Notebookcheck

Editor's Choice: Our Editors' Current and Favorite Notebooks

Ever wondered which notebooks the editors prefer to use day-to-day? The staff of Notebookcheck reveal their preferences.

Our experts review hundreds of laptops each year at Notebookcheck, carefully evaluating the collected data in order to reach their verdicts. After handling so much hardware over time, however, you might be surprised to see which laptops we actually prefer to use for our day-to-day work. We surveyed our reviewers and editors regarding their currently used and favorite notebooks in order to share the results with you.

Editor's Note: To protect the professional integrity of certain staff and save them from embarrassment, some responses indicating a preference for desktop computers have been removed.

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J. Simon Leitner (Founder and Editorial Director)

What's your current main laptop?

Dell XPS 13 9350 (FHD, 6560U, upgraded with an SM951 512GB).

Why did you buy it?

It replaced my old workhorse Lenovo Thinkpad X220. It's slimmer, lighter, and more powerful. It has a better matte display and a very good mobility/performance ratio. Pro Support with On-Site service is also available (I got 3 years), which is an essential requirement for my main working machine that has to run every day.

What don't you like about it?

Coil Whine appears from time to time, especially after installing new Dell updates. Fortunately, my device is silent most of the time. An additional USB-Port would have been nice for my use-cases.

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

I would get the new XPS 9360 with the i7/Iris again. BUT if there is coil whine again, I would switch to the Thinkpad X1 Carbon.

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

My first one — an IBM Thinkpad R50p. Why? Because it is still running 13 years after I got it! :)

Bonus: Smartphones?

I use a Huawei Mate 8. I love the big screen and the long battery run-time. Dual SIM slots is perfect for travelers. I don't like the camera much; it could be better. If I could have any smartphone right now, I'd get the the S8+ as it's the best big screen phone right now. However, I'm also very excited about the coming Mate 10. The best smartphone of all time? It's always the one that comes out just after you bought your device. :)

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Klaus Hinum (Founder and CTO)

What's your current main laptop?

Apple's MacBook Pro 15 2016 — the entry-level model.

Why did you buy it?

I needed to replace my ageing MacBook Pro 13 from 2013. It was just was not powerful enough for some of the tasks I do. I still like OS X due to the perfectly integrated backup (Time Machine), a good aging Unix background (I've never had to reinstall, even it in years — no performance issues or anything), and perfect implementation of high DPI scaling. The machine itself is very quiet and has the best Trackpad, screen, and design/built quality. 

What don't you like about it?

I get random reboots sometimes, so a bit less stable than the old model. It happens about twice a month, and not usually during work, but in hibernation. There is some fan noise when idle, unlike the MacBook Pro 13. I do wish it was a bit thicker and had more ports, such as USB Type-A, DisplayPort, and HDMI. 

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

I just got the MacBook Pro 15, no need to upgrade.

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

Well, I did love my old (2011) MacBook Pro 15 with the matte screen... But compared to the new model, I don't think I would exchange it for it (I still have a non-functional one lying around, though).

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Benjamin Herzig (Editor)

What's your current main laptop?

I have a Lenovo ThinkPad P50.

Why did you buy it?

It replaced my ThinkPad W550s, mainly because I wanted more powerful graphics. The P50 was the logical choice as the successor, as it is much more powerful than the W550s while providing an even better keyboard (and the same TrackPoint).

What don't you like about it?

The FHD IPS screen. It is very limited in gamut and it could be a little bit brighter. That is also the main reason why I am thinking about replacing it very soon.

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

Probably another 15.6-inch ThinkPad, like the T570 or P51. Preferably with a better screen this time.

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

Probably my first laptop, which was a Thinkpad R60, for which I have some nostalgia. The 15-inch XGA screen was crap, but really fell in love with the keyboard, the TrackPoint, and the build quality.

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Andreas Osthoff (Managing Editor)

What's your current main laptop?

An Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2013.

Why did you buy it?

I replaced my old ThinkPad T61 with a ThinkPad X230, but the screen (12.5”) was too small. The next model was a ThinkPad T440, but it had some issues. I replaced this with the Apple MacBook Pro 13 Late 2013 (Haswell). It still works very well in terms of performance—at least for my workload. The screen is still great, and I can never hear the fan in practice.

What don't you like about it?

The glossy screen is sometimes annoying and the keyboard is just not as good as as ThinkPad's. I would also like one more USB port and integrated WWAN.

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

I was thinking really hard about purchasing the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017 after I reviewed it. I will probably do it, but I want to wait for the WQHD model that should arrive in the next couple of months. It really impressed me with its overall design quality and the keyboard (important for me) in particular. The battery run-times were okay. Really, only the fan curve needs some tuning. 

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

In terms of operating hours, definitely the MacBook Pro, just because it works so well and has been a reliable companion over the last couple of years. My old ThinkPad T61 was also a great and solid machine, and I still regret selling it.

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Ronald Matta (Senior News Editor)

What's your current main laptop?

Surface Pro 4.

Why did you buy it?

It provides an excellent balance of performance and mobility for my daily workload as an editor while travelling. It is an ideal portable and multi-functional complement to my office and gaming desktops.

What don't you like about it?

It's expensive. There's also some wear and connectivity issues with the Type Cover.

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

None.

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

I've had a lot of laptops that were very good for their time. Currently, the Surface Pro 4 fits me best for my actual business.

Bonus: Smartphones?

My smartphone is a Samsung Galaxy S8. I  bought it mainly for doing reviews about the S8 and some basic photography tasks. I don't like that it's so expensive, has a fingerprint sensor on the backside, and lacks dual SIM slots. I think the Galaxy S8, along with the iPhone 7, is currently the perfect smartphone in terms of look and feel, craftsmanship, and functionality for me. My last favorite smartphone ever was the S7, so now I'm curious how the S8 will fare in the long run.

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Codruț Nistor (News Editor)

What's your current main laptop?

An Asus K70AB (Turion RM-75, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB hard drive).

Why did you buy it?

Back in late 2009, while busy with a time-sensitive research project, I had to go away from my home for a few days, so I needed a machine to do work on. I am not crazy about portability, so I got the cheapest 17.3-inch desktop replacement I found. I had no laptop back then because I’ve always been a desktop guy. It still works after eight years, and I only replaced the battery once... I must have been lucky, considering the bad reviews this machine has.

What don't you like about it?

The build quality is… meh. Plastic, plastic everywhere! Battery life has always been very low (less than 50 minutes in High Performance mode with battery brand-new and fully charged). The battery it has now is almost dead, and a “full” charge lasts less than 10 minutes. But, as long as there is a power socket around, it remains a decent machine for office tasks (I'm running 64-bit Linux Mint 18.1 MATE). 

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

Any new laptop? The easy choice would be a MacBook Pro, but I would also consider a System76 Kudu – the MacBook Pro for its excellent sound output, and the Kudu because it’s great to customize a laptop that has been designed with Linux in mind. 

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

I am an audiophile on a not-so-generous budget so I usually end up with best low-end HiFi gear I can get. When I got my Fluid Audio FX8 speakers, the sound quality delivered by my Xonar DS or my Fiio X3 II was not exactly what I had in mind. After a few days, a friend came by with his MacBook Pro. We connected it to the speakers, and I finally heard what I wanted to hear. My neighbors were probably not that happy... 

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Marcus Herbrich (Editor)

What's your current main laptop?

The HP Spectre x360.

Why did you buy it?

It's a good combination of a light aluminum-body laptop and tablet due to added functionality of the touchscreen.

What don't you like about it?

The hinges are not the best at all.

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

I think I'd go for a Surface Book, because that's the reference Windows machine, I think.

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

I don't really have a favorite, but my ThinkPad T420s was — and still is — a very good notebook.

Bonus: Smartphones?

I use a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. It was the best phone out when I got it in early 2017. I don't like Samsung's TouchWiz UI as much as HTC's Sense. I'm happy with the S7 Edge, though if I could have any smartphone now, I'd go for the S8+. It would be the first time I would have the same manufacturer twice in a row ;). My favorite smartphone of all time is the first iPhone, though. It was a milestone in smartphone history.

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Florian Wimmer (Editor, Social Media Manager)

What's your current main laptop?

Schenker XMG P507.

Why did you buy it?

I wanted a laptop for gaming and work at the same time that is not overly expensive, but quiet and compact. I hardly ever take my main laptop with me; I use it with an external keyboard, mouse and monitor as a desktop replacement. A laptop saves energy and doesn’t use as much space as a tower PC. On the go, I use a Vaio Pro 13, one of the best sub-notebooks ever made.

What don't you like about it?

I had some trouble with Windows 10 in the beginning: sometimes the boot files went missing, and I had to fix this several times. But for some months now, everything's fine. The laptop could use another USB port or two, however.

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

I think a laptop with a Geforce GTX 1060 was quite a good decision for my needs. However, if you gave me a 4K monitor as well, I would probably go for a laptop with even more gaming power like the Acer Predator 17X (or something like that).

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

I have already mentioned it: I love Sony’s Vaio Pro 13, and I’m truly sad that Sony sold its laptop division some years ago. I especially love the possibility to choose between connecting an external battery or leaving it at home and enjoying the slim chassis. Also, the idea to use the AC adapter as a WiFi hotspot was great.

Bonus: Smartphones?

OnePlus really nailed it with their smartphones: They are great value, they have a unique touch and offer great software that gives you control over your device. You can install Cyanogen Mod/Lineage without hassle and go back to the stock software at any time. I love the fact that it is a Dual-SIM smartphone — especially in Germany, where finding an affordable mobile phone contract that fits all your needs is really hard. An exchangeable battery would be great, but apart from that it’s a great device.

I’m really looking forward to the next OnePlus device. Let’s hope it brings a bezel-less design and some other cool features. IF the Xiaomi Me Mix’s software would be available in German, that would definitely be an alternative as well. I also love Sony’s smartphone designs, and I feel heartbroken that Sony doesn’t dare to try something new and become a really relevant player on the market.

For my favorite smartphone, I have to say, I loved the OnePlus One even more than the OnePlus Two. But unfortunately it lacks one LTE band that is vital for some German carriers. Apart from that, this smartphone, which changed the whole industry, was definitely my favorite smartphone ever.

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Steve Shardein (Senior Editor)

What's your current main laptop?

Dell Latitude E7440.

Why did you buy it?

It's large enough for day-to-day work, includes a full-sized Ethernet port, and has dual storage options.

What don't you like about it?

It's older and battery life is sub-par.

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

I'd like either a ThinkPad X1 Carbon or Dell Latitude 7480, due to their high-quality, 14-inch displays, and extremely portable form-factors.

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

The Lenovo ThinkPad X220.

Bonus: Smartphones?

I have a Samsung Galaxy S8. It's got an amazing design and strong battery life. I don't like that it's slippery and seems rather fragile, though. My favorite smartphone would either be the S8 or the HTC EVO 4G.

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Sebastian Bade (Hardware Tester and Editor)

What's your current main laptop

A MacBook Pro 13.

Why did you buy it?

For working.

What don't you like about it?

Nothing. Everything is fine. (Editor's note: he seemed under duress while answering this question.)

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

The Acer Predator 17X GX-792-76DL. It can be used as a desktop replacement, and it has enough performance to run games in 4K. 

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

The XMG P723 Pro.

Bonus: Smartphones?

I use an iPhone 6+. I switched from Android, and I think that was a good choice. I don't like that it's a bit limited in RAM. If I could have any smartphone now, I'd wait for the iPhone 7s or iPhone 8. My favorite smartphone of all time is the iPhone 6+.

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Douglas Black (Editor)

What's your current main laptop?

A 51nb.com ThinkPad X62. But I'm always juggling laptops — I have a Yoga 720, Precision 5520, and Gigabyte Aero 15 coming in for tweaking/testing.

Why did you buy it?

I am a sucker for nostalgia and having unique things. I love the fact that nobody else will have the same laptop as me.

What don't you like about it?

A 4:3 display is not great for side-by-side windows, which is what I do frequently when writing. I upgraded the backlight to an LED, but I think I need to re-seat the backlight as it's got a bright spot in the left corner. It is killing my OCD.

If you could have any laptop new laptop now, what would it be and why?

A MacBook Pro 15. I am waiting for the 2017 refresh very eagerly. I've had some bad luck this year with laptops and support, and in the future I think I'm willing to pay an extra 1-2000 USD just to have a machine that works out of the box supported by a company that has capable support staff. The soldered RAM and SSD leave an extremely bad taste in my mouth, however. I'm not sure I'll be happy trading serviceability for a machine that's less likely to need being serviced...

What's your favorite laptop of all time?

This is a very tough one. I think it would be the Apple PowerBook Duo with the big DuoDock. I used it as a kid to play Escape Velocity and Marathon while docked, but it was incredible that you could push a button and eject a laptop from the system! I also loved my Mac Plus, which was the first computer I ever really used. The PowerBook 2400c was an incredible sub-notebook, as well. And then there was my faithful Compaq Presario 2700T, which was my first PC. I used that for 7 years before I broke the "d" key and then sold it rather than replace the keyboard.

Bonus: Smartphones?

I use a Sony Xperia Z5 Compact. I don't particularly like it, however: the fingerprint sensor is unreliable, and the performance of the phone — especially the camera — is generally poor. I got it because I loved the original Xperia Z1 Compact, but I think the Xperia line peaked with the Z3 and has just gone downhill since. It's a shame what Sony has done to it, in my opinion. I am waiting for the new generation of phones which will hopefully be capable of running Windows and x86 apps when docked. I'm sick of Android's performance and bugs, but I don't want to deal with Apple's restrictive iOS either. I will try and hold out for a Surface Phone-type device. If I absolutely had to get one right now though, I think I'd get the BlackBerry KeyOne.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Editor's Choice: Our Editors' Current and Favorite Notebooks
Douglas Black, 2017-05- 3 (Update: 2017-05-12)
Douglas Black
Douglas Black - News Editor
Douglas Black is a technology analyst, teacher, writer, and DJ. He is also Managing Editor of UltrabookReview.