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Have to choose between:

  • 13, mid 2013 i5/8gb $800
  • 15, mid 2014 i7/16gb (lower model) $1200

I plan to use it for android studio, some web programming, js.

Let's presume both models are in a good state and from the reliable sources (not stolen and person who sell it is well-known). Here, in Ukraine, the laptops' prices are high, no official Apple stores, and all the laptops above 150 euro (it means all) are subject to extra taxation so regular prices on Dell, etc are higher than in US or Europe. Should I choose between these two or go visit Europe and buy the new model?

Honestly I hate the design of gaming laptops with big frames, strange cooling "grilles" as in Dell 7577 or shining signs on cover as it on Omen, RoG etc. That is like expensive toys.

Considering Lenovo Thinkpads - they are good in design, but config like i7+16gb+256gb (consider this minimum enough for Windows) costs a fortune. Any suggestions?

  • Your question is a little confusing. Are you only considering the 2 Macs or are you willing to consider others? What is your max budget? – user1691 May 1 '18 at 12:59
  • Any other suggestions are welcome within 1200$ for laptop – Alexey Tykhonov May 1 '18 at 13:19
  • Are you planning to use VM’s? Then go for the core i7 with 16GB because you need the resources. – jazZRo May 3 '18 at 13:10
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I'm going to boil down your question to "how do I get the laptop I need, with the hardware in it I need, without getting slammed by the nonsense from politicians and businesses playing at trade wars".

First off, I wouldn't buy a Mac, and if someone gave me one, I'd sell it and buy a PC. The generation you're looking at are literally normal Windows laptops with the Mac OS installed and crammed into a Mac fitting, but they're still Mac fittings, so they're expensive or near impossible to repair. Then there's the compatibility with software, and finally just that you're paying new-PC money for old-PC tech.

Second, you're right that most of the best laptops have the "gaming case" look to them, but that's not a reflection on quality. Asus makes the RoG stuff and it's some great hardware. I will say, though, I once got my ex-wife a Lenovo Thinkpad that had a better display than a Mac to get her off of Macs, and saved $500 doing it. That's a good brand.

As for obtaining things for reasonable prices, that gets tricky. Right now you're dealing with taxes and possibly some sanction issues. That means that any ideas I have on it, you'll want to check with how laws in your area apply and are enforced; one place's innovation is another place's tax evasion. While in the United States, the government might not blink an eye if I had a friend in another country buy a thing I can't get here for a good price and ship it to me, they certainly would if it hit Customs and it turned out there was supposed to be a tariff on imports of that object. I'd get hit with at least a $500 fine. There's also the whole "use a proxy and buy with bitcoin" approach, but since every nation is watching bitcoin transactions like a hawk now, It'd be less trouble to take the trip to the Eurozone.

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