Rugged laptop with great battery life?

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I need a new laptop to replace my 10 year old tank. Doesn't need to be overly powerful, will just run Debian 11. Old one is some core i5 with 8GB of ram and its served me well until recently but the batteries are dead, screws stripped out to access internals and its just really old. I could buy a new battery online and it'll likely run for 10 more years but I'd like to blow dust out of the inside but can no longer get in there.

What's important to me is durability and battery life. I don't need ultra performance or crazy displays. I just want something I can roll over and grab when I wake up if I need to or toss in the truck if I want to go on a trip and know I can work from a rest stop if I need to.

I've dropped my current Dell multiple times over the years. I've also replaced the screen on it once. Something I can fix myself if I break something is a must.

Screen size that's at least 14". I will use it outside sometimes, so a display that is visible in those situations is a must. Preferably no mic/webcam but I can yank those out or at least cover or disable if needed. Wired ethernet port is a must, sometimes it comes in handy. Hdmi and a few USB ports should suffice. Should have normal audio ports so I can use wired headphones.

I don't really care if it's Intel or AMD, a SSD works fine, don't "need" NVMe storage but will welcome it, I don't care about brand names or anything.

What are my options?

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Comments

  • edited September 2022

    Go for Thinkpad T 4xx series, older and refurbished.
    Avoid touchscreen versions, and the thin Ts series.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=thinkpad+t490&_trksid=p2380057.m4084.l1313

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  • MannDudeMannDude Hosting Provider

    @Amadex said:
    Go for Thinkpad T 4xx series, older and refurbished.
    Avoid touchscreen versions, and the thin Ts series.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=thinkpad+t490&_trksid=p2380057.m4084.l1313

    Good call, I forgot to mention how much I despise touchscreens. I forgot that that is something still being pushed on laptops, ha.

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  • edited September 2022

    @MannDude said:

    @Amadex said:
    Go for Thinkpad T 4xx series, older and refurbished.
    Avoid touchscreen versions, and the thin Ts series.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=thinkpad+t490&_trksid=p2380057.m4084.l1313

    Good call, I forgot to mention how much I despise touchscreens. I forgot that that is something still being pushed on laptops, ha.

    I hate touchscreen too on laptop, I have phone for that. Also the thin S versions are harder in part replacement. So a regular T 14" series is ok for everything (tank). You can use it to kill someone but it's still portable and yabs is amazing.

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  • +1 for Thinkpads. Have had a T440p and X250, both have been super sturdy and reliable. Also have had a X61 in the past too.

    T440p is a 14" class machine with a drive bay (can house an optical drive or 2.5" SATA drive), internal SATA 2.5", and a single 2240 M.2 SATA drive in the WWAN slot. Only downside is pretty anemic CPU options (all dual core with SMT, Intel 5th-gen mobile series).

    X250 is a 12.5" class machine. Has the benefit of having a internal 3-cell + hot-swappable external 6-cells. Single 2.5" SATA + 2240 M.2 SATA support.

    Even the modern series P laptops are seeming quite attractive for me. My next one might be a P14s. They come with Ryzen mobile and still retain plenty of I/O while bringing nice modern features to the table as well (USB-C charging/docking and high-resolution displays)

    If you want more ruggedness, second-hand Panasonic Toughbooks are also an option (though tend to be lower spec, bulkier/heavier, and more difficult to perform repairs on).

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  • skorupionskorupion Hosting Provider
    edited September 2022

    Avoid Lenovo Ideapads at all costs. These mf aren't scratch resistant nor easily repairable (i.e., want to change the keyboard? You either have to change the whole top piece or go through a gruesome process of taking off little plastic welds and putting them back in).

    If you want something really strong, then go for a toughbook (amazing toughness, and it's meant to be thrown).

    If you want something average, look into Thinkpads (as mentioned by Amadex) Maybe a Thinkpad X250 @Neoon knows about those and could probably give you some useful information.

    If you want something new, then consider a Dell XPS (decently strong when closed and really modern looking).

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  • MichaelCeeMichaelCee ModeratorOGServices Provider

    I bought a X240 Thinkpad in Aug 21. It’s actually a beast in many ways, been dropped more times than I was as a baby. It was refurbished with a shiny new battery and they gave me the old one too. No faults when it comes to that, just wish I got a beefier version.

  • edited September 2022

    Fun fact: If you get in train in Switzerland, you will see 95% people with Thinkpads T/L series and they can afford every machine they want.

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  • Avoid any cheap Notebook/Laptop, mostly pure shit.
    Get a used thinkpad for the same price, the build quality is way better.

    Its maybe worth it paying a bit more for a recent cpu, depending on what you need.

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  • I still daily drive a T440P hackintosh. i7 4810MQ / 16G / second HDD in ODD bay. Great machine built like a tank. The CPU is a dinosaur now though.

    Get a T series Thinkpad (go for one of the P models). You won't regret.

  • servarica_haniservarica_hani Hosting ProviderOG

    I am in exact same situation
    but for me battery life is important

    Not sure how is the battery like of new or used thinkpads

    I am even thinking about macbook air m2 although I hate to move all my apps and tools to new OS

  • Kinda depends on budget.

    Given that you seem to keep it for many year I'd consider a framework laptop. Easy replacability, upgradable, modern and linux friendly

    ...just pricey

  • skorupionskorupion Hosting Provider

    @servarica_hani said:
    I am in exact same situation
    but for me battery life is important

    Not sure how is the battery like of new or used thinkpads

    I am even thinking about macbook air m2 although I hate to move all my apps and tools to new OS

    For the mackbook, hopefully you are already in the apple ecosystem, as they be expensive, and thats the only thing that makes it somewhat worth anything. Maybe just get a addicional battery if you really need it (in some models its easy to replace a battery)

    Thanked by (1)servarica_hani

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  • The company gave me a T495 and it's alright.

    Most importantly, it's commute/mobile friendly.

    It's collecting dust at the moment since I have another laptop which I use primarily, a customer-funded ZBook 15 G6 :smiley:

    Not something I would recommend if you're a Digital Nomad or a mobile user.

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  • You can get new batteries, main lithium pack & CMOS, for $18US. Fix your Dell. Give it a cleaning. Pop in a SSD if you do not already have one.

  • SGrafSGraf Hosting ProviderServices Provider
    edited September 2022

    thinkpad x230 served me well from 2013 to 2020. If you can live with the display (this wasnt an issue for me, but some people dont like it), then its still quite the good pick.

    You can get new (non used) batteries for them still. Runtime with the i5 models is decent. As a bonus and contrary to what the ark.intel thing (and lenovo) state that the max ram is NOT 16gb....i have run mine with 32 gb (2x 16gb sodimm). Some unintential droptesting showed quite good resilience with parts being easy to source (ebay) and replace (See the "maintenance manual" here: https://download.lenovo.com/pccbbs/mobiles_pdf/0b48666.pdf). For storage you get a standard 2,5" slot with sata. If you do not care for the 3G modem (or buy a model with that installed), you can use the m.2 slot for a second ssd.

    A used x230 in decent condition with a charger will likely cost you around 200 eur/usd and then another 100 for a new battery.

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