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Broadly speaking I am looking for a very mobile fully featured laptop (kind of a desktop replacement). The same kind of laptop as in my question from 2016.

I currently have a customised Lenovo T460s (14 inch 2k screen, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GeForce 930M, WWAN, SD card reader, finger print reader) purchased in 2016. I have been overall very happy with the purchase in terms of specs, weight, and features.

I am struggling to find a good replacement.

Usage pattern: The laptop goes where I go and is used for database and back end development during the day and occasional gaming session in the evening.

Must have features:

  • Display: 2K, that is useable in sunlight
  • CPU: I5 / I7 or equivalent AMD
  • RAM: 16GB - 32GB
  • HDD: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: under 1.6kg
  • Dedicated GFX: something that would manage most games on medium settings
  • Ports: 2 x USB, mic/headphone, HDMI/Display Port, (the more the better)
  • Build / Finish: looking for a high quality "professional" / "business" look
  • Built in mobile internet
  • Replaceable battery (i.e. not permanently glued in)

Optional (in order of priority):

  • 2 in 1 mode (similar to Lenovo Yoga) where it can be converted into a tablet.
  • Availability of a Docking station
  • Light weight Power Brick
  • Long battery life
  • Built in card reader

Price: unlimited (ball park figure: up to around 4,500AUD ~ 3,500US)

I have checked:

  • Surface Book 3 (13.5") - looks exceptional (also is a "2 in 1") but no 4G and no direct monitor connectivity.
  • Lenovos - their business ultra portable range does not seem to have GFX card option anymore.

Can someone recommend a laptop that fits most of the specs? It seems that the race for the thinnest design has pushed all functional aspects to the side.

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Why not get another Lenovo? It seems as if they develop the sort of computers that you like.

The ThinkPad T14 Gen 1 (Intel or AMD) is in the same series as the computer you currently have, the T-series.

  • It is a 14-inch computer.

  • It has either a Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U or a i7-10610U. In terms of performance, on a business laptop there is very little reason to go with the Intel version. Look at the performance here. You will get a higher boost clock on the Intel processor, but the AMD appears to win in single-threaded performance anyway.

  • It appears to have a broadband card: Integrated Mobile Broadband 4G LTE-A, Fibocom L860-GL, with or without MIMO. For reasons unknown, the AMD version does not appear to have MIMO. It also has an eSIM.

  • In terms of screens, you can get a 3840x2160 glossy panel, or you can stick with 1080p and get anti-glare and touch capabilities. In keeping with the usual dubious OEM double-dealing, you will have to miss out on the 4K screen if you go with AMD (but perhaps with the right skills or contacts you could get it in there). The top screens have a solid 500 nits.

  • The amount of RAM well exceeds your specifications, although Intel and AMD may have different limitations again.

  • The ports are as follows: a MicroSD card reader, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (one Always On), two USB 3.2 Type-C Gen 2 (DisplayPort 1.4), HDMI 2.0, Ethernet (RJ-45), nano-SIM card slot (WWAN models), headphone / microphone combo jack, smart card reader. The Intel version, for whatever reason, only has HDMI 1.4b, but it also has Thunderbolt 3 in one of the USB ports.

  • It comes with a 512 GB SSD, but seeing as it is an M.2 drive, if it is not soldered in you should be able to upgrade it no problem. These days, 800 dollars gets you an 4 TB M.2 drive.

  • If you choose the Intel processor, you can get it with a NVIDIA GeForce MX330; if you get the Ryzen version, it should come with Radeon RX Vega 7 integrated graphics. If you want the discrete graphics, there you have it. Unfortunately, the MX330 is not a very good card. That said, neither is the 930M in your current device, of course; if you want a better graphics processor, there are 14-inch computers with 1650s and 2060s, but you would have to give up the mobile broadband. It is worth considering the Vega graphics in the Ryzen processor instead of the dGPU that comes with Intel. It performs better on some tests (although a lot worse in others). It seems to be better on the Fire Strike benchmark according to some sites, even. Not to mention, you get a much better CPU.

You will have to compromise on one or two things: the battery is integrated, for instance. That said, the manual certainly seems to indicate that it can be removed with a bit of ingenuity.

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