Laptop

Matt Technician Granbury, Texas Posted   Latest  

Hello everyone I am looking for recommendations on a shop laptop. Main use would be to look up wiring diagrams, service info etc. and maybe a pico scope down the road. It stays mostly on my diagnostic tray, I don't do much mobile work. I'm not sure if I really need one of the heavy duty ones like a tough book, maybe more "budget friendly" version would do just fine? What are yall using?

Thank you and stay healthy.

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Mike Educator
Raleigh, North Carolina
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You can get a Dell business class laptop that has been refurbished pretty cheap right from them. Last one I got came with Win 10 Pro and a new charger.

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Phillip Diagnostician
Anchorage, Alaska
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I have a think pad t440p. Only thing about that laptop is I recommend that you upgrade the screen to a 1080p screen. Its an hold 4th gen Intel laptop but it rocks.

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Michael Owner/Technician
Irving, Texas
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I use a Surface Pro with an Urban Armor Gear case. I can pull the keyboard off when working with diagrams and the scope. I have a couple of HP laptops, but cracked the screen on all of them. The surface has always been good and have never broke one.

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Tyler Technician
Olathe, Kansas
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If it's just service info and wiring diagrams, something as cheap/simple as a Chromebook will work. They're dirt cheap, functional enough, and most are surprisingly rugged. I picked up an Asus on Black Friday several years ago, and that thing just doesn't know how to die. Shots of brake cleaner, dropped off cars, whatever. Plus, they're portable enough that you can take them under the…

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Allan Owner
Sterling, Virginia
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eBay is loaded with smoking hot powerful laptops cheap

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Matt Diagnostician
Red Wing, Minnesota
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I agree with Allan. I also have found a guy that refurbishes Lenovo's from some nearby companies. All of them business class, all of them at least Intel I5s, some I7s, and SSDs. Most are $250-$350. scottscomputersales​.​mysite​.​com I don't know that he ships, but really just as a reference for what to look for near you. Facebook Marketplace can have some steals on…

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Jeff Technician
Lake Hughes, California
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Dell referb.

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Maksim Diagnostician
Rancho Cordova, California
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You need Panasonic Toughbook Cf-53 Core i5 2.6GHz 8GB RAM 500gb Windows 7 Pro.... im talking from experience working with laptops in shop. I own several of them but this one ( CF-53) beats them all.... —-heres key words you need to keep eye on when buying one:-CF-53, -back lit keyboard, Touchscreen!!!, -i5 processor,-8Gb ram or more, 500+ SOLID STATE HARDDRIVE!

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
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Hi Maksim: Why would anyone buy one of those today? The CF-54 has been EoL since the end of September, 2013. Support will end for that model shortly (7 years from the date of original purchase). Windows 7 has been EoL for a while now. This is not an opinion. We are a distributor. Guido

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Maksim Diagnostician
Rancho Cordova, California
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Cf-53 is more cheaper $500-700 and still fast and plenty for Automotive. cf-54 is $2000+ which might not fit the budget for average person.... —-Getac S410 is my dream laptop but my low budget kicks me back to CF-53

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
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Hi Maksim: It isn't so cheap if you can't get any support for in in less than a year, if at all. Earlier Mk models have earlier E-o-L dates. It sounds like you may be conflating "low price (cheap)" and "value". Guido

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Roy Mechanic
Winnipeg, Manitoba
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I have a fully upgraded cf19 We also have a laptop for general use by techs. All the software we use requires either windows xp or windows 7. Those operating systems aren't supported anymore which is the big deal. But since my shop laptop isnt used for everyday use, lack of security patches are not a big deal. Worst case i upgrade to windows 10. With the availability of parts, i dont see…

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
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Hi Roy: I was speaking about a CRF-53. Would you buy one today knowing that you could not purchase parts and/or accessories for it? Owning it is one thing. Buying it fresh is another. Guido

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Roy Mechanic
Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Considering i bought my cf19 used a year ago and i never buy brand new edition computers (or brand new edition phones or vehicles or or or) Yes i would. I can still buy parts for my cf19. And the parts are reasonable now compared to oem pricing.

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
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Hi Roy: Panasonic laptops come in different generations. They are named Mk (Mark). Each new Mk supersedes the previous one. Very few, if any parts, make it to the new Mk from a previous Mk. I didn't ask about your CF-19. I asked what I asked. You neglected to answer the question without you qualifying your answer. The qualifications you laid out have no bearing on the question asked. BTW…

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Roy Mechanic
Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Ok. I can try making it clear then. You asked "Would you buy one today knowing that you could not purchase parts and/or accessories for it?" My answer is: yes. Because it extremely rare you can't get parts once they are no longer available from OEM Manufactures and distributors. The failure rate of hardware, except for HDDs, batteries, etc. Is low. Batteries, ram and storage devices are…

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
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Hi Roy, You're dating yourself here. :-) I was going to say the late 70's, that must have been the punched card era, but I believe that was the early 70's. You're right about buying new when it comes to having the latest processor and other items being a bad use of capital. For the most part, most of us just need a decent i5, i7, with a good screen that you can see outdoors.

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Roy Mechanic
Winnipeg, Manitoba
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I hate to say it but i used a punch card machine in grade 10. Hehe. The next year they got the Commodore CBM8000/Pet4000. Screen brightness is one thing that is overlooked. A daylight readable screen is a godsend. A serial port is nice too. Less adapters to deal with.

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Terry Diagnostician
Milton, Florida
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Matt; since I just started my mobile programming biz, I purchased a Getac S410 with 500gb SSD. Super fast and I partitioned it to use 4 different factory scan tools with programming in one unit! That way I don’t carry 4 different laptops. Nice 14 inch screen, and did I mention fast! I also use a Lenovo X1 carbon for all my information tabs , as well as my client invoicing software ( winworks). I…

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John Owner/Technician
Kamuela, Hawaii
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We use Lenovo X230 tablets and docking stations with big 32" monitors for daily use, but we can undock the computers to use with things like BlueLink at the vehicle if needed. Most Lenovo laptops are rugged enough for shop use, but can be found inexpensively on Ebay when companies refresh their technology. Lenovo laptops also tend to be the most compatible computers on the market for just about…

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Paul Technical Support Specialist
Lefkosia, Cyprus
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Hi Matt, As you can see from others commenting, suggestions are pretty much subjective to use and cost, to each. We all agree that rugged devices are the way to go, as they can withstand quite a beat up. But they do have their limitations. For the cost, personally i expect to get some serious beast performance out of them. But that is not the case and repair costs or upgradability is in most…

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Roy Mechanic
Winnipeg, Manitoba
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Paul, the mini pc is a good option in many cases imo. My plan is to build a service cart with a computer, 12 volt dc power supply, work surface, scope, and storage for cables etc. While my portable rugged cf19 is great. A dedicated cart with all the tools makes sense for use in a service bay. The cost/performance ratio of a mini pc is great. Done correctly it is fully upgradable unlilke a…

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John Diagnostician
Yorba Linda, California
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I do not agree that rugged devices are the way to go. Who is beating up their laptops? I guess in a shop that everyone is using the shop laptop maybe go rugged but for anyone that respects their tools ruggadized is an unnecessary expense. Dell refurbished business models are my first choice.

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Robert Owner/Technician
Tarpon Springs, Florida
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Dell Latitude Rugged 5420 or 7202,or any,they're all great

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Randy Technical Support Specialist
Cincinnati, Ohio
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I recommend a Laptop with at least a 8th gen I5 processor or AMD equivalent with at least 8GB memory, a 256 GB SSD, don't get a regular hard drive on a laptop it will be slow. Loaded with Windows 10.

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Stephen Owner/Technician
Santa Cruz, California
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I would get a touchscreen that is compatible with and supportable by various factory scan-tool software programs in case you wish to add one in the future.

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Richard Technician
Stony Brook, New York
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I use a pretty standard HP laptop. I originally thought I would need something extra tough, like a tough book or something. But I have had this laptop 2 years in June. It has been great. Just get one with plenty of Ram and a processor of at least 2.0 ghz. I once bought a cheap laptop without those features and the pico scope ran slow. I did see some great deals on ebay. I do like the Cobra…

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Benjamin Technician
Berkeley, California
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I agree with Maksim, Panasonic tough book CF-53 is the way to go. Fast, rouged and can take a hit. can find them for under $300ish, more if its really crisp. I bought mine on Ebay, upgraded the HDD to a 1TB and upgraded memory to 16GB. I've been a happy tech. I use to work for an Audi dealership and that's what they used. When i left to go to an indie, that's the first thing I bought.

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Rudy Technician
Montebello, California
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Matt- I also disagree that rugged is the way to go. I have one HP that sits on my tool box all day and another that sits in my diag cart all day. Unless you're a mobile tech and you're constantly moving your laptop around,there is no need for rugged(IMO) Both of my laptops were the budget range from a big box store. (Dont buy a Chrome book, a lot of automotive apps need Windows of some sort to…

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Scott Owner
Moreno Valley, California
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Hi Matt, Do you need a laptop? It doesn't sound like it based on what your use would be. I personally would go with a PC and go with a big TV/display that you can mount to the diagnostic cart. As far as laptops go - I'm the only one that uses it so I'm a little more careful and I haven't dropped any of them yet. I haven't invested in the Toughbooks as I haven't had anything bad happen to…

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William Owner
Morro Bay, California
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Look for a refurbished Quad core, 32 GB ram, with at least a 250 GB solid state hard drive. Windows 10 pro software. Laptops and their software seem become sluggish and obsolete about every 3 years. These requirements should serve you well for a while

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