I've been considering a new laptop for a long while now, but am still undecided. Could you perhaps give me some suggestions?
First, I would like to run Linux on my laptop, but System 76 or ZaReason machines are not really an option, because these companies don't ship to my country. So I am left to decide between major manufacturers.
I would like my laptop to be basically a desktop replacement and also to work as a media center (by connecting it to TV via HDMI). So I need a working HDMI (or DVI, or miniDVI) port and capability to play full HD movies.
I would also like it to be fairly portable and to have a decent battery life (over 5 hours, better yet over 6 hours or more, even if it means that WiFi has to be turned off). It should have a screen size between 13 and 15 inches.
My prime candidates are Lenovo Thinkpad T430 and Dell Latitude E6330.
Thinkpad's specs are as follows:
Intel Core i5-3320M, 2600 MHz, RAM: 4096 MB, HDD 500 GB (7200 rpm) Intel HD Graphics 4000, Display 14", 1600×900, Battery: 6 cell Li-Ion, Weight 2.166 kg, OS: Windows 7 Professional
Intel Core i5-3320M, 2600 MHz, RMA: 4096 MB, HDD 500 GB (7200 rpm), Intel HD Graphics 4000, Display 13,3", 1366×768, Battery: Li-Ion, Weight 1.606 kg, OS: Linux (Ubuntu 11.10)
As you can see, the laptops are very similar. The huge advantage of the Thinkpad is the screen (14 inch with a decent resolution). I have also seen it in a brick-and-mortar shop, and like its looks. If it came with Ubuntu, I would not hesitate a minute. I know Thinkpads are generally compatible with Linux. I know T430 is on the Ubuntu certified list (though only for the models with Ubuntu preinstalled, which are non-existent here). But I have seen mixed reviews on the internet concerning experience with Ubuntu on this particular machine, and not enough positive ones to be sure it will work without hiccups.
The huge advantage of Dell Latitude is that it comes with Ubuntu (so everything is supposed to work, right?). It also is half a kilogram lighter than the Thinkpad. But the screen is far from great. And I haven't heard anything about how this model works with Ubuntu. I've seen the reviewers criticise its video playback, but hope it is because of the screen, so if I hook it up to an external display or TV the videos will play better.
What do you think? What laptop would you choose? Perhaps you could suggest a model from the major manufacturers that is better than these two?