable.

If you travel less consider buying a PC desktop, or a PC laptop or a used Mac under warranty.

If you are really strapped for cash and are starting a business, I would heed Biophase's advice.

If I was strapped for cash no way would I have bought a brand new MBP.

Pro tip: look at Apples refurbished website. My last mac was a 13" Refurb pro and went around the world with me and built my last business. It was a solid machine. Bought it for $1450, used it for over two years and sold it for $650.

Sometimes the super cheap laptops are frustrating to use and don't last long.
 
Last edited:

Argue

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Definitely get a MacBook.
 

Daniel A

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I've done a lot of research on this. But first, it's worth mentioning that I prefer Windows OS.

1. Best Bang for Your Buck: Acer Aspire E 15 (get the one with the 7th generation i7 Processor and you can add RAM if you want to)

2. If You Want the Best Overall: Dell XPS 13
 
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Mr.Rob

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Interestingly enough my dad just told me he'd buy me a cheapo laptop as my graduation gift (I just graduated college a few weeks ago).

Going with Biophases advice I think I might take him up on it and see how far I can get with the cheapo and upgrade a year from now on my own money since I should have a better idea of what I will need from a laptop as my business endeavors develop.
 

Sequential

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I've done a lot of research on this. But first, it's worth mentioning that I prefer Windows OS.

1. Best Bang for Your Buck: Acer Aspire E 15 (get the one with the 7th generation i7 Processor and you can add RAM if you want to)

2. If You Want the Best Overall: Dell XPS 13
He doesn't require an i7 7000 series cpu to do what he wants to do. He doesn't enquire the 1050ti I mentioned either.

Acer are OK but the hinges snap because they use super cheap casings. I have had 3 Acers and the hinges snapped on all of them. I remember that being a pain - stuck at boarding school, snapped hinges, wire shorting out, and obviously no money to fix it.

Do note with the latest XPS's, they have some issues with thermal balancing/shutdown. You need to open them up and add some thermal pads. Cheap to do, and there are youtube videos explaining it. Do that and hardly anything can beat them.

I still recommend the N5110. The keyboard is great, the screen is fine, the hardware is fine, and you won't find cheaper. Being a Dell it also means if you are in the middle of say, warn torn Syria, or equivalent, you are more likely to find a replacement charger or battery etc if required.
 

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