I am looking for a laptop with the following specifications. I have done a lot of searching but can't find anything that meets my requirements.

I'm willing to spend $3k, but after that becomes questionable and I have an absolute limit of $5k.

I need something light as I carry it around a lot but I need something powerful as I run VMs and develop various memory hungry Java server processes.

I feel like the answer might be found via a manufacturer that enables you to customise a model that doesn't quite meet the specs in its default configuration but will after maxing out all the configuration options. However, that makes searching for it with a search engine difficult.

Minimum Specifications

  • Skylake CPU i5/i7 (main concern is battery life though)
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 14" screen
  • 512 GB SSD
  • Less than 4lbs
  • 6+ hours battery life

Good to have but not essential

  • Backlit keyboard
  • 2+ USB3 ports
  • VGA output
  • HDMI output
  • Ethernet port
  • Built in webcam

Extra Dealbreakers

Must run Windows OS - cannot be a Mac

I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts so the keyboard layout is important to me. The following are dealbreakers:

  • Keyboards that have the Fn key outside the Ctrl key (almost all Lenovos - not sure if anyone else)
  • Keyboards that don't have separate Home/End/PageUp/PageDown keys

See this image of the LG Gram 14 that requires you to press Fn and an arrow key for these buttons enter image description here

Already Rejected

These caught my eye but I rejected them for the reasons below,

LG Gram 14 - Only 8GB RAM and annoying keyboard

Fujitsu U904 - Only 10GB RAM and Haswell processor. Very light and cool looking though!

  • 1
    You do realize that "skylake" does not guarantee you'll get a powerful CPU, right? There are even AMD processors out there which outmuscle some of the skylake parts. Can I edit your question to specify a certain type of skylake part, such as an i7 series part?
    – Adam Wykes
    Aug 19, 2016 at 3:19
  • @AdamWykes I'll have to agree with you. For more info regarding the performance of CPUs, you should look for benchmarking websites such as cpuboss.com.
    – 0-60FPS
    Aug 19, 2016 at 4:39
  • Could you specify a price range?
    – 0-60FPS
    Aug 19, 2016 at 4:40
  • 1
    To be honest I think you're putting yourself on a goose chase by saying you will not explore options under 16gb ram, anything other 14'' screen, and 500+gb ssd standard. RAM and SSD are easy upgrades on most machines in this tier. Also, under 4 lbs is realistic but 6+ hours battery life is completely subjective. 6 hours of what? Mutliple VMs and computationally challenging processes are going to eat any battery alive.
    – JaredT
    Aug 19, 2016 at 14:33
  • 1
    anyone else noticed what the title spells using the first letter of each word? Nov 15, 2016 at 1:54

7 Answers 7


I highly recommend you be a little more lenient. Having said that, check out the Razer Blade. You can find that this was selected as one of the best high end laptops found here: reviews. For just some highlights, it is very portable, 14" screen, 16 GB of RAM, a SSD of 512 GB, powerful GPU, 6th gen Quadcore tech, fairly decent keyboard layout, and a price that isn't ridiculous.

Full Tech Specs:


14.0" IGZO QHD+, 16:9 Ratio, 3200x1800, with LED backlight, with capacitive multi-touch


NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970M (6GB GDDR5 VRAM, Optimus™ Technology)

Processor Intel® Core™ i7–6700HQ Quad-Core Processor with Hyper-Threading 2.6GHz / 3.5GHz (Base/Turbo)


Mobile Intel® PCHM 100-series chipset, HM170


16GB dual-channel onboard memory (DDR4, 2133MHz)

Operating System

Windows® 10 (64-Bit)


256GB SSD (PCIe M.2)

512GB SSD (PCIe M.2)

In terms of form factor, this is about as good as it gets, otherwise you will have to sacrifice the 14" screen size for a large model. I hope this helps!

  • Love this rec. I think the keyboard on this one will be similar to what you'll find on the XPS. Blade comes closer to minimum spec in a stock configuration but who knows, maybe OP requires a lack of gamer stigma too :)
    – JaredT
    Aug 19, 2016 at 19:02
  • As much as I hate Razer, this machine comes extremely close to what the OP needs. Only problems as I see it are that it's 4.25 lbs / 1.93 kg, which is slightly too heavy (I'd recommend just building some muscle), and the fact that it's too thin to have a good cooling solution, so disabling the Nvidia GPU would likely yield your best performance in terms of throttling and battery life.
    – Adam Wykes
    Aug 19, 2016 at 19:20
  • That looks quite interesting. Maybe I will go to the gym more! I can't see the Home/End keys though. assets.razerzone.com/eeimages/products/24223/rzrblade14-05.png Actually, I can't even see how you would press them with modifiers either! Weird that a gaming laptop doesn't have a full keyboard.
    – opticyclic
    Aug 19, 2016 at 19:44
  • @opticyclic I am running an MSI GL62-6QF-628 15". has the Fn+home/end keys. Go to the gym more? No offense intended, but anything under 10Lbs should be easy to carry in a backpack. Oct 31, 2016 at 19:22
  • "Going to the gym" was a joke at the expense of the required specs. Anyway, using the Fn key for Home/End is going to be an annoyance for the keyboard shortcuts.
    – opticyclic
    Oct 31, 2016 at 19:59

Toshiba Tecra Z40

I saw a link on reddit for this and although the online reviews for this aren't especially great, you notice that they have the base model. When you go to the site you find out you can configure nearly everything!

I turned the dials up to 11 (apart from the touchscreen) to get this:

  • Tecra Z40 SkyLake 1,399.00
  • Intel® Core™ i7-6600U Processor (vPro) 150.00
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® 930M w/ 2GB DDR3 120.00
  • 14.0-inch diagonal widescreen FHD 1920 x 1080 display 60.00
  • No Touchscreen 0.00
  • 16 GB DDR3L 1600MHz = 8 GB x 2 195.00
  • 512 GB M.2 SATA Solid State Drive (SSD) 350.00
  • TPM 2.0, Fingerprint Reader, SmartCard Reader 10.00
  • Backlit, Spill Resistant Keyboard (keys all in the right place!)
  • FHD Webcam with Dual Microphones
  • USB 3.0 (3), RGB, HDMI
  • SD Card Reader
  • Docking Connector
  • 4-cell 60 Wh Li-Ion Battery

Total: 2284.00 USD

So far this is the only one that meets all the specs. The customisation on the site was key.

  • You realize that you can make substantial savings, by buying a system, and upgrading it yourself right? Oct 31, 2016 at 19:10
  • @NZKshatriya I am open to that option too if you can post such a configuration.
    – opticyclic
    Oct 31, 2016 at 20:02

The only thing that I can find that comes close to your specifications is this: MSI 14.0" GS43VR

  1. 14" screen
  2. 16GB DDR4 (expandable)
  3. Internal m.2 SSD (base of 128GB, can be upgraded to desired size)
  4. Internal 2.5" SATA III (can be upgraded)

The easiest thing I can think of for the keyboard situation, is to just get a normal desktop keyboard and type with that. First reason: Your system WANTS compared to what is available in reality, is not jiving. Second reason....there are keyboards that can be customized beyond that of built in keyboards on the market.

As far as the battery life, that is something that hardly ever lives up to even the manufacturer ratings. Just like rated MPGs on cars, it all depends on the system use.

I came as close as I could find to a specs matching system. You may like the recommendation, then again you may not. I know it does not fully match your specs.


ThinkPad T460S:

CPU: i5-6200U - i7-6600U. These are Skylake ultra-low voltage CPUs, which are good for battery life.

RAM: Up to 20GB (16gb SODIMM + 4gb soldered)

I/O: Everything you wanted, and there are options for backlit keyboards.

Display: 14" up to 1440p

You said that a dealbreaker was:

Keyboards that have the Fn key outside the Ctrl key (almost all Lenovos - not sure if anyone else)

But the ThinkPad BIOS allows you to switch the CTRL and FN keys around, which is what I have done.

enter image description here

  • If the keys were the same size you could switch them and everything could be normal, but they are different sizes meaning you cant. That bugs me! This is surprisingly light for a Lenovo though, which makes it a little bit interesting.
    – opticyclic
    Aug 22, 2016 at 0:57
  • You mean physically switch them as opposed to switching from an input sense....You could always enable the input switch, and then get a label printer, and relabel the keys.....not aesthetically pleasing, but at least they will say what they are after changing their function in BIOS :P Nov 8, 2016 at 14:51

Here's my recommendation. Meet's all your specs and runs fast. I have a 7450 which I'm very pleased with and runs my ruby code VM's along with dual monitors and wireless gaming every now and again. The 7470 is a step up from that.

Dell Latitude E7450
6th Gen i7 vPro
14" screen
2 USB 3.0 ports
Optional 4 cell battery for 8hr+ battery life



Split Options.

Dell XPS 15 (Starts @ $999)

i7 6700HQ 2.6GHz Turbo to 3.5GHz

Windows 10 Pro

8GB ddr4 RAM


17 Hours Battery Life

Total: $1449.00

  • That is a 15 inch screen. The specs said 14 inch.
    – opticyclic
    Aug 19, 2016 at 17:13
  • 1
    The keyboard for this also does not comply with the stated requirements, but this one gets my vote for the best possible option. XPS13/15 are incredible machines and if you can look past needing to use a function key for quick nav it is a gorgeous machine. You can get a 3000x2000 touchscreen and upgrade to your minimum specs for well under $3k.
    – JaredT
    Aug 19, 2016 at 18:58

Dell's precision mobile workstations are a pretty powerful series of laptops, albeit quite pricey. Another option could be Dell's XPS series. The nice thing about Dell's products is how much you can customize the computer to your needs (to a certain extent anyways). I've listed some specs for both below, but you should check out their website for more details. Hope this is helpful!

Dell Precision 15 3000 Series (Starts @ $999)

i7 6700HQ 2.6GHz Turbo to 3.5GHz

Windows 10 Pro


15.6" Screen

16GB ddr4 RAM


17 Hours of Battery Life

Total: $1684.41

  • If you've got multiple recommendations, it's usually better to split them into multiple answers, so that they can be voted on independently.
    – ArtOfCode
    Aug 19, 2016 at 9:12
  • Neither meets the specs. These are both 15" inch screens and the second one only has 8GB RAM.
    – opticyclic
    Aug 19, 2016 at 13:19
  • @opticyclic What if there are no exact matches to your desired specifications? Oct 31, 2016 at 18:53
  • @NZKshatriya Then I would keep looking or try customisation as you mentioned in another comment. However, the Toshiba Tecra posted 2 months ago does meet all the specifications.
    – opticyclic
    Oct 31, 2016 at 20:07
  • @NZKshatriya I'm sure opticyclic didn't mean that in a rude or ungrateful way. A fact is a fact though.
    – Adam
    Nov 1, 2016 at 22:57

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