Laptop for MBA (X1 Yoga,...
I'm hoping you can help me finalize a decision on a laptop for the MBA program that I'm starting in a few weeks. I currently use a mid-2014 MacBook Pro, but the school requires us to use a Windows machine and I'm not interested in running Windows in parallel on my Mac.
From my research and reading countless reviews and "top XX" lists, I think I've narrowed it down to the ThinkPad X1 Yoga or Spectre x360, though additional reviews of the Spectre build/overheating concerns have me thinking I should consider the Elitebook x360 instead? (I don't need the fingerprint sensor, vPro, etc. This would only be for durability purposes.)
Battery life and excellent pen support for taking notes (and possibly art or photo editing on occasion) are key. School requires i5 or i7 and recommends 8GB system memory, though I'm leaning toward 16GB since that's what I currently have on my MBP, and 500GB storage.
Here are the options I've found:
1. HP Spectre x360 13.3" - i7-7500U with Intel Graphics 620, 16GB, 1920x1080, 512GB SSD, with pen - ~$1325 (Best Buy)
2. HP Spectre x360 13t - i7-7560U with Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, 16GB, 1920x1080, 512GB SSD, with pen - ~$1600 (HP.com)
3. HP Elitebook x360 1030 G2 - i7-7600U with Intel Graphics 620, 8GB, 1920x1080, 512GB SSD with pen - ~$1760 (B&H)
4. HP Elitebook x360 1030 G2 - i7-7600U with Intel Graphics 620, 16GB, 1920x1080, 512GB SSD with pen - ~$1940 (B&H)
5. Lenovo X1 Yoga (2nd Gen) - i5-7300U with Intel Graphics 620, 16GB, 2560x1440, 512GD SSD, with pen - ~$1900 (Lenovo.com but I'm absolutely not convinced this would get here in time. 1TB SSD might have a better chance of being here in time for ~$2000)
Though it pains me to think about spending more than $2k on a new laptop for school, CDW, PC Connection, and TigerDirect have 2nd gen X1 Yoga models in stock with i7-7600U, 16GB, 512GB SSD, and 2560x1440 resolution for ~$2380 if it's that much better to go that route. Alternatively, B&H might be able to get a version with 8GB of RAM instead of 16GB within my budget and on-time.
Is the X1 Yoga worth pursuing given the potential for the significantly higher cost due to my need date? (Alternatively, is it worth going with only 8GB RAM to get the X1 Yoga within budget over the 16GB Elitebook or Spectre.)
Part of my ignorance is that I haven't used a 2-in-1 or an active pen before (but definitely want to for going back to school) so am not sure how useful the onboard pen storage/charging is with the X1 Yoga given that I'll be taking this all over the place. And I haven't been able to see the Elitebook or X1 Yoga in person to know if I prefer one over the other for keyboard, mechanisms, etc.
Form questions/answers below. Thanks for reading all of this!
1) What is your budget? ~$2000
2) What size notebook would you prefer?
c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
3) Where will you buying this notebook? US
4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
None that come to mind. My experience with Windows laptops is purely what I was given at work over the past 7 years which included Lenovo, Dell and HP.
5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
Yes, assuming they have the same warranty as new.
6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
Primarily using it for my MBA program. If I have free time (ha!), I may also use it for some photo editing. That said, I could use my current Macbook Pro for the photo editing if the new computer doesn't end up being great for Photoshop/Lightroom or similar applications.
7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
Taking it everywhere - home, school, in between, etc. And I have a toddler at home so I can't guarantee what it might be subjected to in the next couple of years!
8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
9) How many hours of battery life do you need? As many as I can get.
10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK? For sure, I'd prefer to see it in person, but based on what I've narrowed it down to and my timeframe, that may not be an option.
11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
I prefer Mac OS, but for school I'm required to run Windows 7/10 and I'm not interested in running Windows in parallel on my Mac.
12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. (Scroll down to see screen resolution information.) I'm used to the 2880 x 1800 of my Macbook Pro so prefer similar resolution.
13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? I want a 2-in-1 so I think it's going to be glossy by default?
Build Quality and Design
14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? It's a nice-to-have, but not a factor in the ultimate decision.
15) When are you buying this laptop? ASAP as I need to have it in hand no later than August 5th, and preferably earlier.
16) How long do you want this laptop to last? Absolute minimum of 2 years, ideally at least 4.
17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive? Min. 320GB per the school, so I'm looking at 512GB. Yes to SSD.
18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner? Not required.