General discussion

Suggestions for Windows laptops

I am looking for a Windows laptop with the following things:
- High end laptop
- NOT a gaming laptop
- NOT touchscreen

I've already tried the Dell XPS 15 9560 but have had quite a few problems with it and am thinking of an alternative

Discussion is locked

Follow
Reply to: Suggestions for Windows laptops
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: Suggestions for Windows laptops
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Comments
- Collapse -
Re: problems

What problems did you have with it? And were they after the warranty period?

- Collapse -
Problems

I've had the laptop for just less than 2 weeks, so I have only 2 days to decide whether or not I want to keep the laptop or get a full refund for it.

Problems I had with it were:
- Sound: every time I pause anything which is playing sound (video/music), wait about a minute, then continue playing, the speakers are really loud for a split second, and then goes back to normal. It happens regardless of whether it's speakers or earphone I'm using

- Freezing programs: there are 2 issues I've had with this. First, after I've finished gaming (computer intensive), and I go to settings, it gets stuck on the blue screen with the settings logo. I have to close and reopen it a couple of times before it works as normal. This problem sometimes occurs (not always).

Second, when I'm opening a photo using the 'photos' app, a similar thing happens. It gets stuck on the black screen with the logo, and so I have to close and reopen it again.

- Camera: The position of the camera is the most awkward thing ever. Because it's located at the bottom, every time I'm looking forwards at the screen, it looks like I'm looking upwards

- Opening laptop: There's no lip to put your finger in when opening the laptop lid. May seem like a small thing, but it's really annoying for me

- Collapse -
(NT) Seems like it's best to return it while you still can.
- Collapse -
Here's a thing. It's the death of the laptop for many.

You listed those issues but didn't tell how dell responded.

But the problem is that most laptops arrive without the latest drivers and now OS. So the poor new owner has to be ready and able to deal with that.

Maybe a Windows laptop is not for you. Have you considered an Apple? It's about the only alternative that addresses the issues you listed.

- Collapse -
The camera location is, in itself a reason to return.

Most of the other items sound like the usual Windows and driver issues. I've kicked it around for years that Windows (outside of Microsoft's own Surface) seem to not be "appliances." That is we still can't expect a Windows PC to be without us dealing with drivers and settings.

While the camera is a design element that you now know it matters, the rest are sadly, things we get to deal with all too often.

Maybe an Apple or check out those Microsoft Surface machines.

- Collapse -
Bad experience

I've had a bad experience with Surface machines actually. My most recent laptop was a SP3. There were problems with the battery - specifically, Windows would always give the wrong battery life number. So, even though my device says it's on 40%, it would shut down. Upon a restart, I see the battery at 0%. In addition to that, my screen is popping out from the front. I think that's caused by an expanding battery.

I contacted MS and because I was outside my warranty period, they would charge me a stupid amount (almost equivalent to the price of the device) to extend the warranty by 1 year. I've had the SP3 for about 3 years now, and I definitely won't be looking at their products ever again

As for Apple...I'm not sure I'm ready to switch over to MacOS. I've been using Windows and am so used to it. If I switch over, my productivity levels will definitely drop. I know Windows has its flaws, but I'm so inclined to stick to this OS

- Collapse -
Outside of the camera

The problems are sadly inline with my experiences. That is I have to deal with drivers on our new laptops at the office more often than not.

For consumers this is a bad deal. That is, we are now decades into the Windows PC and still we have these issues. The makers and Microsoft have with the rare exception of our Surface models not nailed the drivers and taking care of such.

The BATTERY after just a year can be off in its reporting. I have not seen such on a new Surface.

This is why I think you may be better off on a more controlled system like Apple.

- Collapse -
Let's cover bad batteries.

If your battery is expanded then you can't rely on per cent reports. All it means is it needs a new battery. I've run into folk that won't fix a machine even if it's cheap to do so. For so reason they don't accept that today's machines will misreport when the battery has failed. You can't help them and they are bound to repeat the story on their next laptop.

I'm just someone that owned repair shops, have worked as an electronics designer and more. I've seen a lot. But your story is sadly typical. Not that I don't think you're wrong here but the industry is not delivering that experience you are looking for. And if a battery swells, then all bets are off and it only means you replace it.

To call the entire Surface line bad because owners don't know this is a stretch.

Post was last edited on May 6, 2018 5:43 PM PDT

- Collapse -
It's just my experience

Sure, I can see where your argument is coming from. But I guess I wouldn't be having battery problems if I decided to get a Macbook instead of the SP3. Despite this, I think very lowly of Microsoft's customer service. If I ever had problems with a Macbook, Apple have the genius bar who will at least look at the problem. If they decide it needs a new battery, they'll charge you for it. MS didn't even suggest having a look at it. Furthermore, I've actually had my SP3 exchanged for another refurbished one, when the metal strip on the kickstand was peeling off. But that was during the warranty period. A problem there was that I went about a week without a laptop. Sad times Sad

- Collapse -
Sorry but Apple has battery issues too.

No maker is immune from this one. As to changing an out of warranty battery I have done so many it's not funny. You may want to know how I know how to do so many? Ready? YouTube.

I have an office that we have laptops, backup laptops, and more. We code, write apps, support our old apps so we never get by with just one laptop. I feel for those that have just one system.

- Collapse -
Apple is not as bad

From my experience and from talking to others, I've already concluded that yes: although every laptop is prone to an expanding battery, Apple isn't as bad as Microsoft. But it's not just about the product. It's about customer service too. Sadly, MS is absolutely terrible in regards to this

- Collapse -
About MS is terrible.

MS only makes a few PCs, game systems and accessories.

MS doesn't offer support to say Dell or other PCs unless we pay or under a very short list of reasons. There is, outside of this only paid support which this is where I see folk want to burn Microsoft to the ground on support.

My few encounters with Microsoft support have always been enlightening. And one stands out among them all. It was over a decade ago but explained so much.

I had this CD that when you put it into a Windows PC, Windows would lock up. Only a tap of the reset button would bring it back. I thought this was interesting and due to my word at the time I was going to an ODM seminar in Richmond, WA on the Microsoft Campus. Since there would be Microsoft engineers and more there I thought I'd bring this CD for them to take a look at and maybe fix their products.

What happened next was the enlightening moment. I met with a pair of Microsoft engineers and the reply was "Don't put that into your Windows PC."

-> Not to leave it at that I produced a diskette which were still widely in use then with a jpeg image that if you copied it to your desktop the Windows PC would again lock up.

I got the same answer. "Don't do that."

- Collapse -
Of the items you listed, many sound like driver issues.

Except the camera placement. Because of how this industry works (the Windows industry) that's why I think in your case you have to look at other than Windows. Or look again at the Surface. It's strange to see a battery problem on a Surface inside warranty. You don't have to tell but is there something different about yours? Refurb or just older?

- Collapse -
Re: drivers

But a Dell laptop should work without any issues out of the box. It comes with all drivers installed.

- Collapse -
Yes

I hope he returned it already.

- Collapse -
Process of doing so

I'm in the process of returning the laptop. I've sent them a message, and they've confirmed collection tomorrow

- Collapse -
I wish that was always true.

I've had so many out of the box experiences where the shipped drivers have odd issues like this member. But this hasn't happened on Surface and Apple models. This is why my advice nods to those when a consumer doesn't want to deal with the usual Windows issues.

The camera? Well that's something they learned about first hand and know to avoid next time.

- Collapse -
They've not learned their lesson

The whole range of Dell XPS laptops have a bad camera placement. It's obvious that they've prioritized their screen over the position of it, which is such a basic thing. This mistake is almost identical to Apple when they decided to remove the headphone jack from their phones, but not as worse

- Collapse -
Now that you to avoid this placement.

It's like your headphone jack. You can dwell on Dell or having learned what you need, shop with your newfound wisdom.

- Collapse -
New device

When I purchased the Surface Pro 3, it was brand new. It didn't come directly from Microsoft, but from John Lewis (It's a well known department store for those outside the UK). At the time I bought it, it was the newest Surface that was available then. And actually, the problem with the battery was just outside of the warranty. The bit of metal that is on the kickstand, which was peeling off, was the problem within warranty

- Collapse -
And a testament to why stock warranty duration

Is a problem. You can find way too many posts about failures just past warranty.

For Apple, the stock warranty is too short and I advise all to get the 3 year coverage.

- Collapse -
Well the camera is a well

documented disadvantage of both the XPS 13 and 15. I've heard it described that it looks up your nose. The camera was in the same location when you bought it. Take it back and REALLY look at a replacement. Try Lenovo they were rated number 1 brand in Laptop Magazine this year. Another thing you said not a gaming machine but of of the issues you mentioned was after you finished gaming.

CNET Forums

Forum Info