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I am looking for recommendations for a new Windows Live News Laptop.  This is to take to jobs, mostly in London,  so I can rapidly process, using photo mechanic and lightroom, large numbers of Raw files. (I always take far too many pictures)  It must have a long battery life, a lot of RAM and a fast processor.  A good screen would be useful; however I tend to use the histogram more than processing by eye.  A large, fast hard disk would also be useful.  something solidly build that can take a bit of knocking around would be good.  Keys that light up would again be useful but not essential.  I would not use the laptop for anything else

 

I have a budget of up to two thousand pounds.  Recommendations would be appreciated.   

 

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My advice after a nasty experience is make sure you go and test the actual model before buying - if you are buying mail order still find a way of testing.  A couple of years ago I ordered a high spec laptop (cannot remember make or model for the life of me) along similar lines to yourself.  All the blurb was about high-quality video/image screen etc.  When it arrived the screen made it unusable for me - instead of smooth blending on shades I could see clear lines between each colour.  I had a hells own job getting a refund - because most people could not see the problem - and the first engineer I took it to for a report told me it was because the screen was 4k and my test images weren't so they did not show up properly (!!???) - which he demonstrated by loading a special hi quality video.  Now whether the screen was the problem or it was too high for compatibility I cannot say - all I know is I could not use the machine for image processing, which is what I bought it for, and it took 9 months to get refunded and I had to go through the ombudsman to get it. 

If you can buy from a physical shop (possibly not currys/PC world lol) take the actual machine you buy out of the box there and then and run some images through it to check the screen.  It could save you a lot of grief and hassle.

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I bought a Dell 5570 in Nicaragua and added more memory and a M.2 SSD.  The screen is not good, but my other computer is a iMac.  The Dell I have is a middle range one but mine has a i7 8th generation processor (lower wattage version).  Mine is also 15-1/2 inch model and I'd recommend the size down for lugging around, though the 15 inch ones are better for editing.  The highest range Dells are the XPS series and seem like they'd be better for your purposes. 

 

Putting the programs and OS on a SSD and having the other drive for storage of photos, documents, music, videos, etc., is a good plan.  The boot time and program loading times are quite a bit faster with the SSDs.   My particular machine has keys that light up and came with 8 GB memory, upgraded to 16, can take up to 32 GB.  Has a discrete graphics card.    

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Ian,

 

I would consider buying a refurbished laptop that the seller can upgrade for you.

Make sure it was an original Windows 10 machine, I prefer 10 Pro in 64 bit.

I have three laptops going back to 2001, all Lenovo and all still boot and work.

My middle aged Lenovo T-62 is a great machine.  I bought it refurbished on eBay

and the seller upgraded the drive and the RAM for a really good price more than

ten years ago.  I've used that T-62 all over the world with no problem.

The main things on a laptop for processing images quickly are the Graphics Card and RAM.

A dual drive setup with one solid state fast drive is nice if you can afford it.  The 

display and the keyboards on the Lenovo's are wonderful as is Lenovo's tech support.

I've had ups and downs with DELL.

Most photographers I know prefer a MacBook?

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HP Spectre X360. I have had the top spec 13” model for about 3 years and it has travelled with me all over the world.  I am just about to replace it because the del key is now falling off.  The now current top of the range model has 16gb RAM and a 1tb SSD. It costs £1700 inc VAT.  I do wonder how it will cope with the 4K screen resolution in such a small form factor but I am about to take the plunge. It also only has one full size USB port, unlike my current model, which is a pain for connecting a card reader and external drive at the same time (supplied dongle needed for both at the same time), and it only has a micro SSD slot, but this is the unfortunate trend of ever increasingly thin ultra books.  I concluded this was the right model for me 3 years ago after a lot of research and have similarly decided that the latest version is what I want/need now.  Hope this helps. 

 

Graham

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If the motherboard takes SSDs in the M.2 form factor, a 512 GB SATA of that from Samsung can be had for $179 US from Amazon.  The 2280 size seems to be standard.  I also have a 2 TB spinning drive for data.  Graphics cards should have a minimum of 2 MB of memory  to give that advantage with Photoshop and Lightroom and other programs that can use it.

 

Macbooks aren't as easy for users to upgrade, maybe impossible. 

 

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Update on the HP Spectre x360 13" model:

 

I checked HP's website today and there is £300 off - just enter SAVE300 as the code.  I took the plunge and ordered mine this morning - too good to refuse, especially as I was planning to order it anyway.

 

As to Dell, I would not touch them with a bargepole.  In my other life I am a lawyer.  Dell is the only person/company I have ever sued, which was in relation to one of their then top of the range laptops.  Returned multiple times: numerous BIOS updates (about 20 in a year if my memory serves me correctly), sometimes the fault acknowledged and allegedly fixed, other times denied, literally hundreds of complaints of the same issue on their own forums.  After the year's warranty expired Dell's support were in effect taking the p*ss, so I had no choice but to sue.  I succeeded and got all my money back.  Never again.

 

Graham

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Have you considered an iPad Pro - much lighter than a laptop and it can do a lot of stuff now that used to require a laptop. And a very high spec one would be well within your budget.  I don't do news but if I did I would definitely be using my iPad Pro rather than lugging my MacBookPro around. Images can be ingested very quickly using an SSD adapter and Lightroom Mobile can do some quite advanced processing now. I have been using mine to show portrait clients what I am getting as we go and find it very useful for developing poses. I have a D850 so the raw files are massive but no problems with the iPad handling them.

 

I am not sure about adding metadata and uploading as news as I don't do that but Julie Edwards (pro news photographer) who frequents this forum has some very good advice on iPad workflow on her blog.

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Thank you for all your advice and suggestions.  In the end (and I am typing on it) I went for a Thinkpad X1; after much research and taking consideration of your comments.  I upgraded to a 512 SSD and an I7 processor.  It is lightweight and has a battery life of 8 to 10 hours.  I tried it out "in the field" in Downing Street today - but as always there were a few things to get used to - including having to re set up Photo Mechanic.  But it is about three time as fast as my old laptop and the extra battery life will allow me to file more live news stories from the event rather than waiting to get home.  I got it in a sale so paid under my £2,000 budget - and I will put it on my (expensive) camera insurance tomorrow!

 

I think a lot depends on ones experience with a particular brand.  I have used Dell for years, but the Thinkpad ticked my boxes on this occasion.  

 

I agree with the comment that it would have been nice to try it out in a shop; but I do not trust currys/pc world and around these parts there is nothing else!

 

The next big test is on Sunday as I  am in the press pen, photographing at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, London; there is a lot of pressure to get photos in quickly.  (Although I know some good live news photographers do not agree).  

 

Thanks again for your comments and advice

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I didn't chip in earlier as I use Mac's and this was obviously a PC thread. Mostly I use a 13" Apple MacBook Air, i7, 8GB memory, 512GB SSD. It's adequate for my needs, but I usually find somewhere indoors to edit, as the display isn't as good as the Retina based Macs. I have successfully edited in the shade of a tree a few times. Now the new MacBook Air has the Retina display, very nice, but this one has to last a few more years. Good to hear you found what you were looking for Ian.

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On 10/20/2018 at 10:38, Graham said:

As to Dell, I would not touch them with a bargepole.  In my other life I am a lawyer.  Dell is the only person/company I have ever sued, which was in relation to one of their then top of the range laptops. 

 

Very relieved (sort of) to read this. I have a Dell 27inch monitor which crashes - goes fuzzy and needs to be restarted - about once a week, sometimes more frequently. After a year of complaining to Dell, who deny all liability and try to put it down to my OS (Windows 10), I've given up and just put with it.

Edited by Steve Valentia

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