So after a bit more research, I’ve come up with a shortlist of laptops to consider. Most vendors (with the exception of HP and Microsoft) give you quite a few options to customise during the order process. For my own reference, I’ve also included the specs of my current laptop – the Dell XPS 1645 – to contrast how hardware has progressed over the last 5-6 years.
My mandatory minimum requirements:
- i7 CPU
- 8GB memory
- 512GB SSD
- Touch screen
- Lighter than 3Kg
Nice to haves:
- Xeon CPU
- 16GB memory
- PCIe SSD
|CPU||Core I7-820QM Processor (1.73GHz)||i7-6500U (up to 3.1 GHz)||i7-6700HQ Quad Core (up to 3.5 GHz)||i7-5600U Processor (Dual Core, 2.6GHz, 15W)||Xeon® E3-1505M v5 (2.80 GHz, up to 3.70 GHz), 4 cores)|
Intel Core i7-6600U Processor (up to 3.40GHz)
i7-6600U (2.6 up to 3.4 GHz)
|Cache||8MB L3||4M||6M||4M||8 MB|
|Memory||8GB Dual-channel 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM (2 x 4GB)||8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz||16GB Dual Channel DDR4 2133Mhz (8GBx2)||8GB (1x8GB) 1600MHz DDR3L||8 GB DDR4-2133 (1 x 8 GB)||16GB LPDDR3 SDRAM 1866MHz||16GB LPDDR3|
|Storage||500GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive||256GB PCIe Solid State Drive||512GB PCIe Solid State Drive||256GB (SATA3)||256 GB HP Z Turbo Drive PCIe SSD|
512GB Solid State Drive, PCIe-NVMe
|Video||Video Card -ATI Mobility RADEON(R) HD 4670 - 1GB|
Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
|NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 960M with 2GB GDDR5|
Intel® Integrated HD Graphics 5500
|NVIDIA® Quadro® M1000M (2 GB dedicated GDDR5)|
Intel HD Graphics 520
Intel HD Graphics 520 + Nvidia GeForce 940M GPU with 1 GB of memory
|Display||15.6 Full High Definition(1080p)|
|1920x1080||13.3 inch QHD+ (3200 x 1800) InfinityEdge touch||15.6” 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touch||14.0 FHD (1920x1080)||15.6” diagonal FHD UWVA IPS anti-glare LED-backlit (1920 x 1080)|
14” FHD (1920x1080), IPS, 10-point Multi-Touch
|13.5” PixelSense™ 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI) 10 point multi-touch|
|Network||Wireless Network Card -Intel(R) WiFi Link 5300 (802.11a/g/n) Half Mini-c||DW1820A 2x2 802.11ac 2.4/5GHz + Bluetooth4.1||DW1830 3x3 802.11ac 2.4/5GHz + Bluetooth 4.1||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265AC 802.11ac/a/b/g/n 2x2 + Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® 4.0 combo||Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260, 2x2, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.1, vPro|
802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible Bluetooth 4.0
|Battery||9-cell (85WHr) Lithium Ion||56WHr Integrated Battery||84Whr battery||4-cell 52 Whr Lithium Polymer||4-cell 64 WHr Li-ion prismatic|
4 Cell Li-Polymer Battery 52Wh
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||380 x 260 x ?||304 x 200 x 15||357 x 235 x 17|
337 x 232 x 20
|375 x 255 x 18||333 x 229 x 17||232 x 312 x 23|
|Service||3-Year Premier Service||3Yr ProSupport : Next Business Day Onsite Service||3Yr ProSupport : Next Business Day Onsite Service||3 Yrs Next Business Day Onsite Service||3 years standard parts, labour and on-site limited warranty||3Y On-site NBD upgrade from 1Y Depot/CCI||2-year hardware warranty|
|Price (as at 25th Feb 2016)||$2,100 (as at 2010)||$2,879||$3,379||$4,441.80||$5,481||$4,118.51||$4,199|
- Where choice was offered, maximum CPU and memory selected
- All prices in Australian dollars, including GST. Enterprise agreements or other arrangements/discounts/specials might give better prices.
- Enterprise and/or special business programs may offer additional hardware choices/customisations.
- Where offered, 3 year support was chosen
- No Office subscription was included
- Windows 10 Pro 64bit
I think I’ll forget about a Xeon CPU - can’t justify the premium price. Maybe one day!
Most of these devices have built-in batteries, so the option of buying a spare battery (like I did with my 1645) simply doesn’t exist these days.
Looking at that list, I think the models that stand out are the XPS 15, X1 Yoga and Surface Book. I’ve probably been looking most closely at the Yoga, but the XPS deserves some closer attention – especially as the price seems a bit more affordable. The Surface Book looks nice, but for me I think it’s in 3rd place behind the other two.
Let me know of any corrections or suggestions for other models that I should consider and anything I’ve overlooked.