What I learned from shopping for a new laptop

I am by NO MEANS a hardware guy. I’ve even used some pretty simple netbooks and netvertibles in the recent years, but now I finally decided to buy a laptop that I could use for software development, keep for a while, and even upgrade if I wanted to. I ended up purchasing a Lenovo T540P with a custom configuration. The details are as follows:

  • I opted for the matte screen, even though the so-called “gorilla glass” glossy screens are “unbreakable” and the colors “look better”. Working in the sun is nearly impossible with a glossy screen, at least in Palermo, Sicily I live, since portability is the whole point of a laptop.
  • I bought the 15’6″ screen since I’m a software developer, the 13’3″ with FULL HD is just so so small. I guess the 14″ would have been acceptable, but I didn’t want to risk it.
  • I opted for 12 GB of RAM only because for some reason 16 GB cost around $100 more! I run Ubuntu and Chrome loves to use all the RAM that it can get, but at least with 12 GB, I have around 5-6 GB free. In the future I’ll upgrade to 16 GB when memory price drops.
  • I opted for this particular Thinkpad model with a 4700MQ processor instead of an HQ type. The MQ is not soldered to the motherboard so it can actually be upgraded in the future. Anything with a U processor tends to be underpowered for me for real software development (using and IDE).
  • I got the 256 SSD drive: I don’t think that ANYBODY should store 1 terabyte of information that they actually care about on a laptop unless they have some crazy edge case.
  • I went with the dual-band wireless card since the 5-ghz network solves the problem of having 10 SSIDs on the same channel!
  • I opted for the 9-cell battery I was hoping that I could obtain a longer battery life and yes, it actually worked out. I get more than three hours under heavy usage.
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