help choosing a laptop

edited June 2021 in General Discussion

Hi, I need a new laptop and the only specs I can come up with are what I don't like about my current setup. That said:

Windows 10


support internet gaming - specifically, tabletop simulator on Steam; my current laptop has a lot of lag despite a good internet connection in the house. (HP Envy M6)

I will probably also want to cast from this machine

good camera and mic - the camera on my work machine is blurry (Dell Vostro)

backlit keyboard, ports to support wireless keyboard and mouse. i probably wont use a headset, as I hate having things on my ears.

Dell offered me an Inspiron 15 5000 at $600 based on these "specs"

I am not a super user, I no longer need to use my personal machine for work, and I really just want the few things I do to work well. i would prefer to be frugal, but my last laptop lasted 7 years, so I'd like to get something that will keep me going for awhile again.


  • Thank you. I would say the ASUS is just a little more than i wanted to spend and is beautifully lightweight Doesn't seem to have a way to cable in to my modem to diagnose or overcome connection issues. The HP Pavilion seems to have almost everything I want - maybe a little on the heavy side, but I have better computer luggage than I used to and it might not be as important as I think it is. I could stretch to afford this too. The Acer Nitro is out; I'm just not willing to spend this much money on myself.

    My local store (Cambridge) appears to have all of these.

    Although you offered choices (thank you!) you did not enlarge on why these choices match my terribly vague specs. I'd like to hear why you chose these, but I'm happy enough with choice 2 that I probably don't need reinforcement.

    If I go with the HP, can you recommend a mouse and keyboard? Any reason I should not go with a simple and cheap option?

  • JS_MC

    I based my recommendation on the specifications you needed and the availability I could see.

    The HP is refurbished, however, it's a great option with a dedicated GPU. (GTX 1650) which will offer great performance for the games you're interested in.

    I wanted to give you options at multiple price points that would offer you good, better, best for the price you mentioned.

    I'd recommend a decent keyboard, but it would be mostly dependant on your budget and your needs.

    I spend my time working from a keyboard so I spend more than most. If I were looking for cheap yet quality, I'd buy something like the Redragon K530 Draconic 61 and the ASUS TUF 3

    I'm a fan of Mechanical Brown Switches, and I like the wrist wrest on the Cooler Master CK530 and I like the shape and light weight performance from the Glorious Model D.

    I'd be happy to recommend others if you're unhappy with these.

  • Thank you! Did you have any thoughts on the Inspiron Dell wants to sell me?

    I am not afraid of refurbished, and the specs of this machine address several of the things I know I want - thank you!

    My computer needs have atrophied extremely over the past few years, as I have moved more firmly to separate work and home. My home machine only needs to be able to game, and I am absolutely not a power gamer. I have extensive access to Office products and storage at work; I do not anticipate typing more than chat comments on this machine. Also, i will be typing and mousing from the depths of my comfy chair.

    I have been perfectly happy with a $14.99 logitech mouse/keyboard combo that ran off the same USB for a year, but like all cheap thinks, it eventually broke.

    Tempted by anything named redragon - I'm Welsh. The discussion I found on brown switch online takes me back - clicky keys! pressure resistance! I used to care so much about these things! I am definitely thinking hard about these options.

    Both of these mice seem subtly right-handed - I am left-handed. I do mouse with right hand buttons - I started my professional life in tech support and needed to be able to use other people's mice - but I use my left hand.

    Thank you for your time. I will definitely go with the HP. I will think about the redragon keyboard. I will keep looking at mice.

  • JS_MC

    Hmm, the Dell Inspiron that they have recommended for you doesn't have dedicated graphics. It does have Intel's new Xe integrated graphics which will perform better than the previous generations by a fair amount. It may still struggle to offer you decent framerates for tables with multiple assets or games that have a slightly higher graphics fidelity. That being said, it is a thin and light laptop which would be great for travel. It's an extremely portable laptop. Especially for a 15.6" inch.

    I prefer the brown switches for their tactile feedback! The blue switches are great too, however, they are quite a bit louder than reasonable. Especially since you mentioned you'll be using your laptop microphone. If you're planning on hosting meetings or other things, I might suggest a more quiet keyboard, like the Logitech you mentioned. Membrane keyboards are typically more quiet than mechanical. Red switches are very fast and typically a bit quieter, however, they are a bit too sensitive for my liking. (I have heavy hands that depress the key when I rest it on the keyboard.)

    Check out our recent article on Mechanical or Membrane.

    If noise is an issue for you, one can always purchase O-rings to dampen the noise that the key makes when bottoming out.

    Sorry, I didn't think to offer you an ambidextrous mouse. I'm a righty, so I recommend what I use/know. I don't have much experience with ambidextrous mice, however, the Logitech G G203 is great for an inexpensive yet high-quality option. Another mouse that I have experience with would be the Logitech G PRO It does have mouse buttons that can be switched for left-handed use.

    Always happy to help!

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