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Jakob Attkinson
Jakob Attkinson

Posted on

Help choosing a laptop for work

I work remote for a small company and hence I need to buy my own machine. I am looking to buy a new laptop that allows me to work while I'm away from my working station.
After a bit of research I ended up with 2 possible solutions

  1. Surface book 3 (15 inch, i7 1065G7 , GeForceยฎ GTX 1660 Ti ) - 2500$

  2. New Dell XPS 15 (15 inch, i17 10750H , GeForceยฎ GTX 1650 Ti ) - 2100$

While the Surface has this nice feature to detach the screen (useless for work tho), the Dell has a newer processor)
My work consists mostly of running 2 virtual machines (currently using vagrant, but with new Windows I guess I can go WSL2), 2 or 3 instances of PHPStorm / IntelliJ, docker, 2 browsers etc

I have a hard time understanding which one would be the better choice for me. My impulse would tell me to pick the Surface, however I read one a couple of blog posts that the XPS is much more powerful and therefore much better for work.

Anyone here that has a better / deeper understanding that could help me make the better choice?

Top comments (20)

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bradtaniguchi profile image
Brad

Get the Dell XPS, for 1 reason only, the processor is better.

I assume the novelty and mobility of the surface pro doesn't matter enough as the XPS is still an option. As such getting more bang for your buck is important, especially when it comes to development for work, and especially if your workflow includes having a lot of heavy process tasks open.

Simply put, if your doing heavy computation work, you want a better processor so you can do stuff faster.

So novelty vs power. The choice is up to you!

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

So novelty vs power. The choice is up to you!

I guess this describes it the best. I always wanted a Surface, but I know the XPS is the better choice here.

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bebetos92 profile image
Alberto Talone

If you don't need to work if some iOS feature (like develop mobile apps) then buy the Dell XPS.

Right now, for me, it has the best hardware, good weight if you travel a lot, plus the battery seems very good.

Why do I tell you to buy the Dell????
Because I have been working with the XPS 9560 and right now for personal use at home I have the XPS 13 9370...another little awesome beast <3

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

How much does the battery last when you work on all your stuff? (Like, not in power saving mode)

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bebetos92 profile image
Alberto Talone

It was around 10/11 hours

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

Wow! I was expecting like a 5 hours life in load.

Impressive

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sphrases profile image
sphrases

I am issued an xps 13 from work and it doesn't keep up while developing! It is the i7-10510U CPU with 16gb ram... (and sadly the 4k touch panel) Hooking the machine up to 2 fhd monitors and running at least one instance of webstorm plus some utilities and chrome the machine feels very slow to the point that the code completion and linting is useless... Typing laggs behind, and alt+tabbing loads white windows at first. Don't get the 13" version of the xps. I wouldn't dare running docker of vms on anything less then an H series processor

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

Wow! I didn't expect this.
Are you sure that there's not something else causing these issues?

For example, my previous company issues us some thinkpads. The machines were quite OK, but the drives were encrypted. For this reason ( don't know exactly what they did) everything lagged terribly.
After lots of people complained, they found some other solution and the problems were resolved.

But if that's not the case, then... that's a bit scary.

P.S. What do you think about the 4k display? Is it just a waste?

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sphrases profile image
sphrases

Dude, you might just have found the solution. I encrypted the device myself (Linux standard encryption; We are free to setup the machine as we like) The 4k display is completely useless, its 13 inch and the laptop only has an intel uhd graphics card. I only use the laptop screen for slack or mail as my third screen. My private thinkpad has 1440p on 14" which is very nice, but I would still rather have a bright and non glare 1080p panel. I will setup the machine unencrypted asap and will report with the results :D

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urielbitton profile image
Uriel Bitton

Without hesitation the dell xps, more powerful and better in every way than the surface. It may be an aggressive answer but its the truth. Also, Surfaces are not nearly as convenient to work with long term as full blown laptops. The XPS is powerful.

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brennan profile image
Brennan K. Brown

It might be an unpopular opinion, but I would personally recommend a ThinkPad, they are popular for their durability, the ability to use LibreBoot, and bang for their buck. I have a quad-core W420 workstation model that was released nearly a decade ago and is still nearly par to today's processor at a fraction of the cost.

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eljayadobe profile image
Eljay-Adobe • Edited on

I just got a Microsoft Surface 3, 13.5". I hook it up to a 32" monitor, when at the desk. I prefer the 13.5" size over the 15" size for portability. Very happy with it; no problems. (I've heard that some people, including my boss, have some issues with the 15".)

That being said, I've also had my eye on the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition 2020 (4K).

Full disclosure: my primary portable development machine is a MacBook Pro. I'm a Mac fanboy. (Mainly because I'm a Unix fanboy.) But you weren't asking about Mac, and I see in the comments that you've considered them for your situation.

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

I already have a desktop "home". The reason I want to buy a laptop is for when I'm not at home. Like working for 3 weeks from a friend's place or from another country.

I don't intend to hook it up on any monitor or so. Thus, working for 8-9 hours on a 13" feels overwhelming and tough.

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buinauskas profile image
Evaldas Buinauskas

I'd suggest Lenovo ThinkPad T series or X1 if you want a small but perdormant notebook.

If you don't care about weight and want a beefy machine, you could use P53. It's heavy but a hell powerful workstation.

I do love ThinkPads keyboards, normally I type with a mechanical one, but these are really well built and very comfortable for a laptop.

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

I do care about portability and weight. Especially since on most planes nowadays you have like a 8 to 10kg limits and I need to pack enough stuff for a couple of weeks.

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lehmannsystems profile image
Mike

Why not a Mac?

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

I already have a windows desktop. Keeping environments in sync across ios and windows won't be fun. Also, I am already used to windows apps. Instead of simplifying my life, I feel I just complicat it.
I love macs, it just didn't seem to work out

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hemant profile image
Hemant Joshi

Dell XPS

Also can you edit your choices I would recommend buying a 12-13 inched one.

That is really comfortable.

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

As I mentioned above, I feel like working for 8 hours for a couple of weeks on 13" is very uncomfortable.
Dealing with text and word and stuff like that might be OK, but writing code, debugging, checking for pixel perfect alignment and all that might be very uncomfortable

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swarupkm profile image
Swarup Kumar Mahapatra

Being a developer, XPS anytime

git push

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