What laptop for Senior Management?

Stop the Presses! My opinion has been asked for by another household member!

It is time for a new laptop for Senior Management. She is accustomed to Microsoft Windows and a 15″ screen. She does not like or want a touchscreen. She’ll be using it at home and in conference rooms at various pharma companies.

Surveying the laptop market I’m surprised at how little improvement there has been in price or specs in the past few years. This seems like truly a stalled industry. You have to pay about $500 minimum. You get a mechanical hard drive just like the 1957 IBM RAMAC. You get 8 GB of RAM, barely enough to ran a cleanly booted Windows 10 (welcome to Swap City!). How is this different than three years ago, for example?

Given that, despite a few trips back to Dell for hardware service and software reinstallation, my last laptop (Dell XPS 13) could never be made to sleep properly, I’m thinking that Dell shouldn’t be on the list of contenders.

The LG gram series seems interesting. Costco is selling one with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD for $1300. They promise to support it for two years and take it back within 90 days if it fails the way that the Dell did. It weighs a minimal 2.4 lbs. and reviews say that the promised battery life is real (16+ hours).

Unlike Dell (and Apple?), LG does not plunge the unlucky buyer into a world of dongles. The specs include 3 legacy USB ports, one hip new USB-C port, and a HDMI output (perfect for the executive who needs to plug into a projector and doesn’t want to have to remember a dongle). Photographers will be stuck in dongle hell, however, because there is no SD card reader (only “Micro-SD”).

The LG site claims that the device has been tested for ruggedness and is stronger than its minimal weight would suggest. The only way in which this LG differs from Senior Management’s spec is in the provision of a touch screen (but she doesn’t have to use it!). And perhaps the screen resolution could be higher? But then we would say goodbye to the long battery life?

Readers: What do you think? Is there a better idea than this LG?


9 thoughts on “What laptop for Senior Management?

  1. “Senior Management”. Lol, in my household her official title is “Minister of War and Finance”.

  2. Combining a 15″ screen with 1080p resolution makes me sad. Otherwise seems like a decent deal on a laptop.

  3. I’d go for a ThinkPad X1 Extreme. Best-in-class keyboard, tons of expandability (up to 64GB RAM, dual M.2 SSD slots), amazing 4K display, fingerprint and smart card security. I’m considering one myself, but question marks on Linux compatibility give me pause compared to a System76 or Librem. If she is a Windows user and cares more for performance than thinness, it’s a no-brainer.

  4. I second the Thinkpad X1 consideration. I bought the Carbon a year ago and have been happy so far. Biggest issue is not knowing if it’s in my carry bag, it’s really lightweight.

  5. I like my XPS13 and with Dell Pro Support I’ve had people come next day to fix parts. Software problems are fixed over the phone and they can take control of the pc and fix while you watch.
    I got an upgraded one delivered today

  6. notebookcheck.net is the best source for laptop reviews.

    Using a laptop with a spinning HDD is foolish. A solid-state drive (ssd) is a necessity. The difference in performance between ssd and hdd drives are huge and one great improvement in laptops in recent years.

    Thinkpads are great. Consider buying one used. There are complaints that the newest models are not as well engineered as the older ones.

    I bought a used Thinkpad X250 from Arrow Direct on Ebay for $330. It has a 12.5″ screen, a great keyboard, and all the horsepower you could want. It is small and portable and even has a VGA video port. The SSD is easy to upgrade if you need larger capacity. It had a clean new install of Windows 10 Pro with no bloatware. The screen is sharp but the colors are not vivid: I would not recommend it if she needs to have color fidelity for graphics work. It is built to take a beating.

    The processor is built on the 14 nm process, just like the current generation, and has sufficient graphics power for graphics work and light gaming. There is no functional difference between an i5 or i7 processor in a laptop. CPU development has stalled recently an Moore’s Law has bumped its head on the law of physics, so buying a newer computer does not confer orders of magnitude performance improvements as in the past. Make sure you have 8 GB of RAM, or be prepared to upgrade.

    Arrow Direct rates condition on a scale of 1 through 5. I bought a grade 4 and it looked brand new. I think it sat on the shelf of some IT department until it came off lease. I have bought from another Ebay based seller and I did not find their rating criteria as strict. Arrow Direct does a good job accurately rating the laptop condition.


    The T-series are a similar machines, but with a larger 14″ or 15″ screen.

    The Thinkpad Carbon series others have recommended is also well-regarded, but there are arguments that the compromises to make it thin and light degrade the robustness of the laptop, especially the keyboard.

    Computers do not have many moving parts that break down like cars or airplanes do. The only thing you have to worry about is the fan. If you do not hear it woosh under heavy load you have a dud, but that is easily replaced, and you can return the laptop in the unlikely event of a fault or defect on arrival. Keep in mind that new laptops have defects too.

    My experience is that senior management likes to save money. You are going to need every penny to get junior management-in-training into a good college!

  7. Remember that whether you buy you computer new or used, all your data is prone to irrevocable loss at any time. Have a good and frequently updating backup plan. It is not a question of IF you lose data but WHEN. Often this data loss will be due to user error. Do not expect management to do this on their own. Remember the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.

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