Laptop recommendation?

Intel’s Lunar Lake is looking extremely promising, although it probably won’t be out until the late fall. I wouldn’t count them out yet, it’s basically a full new architecture.

It has a razor focus on power use, ditching hyperthreasing, putting RAM on the chip (no more upgradable RAM, sigh), and prioritizing E-cores for most processes. Intel claims those new skymont E-cores offer similar performance to meteor lake at a whopping one-third the power or 70% more perf in the same power envelope. They say the four E-cores in a Lunar Lake cluster deliver 3x the performance of a two E-core cluster in Meteor Lake at the exact same power.

And keep in mind, the Meteor Lake E-cores weren’t bad, they basically performed like Skylake (6th gen Intel, 6700K or whatever) in much less power already. And now they’re claiming that IPC grew by 70%. Seventy percent! These claims are bonkers.

Obviously all the above could well be bullshit. Intel promised great things for Meteor Lake also. I never put any trust in prerelease numbers from Intel or AMD. But, big words.

I took my laptop to work and started using it at 9:00 AM off of the cord after being fully charged and using adaptive 120 Hz and display brightness about 50%. I stopped using it around 4:00 PM and was at 35%. This was a day doing zoom calls (one for two hours) watching a bit of YoutubeTV, web browsing, email, etc.

Yeah, I am very happy with the SL7, AI or no AI.

I can’t imagine anyone is buying them for the AI.

The realtime translation closed captions are pretty cool. You could videocall pretty much anybody.

It’s like the generative AI hype is almost completely orthogonal to the actual useful applications of machine learning right now.

It’s not generative no, but I’ve found that extremely useful as well. Just not in windows.

Last week I wanted to make a change in home assistant CSS for an addon card I had installed. I grabbed their whole CSS reference, pasted it into Claude.ai, and told it what I wanted. Didn’t work perfectly but saved me tons of time.

I decided to return the SL7 and it really isn’t the laptop’s fault. In a perfect world I would keep it, but I just didn’t have a use case that required I hang onto one more laptop. The other part of the equation is that I also own a Thinkpad P1 gen 7 Ultra 9 that runs everything I need (the SL7 does not) plus every game around. And much to my surprise, the P1 gen 7 passed my all day off the cord workday test - although I was more careful with the P1 (didn’t really have to worry about the SL7).

Lots of good options in Windows land and I am sure more to come this year.

Edit: By the way, if it wasn’t for this Thinkpad fan control software Releases · Shuzhengz/TPFanCtrl2 (github.com) and this program that has to be installed to get it to work Toolkits - Freeware - TVicPort - Port I/O and Memory access under Win32 and Win 64-bit (entechtaiwan.com), I would have also returned the P1 gen 7. The fans on power cord spin no matter what the power settings are. The fan control software greatly helps with this problem (by the way, works with any Thinkpad that has two fans). Maybe Lenovo will update such that this isn’t a problem anymore, but the fan control software fixes it right now.

I need to buy a replacement WFH laptop for my spouse, as her seven year-old HP unit is on its very last legs. We may need to buy as soon as tomorrow, so I am limited to what I can get in-store at my local Best Buy or Microcenter. Her main requirement is that it has a numeric keypad (which really narrows down the field even further) and a ~15.6" display. Her workflow is primarily remoting into a virtual workstation and doing Excel/email/browser stuff, usually with several items open at once. She would like to do some casual gaming (think Stardew Valley, not Cyberpunk 2077), which I would think any modern laptop could handle even with onboard graphics(?). The unit should also be built well enough to handle her roaming around the house trying to stay close to our active toddler, who enjoys coming up and randomly trying to shut the lid of her laptop.

I could use some general advice, especially since I know almost nothing about laptop CPUs – they are all just alphabet soup to me. She has had a Dell and HP in the past, but I was thinking of going Lenovo this time. I saw an Ideapad at Best Buy with decent specs, but the build quality of the Thinkpads looks way better.

Microcenter has a couple of Thinkpads available, one T16 Gen 2 model and one E16 Gen 1 model. They have the Intel Core i5 (E16) or i7 (T16) 13th Gen 1355U processor (with Intel Iris Xe Graphics). Is this mobile processor decent, and is it subject to the Intel 13th Gen reliability problems that have been mentioned here and all over?

I am sure almost any recent mobile CPU is “good enough” for her needs, but I want her to have a solid performer with good battery life for nomadic working all over the house.

I would definitely not buy an Intel 13 or 14 series at all right now, until the dust settles.

Well, if you want to think about Snapdragon, there are two that are >15" and have the numpad

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge

ASUS Vivobook
https://shop.asus.com/us/90nb14q2-m000w0-asus-vivobook-s-15-s5507.html

If you can wait for something to ship, Lenovo has reduced the prices of most of their Thinkpad P series laptops and there are some good clearance deals on the site.

Yeah, I was leaning firmly toward that Thinkpad T16 but the Intel 13 processor is concerning, even though I haven’t seen confirmation that the mobile chips are deficient and they appear to be very different beasts from their desktop counterparts. I don’t really want to gamble though since it is for her work.

I am very intrigued by the new Snapdragon stuff, though I usually do not want to get in early on new tech that may still have teething pains. For work she primarily needs basic Remote Desktop and Office/web-type things, which I would hope would not pose any compatibility issues. I honestly have not read much about the Snapdragons beyond the “very fast, great battery life” hooks.

That’s the rub; the clock seems to be ticking. If we do have more time, I’d like to source an AMD Thinkpad if I cannot find one locally. I definitely want something that is built better than her current all-plastic HP special, though it has held up amazingly well all things considered.

There is no report of issue for Intel 13 or 14 gen LAPTOP chips AFAIK. All of the reports so far are desktop upper tier K variants.