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JeffPorter
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I need techy advice and I figured beer nerds know best...

Postby JeffPorter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:52 pm

I'm coming to you guys because I trust you...

I haven't bought a laptop in forever but I'm starting a new job in September and wanted to get something I can take to meetings and trainings...nothing fancy but portable and relatively quick.

Not an "apple" person but thought I'd just spend the grand on a Mac book air. Crazy thing is I go to best buy and Future Shop and they are trying to down sell me by almost half on pc notebooks that double as tablets...which would be really good in meetings...

Anyway I simply don't know enough about computers to make an informed choice so I need some recommendations.

Also if this thread becomes boring feel free to pm me...


thanks in advance.
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Tapsucker
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Postby Tapsucker » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:13 pm

A diagram might explain this better, but let me offer up some conflicting criteria to choose from. I can probably make suggestions once you identify what's important in these categories.

cost v.s. weight/portability
screen & keyboard size v.s. weight/portability
battery life v.s. weight
performance v.s. weight
cost v.s. performance

Basically:
Small and fast = expensive
Small = slower unless you pay big bucks
Big and cheap = heavy
Big and fast = heavy

If you only need to get e-mail, web and take notes. Small and cheap will probably do fine. I have 5 year old Asus 3lb 12" that is dog slow but great to travel with. It sucks at big spreadsheets, but is otherwise fine. I don't play games so that automatically knocks off a costly need.

One thing I highly recommend you watch out for. Most of the mainstream brands in Canada ship with French keyboard layouts. These are OK double duty (they do it to have less variation of SKUs), but if you touch type in English they will drive you nuts. My wife ordered and returned two different laptops on line that didn't clearly state this before she found one without this issue.

Personally, when my current road warrior dies (or I deliberately kill it) I am eyeing this one.
http://www.dell.com/ca/p/xps-13-9343-laptop/pd?ref=wtn1

or maybe this. Pen input is intriguing me for note taking and I love using OneNote across my phone and computers.

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msc ... als_031315
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JeffPorter
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Postby JeffPorter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:41 pm

Basically small and fast is what I'm looking for I think...my overall budget is about 1300 which is why I was thinking mac book. I need it it be relatively small because the meetings I'll be going to are often at banquet halls...so small tables and little space with six people squeezed around them...While I'm not going to be doing anything major I will occasionally need to plug it into lcd projectors to do presentations and access stuff on share point sites. I also wouldn't mind watching the odd movie...that Dell seems to be within my range...

Also...the touch screens seem really cool...I'm just not sure how versatile it'll be.
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Postby walz22 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:22 pm

Now that my company has piloted the Surface Pro 3 and I've had a lot of experience using it, I honestly think it fits the description of what you want to get out of the device perfectly. Lightweight, much more portable than a traditional laptop (even more so than the Dell Ultrabooks I find), and the pen/touch screen combo works really well. I personally use it for meetings and do access a lot of Sharepoint sites too, with the only real downside being that you need an adapter to hook it up to a projector if you need to.

The 256GB SSD, i5 processor model, the one I currently use, is right in the 1300 range you're looking at; it's quite fast and should be more than powerful enough for what you need to do.

I know a lot of people have this notion of "lol Windows tablets", but it really is more of a laptop, just with more capabilities (touch screen, portability, etc.).
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Postby saints_gambit » Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:50 pm

That french keyboard layout is the worst. You rest your hand on the keyboard for even a second and suddenly the question mark is a É. I hate that.
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Craig
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Postby Craig » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:54 am

If what you're looking for is basically a Word/Excell/Email/Browsing machine that can also watch movies and play music and such, you can get it done much cheaper than 1300. Even if you want the computer to last 5 years and not fall apart. None of those things are particularly demanding, so you don't need a top of the line box to do it. If I were you, I'd go find something with an i-5 processor, 8 gigs of ram and a big enough HD for your needs, then pocket the savings. When you're looking at the processor, ideally you want a 4th generation i-5 so the model number would be i-5-4xxx. Third gen is fine too.

The thing about going Apple is you're getting everything at a steep markup. The hardware is the same as Windows laptops that cost half the price. If you really like the OS, then it's a question of if it's worth it to you, but otherwise you're really just paying the markup for the brand name. The reliability and ease of use aura that surrounds Apple is largely a myth. Last time I checked ASUS actually had the most reliable laptops when you measure by actual failure rate, rather than user feedback.

Touch screens and combo tablet/laptop machines don't do much for me. I know a few people who have gotten them and tried really hard to convince themselves they loved them. For the first few months they took them to all their meetings, used the handwritting features and whatnot and seemed to really enjoy it. A few months in they all pretty much gave up on it and went back to using them like traditional laptops. That's just my experience, I'm sure there are people out there who love the touch screens, but I wouldn't pay extra for it.
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Tapsucker
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Postby Tapsucker » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:48 am

walz22 wrote:Now that my company has piloted the Surface Pro 3 and I've had a lot of experience using it, I honestly think it fits the description of what you want to get out of the device perfectly. Lightweight, much more portable than a traditional laptop (even more so than the Dell Ultrabooks I find), and the pen/touch screen combo works really well. I personally use it for meetings and do access a lot of Sharepoint sites too, with the only real downside being that you need an adapter to hook it up to a projector if you need to.

The 256GB SSD, i5 processor model, the one I currently use, is right in the 1300 range you're looking at; it's quite fast and should be more than powerful enough for what you need to do.

I know a lot of people have this notion of "lol Windows tablets", but it really is more of a laptop, just with more capabilities (touch screen, portability, etc.).



How do you like the keyboard? It's about the only thing that I have seen criticism about. Is it warranted? I like what I see as for the rest of the unit, but I do need to type quite a bit too.
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walz22
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Postby walz22 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:02 pm

Tapsucker wrote:
walz22 wrote:Now that my company has piloted the Surface Pro 3 and I've had a lot of experience using it, I honestly think it fits the description of what you want to get out of the device perfectly. Lightweight, much more portable than a traditional laptop (even more so than the Dell Ultrabooks I find), and the pen/touch screen combo works really well. I personally use it for meetings and do access a lot of Sharepoint sites too, with the only real downside being that you need an adapter to hook it up to a projector if you need to.

The 256GB SSD, i5 processor model, the one I currently use, is right in the 1300 range you're looking at; it's quite fast and should be more than powerful enough for what you need to do.

I know a lot of people have this notion of "lol Windows tablets", but it really is more of a laptop, just with more capabilities (touch screen, portability, etc.).



How do you like the keyboard? It's about the only thing that I have seen criticism about. Is it warranted? I like what I see as for the rest of the unit, but I do need to type quite a bit too.


The keyboard was pretty much the only thing that received mixed reviews. Some people felt it was a little too flimsy, while others liked it and had no issues with it at all (I'm in this camp). It's definitely lighter and can give the feeling of being flimsy, but I've typed for long periods of time on the keyboard and it's worked well for me so far.

My suggestion would be to head to a Microsoft store or Best Buy and play around with the keyboard for a bit. I don't think it'll take long for you to decide if it's something you can see yourself using for quite a bit of typing.
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Postby boney » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:23 pm

Surface Pro 3 models are on sale right now at Best Buy and Future Shop....$100 to $150 off depending on the model, until March 23rd. The 256 GB storage, i5 is on for $1200. I've been looking at it too. I need something close to a laptop to do normal MS Office stuff but also a high res touch screen to visually scan images, so the Surface Pro fits the bill, but it's pretty damn expensive for the hardware you get. I'm having a hard time pulling the trigger, especially when the keyboard is an extra $130 and MS Office isn't a throw in. I've heard that using the keyboard is indeed a little flimsy and your max typing speed takes a 10-15 wpm hit using it, but I found it fine playing around with it in store.
JeffPorter
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Postby JeffPorter » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:52 am

I tried it out and the keyboard didn't seem too bad...I guess you could say it's "flimsy" but it's also extremely thin and lightweight which is kind of cool.

I could see myself taking a while to get used to the typing but I'm not a crazy fast typer to begin with anyway. I think for me a 10-15 wpm hit wouldn't be that big of a deal...

But yeah, pricey...
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Postby xocoatl » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:37 am

If you do decide to go with apple, check out their refurbished models. These are refurbished by them, and everytime I have purchased one, it has looked and acted like new.

This site tracks the availability from the apple website, and lets you see the discounts:

https://www.refurb.me/ca/notebook

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