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Old 07-17-2013, 02:12 PM   #1
SportinOne
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Default OT: Latop/Tablet Advice?

So the screen on my laptop bit the dust and I now have it hooked up to an LCD monitor in our spare room. For all intents and purposes, it is now relegated to being a desktop computer. I am aware that I could fix the screen but i haven't gotten a price on it yet and the battery was never very good on it anyway. I'm looking for a new device, but since it's been 4 years since i've shopped for a computer i'm sort of intimidated by whats on the market right now. I'm not sure if i want to go laptop, tablet, or a combination of both, but I do know what I want in a device:

Lightweight and thin
Great battery life
A fully functional keyboard that doesn't feel awkward
Touchscreen would be preferred
An OS that doesn't suck
No Apple products (just a preference, i don't want to start a debate, it's non negotiable)

I pretty much only need this thing for school, so i need to be able to type for long lengths of time on it (if you think that you know a great tablet, and are also aware of a great keyboard attachment i'd be receptive to that) I'm not too concerned with the graphics or sound cards as my computer at home can fill that niche.

As far as price goes, i'm a trust fund kid with lots of disposable income, so money is no object.

Just kidding, i'm a working stiff like the rest of you and I probably don't want to spend over 700 and I definitely don't want to spend over 1000.

Any and all advice is appreciated. I once had all the time in the world to research this stuff but with a family that is no longer the case. Thanks!
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:33 PM   #2
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I just went through this process recently and was in a position similar to yours--there's definitely a ton of new stuff out there.

For what you described in terms of prioritizing battery life and portability, I would encourage you to look at computers that come with solid-state-hard drives (SSDs). They've been marketing the PC equivalent of a MacBook Air (very thin, lightweight, long battery-life) as Ultrabooks.

Some good websites to browse are tigerdirect, amazon, and newegg.

Each of those sites has filters you can use to sort through and figure out what features you want.

To help keep price down while still getting the perks of newer technologies, make sure you take a look at Refurbished products. I've been using a Asus Zenbook that I bought refurbished for about a year now and (luckily?) have had no complaints!

I was hesitant to get a Windows 8 machine, but after reading about the major complaints and how they can be addressed by simply downloading Classic Shell, I would recommend not eliminating Windows 8 machines from your search. A lot of windows 7 machines are still available, but for some reason they tend to be priced at a premium on a lot of those websites.

In addition to those 3 websites, mainstays like Bestbuy.com should not be neglected. If you're not picky, they have some great prices, and you can get refurbished products from them as well. Finally, the lenovo outlet website also offers good deals, some of which make it to slickdeals from time to time.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SportinOne View Post
Touchscreen would be preferred
An OS that doesn't suck
No Apple products

you're screwed. W8 is a **** show, and I personally think touchscreen is vastly overrated. Best off just getting a newer haswell Asus laptop or something with a normal BIOS (no UEFI) that will allow you to dual boot a Linux distro


I'm running dual boot Linux Mint 15 on my older Vista desktop and its a very solid OS



On second thought if all you're gonna do is type papers and do minor Internet stuff you could save a grip of cash with a Chromebook. That would definitely fill your top 3 needs, and I think some have touchscreens

Quote:
I pretty much only need this thing for school, so i need to be able to type for long lengths of time on it (if you think that you know a great tablet, and are also aware of a great keyboard attachment i'd be receptive to that) I'm not too concerned with the graphics or sound cards as my computer at home can fill that niche.

Last edited by lolcopter; 07-17-2013 at 04:44 PM..
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:23 PM   #4
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Asus transformer EEE pad. Done. Mines a couple years old and still kicking ass, the new versions look way awesome.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:25 PM   #5
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Asus transformer EEE pad. Done. Mines a couple years old and still kicking ass, the new versions look way awesome.
this
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:01 PM   #6
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I would price out a laptop in my price range and go from there. You should be cool with an i-5 or equivelent CPU, the more RAM the better. I would stay with a known name brand if you can.

If you need to type for long periods of time stay away from tablets and try out the keyboard or at least look at the layout before you buy. I bought a small laptop, I love it because I can't lift a lot because of my nerve damage but to use the Fuction keys and a couple others I have to do some weird key combos. If I have a long policy to write I do it on my desk top.

I like the SSD drives, don't worry about having terrabyes of disk space, you can always buy a USB drive, and should have a couple for backups anyway.

I would try to get a laptop with as many USB slots as you can, Thunderbolt is a new spec, it would be a good idea to get one with Thunderbolt or even Firewire port if you can.

The thing is now CPU speeds, for the most part, are no longer the bottleneck on PC's. With multiple cores and the speed of the CPU's the apps usually don't take advantage of all the resources available. Unless your running a lot of open windows and intensive apps like CAD or music apps that have lots of soft synths running.

You can probablly get a great i7 laptop for around 1k but save the $200 bucks and get an i5 and buy a cheap China made tablet to use for email or when your on the can. I got my daughter an iRulu Android based tablet that she loves and it was only $125 with 4 USB ports, Flash card Port, Wireless AND Cat 5 port, camera (not as good as the Apples), speaker, and 8gig of onboard storage that can be expanded with the Flash and USB drives.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:15 PM   #7
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given that both thunderbolt and FireWire are proprietary apple connectors, you can pretty much not even worry about those


i7 is a bit overkill for his needs. go for a new haswell for the best battery life if laptops the way you go


fwiw, typing this from a nexus 7 and its a good cheap tablet., but i can't imagine typing anything substantial on it, even if you can connect a keyboard. they're supposed to be releasing a refresh soon tho I guess


honestly, IMO this sounds like a potential chrome book scenario value wise, but I haven't messed around with them in person enough to be able to recommend

Last edited by lolcopter; 07-17-2013 at 10:27 PM..
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:52 PM   #8
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If you're looking for an entertainment device, it's hard to beat a tablet. If you're looking for a workhorse, a tablet will not deliver. They are entertainment devices. Anything past that becomes tedious.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:24 PM   #9
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It you want to use the thing for school and lots of typing/schoolwork, a tablet is a bad option -- even the transformer. Sure, you can get external keyboards/etc. but for the most part a tablet isn't designed to deal with content creation, only content delivery. The keyboards suck (even on the transformer), the apps aren't really there for doing schoolwork (they exist, but the best word processor available is on par with windows Wordpad at best -- though maybe someone has found a gem I haven't seen), and printer support is ... sketchy at best.

The MS tablets you *definitely* want to stay away from. Window RT has "no" software. Windows 8 Pro machines are horrible as tablets (bulky, poor battery life, etc.) so you might as well just buy a notebook if you want to run "real" windows.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SportinOne View Post
So the screen on my laptop bit the dust and I now have it hooked up to an LCD monitor in our spare room. For all intents and purposes, it is now relegated to being a desktop computer. I am aware that I could fix the screen but i haven't gotten a price on it yet and the battery was never very good on it anyway. I'm looking for a new device, but since it's been 4 years since i've shopped for a computer i'm sort of intimidated by whats on the market right now. I'm not sure if i want to go laptop, tablet, or a combination of both, but I do know what I want in a device:

Lightweight and thin
Great battery life
A fully functional keyboard that doesn't feel awkward
Touchscreen would be preferred
An OS that doesn't suck
No Apple products (just a preference, i don't want to start a debate, it's non negotiable)

I pretty much only need this thing for school, so i need to be able to type for long lengths of time on it (if you think that you know a great tablet, and are also aware of a great keyboard attachment i'd be receptive to that) I'm not too concerned with the graphics or sound cards as my computer at home can fill that niche.

As far as price goes, i'm a trust fund kid with lots of disposable income, so money is no object.

Just kidding, i'm a working stiff like the rest of you and I probably don't want to spend over 700 and I definitely don't want to spend over 1000.

Any and all advice is appreciated. I once had all the time in the world to research this stuff but with a family that is no longer the case. Thanks!
Hey just curious, you have a preference to an office suite now (i.e. MS Office)? Also, assuming you are attending college, do they have an office suite subscription they provide students such as Google Docs or Office 365?
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by lolcopter View Post
you're screwed. W8 is a **** show, and I personally think touchscreen is vastly overrated. Best off just getting a newer haswell Asus laptop or something with a normal BIOS (no UEFI) that will allow you to dual boot a Linux distro


I'm running dual boot Linux Mint 15 on my older Vista desktop and its a very solid OS



On second thought if all you're gonna do is type papers and do minor Internet stuff you could save a grip of cash with a Chromebook. That would definitely fill your top 3 needs, and I think some have touchscreens
I can second the Linux Mint, although I"m running Mint 13 LTS with the Cinnamon desktop. Linux is free and provides new life to an old computer, which is what I ended up doing with one of my old computers. If you go Linux touch screen, I believe Ubuntu designed their OS around touch screen.

Regarding manufacturer, Lenovo probably make the best laptops outside of Apple. I don't believe they make Linux based computer, but Windows 7 is just fine too (haven't tried Windows 8) and you can always install Linux later if you would prefer.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:15 AM   #12
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If you go the refurb route you should check out

www.discountpc.net

I've ordered a few computers & laptops from them & never had a problem
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:18 AM   #13
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lenovo is definitely a manufacturer i would look at if i was in the market for a new computer today

i actually WAS in the market for a new laptop awhile ago, when my only computer was an older G5 mac tower running on an obsolete powerPC chip. the old mac was solid as a tank, and fast enough for everyday use, but i ended up selling it to a coworker for $200. my mom then gave me a hand-me-down desktop PC that another family member had custom made for her. intel core 2 duo 3ghz, 4gb ram, 600gb hdd... all in all fairly solid specs for a pc that was built in 2008/9ish. having said that, it has windows vista installed, which is a bloated pig, and while it CAN work sufficiently, i hated it and have been messing around with linux distros for awhile now. i have kept the vista partition in case i need to run any windows based programs (that won't work in WINE), but i rarely boot into it at all. THEN, i also bought my nexus 7, which serves more as a supplemental device to the desktop than a standalone replacement. it's my couch computer in many ways, and tbh one of my favorite apps is directv's tablet app which allows you to change channels and control everything from the app.

anyway, i guess the whole point of this rambling is to agree with HILife about lenovo being a good option, along with linux mint. the newest popular distros such as linux mint and ubuntu have become very user friendly, neither requiring any command line functions at all for day-to-day use or installation. i used the newest ubuntu for awhile, but the graphics are bit too cartoonish for my liking, and i prefer the cinnamon desktop of mint, which while it's powerful, it just gets out of your way and allows you to do whatever you want. in addition to being free, linux is an incredibly secure and stable OS, which makes it perfect for personal things like online banking. on top of that, boot time is ridiculously quicker than windows. might not be a fair comparison because vista is a pig, but the boot time on my machine is 2-3 minutes booting up vista, compared to 10-12 SECONDS for linux mint. most linux distros are also completely customizable if you know what you want.

i have played around with windows 8 and 8.1 in virtualbox, and both are just some gimmicky bastardized tablet OS overlaid the top of windows. microsoft is making a huge push right now to become a "services and devices" company, at great cost to their bread and butter aka THE dominant desktop OS. they are pushing the tablet crap so hard trying to play catch up with everyone else, and while their main goal is to provide the end-to-end experience for users, they are WAY behind in that regard. an iOS or android tablet can stand alone and it's able to run apps found on their phone counterparts. windows tablets are either RT (completely worthless with no software) or full blown windows 8 -- which at that point you should just get a laptop anyway. windows phone apps cannot run on windows RT/8 or vice versa. RT cannot runs windows apps, but windows can run RT apps. neither plays nicely with windows phone. everything lives in it's own little walled garden within the microsoft house, and they don't even play nicely with EACH OTHER. what a huge ****ing mess.

/rabble rabble rabble

Last edited by lolcopter; 07-18-2013 at 07:30 AM..
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