The Ultimate Developer Laptop

After moving to Germany witout any private laptop, the search for the ultimate developer laptop started. On the picture above you can see some of the popular devices: HP Envy, Lenovo Carbon X1 and Dell XPS 13.

My Requirements

  • Compact
  • Good battery life
  • Perfect balanced performance
  • Strong case/Good build quality
  • Basic ports

After using a Sony Vaio for so many years, the battery died and the case, since it’s plastic, broke on the hinge. Normal stuff, but now I wanted a future-proof laptop, since I hold on for so long onto one. The Sony had a Intel i7 CPU and this is what I was looking for performance-wise, comparing the laptops CPUs with this CPU on PassMark I was looking for double the performance or more. This meant all the i3, Pentium and CoreDuo were out of the game. Also most of the HP laptops were with cheap plastic cases, a no go for me. Some bad expirience with lenovo laptops and they incredibly high price were a bad sign for lenovo. But there was an even biger problem.

The Problem

All the new laptops have only USB Type C ports!

It’s the new trend I get it, you connect one cable to the laptop and that’s it. The battery gets charged through the new magic called Power Delivery and if you connect a hub you have all the ports. But what if someone is old fashioned like me and is still using a normal USB Flash drive, doesn’t to wear any adapters/dongles or has some other hardware with a normal USB?
For example, the Dell XPS 9370 is a beautiful laptop, superb build quality, amazing performance, cheap, but only Type C ports. So the search continued on the used laptop market (in Germany it’s for older generations with the new C port but also with the normal USB A.

The Decision

To make it short, I’ve bought a Dell XPS 13 (9360) from a Chinese guy near Dortmund for a price of 515€. This was not the decision. At firs sight the laptop was brand new, but after I carried him home the interesting part started. The laptop had stickers on the keyboard so it would look like a German layout keyboard. The OS (Windows 10) was also translated to German but you could still see Chinese somewhere, it was a mix so to say.I was scared that the keyboard was also Chinese.

Now the decision was: keep the laptop or return it?

You guessed it, the engineering nature was stronger, I wanted to keep the laptop and solve all the problems. First of all, downloading the new version of the OS and installing it solved all the bugs in the Chinese user interface. The next thing is to remove the stickers from the keys. Carefully starting with the letters I discovered that the original keys were English American, thankfully.

I’ve been using it for one month and I love it. A super compact and fast laptop, with a battery life of 2 days. If you want a XPS 13 with normal USB ports and the new USB Type C, the models 9350 and 9360 are the way to go. But if you can afford it, I highly recommend to buy a new one, on Amazon you can still buy this model as a new laptop:

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