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Know-how

Which laptop should you buy?

When your old laptop gives up the ghost, there’s nothing for it but to buy a new one. Unfortunately, this is more complicated than it was five years ago. To help you navigate the laptop jungle, I’ve put together a buying guide by looking at my old laptops and putting the latest devices under the microscope.

Now and again, people ask me which laptop they should buy – or which smartphone or graphics card is the best. But there’s hardly any question that is as hard to answer as that one. But this wasn’t always the case. You only need to look back at the almost Stone Age of 2012 to see there were really only two options:

  1. Heavy, expensive, powerful, large screen diagonal
  2. Not as heavy, cheaper, not as powerful, more compact.

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but I’m just talking in general terms. After all, choosing a laptop isn’t an exact science yet. So take what you read here with a pinch of salt. All I ask is that you leave a comment below if there is anything you disagree with so we can improve this guide together.

So now we’ve got all those caveats out the way, let’s jump straight in.

Battery for commuters and meeting goers

Even though meetings are usually a practical alternative to work, your laptop doesn’t get that time off. Because you need to at least look busy from time to time or be able to read this article, check Facebook or Reddit when the PowerPoint presentation gets a bit boring. It’ll stop you falling asleep at least.

The problem arises when the meeting goes on longer. Then you’re in a bit of a pickle. Should you check Reddit before or after you’ve gone over the quarterly figures? Reply to emails first or listen to the fuss being made about synergies?

If that’s what a typical day looks like for you in the commuter nation that is Switzerland, then you probably travel a lot. Your workday doesn’t start when you get to the office. It already started on the train when you were answering emails, editing Excel spreadsheets and preparing what should hopefully be an interesting PowerPoint. When you’re giving your presentation, you don’t want your listeners worrying about how much battery your laptop has left.

The most important factors are the battery and its performance. Screen diagonal is not as significant as the compactness of the device. It should be ultralight, slimline and if it looks good in meetings, then that’s just an added bonus.

The battery on a well optimised laptop that is designed for durability will easily last half a day. It will also have an almost infinite standby time. But you can’t have everything. For all these good points, you have to make a few concessions.

This usually comes in the form of graphics performance. You’re unlikely to find a 4K laptop that can last 12 hours or more. But a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, in other words Full HD, is enough. After all, games probably aren’t your thing and you rarely watch films in full screen mode.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon (14", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB, SSD, 3G, 4G)
CHF 2589.–
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (14", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB, SSD, 3G, 4G)
Mit nur 1,14 kg und 15,95 mm ist das neue X1 Carbon das kleinste und flachste Business-Ultrabook, das wir je entwickelt haben. Es könnte also sein, dass Sie sich oft vergewissern werden, ob Sie es wirklich eingesteckt haben.
1

Availability

Mail delivery

  • only 4 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:30

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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XPS 13 (13.3", QHD+, Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB, SSD)
CHF 1899.–
Dell XPS 13 (13.3", QHD+, Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB, SSD)
Das kleinste 13.3-Zoll-Notebook der Welt. Jetzt mit neustem Kaby-Lake Prozessor, 16GB RAM und 512GB SSD!!!
7

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:30

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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EliteBook 840 G3 (14", Full HD, Intel Core i5-6200U, 8GB, SSD)
CHF 1549.–
HP EliteBook 840 G3 (14", Full HD, Intel Core i5-6200U, 8GB, SSD)
14"-Business-Notebook mit umfangreichen Sicherheitsmanagement

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:30

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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For those in the numbers game

For some people, it’s not a question of battery. Perhaps you’re a controller who has to chase large amounts of data through the computer and convert them into a different format. You spend long days in your quiet little room with no one disturbing you, especially not when you’re preparing the yearly accounts. Battery isn’t an issue for you.

You are more interested in the sheer power of the laptop, assuming you don’t have a PC on your desk.

Whatever happens, your device can’t be allowed to struggle under the weight of its daily tasks. The old IBM Thinkpads were your first love because they never packed in. They might have sometimes roared like stags during rutting season and you could probably have dried your hair with the air streaming out of the ventilation shafts. But they got your figures on the screen.

There are laptops that are designed for sheer performance. Even after IBM’s move to China, Lenovo Thinkpads will rarely let you down. However, there are other manufacturers who offer solid hardware that couldn’t be more tenacious if it tried.

Important factors to look out for with values that should be on the higher end of the scale are:

  • CPU
  • RAM

ThinkPad P70 (17.3", UHD, Intel Core i7-6820HQ, 16GB, SSD)
CHF 2999.–
Lenovo ThinkPad P70 (17.3", UHD, Intel Core i7-6820HQ, 16GB, SSD)
Leistungsstarke 17,3"-Workstation

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: tomorrow at 12:30

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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ZBook 15u G4 (15.6", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB, SSD)
CHF 1944.–
HP ZBook 15u G4 (15.6", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB, SSD)
Schlankes 15,6"-Notebook

Availability

Mail delivery

  • approx. 5–7 days
    3 item(s) ready for shipment from external warehouse

Collection

  • All locations: approx. 6–8 days
    Currently 3 piece(s) in stock at the supplier

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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Gamers and graphic designers

Digitec’s own Stephanie Quintana as Tracer from Overwatch

Let me set the scene. You’re a gamer and have your own gaming battlestation. You couldn’t possibly miss the raid, and you want to be able to shoot a few guys in the head while in the character of Tracer when you’re out and about. You’re someone who values their graphics.

You want high screen resolution, a powerful graphics card and a fair bit of computing power. In other words:

  • CPU
  • GPU
  • RAM
  • screen resolution

Laptops are quick to reach their limits when these kind of demands are put on them. The devices in this category are usually heavier and more bulky to give the space needed for extra performance. Also, the screens are often bigger.

Surface Book - Performance Base, 512GB SSD (13.50", Intel Core i7-6600U, 16GB, SSD)
CHF 2899.–
Microsoft Surface Book - Performance Base, 512GB SSD (13.50", Intel Core i7-6600U, 16GB, SSD)
Where an ultra-slim design and high-quality finish meet an unbelievable screen resolution. Say hello to the ultimate reworked 2-in-1 notebook.
2

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Heavy product: Delivery to place of use (e.g. cellar, living room) available. Please note: General cargo delivery. Arranged by phone, generally within 1 to 2 days. Delivery to place of use, generally within 7 to 9 days.

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: only 1 piece(s)
  • Geneva: only 1 piece(s)
  • Kriens: only 1 piece(s)
  • Lausanne: only 1 piece(s)
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Wohlen: only 1 piece(s)
  • Zurich: only 4 piece(s)

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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OMEN 15-ax252nz (15.6", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB, SSD, HDD)
HP OMEN 15-ax252nz (15.6", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB, SSD, HDD)
Wake up. Battle. Conquer. Repeat.
2

Availability

  • Currently unavailable. Delivery date unknown.

Information subject to change.

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Alienware 17 R4 (17.3", QHD, Intel Core i7-7820HK, 32GB, SSD, HDD)
Dell Alienware 17 R4 (17.3", QHD, Intel Core i7-7820HK, 32GB, SSD, HDD)
17,3"-Highend-Gaming-Notebook

Availability

  • Currently unavailable. Delivery date unknown.

Information subject to change.

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MacBook Pro Silver (15.4", Retina, Intel Core i7, 16GB, SSD)
Sale
CHF 2799.–instead of 3199.–1
Apple MacBook Pro Silver (15.4", Retina, Intel Core i7, 16GB, SSD)
The new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

Availability

Mail delivery

  • 5 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: tomorrow at 12:45
  • Dietikon: tomorrow at 14:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 15:40
  • St Gallen: tomorrow at 15:30
  • Winterthur: tomorrow at 13:30
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: only 2 piece(s)

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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ROG Zephyrus GX501VI-GZ021T (15.6", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB, SSD)
CHF 3499.–
ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501VI-GZ021T (15.6", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB, SSD)
Das weltweit dünnste Gaming-Notebook mit NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080

Availability

  • approx. 3–4 weeks

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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What are convertibles and two-in-ones?

It was easy to compare laptop features five years ago. Nowadays, it is more difficult to do that even for external hardware. Tablets didn’t end up being the death of laptops as was expected, but manufacturers did learn something from tablet technology.

The touchscreen feature in particular won its place in users’ hearts. There is hardly anything more practical, faster or efficient than a quick tap or swipe. The movements you have to use in Windows 10 are the same as the ones we know from Apple iOS and Google’s Android. This lead to two new laptop designs.

  1. Convertibles: you can fold the keyboard all the way back behind the laptop screen.
  2. Two-in-ones: you can separate the keyboard from the laptop screen.

In both instances, you end up with a computer that can be used as a tablet – the only difference being the number of parts. The first model stays as one unit, while in the second, the keyboard is detachable.

Which is better?

It’s purely a matter of taste. Personally, I don’t like having two parts to my laptop all of a sudden, especially when I’m working on the go. That’s why I opted for the convertible as my mobile office laptop.

Yoga 710-14IKB (14", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7500U, 8GB, SSD)
Lenovo Yoga 710-14IKB (14", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7500U, 8GB, SSD)
A powerful 14-inch convertible notebook with touch display
10

Availability

  • Currently unavailable. Delivery date unknown.

Information subject to change.

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Surface Pro, 256GB SSD (12.3", Intel Core i5-7300U, 8GB, SSD)
CHF 1449.–
Microsoft Surface Pro, 256GB SSD (12.3", Intel Core i5-7300U, 8GB, SSD)
Achtung: Type Cover und Pen müssen separat erworben werden.
4

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: tomorrow at 13:10
  • Bern: 7 piece(s)
  • Dietikon: only 2 piece(s)
  • Geneva: only 1 piece(s)
  • Kriens: 5 piece(s)
  • Lausanne: only 2 piece(s)
  • St Gallen: only 4 piece(s)
  • Winterthur: 7 piece(s)
  • Wohlen: only 2 piece(s)
  • Zurich: 6 piece(s)

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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Book One (13.3", QHD+, Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB, SSD)
Show- room
CHF 2399.–
Porsche Design Book One (13.3", QHD+, Intel Core i7-7500U, 16GB, SSD)
An uncompromising reinterpretation of the 2-in-1 concept in one of the world's thinnest convertibles / detachables. Maximum performance meets a breathtaking design.
3

Availability

Mail delivery

  • more than 10 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

PickMup

Collection

  • Basel: only 1 piece(s)
  • Bern: only 1 piece(s)
  • Dietikon: only 1 piece(s)
  • Geneva: only 1 piece(s)
  • Kriens: tomorrow at 11:20
  • Lausanne: only 1 piece(s)
  • St Gallen: only 1 piece(s)
  • Winterthur: only 1 piece(s)
  • Wohlen: tomorrow at 11:00
  • Zurich: only 2 piece(s)

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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Spectre x360 13-ac060nz (13.3", Full HD, Intel Core i5-7200U, 8GB, SSD)
CHF 1449.–
HP Spectre x360 13-ac060nz (13.3", Full HD, Intel Core i5-7200U, 8GB, SSD)
Verführerische Leistung. In allen Modi.
1

Availability

  • Delivery date unknown

Information subject to change.

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What you don’t need to look for

I’m about to say something that will seem obvious to the younger amongst you but will have my older readers needing to lie down in a darkened room with a cold compress. You don’t need an optical drive any more. There, I’ve said it. That means no CD, DVD or disc drive. Incidentally, are there any disc drives floating about these days?

The reason optical drives are becoming obsolete is the Internet is increasingly pervasive and replaces many of the analogue world’s services. At a quick glance, you might associate some of these brands with smartphones, but these services do work on laptops and PCs as well.

  • CDs: Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music
  • DVDs: Netflix, Google Play Movies, Youtube Red
  • Games: Steam
  • Software: often on the manufacturer website, otherwise CNET, Sourceforge or similar

I was one of those people who clung on to optical drives for a long time. Now the CD drive doesn’t work on my PC at all – it goes without saying that I build it in. I don’t understand what’s going on, but the hardware manager doesn’t show a drive any more. The funny thing is, I can’t even remember the last time I used the thing. Definitely time to get rid of it.

It needed a bit of rethinking, but my laptop experience has become a thousand times better.

But I digress… the question was, which laptop should you buy? The answer might not be the one you’re hoping for. I’m afraid there isn’t one fabulous, universal laptop that ticks all the boxes. I can recommend my laptop because I’ve had great experience with it for my use case. But that’s not to say you’d feel the same way. You might find the Full HD display and its convertible feature rather unnecessary.

That doesn’t concern me too much, as I’m sure my readers are intelligent enough to find the right device with a bit of research. Before I wrap this up, let me leave you with a piece of advice.

Pay attention to the keyboard

Laptops tend to be small, so engineers need to maximise space somehow. The part of the device that usually bears the brunt of their space-saving ideas is the keyboard. This means the layout might be slightly different and the keys you always use could be somewhere else. My tip: always take a look at the keyboard before you buy.

If you have the chance, it’s also worth quickly putting your hands on the keyboard. If you visit one of our digitec shops you’ll find laptops in every price range.

Predator 21X (21", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7820HK, 64GB, SSD)
CHF 9999.–
Acer Predator 21X (21", Full HD, Intel Core i7-7820HK, 64GB, SSD)
Master of the universe

Availability

Mail delivery

  • only 2 piece(s)
    in our warehouse

Heavy product: Delivery to place of use (e.g. cellar, living room) available. Please note: General cargo delivery. Arranged by phone, generally within 1 to 2 days. Delivery to place of use, generally within 7 to 9 days.

Collection

  • Delivery option Collection not available for this product due to its heavy weight.

If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

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Happy shopping!

Update 26 August 2017

Someone asked me in the comments what I meant by “take a look at the keyboard”. I’ve answered this in a separate article.

keyboard_choice_teaser21.jpeg
Product know-how
Dominik Bärlocher

Dominik Bärlocher

Senior Editor

To user profile
  • 19 12

Laptop keyboard ≠ laptop keyboard: Let’s take a closer look at your keys

User

Dominik Bärlocher

Journalist. Author. Hacker. My subjects generally revolve around Android or Apple’s iOS. I also feel strongly about IT security. In this day and age, privacy is no longer a minor matter but a strategy for survival.

27 comments

User Egats96

DAS Laptop tönt für mi eifach falsch. :)

21.07.2017
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User Anonymous

duden.de/rechtschreibung/La...
geht leider beides... aber DER laptop klingt auf jedenfall besser :P

21.07.2017
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User Anonymous

Gemäss IWC ausserdem "Der Uhr"

24.07.2017
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User Delay_46

Demzufolge wäre "Der Gerät" auch nicht falsch, oder?

26.07.2017
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User geniol

Könnte aber schon sein, dass man in gewissen Kantonen "das" statt "der" Laptop sagt, ich finde aber grade keinen Beleg dafür.

28.07.2017
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User FlyingDaedalus

Kannst du bitte die Bezeichnung Hacker entfernen? Vielen Dank.

21.07.2017
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User Anonymous

Autor am Besten auch gleich... hihi bei Grammatikfehlern im Titel.

08.08.2017
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User 1991Paddy

Sollte es nicht "Welchen" Laptop brauche ich?

21.07.2017
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User GrischuG

Nach der Rechtschreibung vom Duden ist "welches" wie auch "welchen" korrekt, (leider). Ich finde auch, dass der Nominativ besser klingt. :)

08.08.2017
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User Anonymous

*Welchen

21.07.2017
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User GrischuG

Nach der Rechtschreibung vom Duden ist "welches" wie auch "welchen" korrekt, (leider). Ich finde auch, dass der Nominativ besser klingt. :)

08.08.2017
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User r00tli2k

Erster ^^ Habe das ASUS Zephyrus GX501 Bestellt... was soll ich mit dem Potthässlichen Klobigen 9999.- Predator ;-,P neee Danke nur beim anblick wird mir übel und dazu noch das Desktop Keyboard ^^ geht ja garnicht lool

Greets aus dem Universum der bekloppten r00tli2k - Rang 14 sagt alles Digi Play

20.07.2017
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User justin3000

gute Wahl!

20.07.2017
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User Anonymous

sehr gute Wahl!! :)

20.07.2017
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User r00tli2k

thx... kann unmöglich was schiefgehen und wenn doch Hab Premium Express Service für 3 Jahre ^^

21.07.2017
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User Terahertz

Kommt der 21X nicht etwas zu spät auf den Markt als Aprilscherz? 1080p, 2x GTX 1080 und n billiger i7 Prozessor für den Preis eines Autos, was haben die Entwickler geraucht?

23.07.2017
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User hungrybeast

Dazu ist es nicht linkshänderfreundlich, soll ich meine Hände überkreuzen um das Trackpad nutzen zu können!?

27.07.2017
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User geniol

Bei den schlechten WLAN-Netzwerken im Ausland (nicht überall) will ich ein optisches Laufwerk schon noch drin haben! Klar benutzt man sie nicht mehr alle Tage, aber das war auch nieder Sinn. Ich habe auch fast überall Blu-ray Laufwerke drin, die machen schon mehr her und HD-Filme gibt's unterwegs ;)

28.07.2017
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User Anonymous

"Welchen Laptop brauche ich?*****"

08.08.2017
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User GrischuG

Nach der Rechtschreibung vom Duden ist "welches" wie auch "welchen" korrekt, (leider). Ich finde auch, dass der Nominativ besser klingt. :)

08.08.2017
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User dearheart

Please get rid of the VGA connector and the numeric keypad. I like my old Thinkpad's (w520), as the keyboard is centered, have excellent touch. There are room for speakers, and the Trackpad is also centered.
I wonder if I am the only who dislike all the new laptops with flat keyboards that is off centered and speakers that hide somewhere not optimal?

19.08.2017
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User elbassisto

Ich finde das Angebot auf Digitec schlecht. Ihr habt zwar alle gängigen Marken, aber keine Möglichkeit die Geräte auf "meine" Bedürfnissen anzupassen. Meine Wahl: XMG Gaming Notebook von mysn.de/ . Qualität stimmt, Preis stimmt, BELÜFTUNG stimmt! Konfigurierbar.

21.07.2017
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User imageprocessor

bei welchem anderen Händler kann man sich ein Notebook konfigurieren? Ich meine nicht Hersteller, sondern Händler.

22.07.2017
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User Patnoob

Wenn ich "Gaming Notebook" schon höre.. bäh.

28.07.2017
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User elbassisto

Der Begriff ist auch egal. Die "Gaming" Serie ist einfach das beste an Verarbeitung die ich jeh in einem Laptop gesehen habe. Die Gaming Laptops aller grossen Marken sind sowieso völlig überteuert, selbst wenn sie gut verarbeitet sind.

08.08.2017
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