Can I buy a future-proof laptop to last 10 years?

There are three classes of laptop to consider. First are the business machines aimed mainly at large enterprises. The leading brands are Lenovo ThinkPads (originally, an IBM brand), Dell Latitude laptops and HP EliteBooks. Second, you could choose a mobile workstation, as these usually offer more configuration options. The models to consider include the ThinkPad P1, Dell’s Precision range and HP’s ZBook 14u G5. Third, there are gaming laptops, such as the Gigabyte Aero 14 and the Razer Blade Stealth, which is now available with a 13.3in screen. Dell, HP and Lenovo also sell gaming laptops… More here.

And so the article goes on, and on.

Buy a Mac. If you want 10 years buy a Mac unless you are prepared to change many of the internals and effectively buy a new PC anyway. If you want Windows, buy a Mac and put Windows on it. You are welcome.

Categories: Tech News

12 replies

  1. Spot on. Bought a MacBook Pro in 2009 for a significant birthday 😉. 10 years on its still going strong and my main go to machine. Along the way I’ve upgraded RAM (2-4 GB), the hard disk to an SSD and las year had to replace the battery. It’s massively quicker (thanks to the SSD) than my iMac which runs like a dog, and thanks the the solid aluminium chassis there’s hardly a mark on it. It’s a fabulous machine. My daughter has a MB Air bought 5 years ago, and that’s also going strong despite being pummelled most days.

  2. My experience mirrors Simon’s. Right down to the SSD and battery replacement. With patches available, I’m running Sierra, which is close enough so I don’t have software compatibility issues. For a second machine to my iMac, which is already almost 5 years old, I expect it to last at least another 5 years.

    As for Windows, if you really need it for basic stuff, use a VM. Unless you need specific software that only runs on Windows, why bother. And if you need high-end software that needs a powerful Windows machine, or gaming, then you won’t be getting more than 5 years out of any machine given that hardware requirements only go up. Just my opinion based on my experience.

  3. I would say it’s a lot easier to say yes to this then it was 15 years ago. Things have really slowed down and older hardware performs 90% of tasks just fine.

    I agree with the Mac folk by default – looking for an excuse to upgrade my 2012 Macbook Air, with Apple’s keyboard and port shenanigans giving me an excuse NOT to – but I also realize I am willing to spend for Macs while I always cheaped out on Windows laptops, so it might not be fair to compare mid- to high-end Macs to lowball PCs in terms of durability etc.

  4. Depends what you mean by mid to high end versus low ball. Out of curiosity I looked at a MacBook Air and compared it to a Dell Inspiron with roughly the same specs. The Dell is going to be just over half the cost of the Mac. Is it put together as well as the Mac? I have no idea, nor do I know how easily upgradable it is.

    • Well, Macs certainly lead the way in not being easily upgradable. 😀

      Much of it is of course the OS – both the feel of it (especially it’s stronger Unix roots) as well as the promise that it’s not going to be shit-up with OEM bloatware. That lack of bloatware from the start probably is a fair chunk of the longevity right there.

      • About the OS and the bloatware, absolutely. Mind you, you do get a Windows license with a PC so you could always wipe it and load from scratch. That leaves the OS. So how much is having macOS versus Windows worth? And how powerful a machine do you really need?

        • Well, among my dev peers, I’d be making a statement, and maybe the wrong type, if I was on Windows. And ping ponging in terms of ctrl- vs cmd- and what not just wouldn’t be pleasant. I don’t know if I’ve become a OS snob and Windows just feels low rent, or if I associate it with the budget hardware I tend to encounter it on, or if it’s just Ye Olde “if I’m even having to think about my OS, I’m being taken away from what I’d prefer to be thinking about”

  5. Re your dev peers, that’s very interesting. I know that where I was, just before I retired they started giving people the choice of a MacBook or a PC. And now I believe they’ve gone Mac 100%.

    I went through the ctrl vs cmd thing. I ended up making cut, copy, paste on the Mac use either ctrl or cmd.

    Don’t know which your reasons are, or maybe all three. For me, the last one is certainly it. Plus when I do have to get into the system, I find macOS to be much easier to get around and more consistent.

    • Mac is such the dev standard, and kind of a monoculture, that it’s sort of a problem when you think about 80-90% of the users of whatever you’re making are probably on Windows!

      Despite being a UI developer I can’t always tell “this is consistent” from “this is what I’m used to”. And I remember there used to be things I preferred on Windows… I love how the folder view gives the path, and then you can click on it and each part of the path is clickable… or I used to write about how I thought the task bar was better than the dock, because I do think it makes sense to think in terms of open windows vs open applications…

  6. How do you design a UI for Windows without using it on Windows?

    As for the other, the detailed Finder view gives the path at the bottom and it’s clickable. I do like the tree view of all the folders, although I get easy navigation using Path Finder. Even on Windows I use Q-Dir. I also use Hyperdock which gives me a popup of each app’s Windows as I scroll over it in the Dock. If you use cmd-tab to switch apps, there are extensions that let you see the windows. That said, I’m rarely in an app where I’m using multiple windows.

    • This is all browser stuff. There’s a serious monoculture problem with 90% of developer work being on chrome.

      Yeah I use hyperdock. And have a bad habit of spilling stuff across many windows


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