Well, normally I would be making suggestions in other threads like this and advising friends and family. Didn't really expect to make a thread like this for myself! However, I'm sure there are options and laptop ranges I haven't considered...
Also, I haven't ever owned a laptop and anyone I've advised has had a smaller budget than mine.
I will be at university from next month and because I've been working for the past few months, I have some money to spend. I am in the UK but can import.
My requirements are below. Please make any suggestion you want - whether that's just a range of laptops or a specific model.
I won't consider Acer.
My budget is around £1300-£1400 or around $2100 (no higher).
I want something tough, to last about 4 years.
I will be photo editing, ocassionally video editing but not gaming, unless Civilization V seduces me.
I want something portable - heavy is okay, but not too bulky.
I want a PC.
I want a solid processor, obviously. Any i7 really.
At least 4GB RAM.
15.6" screen, FHD.
64 GB+ SSD.
Good, gesture equipped trackpad.
3 year warranty (international).
What I have found so far is quite surprising, to be honest.
First, I won't consider Acer (they offer great spec for the price, invariably). MSI notebooks seem gawdy. Likewise the high-end Asus models (aimed at gamers, designed like fighter jets...), but even so, they're not that cheap or configurable.
I have found a ThinkPad W510 from what appears to be reputable seller on eBay that meets all the above requirements and comes within price range. And it has 8GB RAM (4 slot) and 128GB SSD along with other extras like USB 3.0, reliable fingerprint security etc.
I tried to configure above spec on a Dell XPS machine and it comes out at £1500+, likewise similar Sony Vaio models, HP EliteBooks. To be fair, this has however been on their UK websites.
This begs the question, for the above spec (note that features like i7 and SSD add hundreds to a customized model), is a ThinkPad actually the best value option. I don't think anyone would choose a normal notebook (as opposed to rugged) if the costs were exactly the same and they didn't have a major problem with bulk.
Me, still a teenager, far from rich, a ThinkPad guy?