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I used to love Dell desktops but haven't seen much of their laptop range recently
Thanks for the advice, I'll have a good dig around some of those. I'm sorry tempted by a Linux machine but worried about making the jump as my main machine.
imo,it's always worth looking at the dell xps 13 series - superb laptops, and even an older model still holds up well. otherwise, i'm partial to the huawei matebook series - lots of bang for your buck there. otherwise, i've had a lot of longevity out of various lenovo laptops over the years.
have a look for laptops on hotukdeals e.g. https://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/dell-inspiron-16-plus-ps81984-i7-11800h-16gb-rtx3050-3831911
only thing i'd say spec-wise is that if you want to do lots of VM work, you'll need an i7 or ryzen 7 to make it perform reasonably well. i've got a ryzen desktop and it's fast as a very fast thing, so i'd lean toward those myself. AMD is often a little cheaper, too, but there aren't many ryzen laptops around.
if you can live without windows, these are pretty interesting: https://www.tuxedocomputers.com/en/Linux-Hardware/Linux-Notebooks/10-14-inch/TUXEDO-Pulse-14-Gen1.tuxedo#!#configurator
That said, this place is often worth a look, too: https://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk/st/amd-ryzen-7-laptops?sortOrder=2&rangeattribute=1~529~850