Suggestions for a laptop for school?

Hi all, I’m currently thinking about getting a new laptop for school.
I already have a PC and a home-server so processing power or storage aren’t that important for me. Anything with reasonable processing power will do e.g. for the occasional Sage computations. I guess the most important things are,

  • Good battery life: Should last a normal working day without needing to be charged. better if it has some charge left for emergencies.
  • Lightweight: It’s the main reason I don’t carry around my current laptop. It’s kinda heavy and annoying to carry.
  • Good screen: I’ll mostly be using it for reading PDFs, writing code, and browsing. So a good display is needed. Better if it has a 3:2 ratio and/or matte option, but I can live without them.

My budget is around $600 but I can go a bit higher if needed. I’d really love to know if people have any suggestions. Ideally I want a laptop that’ll work well with Linux. Also, I’d probably prefer an AMD CPU over Intel.

I really wanted to get a Framework laptop. Even if it’s a bit expensive, I think it’ll pay off in the long run. But there’s a waitlist right now and the I won’t get anything before Q3, so that’s not an option.

I might bite the bullet and get a Macbook Air, but I really don’t wanna do that since I don’t like Apple’s dishonest marketing and anti-repair shenanigans. Any suggestions are appreciated!

Second hand Lenovo Thinkpads always were a pretty good solution for me.


Framework definitely best option…

Please don’t buy anything crapple, that’s a crime against humanity.

Maybe Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro 15 2021 Ryzen Edition there is some great variation of it that is powerful enough, one of the best screens on market on par with Mac’s and 3:2 ratio as well, lightweight, price is nice…But you know, it’s not GPU beast since it’s only integrated Ryzen GPU, but for your aim it’s good, still worse than Framework in a long run, because it’s not upgradable…


I have always loved Thinkpad, and probably always will.


Yes, it’s the only modern laptop that doesn’t completely suck. Everything else is just balls: internal batteries that are difficult to replace, keyboards that are held in place with plastic rivets and have to be removed for any maintenance, soldered-on RAM, inaccessible hard drives… Just balls! :basketball: :basketball:

But… a Framework laptop (or any new laptop) might be a bit too pricey for school. A 10-year old Thinkpad might be a better (and much cheaper) option. It will run Linux flawlessly, and you can abuse it in school and not feel bad about your shiny Framework.

Also, if you can get a used HP ProBook, something like 4540s… They are very sturdy and easy to service. Slightly underpowered, but still work great with Linux.


btw i’ve radically changed my view on that aspect (at least for laptops it’s great), because in most cases it’s lightyears faster than removable one and less pricey.

Most important characteristics of RAM are balance of:

  1. Make absolutely sure it’s anything other than Kingston!!!
  2. Capacity
  3. Highest frequency you can get
  4. Lowest timings you can get
  5. Lowest voltage you can get

So, in case you can instantly get 3-5 covered with almost any soldered RAM on laptop market (compared to dedicated crap they usually sell, unless it’s 4000 $ Dell laptop and buying good replacement ain’t gonna be cheap at all), although you still need to check all that yourself, you only have to get capacity that fits your needs and will likely be decent for next 10-15 years (32-128 Gb sounds good for absolute most cases).

In terms of reliability if you buy a laptop with any RAM, but especially soldered RAM - it’s your personal duty to stresstest the living sh*t out of that CPU / RAM for at least 48 hours straight, to make sure it works perfectly, if RAM works - it works, it’s nearly impossible to “break” RAM, especially in laptop, unless you actively fry it with going way out of their specs, but you need to have some serious skills to modify UEFI/BIOS in order to do that.

So…If for some reason you need something else in a very long run - it’s very likely to make more sense to buy a new laptop / motherboard.

That being said, it all doesn’t matter anymore, because of that, you can’t do anything about it other than using older sh*ttier laptops or experimenting with RISC-V.

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Maybe that an old Dell XPS will work for you. They have good screens and battery life.

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Thanks for all of your replies. I was sleeping, so couldn’t reply anyone. I’ll go ahead and address all the comments at once.

@keybreak I’m in US right now. I’m not sure that I can even get Xiaomi laptops here.

@I0F @fbodymechanic @Kresimir @elio-in3x I already have a 6-ish year old HP Pavilion. I currently use it, but the issue is that it’s clunky and heavy, so I hate to carry it around. The battery is bad too (I replaced it around 1.5 years ago), so I have to carry around its charger as well. So that makes me find the seats near the outlets, which are taken if I’m late. Basically, it’s annoying. I think old Thinkpads or XPS laptops will have the same issues. Am I missing something?

Looks like I have 3 options right now.

  1. I can wait a little to get a Framework laptop.
  2. I can get a cheap HP or Dell ultrabook (maybe a Surface? IDK how they behave with Linux), which will at least be somewhat lighter and have decent battery.
  3. I can get a Macbook and just treat it like the toy that it is.
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Generally, XPS 13 are really thin.

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I’m sure it’s manageable anywhere in the world…at least from ali-express or some crap like that.

And definitely fund → therefore participate in child slave labor which is verifiable fact at crapple factories inside China…Don’t support this immoral garbage.

Batteries degrade at approximately 8-10% per year. And it’s much much worse if you always have the charger plugged in. So no matter what you look at, if it’s older expect poor battery life.

I have a Thinkpad t480s. They go for like $200-300 on eBay now. I don’t even know it’s in my backpack most of the time.


Nothing touches a Thinkpad keyboard, and they are as tough as you’re going to get. I will never be without one ever again.

Dell is also great, I’d avoid HP, it didn’t always play well with Linux, and they are really not good privacy wise.

Check here

Scroll down to your price point. Then start looking at individual laptop’s specs.

These are all backed by an amazon warranty.



The problem with macbooks is that on linux, using the camera is extremely dificult (depending on the age of the mac). I don’t know if its important for you, but keep it in mind.

Highly recommend Thinkpads. As mentioned before, you can save quite a bit by purchasing second hand or even refurbished.


Sorry @keybreak in advance. I recommend Macbook Air Early 2015. It has around 6 hours battery life, a 1440x900 screen (16:10), and is lightweight. Most of the hardware works on Linux. broadcom-wl is needed for Wi-Fi, efibootmgr may or may not work and I didn’t test the camera so I can’t comment on that.
The downside is that both thermal management and the fan curve are ridiculous, don’t get surprised by 100+ C CPU temps when gaming. (or doing “sega” computations?) Also it is an old model so while it is cheap it may be too slow for you.