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Best Laptops for MBA [2019 Discussion]

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New post Updated on: 29 Jun 2019, 20:57
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I had a few people ask me for suggestions for the laptop to get for the business school. Here are my thoughts based on my experience and mistakes:

Laptop Tips
  • I bought a $2,200 laptop when I went. It was cool for playing games BUT.... that's about it. There is no reason to get a top of the line machine since you will be using it to take notes and browse internet and check email. My recommendation - get a mid-range laptop, esp since you will likely be wasting $500-800 on a new phone.
  • I would recommend that you stick under $1K as the target/goal. You will likely go over it and there will be tax, but a $1,200 laptop is much better than a $2,500. Trust me - I had both :cool:
  • I bought a high performance 15" Dell with great screen. It was great BUT.... it was heavy and bulky. I suggest something lighter and slimmer that you can carry without much strain
  • I got a 3 year warranty... it was helpful during bschool but a 2-year warranty will be probably be good enough. My main issues were in Year 4 after my warranty expired and in year 2 I had a power supply issue. That's about it but I highly recommend warranty, esp as often it is included for free for 2 years (more on that later)
  • Today for work I use a 13" Macbook Pro running windows with several 24" monitors - that's a better setup and cheaper too than a 15" high end laptop
  • 13" screen is not only lighter but also easier to carry and takes up less desk space in classroom and airplane. I only use 13"
  • Get an SSD (i think everyone does these days but just in case). You can get as little as 256GB (I would not get less). MS OFFICE 365 comes with 1TB of cloud storage in One Drive - I put all the videos and pictures there, keeping only the docs and things i really need on my SSD
  • Get 8 GB of RAM but I don't think you need 16. I have not needed and you will likely be much more organized than I am and have fewer windows open
  • If you have used PC all your life and now want to switch to Mac to spice things up, that's probably fine but keep in mind that you will have a bit of a learning curve and some frustrations. Also most hardware and adapters which you will need for USB, Network, are pricey and most things are more expensive with Apple. I do like their hardware. It is very dependable and reliable but I run Windows 10 on my Mac
  • Do not buy software for BSchool. A few reasons: You can get MS Office free from the University in 99% of cases and often they may even have a license of Windows available as well in case you are running a Mac. Whatever other software you may need for classes will be provided, so don't spend $$$ on office or upgrades.


When & Where to Buy?
  • If you are not from the US, you may not know that many retails have big Back to School promotions and deals. This is the only time Apple does a special offer (they give free headphones or iTunes cards or other things), which is as good as it gets with Apple. Back to School deals usually start mid to late July. What most people don't know is that this is the last opportunity for the retailers to dump their laptops and models before the new stuff comes out for the Winter shopping season so most PC and Apple vendors will have new models announced in late Sept when all students already purchased their computers. College and School is a big business for them!
  • Sometimes you can find a cheaper deal at a store such as Best Buy than from the retailer (e.g. Dell). It pays to shop around and compare specs. Sometimes there will be small differences in configurations but they may be worth it
  • Most of the time you will be buying a computer you can't touch/see before you buy it except pictures. Pay attention to the details! The last computer I bought for one of my family members, had a funky touchpad - it was really old school and I did not catch it since I bought the computer online.
  • One of the overall best places to buy is Costco actually (you have to be a member though) since they provide a second year of warranty free
  • While in the past Best Buy was a horrible place to buy, it is actually very competitive these days
  • HP, Dell, and a few other manufacturers are famous for having ridiculous coupons and offers that stack for multi-level discounts. Check out sites/forums such as https://slickdeals.net/filtered/laptop- ... B%5D=8&r=1 and a few others
  • If you are looking for a cheap deal/temporary laptop or something on a budget, I found https://www.blinq.com/ to be a great site (you have to research the models a bit more as sometimes they sell a 3-month old model and sometimes they are 4-years old. It is hard to tell these days. I have bought 3-4 computers from them for family members and all have been very good quality and as promised. They offer free 30-day returns, which is a much better deal than getting something from ebay or craigslist. Free shipping and free returns!)


Some good deals that's available right now:
14" Lenovo with 16GB Ram and 256 SSD for $600
13.3" - 14"Blinq laptops

What are you getting for school? Please share what laptop you are planning to get!
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Originally posted by bb on 29 Jun 2019, 12:12.
Last edited by bb on 29 Jun 2019, 20:57, edited 7 times in total.
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New post 03 Jul 2019, 23:42
It also totally depends on personal preferance. I struggle with wondows. Too much goes on screen. I bought a jacked up macbook 15 inch. In retrospect, I should have considered a 13 inch version and as bb said, keep my budget in check.
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New post 05 Sep 2019, 13:50
bb, I've couple of questions on your above post.

1. What is a good battery life for laptop one should have at least during business school ? What do you recommend based on your personal experiences ?

Will 9-10 hours be just sufficient ? Or we should look for laptops with 12-15 hours battery life ?

2. What exactly you mean by lighter with reference to carrying it during MBA classes ? Upto 3 lbs ? Or 3.5 to <= 4 lbs ?

It'll be great to know what you think on these aspects.
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New post 24 Nov 2019, 20:47
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Sorry I missed this post from way earlier, the battery life doesn’t really matter in my experience. You will have power in the classroom and you will have power in the meeting rooms in the library and wherever you go. I think 3-4 hours is plenty. I can’t really situation where you will need extra long battery power. Any new laptop or tablet will have plenty of battery life.

By lighter I would say under 5 lbs and if you can get 4 or 3 it is great. Don’t get a gaming laptop (unless that’s where you are recruiting for) as lugging that thing and it’s huge brick will be a pain.

Bottom line: get a business laptop ;)


sbg53RKM wrote:
bb, I've couple of questions on your above post.

1. What is a good battery life for laptop one should have at least during business school ? What do you recommend based on your personal experiences ?

Will 9-10 hours be just sufficient ? Or we should look for laptops with 12-15 hours battery life ?

2. What exactly you mean by lighter with reference to carrying it during MBA classes ? Upto 3 lbs ? Or 3.5 to <= 4 lbs ?

It'll be great to know what you think on these aspects.


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Re: Best Laptops for MBA [2019 Discussion]  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Nov 2019, 13:37
Hi bb,
Thanks for your thoughts.

But carrying power adapter always during classes will gonna add to your backpack weight further. isn't it ?

As you've recommended several times not to overspend, rather stick to closer to $1000, I just would like to know which one of the following two options would be good for b-school and thereafter for few more years (considering your above tech recommendations for each) ?

1. a 15 inch laptop (weighing 4 lbs and having 7-9 hours of battery) @ ~$1000.

2. a 13 inch laptop (weighing 3 lbs and having 10-12 hours of battery) @ ~$1500.

It's a difficult choice for me!! :roll: Would much appreciate your help.
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New post 25 Nov 2019, 13:41
Also, why no one talks about HP ? As I see, they seem to have a few good models. Do you've any feedback on HP laptops ?

BTW, can you please dig deep a bit why you recommend business laptop ? Any specific brand on this front ?

Sorry for bombarding you with a lot of questions :)
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New post 25 Nov 2019, 14:24
I think HPs look bad but my employer with thousands of employees provides either HP or MacBooks and HPs seem to get the job done. They look kind of bad though. They look like they are from the 90s. :-)

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New post 25 Nov 2019, 14:25
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Both. It is really up to you. We are splitting hairs at this point in time :dazed


sbg53RKM wrote:
Hi bb,
Thanks for your thoughts.

But carrying power adapter always during classes will gonna add to your backpack weight further. isn't it ?

As you've recommended several times not to overspend, rather stick to closer to $1000, I just would like to know which one of the following two options would be good for b-school and thereafter for few more years (considering your above tech recommendations for each) ?

1. a 15 inch laptop (weighing 4 lbs and having 7-9 hours of battery) @ ~$1000.

2. a 13 inch laptop (weighing 3 lbs and having 10-12 hours of battery) @ ~$1500.

It's a difficult choice for me!! :roll: Would much appreciate your help.


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New post 27 Nov 2019, 00:19
Hi bb,
Thanks for your thoughts.

Just curious to know what would you've chosen, given these two options?

bb wrote:
Both. It is really up to you. We are splitting hairs at this point in time :dazed


sbg53RKM wrote:
Hi bb,
Thanks for your thoughts.

But carrying power adapter always during classes will gonna add to your backpack weight further. isn't it ?

As you've recommended several times not to overspend, rather stick to closer to $1000, I just would like to know which one of the following two options would be good for b-school and thereafter for few more years (considering your above tech recommendations for each) ?

1. a 15 inch laptop (weighing 4 lbs and having 7-9 hours of battery) @ ~$1000.

2. a 13 inch laptop (weighing 3 lbs and having 10-12 hours of battery) @ ~$1500.

It's a difficult choice for me!! :roll: Would much appreciate your help.


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New post 27 Nov 2019, 00:24
Ha ha ha :) Yeah mostly I think. But of late they've a few cool models like specters...

Can you please dig deep a bit why you recommend business laptop ? Any specific brand on this front ?

And is accidental coverage protection sufficient during b-school or should one opt for theft protection as well on top of it ?

bb wrote:
I think HPs look bad but my employer with thousands of employees provides either HP or MacBooks and HPs seem to get the job done. They look kind of bad though. They look like they are from the 90s. :-)

Posted from my mobile device
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New post 27 Nov 2019, 00:30
Sorry but this is really going to the granular level of inspecting every aspect. I am not prepared for providing this kind of support. Maybe someone else can comment but I shared all I had. If you don’t hear from anyone, I would suggest you visit some computer-related forums and do a deep dive there.


Thank you.


sbg53RKM wrote:
Ha ha ha :) Yeah mostly I think. But of late they've a few cool models like specters...

Can you please dig deep a bit why you recommend business laptop ? Any specific brand on this front ?

And is accidental coverage protection sufficient during b-school or should one opt for theft protection as well on top of it ?

bb wrote:
I think HPs look bad but my employer with thousands of employees provides either HP or MacBooks and HPs seem to get the job done. They look kind of bad though. They look like they are from the 90s. :-)

Posted from my mobile device

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New post 28 Nov 2019, 01:32
Hey bb,
No issues. I understand. (Seems you're annoyed) Sorry man, if I've offended you!

Frankly, I didn't have any such intention, rather simply wanted to get just your expert thoughts since you've gone through this already and have helped many others make a sound decision.

Thank you for your help and Happy Thanksgiving :)
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New post 28 Nov 2019, 01:36
@ Current students/Alums: Can anyone please shed any light on this : https://gmatclub.com/forum/best-laptops ... l#p2413097

Would much appreciate your help. Thank you!
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Re: Best Laptops for MBA [2019 Discussion]   [#permalink] 28 Nov 2019, 01:36
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