« on: August 27, 2014, 09:09:21 AM »
I'm a little late to the party here but let me address some of the points in a general sense without naming names.
- Laptops (Apple or PC) are always a compromise compared to a good desktop unit with a high end IPS display. And I agree with many who say gaming laptops are overkill. A gaming laptop is purposed for a completely different use dependent on 3D video performance. For photography, it's all about the display and CPU/RAM/SSD and protecting the data.
- Avoid TN Displays, get IPS. Most everyone agrees on that and the OP wants the BEST, not a compromise to save $$.
- Durability - Many have said they went out and looked at laptops to compare. Most laptops at retail stores are not built to the standards that business line laptops are. Lenovo Thinkpads vs Lenovo Ideapad. DELL Precision/Latitude vs Inspiron. HP ProBook/Elitebook vs Envy/Pavilion. The major name business lines are built like tanks for enterprise traveling workforces. The retail lines are built for individuals who don't know the difference and want shiny plastic.
- Display, CPU, RAM, SSD all matter, but not video. After that, it's just a difference in configuration.
- Macbooks aren't better, they are just different (and overpriced). They won't last longer. They have the exact same hardware inside built by the same manufacturers. If you like Mac, buy it. Heck, you can even install Windows on it if you want. But macs don't have much in the way of versatility. They are pretty limited for real world use with abbreviated ports, no docking or removable parts like batteries, optical drives, etc. And I HATE GLOSSY HIGH CONTRAST DISPLAYS. But to each their own.
- Workstation level business laptops are expensive but they offer multiple custom configurations like drives with RAID, mSATA and other options including replacing the optical drive with even more storage, etc. So you can create a custom drive setup that protects your images and even backs them up internally without the need for external drives hanging off, etc. This is one area where macs and other retail offerings are totally lost. You can also get custom docks that you can connect at your desk with everything including multiple displays.
- What would I buy? The Thinkpad W series from a W520 on up are excellent. DELL and HP also have great workstation level IPS offerings that are similar. These are serious workstation replacement products that are much more durable and powerful than retail products (and macs). You could get a refurbished unit for a lot less and still enjoy everything you need including good performance and IPS display.
I'm not familiar with the Acer unit that has been mentioned here heavily but someone is pretty impressed with it so it's probably worth a look. It's still a retail laptop however so I'm a little worried about the durability.
Finally, I saw a comment about why shouldn't all devices have the better IPS displays? Well, it's mostly about money and profit. IPS is more expensive and most devices are built for profit for a market that doesn't know the difference and doesn't care. Most of the market wants a cheaper device with specs they think matter, like hard drive capacity and fancy names on the audio chip. An iPad costs a TON of money and gives Apple something like a million percent profit margin to boot.
OP - Good luck finding what you want. Please stay in touch here and let us know what you decide. Again, my suggestion is to go with a Thinkpad W series or one of the DELL or HP business offerings.