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Laptop Recommendation for UK Student

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Posted on Reddit so I'll just copy paste from there:

 

CONTEXT:
I am a Year 2 A-Level student in the UK and I’m going to be studying Aerospace Engineering at Uni next year, so I’m looking for a laptop that can last me ~5 years till the end of the course. I’ve inherited some money that I’m going to use to pay for it. I can expect to be in the Engineering building for up to 9 hours a day on occasion, but typically around 7-8.
 

Total budget and country of purchase:
~£500 (could push to £550 if worth it) - UK

 

Do you prefer a 2 in 1 form factor, good battery life or best specifications for the money? Pick or include any that apply.
2 in 1 is welcome but by no means a necessity. Ideally 9 hours battery, but since plugs are available in the Engineering building, it can be slightly less. I’m looking for an i5 with 8gb of ram.

 

How important is weight and thinness to you?
Thinness not a priority but I don’t wanna be carrying a brick obviously, and speaking of, I’d like to keep weight as low as possible, but I ain’t gonna be mad if it’s like 2.1kg instead of 2.0kg. Basically, not stupidly thick and not stupidly heavy.

 

Which OS do you require? Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Linux.
Windows 10

 

Do you have a preferred screen size? If indifferent, put N/A.
13-15”, bigger the better but no bigger than 15” (or 15.6 I think is more typical)

 

Are you doing any CAD/video editing/photo editing/gaming? List which programs/games you desire to run.
I’m gonna be using CAD as an Engineer, but idk the specific programs. Things like Fusion 360 AutoCAD sort of stuff, and some CFD software maybe

 

If you're gaming, do you have certain games you want to play? At what settings and FPS do you want?
I’m not intending to play games on it, but if I do it will be games like Factorio and Rimworld, nothing I’d need a gaming laptop to run. 1080p 60fps obvs.

 

Any specific requirements such as good keyboard, reliable build quality, touch-screen, finger-print reader, optical drive or good input devices (keyboard/touchpad)? 
I’d like a metal laptop (kinda ties into build quality), but again I’m not gonna be mad if I can’t get one. Good keyboard and HDMI are musts, and USB C would be a nice touch.

 

 

I've looked at ASUS Zenbooks, and they're at the absolute upper limit with an i5 and 8gb ram. They're ideal, but I'm looking for more options so I don't make the wrong decision. Thanks in advance!

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Do you want a new device or are you fine with a used device?

 

If you want to get 7-8 hours of battery life you should probably go for 13 or 14inch. As a rule of thumb the smaller the screen the better the battery life. It is hard to find a 15,6inch laptop that can get through 7-8 hours on battery at that price point.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, NeuesTestament said:

Do you want a new device or are you fine with a used device?

 

If you want to get 7-8 hours of battery life you should probably go for 13 or 14inch. As a rule of thumb the smaller the screen the better the battery life. It is hard to find a 15,6inch laptop that can get through 7-8 hours on battery at that price point.

 

 

New preferably. If it means I can get a significantly better deal then used in good condition (I want it to last the duration of the course).

 

I think the 13" is probably better tbh. A guy on Reddit recommended the HP Envy x360 13" for a good 2-in-1 and the Acer Swift 3 for a non-2-in-1

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I don’t have much experience with either so I can’t say much about them. Lenovo Ideapads might also be an option though their value varies from model to model.

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If you really want a new laptop, you might want to bump up your budget to £600

My Desktop specs:

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AMD Ryzen 5 5600 Nvidia RTX3060Ti 8GB PNY XLR8 Gaming Epic-X RGB 16GB (8X2) 3200MHz CL16 Team Group MP33 Pro 1TB
ID-Cooling SE-224-XT White Gigabyte B550M DS3H mATX Tecware Forge M2 mATX White Case Montech Century 650W Gold

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If you're not going to game on it, DO NOT buy one with dedicated graphics. It will tank your battery life, it will be a lot heavier (both the laptop and the power brick) and you're not getting much out of it for Engineering. 

 

It might take an extra second or two to render that 3D CAD image or something other, but generally it is barely noticeable. Try to get more RAM, Engineering projects can get big and eat up your ram. I had to upgrade to 16GB recently because SIEMENS does such a poor job optimizing their software and it was eating almost 7GB of RAM by itself. 

 

I don't know about specific software for Aerospace Engineering, but my guess is that integrated graphics will be fine. 

 

That said I don't know a specific model to suggest you in the UK, but keep in mind that 8th gen CPUs are MUCH better than their 7th counterparts (specially the U series), and more ram and SSD is more important than graphics performance. 

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