Which IT setup would you buy if money wasn’t an issue?

In the age of tablet computers and the fact that I do spend about 80% of my computing needs on a stationary computer setup, it may sound a bit ironic that I am still wasting time on wondering about “the ideal mobile computer setup”. Whereas “ideal” stands for affordable and somehow powerful machines that do have that extra gimmick I think I need.

I am currently using an HP Elitebook 6930p (14,1″ Core Duo @ 2,26 GHz), an HP tc4400 (12,1″ convertible tablet laptop) and an Apple iPad2. When in Frankfurt, I use both laptops on an HP docking station which is connected to a 22″ TFT.

The iPad is the first machine I bought as new hardware – all other being 2nd hand or refurbished PCs for about half the price. The iPad is the best piece of hardware I’ve ever bought because it’s instantly online and because it’s good at what it is able to do.

I work with Win7 most of the time because my main client also does. My output needs to look fine on their machines. I have to use MS Outlook (even though I’d like to use something else). I have to use MS Office suites.

I want a laptop with a nice screen (IPS?!, no colour calibration needed, low energy consumption, not higher than 130 dpi). With a nice battery runtime (> 3h). With good and/or switchable gfx. With an illuminated keyboard. With a nice keyboard layout (CTRL + FN keys should be switchable). Touchpad that supports multitouch. 3 USB ports.

Screen and keyboard are my two interfaces that need to be rock solid. My current HPs only have average CCFL-screens – even though their color reproduction is kinda ok.

Going by the above mentioned criteria and the current lack of really cool machines, I’ll probably have to go for an Apple MacBookPro one day. But then – MacBooks? Me?? I grew up with an Atari 1040 STF, there’s the iPad and an iPhone4 – so there’s some sympathy, but else I dislike that there’s no real docking station available for most MacBooks (right?), that the display doesn’t fully open, that all current MacBooks come with a glare type display coating and probably also a few other things that aren’t that great. What I like about them are the magnetic power cord plugs, the illuminated keyboard, the display quality, the battery consumption and the integrated circuit that regulates battery recharging (right?? or is this on Lenovo ThinkPads only?).

So my WHAT-IF question to you is: if money wasn’t the issue, which IT setup would you currently go for and why? Thx!

(there’s a small site run by someone from a German laptop forum which regularly lists good laptop recommendations, but some of those selections are a bit strange. I am currently torn between a modern Lenovo, a MacBook(Pro) or even a business Acer – maybe also HP or Dell (e.g. Dell Latitude E6420), but only if their latest ones don’t have issues like that the internal 3G modem is only activated once the battery is inserted, which is so ridiculous…).

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at Saniblog.org. You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.

4 thoughts on “Which IT setup would you buy if money wasn’t an issue?”

  1. My bet: wait for a Thinkpad T430 (~2,2KG) with Intel Graphics 4000 + Docking Station or even a T430s(~1,7kg) and buy a reasonably priced eIPS-Display (like Dell U2312hm at 200€) as a complement.
    The W-Series is a bit on the heavy side, a Macbook Pro 15″ isn’t featherweight either.
    And sorry, a mobile workstation without docking capability isn’t a workstation – and I don’t care what all the architects and “creatives” say.
    BTW, I thought I’d miss 3G with my new T420 as my W510 was 3G-equipped. I prefer having an mSATA-SSD instead of a 3G modem and the extra 2xHDD space (1 regular 2,5″ slot and the swapped DVD-drive with a 2,5″ drive bay). I use tethering when I need 3G.

    On Dell laptops: evertime I speced a Dell Latitude similiar to a W- or T-series Thinkpad it would be more expensive – oh the irony.

    HP business laptops: no idea about them. But the last time we used them they were pretty robust.

    Display quality of the Thinkpad T420: It maybe not an IPS-panel but it’s still beyond everything with a TN-panel

  2. THX! I think I will do just that.

    As for 3G: yes, I agree. The internal 3G modem is overrated and less supported than an external solution.

    The HP I have used so far are nice and stable, but the screens are below par and going by what I’ve seen on a T410 the other day in terms of display quality, the T-series sounds like a good option. How about the plastic covers on a ThinkPad?

  3. So far I didn’t have any problems with my thinkpads build quality wise (W500, W510, T420) – just the usual Linux Kernel “fun” with new hardware.
    I’d even say the build quality improved on the lighter models (IBM T42p vs T420s).
    The only shoddy quality I’ve seen on Thinkpads were the R500 mainboards.

    The Marum director’s X300 was heavily used – the casing doesn’t look nice – but the hardware is still working perfectly.

    By the way – I plan on using a T430 as my replacement. ;)


  4. IBM PC-XT, with
    256kb RAM,
    5,25″ Floppy (360kb)
    10mb HDD
    Hercules Graphics Card (text: 80 x 25, monochrome, no graphics)
    Epson RX 80 FT+ printer (dot matrix, endless paper feed)

    Microsoft MS-DOS 2.0

    —> no system crash, EVER!
    —> 100% immune against any malware whatsoever
    —> hard disc still works after 28 years, as well as most floppies

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