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71 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 182615 23-Oct-2015 10:37
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Labour weekend is upon us and so are the great deals on everything we want to buy.  I need a new laptop as my Toshiba satellite is falling apart after 2 and 1/2 years but I don't know what to buy.

Over the years I have had various laptops (most established makes except Apple) but they never last long.  The Laptop is on pretty much 16 hours per day and I work from home on my laptop with it on my knee (I know this is bad news) my preferred way of working so it gets picked up and put down a lot.

But I have had a range of issues with various brands and was wondering what people would recommend for my situation in the $1000 to $1500 range (Many have 20% off this weekend).

I like Toshiba, hate Dell, find Acer very sturdy but dull and perhaps technologically inferior, HP clunky and gets way too hot and the last one repeatedly burnt out the power plug.  I love Toshiba and have had a few but had a broken hinge on it at 12 months and now at 2.5 years the screen is falling apart so whilst I like them.  I don't find them very robust.

I currently have quad core, 2 GHZ and 8G Ram, 750GB?  The PC is fast enough for me but could be more responsive.  I don't do anything major like gaming but my job involves a lot of web browsing interspersed with written work - so using the keyboard a lot.

So now that I am looking around, I find there is a fair bit to choose from but I don't know what I need.  There are detachable screen PCs and PCs with 2.4GHZ processing and touch screens and ......

So I need a PC that is tough (Can be picked up and put down and isn't going to fall apart).  I need one that's a bit more responsive (quicker than what I have) and I need one that isn't going to get too hot through being in use for significant periods and significant periods on my lap.

Would one with a detachable screen be good or bad or is it likely to get fatigued getting put on and off.  Is a touch screen good or not so good given that I use the keyboard a lot?  Would it be too difficult to manage 2 pieces on my lap?  Should I be looking at flexible laptops that can be bent right back or configured in different ways?

Is more processing power going to make it faster?  Less likely to overheat??  Also heard Lenovo was worth a try?

Too much choice people!!!  Wonderful but not without its downside ...

Any advice very welcome!!

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  Reply # 1411623 23-Oct-2015 10:43
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if you want it more responsive get one with an SSD in it, for that price range you should be able to find something



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1411745 23-Oct-2015 12:02
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By responsive I mean, it doesn't open up as fast as I need.  I just thought I'd clarify.  I compare info a lot so I have a lot of browsers open, may simultaneously be emailing or working on a document back and forth.  But I am assuming that that aspect is accommodated by the quad core?  And that it is not the way I work that causes the slow down in searches and opening browsers.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1411751 23-Oct-2015 12:14
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If you working a lot on your knee, the detachables may not bee so good as they are quite top heavy , and most screens don't angle back far enough to comfortably work.

Look for one with a full HD screen and an SSD, this Toshiba at JB Hi-Fi is very high spec, and occasionally drops in price to $1600 http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?pu=3239780



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  Reply # 1411759 23-Oct-2015 12:31
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That P50C is rather mighty.  At the moment best price seems to be DS at $1899 but I haven't looked everywhere yet and not all stores are showing labour weekend   deals yet.   A bit pricey and the hinges may be the same as the ones I have currently which haven't been the best so I think I'll give Toshiba a ring and find out if they have been improved in the last 2 years.

So I should look firstly for SSD?  Not worry about quad core just look for SSD and processing speed?  Or mainly just SSD?

gzt

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  Reply # 1411775 23-Oct-2015 12:58
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16 hours a day and on the lap is serious stuff. Look at increasing the budget and get something 100% perfect for the job. It is an important decision that wil affect the way you work for the next x years. Don't rush it there are always bargains.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1411794 23-Oct-2015 13:17
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I guess I should qualify the 16 hours a day to it is on stand by for 16 hours a day and used through out that time.  Maybe 4 hours max at a sitting but there are one or 2 hour gaps in there as well.   I use my pc socially, for shopping and for work due to being slightly rural and very lazy!

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  Reply # 1412826 23-Oct-2015 14:21
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These days it is really hard to justify anything other than a Microsoft Surface or Lenovo. Given your workload, any i3/i5 8GB machine with SSD will do just fine. Forget number of cores - it is not the most relevant for your application/scenario. 

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  Reply # 1412835 23-Oct-2015 14:40
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If you want a decent laptop, don't by from consumer stores. Go look at HP/Toshiba etc's business range and buy one of them. Way better built, and most of them come with a three year instead of one year manufacturers warranty.

Although I don't have any hard numbers for you, in my time working in retail (in a store that sold 5-10 laptops day), selling Acer/Asus/Toshiba/HP/Apple/Lenovo, Acer easily had the highest in warranty and DOA failure rate, all the rest seemed pretty close. Toshiba/Apple had the best turn around times for repairs by a big margin, but that could change based on your local repair agents.





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  Reply # 1412873 23-Oct-2015 15:16
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Your budget of $1,000 to $1,500 is sufficient to buy a laptop that satisfies your modest processing requirements. But if you are not getting 3-5 years life out of them then you are purchasing from the wrong segment. You are probably buying from the consumer segment when you should be looking in the more durable business or professional segments. Of course you can keep buying as you have been but if you want a computer that lasts then you should change your strategy and buy a better quality laptop.

If you look at the Lenovo product ranges you'll see the quality/durability trend quite clearly. Here's the series with base configuration prices plus the keywords they use:
ThinkPad Edge series $699-749 Affordable Small Business My translation is too cheap (they feel cheap - I have one but I use a dock with a separate keyboard) for cash-strapped small businesses and consumers
ThinkPad L series $1,349 Everyday Mainstream My translation is good for business but mainly for sitting on a desk
ThinkPad T series $1,399-1,799 Professional, Business and High Performance My translation is best durability short of the mobile workstation which are usually amazingly durable.
ThinkPad X series $1,499-1,999 Thin and Lightweight My translation is too light for your needs
ThinkPad Yoga $1,799 2-in-1, Flexible My translation is too light for your needs.
ThinkPad Helix $2,099 2-in-1 convertible My translation is that you don't need convertibility.
ThinkPad W series $2,999 Mobile Workstation My translation is massive overkill but it is OK to drool.

You should not be looking in the Edge series but in at least the L series and preferably in the T series. So you would be needing to spend at least $1,500 (including upgrades from the base configuration). Above these series you are paying more for lightness, flexibility and high performance which you don't need.

Another option that you should consider is getting a dock with at least a separate keyboard and mouse and possibly a separate screen. If you only have to pickup a keyboard then your laptop should last a lot longer. You can also position the screen at a sensible height/viewing angle so you don't develop any of the health problems that result from looking down at a laptop sitting on your legs.

You should get:
Strong screen that doesn't flex when you hold it as most people do hold them by the screen rather than the base. Flexing reduces life.
Spill-proof keyboard.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1417015 30-Oct-2015 14:09
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Thank you everyone I have been over everything backwards and concur with OPs views that for the price and my needs probably I'm looking at Microsoft surface and Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.  But I cant make up my mind between them.

I love the looks and size of the Microsoft Surface but I am wondering whether you can actually perch it on your lap or whether it would need to be on a stable surface.  I think it is about $1800 for the 8G SSD one + $199 for the keyboard (love the contrasting colours!) + debatable but you might need a dock and that's another $300+.  If you cant use it on your knee then a trip to Freedom for a rollerised laptop table might be in order so that's probably another $200.

The Yoga Pro is the convertible which I was worried wouldn't be robust enough but a trip down to Lower Hutt showed a fairly  sturdy machine with very stylish and incredibly robust looking industrial type hinges.  Price is around $2200 and it is the professional version of the Yoga convertible range.  It has an appropriate spec but has 1.2GHz Intel M-5Y710 dual core processor.  Seeing as this is the upper end of the range and all the Yoga pro's have these I looked it up on the intel site where it says Processor Base Frequency 1.2ghz and max turbo 2.9 GHZ.  So I was wondering what this actually meant?  Presumably it can do 2.9 but I was wondering what functions engaged turbo so to speak and how it actually works and of course, if this kind of chip is any good.

So 2 questions - can the Surface sit on your lap or propped against a knee when the keyboard is attached and is the Yoga Pro's processor any good.

Also does anyone have either of these and how do they find them?

Thank you all.  You have been a great help.  Apologies I haven't got back sooner.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1417036 30-Oct-2015 14:19
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PS:  I notice that at least one of these comes with Windows 8.1,  Can somebody update me on what the situation with Windows 10?

We switched over to Windows 10 at home about 6 months ago but have experienced a number of glitches.  I presume if you buy  PC with  8.1 you can still get a free download of Windows 10?  Or would I have to buy that as well?

Also has Windows 10 ironed out the bugs yet?  (For example, my son has to do a system restore on his fairly new Toshiba to restore mouse function, at least twice a week - this problem first occurred the day after downloading Windows 10)

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  Reply # 1417046 30-Oct-2015 14:33
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Windows 10 seems to be running pretty good, most vendors have made compatible drivers.

Another option would be the  Microsoft Pro Book, but it is probably getting out fo your price range. The Surfaces stand up on your legs fine, but the thin stand can start to dig in after a bit.





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  Reply # 1417065 30-Oct-2015 14:57
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SparkyP: PS:  I notice that at least one of these comes with Windows 8.1,  Can somebody update me on what the situation with Windows 10?

We switched over to Windows 10 at home about 6 months ago but have experienced a number of glitches.  I presume if you buy  PC with  8.1 you can still get a free download of Windows 10?  Or would I have to buy that as well?

Also has Windows 10 ironed out the bugs yet?  (For example, my son has to do a system restore on his fairly new Toshiba to restore mouse function, at least twice a week - this problem first occurred the day after downloading Windows 10)


The free upgrade to Windows 10 is still available. The consumer release date was late July so if you have been using it for six months then you could have problems from the beta.

It is difficult to comment on the "glitches" without a lot more detail. Most Windows 10 problems like the mouse issue you mention are unlikely to be Windows problems. Incompatible and buggy drivers are a common problem. So have you checked that all the drivers are Windows 10 compatible and have you got the latest versions?



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  Reply # 1417102 30-Oct-2015 15:47
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You're probably right.  I hadn't thought about updating the drivers for compatibility so will get on that.  But yes we did get beta and I haven't heard the end of it from my old man who says it was a dumb idea .  Possibly have to concede that he is right.  Probably wont do that again.    If the drivers dont fix the problem, should I just get on and redownload the free consumer version Win 10 software?

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  Reply # 1417144 30-Oct-2015 16:28
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SparkyP: Thank you everyone I have been over everything backwards and concur with OPs views that for the price and my needs probably I'm looking at Microsoft surface and Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.  But I cant make up my mind between them.

I love the looks and size of the Microsoft Surface but I am wondering whether you can actually perch it on your lap or whether it would need to be on a stable surface.  I think it is about $1800 for the 8G SSD one + $199 for the keyboard (love the contrasting colours!) + debatable but you might need a dock and that's another $300+.  If you cant use it on your knee then a trip to Freedom for a rollerised laptop table might be in order so that's probably another $200.

The Yoga Pro is the convertible which I was worried wouldn't be robust enough but a trip down to Lower Hutt showed a fairly  sturdy machine with very stylish and incredibly robust looking industrial type hinges.  Price is around $2200 and it is the professional version of the Yoga convertible range.  It has an appropriate spec but has 1.2GHz Intel M-5Y710 dual core processor.  Seeing as this is the upper end of the range and all the Yoga pro's have these I looked it up on the intel site where it says Processor Base Frequency 1.2ghz and max turbo 2.9 GHZ.  So I was wondering what this actually meant?  Presumably it can do 2.9 but I was wondering what functions engaged turbo so to speak and how it actually works and of course, if this kind of chip is any good.

So 2 questions - can the Surface sit on your lap or propped against a knee when the keyboard is attached and is the Yoga Pro's processor any good.

Also does anyone have either of these and how do they find them?

Thank you all.  You have been a great help.  Apologies I haven't got back sooner.


If you need performance, the Yoga 3 Pro is a fail because of the Core-M processor. 

Rather than power the Yoga 3 Pro with the traditional Ultrabook Intel Core U series processor, Lenovo decided to go for the Broadwell-Y based Core M processor for the Yoga 3 Pro

there are 2 different CPUs in the Yoga 3 Pro - a Core M-5Y70 processor and then a refreshed model, which dumps the original Core M for the Core M-5Y71.

Personally I find both of them slow, but the tradeoff is they have great battery life.  Most people in the industry would day the Broadwell-Y is suboptimal.

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