Laptop Suggestions for a New Job ($1.5k - $2k)

Basically, I'm starting a new role that requires me to provide my own laptop as the organisation will not (coming back in as an external contractor). I work in finance and accounting, with the heavy lifting being mostly MS Excel and a lot of MS teams meetings (presumably using Citrix VDI).

I'm not the best with laptop & PC specs so I'm here to consult the Ozbargain brains trust.

The low down:
Budget is $1500 to $2000
14" to 15.6" screen
Light-ish weight (doesn't have to be insanely lightweight)
Backlit keyboard would be ideal, but not essential

I was looking at the below Lenovo for $1598 on Amazon which seems decent (at least to the uninitiated like myself!):

Appreciate any assistance and guidance in advance!



    Do you have an edu email address?


      Unfortunately not. Potentially someone I know may have one, but I'd have to ask.


    Try and test out the keyboards as much as possible e.g. Officeworks samplers for similar models and families.

    Laptop keyboards and screens are notoriously fickle beasts and vary hugely - and can't be specc'd up unlike CPUs and RAM. Find a good keyboard you like and then spec the other bits to your budget.

  • +1 vote

    Regarding screen size, consider the aspect ratio as well as the screen size

    a 13.3" 16:10 screen has more vertical height than a 14" 16:9 screen, and even though it trades some width for that height, generally a 16:10 screen feels less cramped

    1920x1080 is 16:9, so for office work especially excel+windows with the office ribbon and the start bar, id suggest you look for 16:10 or for even more square-ness to the shape, 3:2 ratios (surface laptops are 3:2 for example, or just look at the numbers of the resolution - if the screen resolution is 1920x1200, thats 16:10)



      After using 16:10 I can't go back.


      Good advice regarding the aspect ratio, I didn't know that 16:10 was a thing.
      Honestly, for all the excel hard yards, I'll be connected to an external monitor when working from home, or 2 monitors if in the office. But it will definitely make it easier in the few occasions when I'm not connected. I'll have a look into some 16:10 screen laptops!


        How are you connecting the monitors? What ports are on the monitors or do you use docks?


          Working from home will simply be a HDMI cable, but at the office, they have docking stations. Dell ones off memory I believe

  • +1 vote

    For excel, go for 15.6" to 17" … if you are planning to use external monitor, you can choose smaller for less weight.

    Go for AMD Ryzen 7 4800U or above … forget intel crap.

    16:10 for Excel is great instead of 16:9.


      I've heard that these days AMD isn't all that bad so I'm definitely open to looking at laptops with AMD processors, just depends on the overall specs and price I guess


        For the same price, you can get AMD with 8cores vs Intel 4cores … huge difference.

  • +2 votes

    You can get Lenovo ThinkPad Mobile Workstation P14s - $1,799.00 delivered if you have access to student account.

    Review here:

    Spec :

    AMD Ryzen™ 7 PRO 4750U (8C / 16T, 1.7 / 4.1GHz, 4MB L2 / 8MB L3)
    Windows 10 Pro 64
    14.0" FHD (1920x1080) Low Power WVA 400nits Anti-glare
    32 GB RAM - 16 GB Soldered DDR4-3200 non-ECC + 16 GB SO-DIMM DDR4-3200 non-ECC
    512 GB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe Opal2
    1 Year Depot Warranty
    65W USB-C AC Adapter
    Integrated AMD Radeon™ Graphics
    720p + IR with ThinkShutter WebCam
    Fingerprint Reader
    Keyboard Backlit, English
    Intel Wireless 6 AX200 (2x2) & Bluetooth® 5.2
    Integrated Mobile Broadband WWAN Upgradable

    32GB RAM is nice to have if you want to load a large data set.
    The Ryzen 7 is better for office/multitasking as it has more cores and also more power-efficient ( smaller die) see.

    If you willing to take the risk and like to tinker to save some money - you can buy lower storage & RAM then upgrade the memory/storage yourself.

    Let me know if you need help with student access as I might be able to hook you up.


      Give a link to the site, my friend needs it n he has a kid who go to school, will that help to get discount??


    go for something with a decent GPU that you could then also use to mine some crypto. $2k should get you something half decent & bring in $3-4 a day worth


    What did you end up going with OP?