Lenovo makes good machines. Judging by the placement of an XPS 15 as the baseline you're in the higher end of the market, but how much is "a bit less" on the Lenovo? Is there a particular model you'd inquire about.
i am doing a lot of research
so far my spec is as follows....
6-8g ddr4 ram
full hd 1920X1080 (4K not necessary)
IPS screen (my preference , would a non IPS screen be acceptable?)
integrated intel graphics card is OK
enough ports, HDMI etc and at least one higher speed USB port
i would prefer the following but it depends on price
is 3.0 or 3.1 the new minimum standard and would a machine
with no type A ports be an issue?
i think a dell inspiron might suit my needs and have been looking at those over the XPS only because of price.
as far as lenovo goes.......
i find choosing based on their "category structure" very confusing, way to many names and designations being used.
their website is not as smooth as dells either.
from what i have been able to decipher so far the "thinkpad T series"
might be a consideration.
i would consider factory refurbished if the price is right
ideally i would like to spend 400-600 all in.
while price is important i don't mind spending a bit more for quality
ultimately i would like my user experience to be enjoyable.
As to the q - IPS screens have better color and viewing angles (that is, less distortion when viewed off-angle), but are a bit slower as far as refresh rates (this is mostly relevant to gamers). TN panels are the older, common standard. If high refresh rates for fast-moving game scenes aren't an issue, IPS is the better looking option.
USB 3 (of some variety) has become standard with all the laptops I've seen made in the last few years having at least one such port, though some still offer 2.0 ports. A lack of type A ports may or may not be an inconvenience to you. There are newer flash drives with USB-C connectors, and for any devices not outfitted that way there are dongles (adapters from type C to A)
It may be a bit of a squeeze to fit your desired spec into that price range brand new, so a refurbished machine may tick off all the desired boxes.
So here are a few selections from Newegg, putting in the desired spec into the filters
At the higher end, they're quite comparable. Every manufacturer now makes a range of models including really cheap systems which aren't of great quality of course, so that also goes into the calculation but at this point these should all be fine systems for your use.
stopped by staples today just to look at a machine in person.
the selection was not vast but they did have a dell inspiron 5000 series.
i was quite disappointed with how "flimsy" it felt, the screen seemingly "flexes" if you open it from the corner. i was hoping for a more robust solid feel.
weight is not an issue for me.
Yeah, it's typical for laptops in the low to mid range. Nowadays you don't have to pay a huge amount to get decent specs but build can be a corner that gets cut, as well as screen quality and other things that aren't as evident on a promotions page. The newer trend is also toward lighter and thinner (though better materials like metal or even composite carbon fiber allow these to be quite sturdy) particularly at the high end, and battery life is getting much better than it was some years ago.
The Lenovo laptops in the link from Newegg are normally higher priced models on sale which suggests better quality.