Buying laptops sucks, online stores make it worse

We recently had to go shopping for a new laptop, and since Lenovo's design is going down the shitter, we had to do more research than usual.

You know what makes it so hard to buy a new laptop? (No, besides the horrible decisions the manufacturers are inflicting on us, like clickpads.) None of the online stores allow searching and filtering on what actually matters.

  • What is the max supported RAM and number of RAM slots? (Not the amount of RAM installed, since I'll just upgrade later.)
  • How many screws are required to remove the hard drive?
  • Is there a full numpad? I hate it. Let me filter on its absence.
  • In general, let me filter on the absence of features.
  • Can I remove the battery without removing screws? (I sure hope so, otherwise it won't survive its first encounter with water.) Can the battery even be removed?
  • Are there terrible little keys above the left and right arrow keys so I can't get to them by feel?
  • How many USB slots are there total? I don't want to filter separately on USB 2 and USB 3, since then I have to perform multiple searches. I want a minimum of 1 USB 3 and 3 USB overall, and I should be able to specify that in a single search.

And somehow even worse than the lack of filters, I was baffled to discover that the Dell site wouldn't even show me pictures of the keyboard, underside, and sides. The mocked-up image on the laptop screen is less than irrelevant.

After a great deal of fuss, we ended up returning the Lenovo Thinkpad T460 (clickpad; weird combo of internal + external battery; back panel that has to be pried off by force; inverted Fn sense) after only a few hours and picked up a refurbished T420, which turned out to be superior in every despite being a several years older model. It's of the same generation as my home T520 and my work T430s.

Maybe I'll just stockpile some T420 and similar models until a company emerges to fill the market of "laptops that are actually pleasant to use and maybe aren't paper-thin but who cares".


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