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Author Topic: Help! laptop/tablet shopping  (Read 901 times)

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Offline RavenBlackmoonTopic starter

Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« on: May 30, 2015, 02:57:04 PM »
So I'm in the market to get a new device to replace my old laptop.  The main factor is limited budget. It needs to be under $1000.

Also space is limited so no desktop.

I would like if it was a device known to last at least 4 years.
Ideally there will be a physical keyboard.
I am typically  a PC person but willing to go Mac if necessary.

Thanks in advance!

Offline Aethereal

Re: Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2015, 03:13:18 PM »
Since I assume you wouldn't be shipping it across half the world (and some companies don't ship), what general region are we speaking of (I assume the US due to the dollars)?

What would you be (mainly) using it for? Web, games, art, work, et cetera? Any specific programs you want to use?

(I personally would definitely suggest a laptop over tablet, since lack of proper keyboard and generally weaker specs - already due to the size restrictions - are quite the hit...)

Offline consortium11

Re: Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2015, 03:35:55 PM »
Just to add on the space point, small (and ultra small) form factor desktops are around now and while less portable than a laptop take up little more space and generally with offer more performance per dollar spent (although not as much as a desktop). Throw in a wireless keyboard and wireless monitor adaptor (both very reasonable these days) and you can have your actual PC box tucked away in a tiny space in one corner/under the bed/anywhere you want really while having the monitor and keyboard in a more convenient location.

Offline RavenBlackmoonTopic starter

Re: Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2015, 01:36:42 PM »
Looking for US ideally West Coast.

Mainly used for web, maybe some photo editing, and word processing.

Offline Ebb

Re: Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2015, 01:42:58 PM »
Not so sure about the photo editing, but for web surfing, word processing and watching videos you can do pretty well with a Chromebook. It's basically a computer that only runs a web browser (Chrome), but does it really well and cheaply. You can get decent Chromebooks for $200. Now they won't run PC games, and you really need an Internet connection to get anything done, but it could fit the bill. You end up using something like Google Docs to do your word processing, but can output to PDF or Microsoft Word formats if you need to exchange documents with someone else.

Some good reviews here:

Online Galanthor

Re: Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 01:45:56 PM »
Hmmm...seems like you need something rather lowlevel, wouldn't advices a tablet because word processing is a pain with those, i'd advise to look for lenovo if you want something durable...that's all I have really

Offline CuriousEyes

Re: Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 02:41:43 PM »
In my experience, tablets tend to be web browsing and very light gaming machines - most everything else they're a little clunky for. Without a keyboard accessory even long-form typing for word processing is a chore on them. Since it sounds like this is going to be your primary computing source, I'd probably go laptop. The exception there maybe being if you do a lot of travel - they're both mobile devices, obviously, but a tablet will generally be a little lighter and a little easier to throw in a bag and go.

If you are looking laptop, I've had  pretty good luck with Asus the last few years.

One other piece of advice that I'm learning firsthand - if you do decide to shop tablet, you probably want to consider the accessories that go with it, especially the power supply. For Christmas a few years ago I picked up a Surface tablet, which is produced directly by Microsoft. It uses a method of charging that is apparently not common in the market - there aren't third party chargers. I unfortunately am having power supply problems, and am learning that the pieces are being phased out - stores have stopped selling them within the last few months. Which means that I have a tablet that is effectively a black square, because ordering the manufacturers part directly from Microsoft is essentially 1/3rd the price of a brand new tablet and I can't bring myself to do that.

So short version... make sure that you have other options for charging whatever you get when you get it, beyond trusting one cord to hold up for the next four years.

Offline RavenBlackmoonTopic starter

Re: Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2015, 03:09:04 PM »
This will be my primary and potentially only computer. My partner has a desktop, but he gets top priority on it. And I like to sprawl like I don't have a spine when I am on the computer.

Offline consortium11

Re: Help! laptop/tablet shopping
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2015, 03:14:24 PM »
Unless you're doing high, high level photo editing then unlike video editing any half-decent laptop should be able to cover that with the right software; even the (relatively) small screen size shouldn't be much of an issue.

With that in mind and looking at your needs then a $1000 budget should be more than enough. After just having a quick browse something like this covers what you've described; it's compact and portable (which does mean you have a screen that's somewhat on the small side), there's the built in physical keyboard (and if you wanted a separate one that shouldn't set you back too much) and it should easily handle web-browsing, word processing and photo editing. At $300 it is well, well under your budget and assuming your needs don't change it's from a reliable enough manufacturer that it should last 4+ years. It comes with a one year warranty anyway and the possibility to extend that up to three (for around $80... which is still miles within your budget)

It does have flaws of course... the small size and price means that no one would describe it as powerful so if you do intend to anything too intense it may simply grind to a halt (and in the case of games possibly not start them at all) and while the 64 gig hard drive is more than enough for word processed documents and some photos it's somewhat lacking if you're intending to save movies or any other big files. If you think you'll need more space you can mitigate that by buying an external hard drive as they're fairly cheap these days although that means it's more awkward to keep everything on the go with you.

The truth is that from you've described you could walk into any computer shop or go onto any computer website and pick any laptop at random from between about $250 to $400 and it would do what you need it to. It's very easy to get lost in jargon and confusing terms when discussing computers but at a low level they don't matter a vast amount... I doubt there's anything on the market that can't handle word processing, web browsing and a bit of photo editing. If reliabilities a concern go for the more well known brands (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer etc) as they'll generally be more solid and well made then those from brands you haven't heard of (although that's not a hard and fast rule) and look at the warranties on offer (and possibly think about buying a longer one) but otherwise it's actually quite hard to go wrong on your requirements.