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Topic # 223767 16-Oct-2017 17:08
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Hi all

 

Slight variation on recent "laptop recommendation" threads.

 

I work from home as a professional writer (helping with writing from scratch or making technical docs readable), mostly on word, plus a bit on excel. I have, for the past 6 years worked off a 13.3 inch macbook air (4GB/128GB). I use an external screen at times, particularly when working long hours. My eyes are getting worse though (in my early 40s) and i assume will only continue that trajectory....my macbook is getting very slow and the screen isn't great anymore.

 

So I was hoping to get a 14 inch ultrabook. The 14 inch Lenovo Carbon X1 gets great "professional reviews" but personal comments on reviews are that they are a pig, often don't work from scratch etc and that customer service is appalling. That about $2900.

 

The Dell XPS 13 would be OK but the screen looks really tiny. Maybe its not as small as it looked, I only had a quick look in PBtech. From this forum sounds like the keyboard is too small too??? ($2400 ish)

 

Third option i considered is the asus zenbook ($2k). The fan cooling issue seems to come up alot and as i do (yeah i shouldn't) work on my lap quite a bit, could be a problem.

 

Would love some assistance with this, other alternatives? Ideally I want 16GB of RAM (the 4GB on my macbook is totally inadequate even for mac OS), and 256GB SSD should be plenty for a few years.  Backlit keyboard (yes, often work on the couch in the dark too). Portable and light. Decent screen (the Air is about as small as i realistically want to go). I think the 15 inch machines are just too big to be portable.

 

 

 

Thoughts?

 

TIA!


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  Reply # 1884470 16-Oct-2017 17:19
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Have you tried a fresh install on your MacBook Air to speed it up?

Edit: you sure you won't miss MacOS as well? I've been on a MacBook Air for years now, so Windows computers are pretty foreign to me.


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  Reply # 1884480 16-Oct-2017 17:43
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The only windows ultrabook I would look at personally is the Dell XPS. Have owned a couple of these in the past and they are great laptops.

 

In saying that I have actually changed to a MacBook Pro 13 with touch bar but the non-touch bar model would also be an option. One of the great things about the Mac is it has a 16x10 screen as opposed to 16x9 of most Windows machines. This gives more hight to the screen which I would think would be better for writing.

 

This would also mean that you wouldn't need to change to Windows. If the price is an issue take a look at the Apple refurbished site. Apple Refurb





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  Reply # 1884501 16-Oct-2017 18:22
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I have a Carbon X1 (bought Dec 16) and have had no issues to date.  Certainly have more confidence in it than the Sony Vaio ultrabook equivalent it replaced (SSD on that failed).  

 

What issues are contributing to the 'are a pig' comments?

 

2560 x 1440 on a 14" screen gives reasonable screen real estate but does make for fairly small text.  I manage though, despite being a couple of decades+ older than you.  One area where needing reading glasses helps!

 

Mostly use the laptop while travelling as for my work (more workstation type demand) I prefer a full size keyboard, 30 inch screen and high end CPU etc.




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  Reply # 1884548 16-Oct-2017 20:24
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Sam91:

 

Have you tried a fresh install on your MacBook Air to speed it up?

Edit: you sure you won't miss MacOS as well? I've been on a MacBook Air for years now, so Windows computers are pretty foreign to me.

 

 

 

 

Hey Sam

 

No I haven't tried a fresh install, mainly because at 6 years old, given its a work machine, I'm concerned about its ongoing reliability - have to upgrade at some stage :). I suspect it might go a bit quicker, but would get past the "nearing end of life" issue. Also the screen is a bit marked now, not sure how but its patchy.

 

I won't miss mac os at all i don't think! It doesn't integrate well with my clients who are all on PCs. I've had trouble with not being able to use sharepoint, as well as intermittent problems with skype and - would you believe - formatting on PPTs getting lost when sent between my client and myself. Having said that, i've not used windows for years so maybe i will hate it....


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  Reply # 1884576 16-Oct-2017 20:33
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Considered the Elitebook 360 range from HP? I just got some in at work for a handful of staff and they are getting rave reviews.





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  Reply # 1884584 16-Oct-2017 20:48
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Playing devils advocate here....

 

If you only use Word and Excel do you really need a top of the range ultrabook with 16GB ram costing the best part of $3k ?

 

I've just bought my wife a Dell Latitude 14 on the Dell Outlet site for $809. It's brand new with an i5-7300U, 8GB, 256MB M2-SSD, 14" 1080 screen with a backlit keyboard. It's the same size as my 13" Dell Chromebook, just as light and has 9 hour battery life.

 

At that price I wish I'd bought two.

 

If you are going for the ultrabook, the 15" Dell XPS is only a couple of mm bigger than my 13" screen thanks to its infinity-edge screen and that would be my choice.

 

 




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  Reply # 1884587 16-Oct-2017 20:59
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DS248:

 

What issues are contributing to the 'are a pig' comments?

 

2560 x 1440 on a 14" screen gives reasonable screen real estate but does make for fairly small text.  I manage though, despite being a couple of decades+ older than you.  One area where needing reading glasses helps!

 

Mostly use the laptop while travelling as for my work (more workstation type demand) I prefer a full size keyboard, 30 inch screen and high end CPU etc.

 

\

 

Hi DS248

 

Most of the 'pig' comments were about problems with the machine not working properly from the get go, and then the appalling customer service as they tried to resolve it. Having said, Lenovo seems to be pretty well rated by the tech magazines - or the ones I found anyway.

 

I don't understand resolutions really - is that another characteristic i should be looking for? I do wear glasses but even with those, well, it aint what is was!

 

I suppose i could look at something less "ultra book" but have been spoiled by the mobility of the Air. When one works from home I tend to follow the sun a bit, and disappear off to work in cafes now and again, as well as travelling to clients. But even at my (home) standing desk i tend not to use the full size screen and never the keyboard. Something to ponder on.

 

thanks for your response :)




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  Reply # 1884590 16-Oct-2017 21:04
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martyyn:

 

Playing devils advocate here....

 

If you only use Word and Excel do you really need a top of the range ultrabook with 16GB ram costing the best part of $3k ?

 

I've just bought my wife a Dell Latitude 14 on the Dell Outlet site for $809. It's brand new with an i5-7300U, 8GB, 256MB M2-SSD, 14" 1080 screen with a backlit keyboard. It's the same size as my 13" Dell Chromebook, just as light and has 9 hour battery life.

 

At that price I wish I'd bought two.

 

If you are going for the ultrabook, the 15" Dell XPS is only a couple of mm bigger than my 13" screen thanks to its infinity-edge screen and that would be my choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Martyyn

 

Fair comment! I fully understand and you are probably right. But I have LOVED my Air and the mobility of it....and figured that 4GB of RAM on a macbook is probably 8 on a windows machine - and its not enough, and I expect to get 3 years out of a laptop (at least) so I should go for decent. I also don't have IT people to deal with issues, so I want something that is fast and reliable - as i rely on it for my income.

 

I'll have a look at the Latitude - i don't recall coming across that on Dell's website (their customer "chat" people are USELESS too)....what is the Outlet site? Have not managed to see a 15 inch XPS in person but will try to do that also.

 

Thanks!

 

 




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  Reply # 1884592 16-Oct-2017 21:05
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Lias:

 

Considered the Elitebook 360 range from HP? I just got some in at work for a handful of staff and they are getting rave reviews.

 

 

 

 

Will have a look - thanks!


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  Reply # 1884595 16-Oct-2017 21:18
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surfercdhick:

 

 

 

Fair comment! I fully understand and you are probably right. But I have LOVED my Air and the mobility of it....and figured that 4GB of RAM on a macbook is probably 8 on a windows machine - and its not enough, and I expect to get 3 years out of a laptop (at least) so I should go for decent. I also don't have IT people to deal with issues, so I want something that is fast and reliable - as i rely on it for my income.

 

I'll have a look at the Latitude - i don't recall coming across that on Dell's website (their customer "chat" people are USELESS too)....what is the Outlet site? Have not managed to see a 15 inch XPS in person but will try to do that also. 

 

 

I'd expect anything you buy new to last for 3 years but Word and Excel are hardly taxing for a modern day laptop and I would expect 8GB to be more than enough. I also work from home and could run my web development business just using my Dell 13" Chromebook if it wasn't for the odd logo and photo editing I need to do. If I was only writing and using email I could do it all with this. In fact I've done just that the last two weeks after stripping my office (a caravan) for a repaint.

 

The Dell Outlet has all sorts but you have to be quick. I've dealt with the chat people on a number of occasions and found them to be pretty helpful.

 

 




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  Reply # 1884597 16-Oct-2017 21:25
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Ah - figuring that Dell outlet is an international site? I was speaking with customer service people at NZ site. How does buying on *.com work with warranties? I can't afford to be without a laptop if i had to return one for a few weeks.


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  Reply # 1884631 16-Oct-2017 21:59
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We have a fleet of X1 Carbon Gen3/4/5's at work. They are great. I am based in the UK, so it's hard to compare support, but the X1 Carbon is a business laptop so should have onsite next business day support. 

 

 

 

We used to use Dell XPS 13's, but they moved the camera to that low location that isn't exactly flattering if you do much video conferencing (our staff use Hangouts all day everyday), also had trackpad issues with them. We probably had 100 XPS's and they were not as reliable as the X1 Carbon's, but keep in mind these are probably a 3-4 year old model of XPS. 

 

 

 

Make sure whatever you get, you get a business warranty attached to it.You're using it for business use so the CGA does not apply. 


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  Reply # 1884639 16-Oct-2017 22:11
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I previously had an X1 Carbon, but now have an XPS 13. I preferred the X1 Carbon and will get one again next time. Never had any issues with it, a lot of minor factors that I preferred that combine to make it overall more desirable (HDMI, LAN port, 14" over 13", physical left/right mouse buttons). The XPS has been good, but there is really nothing that makes it stand out (to me) over the X1.


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  Reply # 1884650 16-Oct-2017 22:25
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surfercdhick:

 

Ah - figuring that Dell outlet is an international site? I was speaking with customer service people at NZ site. How does buying on *.com work with warranties? I can't afford to be without a laptop if i had to return one for a few weeks.

 

 

One of the main reasons to buy Dell is service. My last Dell had a 3 yr onsite warranty, when a port went bad they sent a guy out to swap the mobo the next day. If you buy a laptop from Harvey Norman or any 3rd party store you simply don't get that peace of mind. Its generally why Dell's are a bit pricier than your run of the mill Acer etc.

 

 


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  Reply # 1884651 16-Oct-2017 22:26
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martyyn:

 

Playing devils advocate here....

 

If you only use Word and Excel do you really need a top of the range ultrabook with 16GB ram costing the best part of $3k ?

 

I've just bought my wife a Dell Latitude 14 on the Dell Outlet site for $809. It's brand new with an i5-7300U, 8GB, 256MB M2-SSD, 14" 1080 screen with a backlit keyboard. It's the same size as my 13" Dell Chromebook, just as light and has 9 hour battery life.

 

At that price I wish I'd bought two.

 

If you are going for the ultrabook, the 15" Dell XPS is only a couple of mm bigger than my 13" screen thanks to its infinity-edge screen and that would be my choice.

 

 

 

Exactly.  Really pointless spending lots of dosh just for Word and a bit of Excel  And unless you're going to have lots of pages open, 4 GB RAM would likely be quite enough (though $100 would probably expand RAM to 8 GB). 

 

I explicitly bought down recently, and now happily run software like SPSS 24 on a $500 HP laptop with 500 GB HDD.  I'd spend the saved money on a big monitor and a proper (I mean non-ergonomic...) keyboard.

 

 





gml


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