Laptop Buying Guide

If you're looking for ThinkPads, check out the ThinkPad page.


When buying a notebook, pick only two:

It's important to consider the build quality of the product purchased. If the notebook is going to be used for many years, paying extra for build quality is a plus. Hardware manufacturers DO sometimes design and create the hardware so that it doesn't last; see Wikipedia:Planned_obsolescence.

You'll also want to consider these factors when getting a new machine:

Of course, you won't find a perfect machine, but with the right considerations, you can find one that ticks most of the boxes.

New Laptops

General Buying Advice

Regional Recommendations

Where it specifies not to buy from a retail store, it means that you shouldn't just go into a retail store and buy your machines (making yourself vulnerable to sales pitches and in-person marketing). Find the cheapest location to buy from, and have it shipped if it works out to be cheaper.

US New Laptops

UK New Laptops

Canada New Laptops

AUS New Laptops

NZ New Laptops

Sweden New Laptops

Switzerland New Laptops

Germany New Laptops

Gaming Laptops

Gaming laptops used to have the fame of being more expensive and less powerful than regular gaming desktop, for modern gaming laptops this is not (entirely) true anymore. Today you can find gaming laptops that perform with up to a 10% difference from the equivalent desktop. Prices for gaming laptops are also comparable with desktops (taking into account that a laptop also includes a monitor and keyboard). Still, if top performance or dollar/performance is your gold you should also consider a gaming desktop.

Recommended Gaming Laptops

Note: This list doesn't get updated often, for more up to date recommendations you can try LaptopScribes or other of the above sites.

Lenovo Y700
+Great performance per dollar
-Average-at-best build quality
Gigabyte Aorus X7
+Great specs
+Great build quality
Various Clevos and Sagers
+Can be found under multiple brands (Pioneer Computers in AUS, System76)
+Great to amazing specs
+Fairly nice 95% gamut displays
+highly upgradeable
+-Average build quality
+-Average to decent price
-Bad support
Asus G series (currently G750JX or G750JH)
+Great specs (i7-4700HQ, up to GTX 780M)
+Good build quality
+Good support
+Best cooling system available for the moment
-Pretty expensive
-Big and heavy
-Not really serviceable
MSI GT series (currently GT83VR 7RF or GT83VR 7RE)
+Insane specs (up to i7-7820HK, 1080SLI)
+Less expensive than other prebuilt like Asus or Gigabyte
+Best laptop audio (Dynaudio)
+Can sport a 4K screen
+RAID 4 Dual NVMe SSD's
+Highly upgradeable
-Somewhat mediocre build quality on older models (GT780 and GT70 models tend to have broken hinge mounts in the screen back cover)
-Big, short battery life and heavy like most gaming notebooks
-Cost a heart and a lung

Alienware series (14, 17, 18)
+Good to amazing specs (14 up to i7-4900MQ and GTX 765M, 17 up to i7-4930MX and GTX 780M, 18 up to overclocked i7-4930MX and GTX 780M SLI
+New models have good build quality
+Accidental damage warranty available
+14 inch model is portable for a gaming laptop
+Great audio (Klipsch)
+Good deals on tablets when you buy an Alienware
+-Customizable lights (can be turned off)
-Expensive for the specs

Other Gaming Laptops

Razer Blade (and Blade Pro)
+Super high resolution 3200x1800 display
+Super thin
+-Razer ( good or bad )
-Super expensive
-Hilariously bad build quality for the price
-Lacks many ports a normal gaming PC would have


See ThinkPad


Dell has generally shit customer service but has a decent lineup of Linux friendly laptops.

XPS 13 and 15, and Precision
+High quality displays.
+Thin bezel, generally nice looking. You won't look like a complete autist in pubic.
+Good Linux support, as Precision Developer Editions are shipped with Ubuntu.
-Shit drivers on Windows. Mostly down to drivers provided by Windows Update being out of date.
-Keyboard is not even as good as chinkpad chiclets.


See Chromebooks


See Toughbooks

Apple Notebooks

Apple makes multiple high end notebooks for consumers, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro (latest model)
+Great battery life (13" up to 9 hours, 15" 8 hours)
+Great build quality
+Great screen (although glossy/reflective)
+Good performance
-Li-Po Battery is glued down, $199US for battery replacement at the Apple Store. International Prices
MacBook Air (latest model)
+Great battery life (13" up to 12 hours, 11" 9 hours)
+Great build quality
+-Screen isn't as good as some higher end notebooks, but better than average
+-Enough performance for the average user
+Cheap when compared to other comparable ultrabooks (Vaio Pro 13, Zenbook UX301, Acer Aspire S7)
+Li-Po Battery isn't glued down, replacements available on eBay, or $129US for battery replacement at Apple Store. International Prices

When you take in your MacBook for a battery replacement at the Apple Store, you will get a new Palmrest and Keyboard.

Used Laptops

Used Business Laptops

Get a computer that’s built to last, is fast enough for basic tasks like internet browsing and word processing for as little as $100. HP EliteBooks, Dell Latitude/Precisions and ThinkPads are the recommended Business laptops when buying used. It's important to note that these notebooks are not built for gaming. It's also recommended to install a GNU/Linux distro on older used machines. ThinkPads have good support for most distros. Note that older hardware is generally better supported by GNU/Linux us drivers are maintained far longer than on Windows and other operating systems.

FOSS only distro friendly LibreBoot (Thinkpad) x60 laptops can be bought refurbished from Gluglug. If you know what you're doing, just get a used ThinkPad X60 for cheaper and mod the BIOS yourself.

Used Laptop price guides

Used Other Laptops

It's generally not recommended to buy consumer laptops second-hand. Business laptops are purchased by companies and government, usually have low wear and tear, and are sold second-hand only after a short period of time for a low price. Businesses aren't concerned with making money on sold laptops, consumers are.

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