my next laptop


a few years back I replaced my Surface Pro 3 that had power issues with an HP Spectre 360 after reading reviews of Lenovo, Dell, Microsoft and HP offerings. I thought the 360 formfactor would be interesting to explore after the 2-in-1 Surface Pro. I am not a power user, so I configured it with as an I5/8 GB/256 GB SSD laptop but I splurged on the copper tones to have it stand out a bit. I ran into problems and went through a warranty exchange more times than I care to share (I am on my 4th laptop). I write this off as a bad run of laptops and while it will impact my future decisions, it will be as a tie-breaker. The HP is a well-designed machine and I appreciate the support they have provided – though it has been an ordeal. Along the lines after I escalated the problems, corporate upgraded me to an I7/16 GB/512 GB SSD. I am spoiled!

Over this past week – I was camping and broke out an old Surface 3 I had put in the camper for times I may need more than a phone. I had some Zoom calls to make and wound up using it for consumption as well as some 3D Builder to design a bracket that I needed. I appreciate the 3×2 screen ratio over the more traditional 16×9 screen the Spectre provides. I found I value the 2-in-1 formfactor over the 360 formfactor. I thought the versatility of the 360 with laptop mode, tent mode and tablet mode would be more useful – it isn’t. Ripping off the cover or just folding it back was better than the bulkiness of the 360. I am reconsidering what I want to replace the 360 with when the time comes.

as I said, I am not a power-user. I am wondering if the Surface Go would meet my needs – but the price and the battery life are not exciting me. I see some nice Costco Surface Pro 7 bundles at Costco but I am wondering about the configuration. Would an I5/8GB/128GB SSD meet my needs or should I look at more RAM and larger SSD? I doubt I need more than the 10th Gen of the I5. I have mostly transitioned to an Internet connected solution storing all my files on OneDrive. I do not install movies to watch offline – and if I did, there is always the SD Card option. so from folks experiences here – is a 128 GB machine adequate for your need?

thanks for the long read!

Comments (13)

13 responses to “my next laptop”

  1. simard57

    BTW - are there any other 3x2 layouts out there? Seems Microsoft is the only mainstream vendor to offer such a solution

  2. simard57

    the price difference between the 128 and 256 GB SSD bundle is $200! $890 to $1190 including Keyboard cover and Pen

    The Surface Go bundle is $650 for 8 GB/128GB SSD. I wish it were the Core M but it is is the Pentium model. I suspect the Core M would meet my needs.

  3. rob_segal

    I would choose a Surface Pro 6 or 7 over Surface Go. You can still find the Huawei Matebook X Pro on Amazon and Ebay. That has a 3x2 screen. The webcam is in a popup key on the keyboard though. I would get more storage than 128 GB.

  4. lightbody

    Using a 2017 HP Spectre x360 13 for home use (love it, no problems, 8gb/256ssd/i7 ). I bought it from ebay, used, under warranty, for a huge discount over new.

    And a 2019 HP Elitebook x360 1040 G5 was provided to me for work use (like it, no major problems, 16gb/512ssd/i7). I often us it in tent mode to watch videos, and occasionally in tablet mode when just reading something.

    The elitebook is much less "sexy" but is 4:3 and has the ability to open the case to replace or upgrade components. I don't use it in tablet or tent mode, never found a use-case for that, but I do like the touch screen. Sound is superb for a laptop.

  5. phytio

    I think I went through a similar process to you - complete with HP warranty replacements. I thought the x360 form factor would be versatile, but it was too heavy to use as a tablet.

    I've just bought a Surface Pro 7 and I'm enjoying the experience. I initially bough the Core i5/8GB/256gb model, but I found the i5 a little slower than I'd like and I was constantly pushing 80-90% of RAM usage. As a teacher I was using a lot of PowerPoint, Excel and Edge, which I didn't think was exactly a power user workload, but at the same time I planned to keep the Surface for a few years and didn't want performance to annoying me in a couple of years. I've since upgraded to the i7/16GB/256GB model and definitely appreciate the extra power. If you're used to an i7 and 16GB RAM I think you might notice the downgrade.

    • simard57

      In reply to phytio:

      I remember the Surface Pro 3 being hefty as a tablet. Is the 7 a bit easier to handle? I am talking myself into returning to the Surface Pro - the one hesitation is it is not serviceable. I was not ready when my Pro 3 died unexpectedly out of warranty. One perq of Costco is they double the warranty on electronics so I would get 2 years out of the gate. I would consider buying a third year if Costco offered it.

  6. wright_is

    My Surface Pro 3's battery failed and you can't power it from the mains when the battery is dead!?!? Who thought of that brain-dead design? Luckily, Microsoft replaced it under warranty (it was only 20 months old).

    I also have a Spectre X360 (Skylake version from 2016). I found with the Pro 3 that it spent 99% of its time either docked or used with the keyboard, so the Spectre made more sense for me. (Touches wood) it has been extremely reliable and a solid performer; I also went with i5/8GB/256GB. Sorry to head you have had so many problems with yours.

    I would say the Surface Pro 7 would be a good bet. Or have a look at the Huawei MateBook E series.

  7. north of 49th

    I have a Surface Pro 5 (2017) i5 with 8GB RAM and a 256 GB hard drive that I use every day as my portable PC - mostly with a browser. I appreciate the larger screen size of the Surface Pro over the original Surface, especially as my eye age. If you are thinking Surface, I would go Pro with the understanding that it is not serviceable (so perhaps an extended warranty). I would also go larger than 128GB.

  8. jimchamplin

    I would not consider 128GB to be sufficient. I tried using a 128GB SSD as my system drive for Windows, but it’s constantly ballooning in size with updates and if you want to have any of your apps on the drive, it quickly becomes untenable.

  9. lvthunder

    I wouldn't get a 128GB SSD. Bear minimum would be 256, but I highly recommend 512. The beefier computer you buy today means you can use it longer unless you physically break it. I use a lot of big applications so 512 barely fit all the apps I use.