Windows laptop question (in a Mac forum)

Okay, I know this is weird but this is a forum I trust and has really smart people.

I have started my own consulting gig and it’s going well. I also have a salaried job where I have to use M365. I am quite happy using the MS Suite and use OneNote for note taking and I don’t want to break that. Mac has OneNote but nowhere near the functionality. So, I’m thinking of using a windows laptop for the consulting and keep my mac mini for any video/audio work.

So yes, I’m thinking about buying a windows laptop to use OneNote fully. :man_shrugging:

I’m after some advice from the brains trust on a good Windows laptop. I’m thinking 14", 16GB RAM, 512SSD as its only going to be lighter work (M365 level stuff), presentations to clients, workshops etc.

Brands I’ve look at are MS, HP, Lenovo, ASUS - then my brain was full and I took a nap! :rofl:

Mods, feel free to delete if this is too far off topic/brand. Not looking for a hardware war, just experience from others.

I do not have a recommendation on what machine to acquire. For what it is worth I use a Dell laptop for work, a Latitude 5410. It meets my needs (web apps, SQL work, MS 365).

But have you considered running a Windows VM on your Mac?


Is the goal to be cheap? Or is the goal to be good? Microsoft Surface laptops and products are good and well built in my experience.

I would fully expect a quality laptop to cost somewhere close to the price of an entry-level MacBook Air.

I have not. But now I will, thank you.

Good questions. Good would trump cheap. My wife has a Surface Laptop 5 basic config (8/256) and I am leaning that way a little. Though I need to try its web cam as I may be doing more of that… I could use a separate device as a camera but if I’m going to buy hardware, I’d like to try and get the specs I want up front.

I appreciate the replies!

Check out Thinkpad Carbon series and Asus.

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Most important is to buy a business class machine and not a consumer grade model. I personally favor any Lenovo ThinkPad.


Thanks Tom. Any reason a business class machine is better? I’m just looking at specs but maybe there’s more to it?

Every six months I think about getting a Windows laptop for the few “Enterprise-ish” apps I have to use occasionally and onsite with some clients.

As someone that switched years ago from Windows to Mac everything, I rarely see any Windows hardware that I would actually want to own, versus force myself to use, if needed.

However, I have been drooling lately over the LG Gram. I have (and know) their OLED TV’s are great, but have no idea about the practical/reliability aspect of their laptops, but I love the super light weight combined with the large screen and beefy ram/ssd specs.

TBH, the 17" screen size always has me wishing Apple would offer a 17" MacBook and I might just give the LG a try sooner or later.

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You and me both. Just saw one in a local store and they look great. Need to find out a bit more about them. My OCD is in overdrive! :joy:

I’ve run IT departments recently and have deployed Windows laptops at scale, the two brands that had the best user experience and lowest failure rate are the Surface Laptop (Full Laptop and the Laptop ‘Go 2’ which is actually a very nice machine and quite ‘cheap’ if you don’t mind the slightly cramped keyboard) and Lenovo. I’d choose a Surface every time vs the standard business Lenovo machines as the build quality is better and the screen is night and day better. That changes if you are looking at the higher end Lenovo’s like the X1 etc… But for your use case, Surface Laptop.

Dell XPS … I’ve had waaaay too many failures on those to be able to recommend despite how good they can be.


Why a business class machine?

More rugged design, usually easier to repair, better parts availability.

I repair computers for a living; one man business.

Look for Dell Latitude, HP EliteBook or ProBook, Lenovo ThinkPad.

On the other hand, it’s not as sexy looking :slight_smile:

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One of my executives had a 17” Macbook Pro back in the day. It was a great machine, and I suspect carrying it back and forth to work every day helped keep him in shape. :wink:

MacBook Pro (17-inch, Late 2011)

  • Height: 0.98 inch (2.50 cm)
  • Width: 15.47 inches (39.3 cm)
  • Depth: 10.51 inches (26.7 cm)
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds (2.99 kg)1

I’m glad we have the small bezel 16" now, but I loved those 17" laptops. Good memories of developers and designers plonking those things down for a coffee shop or coworking space meeting. :slight_smile:

Second the Surface recommendation if money isn’t a concern. I like the Lenovos as well. If you just want to spend a few hundred for something serviceable that isn’t frequently used, most options on Amazon with a metal body, an i5, 16+GB RAM and sold by Amazon with a 4+ rating will work.


Quality of materials. They will have fewer problems and last longer than machines built for the lowest possible cost to rope in consumers. For years I taught college students and saw many different brands and models of laptop computers the students would bring to class. The only ones that were holding up were the (sadly few) business class models.

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My university issue Lenovo devices or Surface tablets to staff. I ended up with a Lenovo ThinkPad E14 (AMD 4600U IIRC, with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD). Does the job it needs to - more RAM would be nice but it works fine.

However, the screen is terrible, especially when compared to the Surface’s that the rest of the team were issued. It’s just dull and poor colours - noticeable even when just using Office. In general day to day use that’s not the end of the world, as it’s mainly docked 95% of the time.

Waiting to see what my new role will provide me in October when I start!


My husband has one of these, and he loves it. He says the screen colors and resolution are almost as good as my Mac and it’s fast. Personally, I don’t like it. Maybe it’s my years of running a MBP, but the LG Gram is so lightweight it feels cheap to me, and it definitely was not cheap.

Is it actually made out of decent materials? Or is it thin plasticky stuff?

The screens on the E14 / L14 lines are just awful, no excuse for it to be honest as they are not cheap devices.

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To me it feels like thin plasticky stuff. His is a couple of years old though, so they may have improved it in the newer models.

Glad I started this thread. The brains trust has not disappointed. :slight_smile:
Narrowed it down to Lenovo or Surface. I do like the Gram but more than I want to spend.
I’m now deciding which Lenovo as there are so many models, chips, RAM version it’s mind boggling.
It’s my OCD of course but if I’ going to spend money I may as well do my research.

Current choice
And trying to see if I can get locally or have to purchase from Lenovo.