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Recommend a top business notebook that isn't an Apple product

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
My old thinkpad X61 is shortly to be retired and I will probably end up getting myself a new notebook/ultrabook or whatever they are called these days.

I need something light, fast, and very sturdy as I do a huge amount of travelling and it needs to come with me. While I am used to Lenovo products, I am also open to other suggestions but want to avoid the Apple products because of the extra $$$$ you end up paying for the brand name.

Any suggestions?
 

glych t.anomaly

TRIBE Member
http://www.tribemagazine.com/board/geek-computers-gaming-gadgets/168220-best-ultrabooks-money.html

this thread has most of the best recommendations for ultrabooks and the like.

you can get a windows laptop offering that easily does everything ' you ' need it to do thats durable and with a good pricepoint.

i would wait till boxing day, but figure out what one you want.

Lenovo Thinkpad's/ Yoga
Asus Zenbook Variation
Sony Vaio offerings that are not terrible
it all depends on your budget and what your requirements are.


while none of these are ' better or even AS good ' the difference is literally negligible unless you are doing task specific work that you would be able to notice a difference in.

But if you want something solid, windows 8, touchscreen ( you would be surprised how much you use it even just setting it up ) then there is quite a bit out there that i would purchase before EVER going to a macbook again.

That being said, the MBA for its pricepoint is a damn fine machine and you could easily run win8, personally i would only do that if they offered a touch screen and i needed another latop that doesnt double as a tablet.
 
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alexd

Administrator
Staff member
I should add that I am not a person that upgrades hardware every year or 2 years (or longer!), so I am looking for something that will last a while.
 

alison87

TRIBE Member
I bought an Acer Aspire S7 before leaving Toronto to go backpacking. It's very sturdy and extremely light. I got a Macbook Air for work this week and the S7 is lighter, has a higher resolution screen and it's touch-enabled to boot. It does cost more, but imo it's worth the money. I've dropped it a bunch of times and it only has a little dent in the corner, barely anything to worry about. The Macbook Air is sexy as hell too, but once you add the price of Windows you might as well have just gotten an S7. Highly recommended from me. The only other thing i'd consider is the Dell XPS-12, which has a better tablet mode but is way less slim and i'm not sure how well it'd hold up to drops. Don't buy anything that isn't Haswell ("4th gen") - the battery life will make you cry.
 

alison87

TRIBE Member
PS Alex, if you're going to buy a laptop to last more than 2 years, don't fucking skimp. Seriously, $1500-2000 for 2+ years is fucking nothing for a computer that you'll use for several hours every day. Yeah, you can buy a laptop for $300 these days, but why get something that's heavy, ugly and obsolete in 2 months when you can spend a couple grand (a fraction of even the median income) and have a satisfying computing experience for several years?
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Do I really need the tablet/touchscreen thing? I don't own an ipad and have got along just fine without one up til now.

99% of what I use a computer for is creating content and using business applications.
 

Balzz

TRIBE Member
I have a huge peeve with fingerprints on my laptop screen so a touchscreen would probably drive me to murder suicide.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
PS Alex, if you're going to buy a laptop to last more than 2 years, don't fucking skimp. Seriously, $1500-2000 for 2+ years is fucking nothing for a computer that you'll use for several hours every day. Yeah, you can buy a laptop for $300 these days, but why get something that's heavy, ugly and obsolete in 2 months when you can spend a couple grand (a fraction of even the median income) and have a satisfying computing experience for several years?
My X series thinkpad has really lasted well, touch wood (taps self on head), especially with a lot of exposure to salt spray in the air when I visit SA, so I have an inclination to get another one. The only downside about the x1 carbon I can see is that you can't add or replace ram easily, and I would have to use an external HD for any real storage.

Lenovo also makes another model called the T440s that is cheaper and large enough for me to throw a 1tb drive into. Their T series is supposed to be Lenovo's business line but I don't have any experience with it.
 

alison87

TRIBE Member
You'd be surprised how much you might end up using it. I didn't buy the S7 because it had a touchscreen - i bought it because it was the highest resolution, sturdiest, lightest Haswell laptop available at the time (i also tried the Sonys, but they felt a bit flimsy). Now that i have the touchscreen, i use it to get to control panel (swipe from right and tap is faster than mouse to bottom left, right click, click again) and i use it to navigate around the Mail app, which is more convenient for me than downloading Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird. Also occasionally i get lazy and scroll websites using the touchscreen instead of the touchpad. If you use a touchscreen that (in)frequently it won't need a wipedown any more often than it would just from the general fluff that appears on any screen. Remember good laptops use Gorilla Glass now, not the oldskool shitty screens you're used to.

I mentioned this on Facebook a while back, but honestly, if you get ANY Ultrabook with an HD screen (i.e. more than some half-assed Macboook Air resolution) it is going to be touch, like it or not. A friend of mine bought the Sony and she never uses touch. It's just a bonus, really.
 

alison87

TRIBE Member
How much storage do you need? I needed to buy my S7 in an emergency (my XPS-12 wasn't delivered in time before i left) so i settled for the 128GB over the 256GB. Unfortunately that means i have to store my music collection on an external disk, but all my applications and my TV downloads are quite happy on the internal. Once you've used an SSD it'll be very hard to go back to a spinning hard disk. I love music and it sucks sucks sucks that i have to plug in a USB to listen to it, but on the other hand, my laptop boots in about 5 seconds (literally) and i never have to wait for an application to open, even "heavy" apps like Ableton. But as soon as i open MusicBee to listen to an MP3 it seems to take an eternity. I understand now why everyone is pushing the cloud thing so much now, because the time difference between SSD to HDD is almost as painful as waiting for your music to come out of the cloud. That said, if you're travelling somewhere without internet access (not Europe, because 4G is almost as cheap as DSL here) i can understand wanting it onboard. But is plugging in a USB really that much of a pain in the ass when you want to access media? You gotta weigh that up.
 

alison87

TRIBE Member
I am now unsure of the battle-hardiness of my beloved S7. It has seen a lot of abuse over the past 4-5 months, but it looks like it's not impervious to dropping an entire bottle of beer over the keyboard. Seeing as i have killed two smartphones in the same manner this could be more operator error than an indictment of the machine.

In related news, Tribe sucks mega huge giant fucking balls on mobile.
 

Lurker

TRIBE Member
Lenovo also makes another model called the T440s that is cheaper and large enough for me to throw a 1tb drive into. Their T series is supposed to be Lenovo's business line but I don't have any experience with it.
I just got a T430 from work as we're replacing all the old WinXP lappies with Win7 ones.

I quite like it so far. Small, light-ish, and the others in my dept who have had them for longer than I have haven't had any issues so far.
 

Spinsah

TRIBE Member
I just got a T430 from work as we're replacing all the old WinXP lappies with Win7 ones.
I'm on my T520 right now and it's a steaming pile. Just awful. The battery doesn't even last for an hour after a year of use. For comparisons sake, a 6 year old MacBook I have that has cycled through 1000+ charges, still gives me about 1.5 hours.
 

alison87

TRIBE Member
I can see this, especially in the tech industry. My new job gave me the choice between a Macbook Air, Macbook Pro or some Linux garbage. Windows isn't an option for the technical staff; i guess they don't want to bother writing build scripts and developer tools that work in Cygwin. I'm pretty bummed web designers won the war for the developer desktop (though i guess it's better than Linux weenies winning), because i am far more productive as a developer in an OS with proper support for multiple monitors and multiple windows - UNIX command line or no. And you know. An OS where i can download developer tools without having to sign up for iTunes, an App Store and 17 other pieces of bullshit. But c'est la vie. You use the tools you're paid to use.
 

alison87

TRIBE Member
Yeah, but i was on a roll ;)

Actually what boggled me was more that you even had to do this on a work computer. One thing Microsoft have down is corporate IT policy. You can walk into a new job, turn on your new Windows machine and never have to see anything to do with automatic updates or network printers or app installation or any of that stuff because it's all managed by the AD. Turning on my Mac for the first time still felt like i was on a home computer because the IT guys couldn't just set up everything automagically. Fine as a developer, but i could see standard office workers getting frustrated.
 

Balzz

TRIBE Member
Yeah OSX must be a pain to admin, but hey like the article said, we have over 35000 macbooks on our network so our IT folks figured it out.
 
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