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strifus

Laptop or tablet for travel

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Hey guys. I currently have a Razer Blade 2014. Although it has served me well over the years and is still going, it's about time to think about purchasing a new machine before it cracks itself in the future. The problem is that the Blade, to me at least, has become a pain to lug around. At just over 2kg, I have started noticing how heavy it is especially when I am travelling, the reason why I bought the blade in the first place. It had the grunt to play games, edit photographs and so on, and at the time, no tablet had any expansion slots.

 

I have since noticed that the MS Surface line of products are in-line in price with the Razer Blade and the Apple Macbook Pro. So I am here to ask for your advice. If you were me, what would you pick for your travel and portable computing needs? Bear in mind that it should be as light as possible and as powerful as possible. Pricing should no more than 2-3k. Thanks in advance.

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I guess the Surface might tick the boxes then. Though I don't think they're very powerful graphically are they?

 

For stuff like watching videos and very light surfing, Android tablets are OK but really any tablet sucks for more demanding tasks. I suppose you could go BT keyboard and mouse but still you hit a 'Droid tablet's limitations pretty quickly.

 

Might be worth a revisit to midrange lightweights with SSDs. Remember that netbooks kinda sucked early on but these days you can have a lightweight device with a bit of grunt and decent SSD size for half the price of a Surface.

 

Another avenue might be to look into a used Macbook Air or even a Pro. Keep or ditch MacOS, and buy a cheap Win10 licence and off you go.

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The most powerful Surface currently is the Surface Book 2, just recently released a couple of months ago. It has all the trimmings including a 1050 GTX (for the 13.5in) and a 1060 GTX (for the 15in), with a CPU that can go up to an i7 8650u CPU. The problem is, as usual, the price. To go top of the line 15in Book 2 with all the trimmings is just about 4.9k which is a bit steep considering that a comparable Macbook Pro and Razer Blade is now cheaper than it. However, in saying that, it has a battery life that outstrips both the Blade and the Macbook, with up to 17 hours which is a 40% improvement over the Blade and the Macbook at the very least. Also, the Surface Book 2, with its keyboard, is just about the same weight as both the Razer and the Macbook Pro of comparable size.

 

I haven't looked at the lightweights as you mentioned but I will do so soon.

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We purchase lots of tablet devices for work.

Surface have TERRIBLE reliability. We've literally had over 90% of them need warranty service from normal use.

Doing better are the HP X2 range, can't complain, and better in every way, including the feel of the keyboard IMO.

http://h20386.www2.hp.com/AustraliaStore/Merch/Offer.aspx?p=spectre-x2#InclusionBlock-597049255c050

$3299 for top of the line

 

7+hrs battery life.

0.76 kg (tablet)
1.13 kg (tablet and base)

 

 

That said, I'd consider an ultrabook because I personally have never said 'gee I wish I didnt have a keyboard right now.

Do you need said processing power?

Reason I ask, is because I used to think I did, but then I realised I never turn off my home PC. So I just RDP to my home PC to do anything 'hard'.

 

I'm a huge fan of cheap 'throwaways' like this:

https://www.lightinthebox.com/xiaomi-laptop-12-5-inch-intel-corem-dual-core-4gb-ram-128gb-ssd-hard-disk-windows10-intel-hd_p5787387.html?prm=1.5.1.1

Edited by Master_Scythe
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Its the weight, more than anything else, that is a priority for me now. All 3 of the models I spoke of above are about the same weight, not including the power packs that come with it, about 1.8 to 1.9kg, again dependent on size. Carrying the Blade in my sachel every day feels like a brick. Although, when I am travelling, I carry it in a camera bag that I have with me to carry my DSLR. Maybe I might be a bit picky. However, the HP X2 looks, at least on paper, to be what I am after, even with the base and it comes with its own USB port which is another thing I am after. I will have a look at that one. Thanks, MS.

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You could try a tablet with USB bluetooth keyboard, which does have it's disadvantages if you forget the keyboard when you need it. And Android apps suck as desktop apps.

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Its the weight, more than anything else, that is a priority for me now. All 3 of the models I spoke of above are about the same weight, not including the power packs that come with it, about 1.8 to 1.9kg, again dependent on size. Carrying the Blade in my sachel every day feels like a brick. Although, when I am travelling, I carry it in a camera bag that I have with me to carry my DSLR. Maybe I might be a bit picky. However, the HP X2 looks, at least on paper, to be what I am after, even with the base and it comes with its own USB port which is another thing I am after. I will have a look at that one. Thanks, MS.

 

No problem.

Full disclosure, that's a model newer than we've been getting, but we've had the 3 previous revisions come through my work at mass, and we've had literally 0 faults. (actually one had a weak battery cell, only lasted 5 hours, but they replaced that without argument).

 

I recommend them highly.

Edited by Master_Scythe

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It's about time the clone OEM's (Dell, HP, etc) started making slim laptops that aren't plasticy pieces of shit.

 

Heck, even the Dell Latitude laptops with their otherwise-decent hardware had shitty ABS plastic shells until the last few years.

Edited by SquallStrife
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I think thin laptops need the rigidity of metal, since plastic isn't going to do the job as you reduce the size of the laptop.

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The problem, I find, is the battery. You can make something solid and rigid enough even with plastics. However, battery life is somewhat of a double-edged sword. If you want better battery life, then you have to have a bigger battery which means it gets heavier but that's something that portables don't need more of considering their usage. The MS Surface portables have great battery life but at the expense of their weight, no matter their size (about the same as the Macbook Pro and Razer Blade). I guess, MS is right though, does one really need all the horsepower under the hood? If you do, then great. There are loads of options out there. However, if you are, like me, looking for a portable which is lightweight then the argument for something like the Surface or even the ultrabooks is something to consider.

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The rectangular lithium batteries tend to be a good deal lighter and more space efficient than the packs filled with 18650s.

 

And the CPU used... the U suffixed i5 and i7s can still be plenty grunty and use not much more than an Atom.

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MS is right though, does one really need all the horsepower under the hood? If you do, then great. There are loads of options out there. However, if you are, like me, looking for a portable which is lightweight then the argument for something like the Surface or even the ultrabooks is something to consider.

 

That's the thing, I fought with myself for SO LONG about what laptop I wanted, because I'm so used to having this massive 12 core powerhouse ready to do my bidding at any time.

I often thought 'If I'm going to carry a computer, it'd better be a computer if you know what i mean....

But I eventually stopped and really thought about it, what do I enjoy, and what do I need to do while I'm on the road?

 

My answer ended up being pretty simple; I enjoyed web content and emulators. Anything these days can handle that.

 

Work related, I needed Terminal Services (MSTSC), a weak linux VM for investigating suspect attachments (Puppy does fine), an office suite, and Basic image editing (cropping and converting file type.

EVERYTHING else could be offloaded to the home PC, or could just wait until I was back in the office or home.

 

I went and got a junk laptop; its an old HP ultrabook thats about 4 years old. First of the 'U' model 'i' Series intel CPU's, gets about 5 hours battery life.....

Big reason I love them so much? They're write-offs from work. Out of warranty, failed HDD's (now I have SSD in it).

If I take it traveling and smash it, OH WELL!

If I leave it behind somewhere (encrypted) WHO CARES!

I could finally stop thinking about my laptop as an expensive device to care for, and start using it like a tool.

 

I often recommend people HP Stream laptops ($300) for traveling.

I should have a job with HP for all the sales on Streams they get from me! lol

 

And Hence those Xaiomi air books being on my list.

I mean, I like Xaiomi anyway, they're a really cool company, but a MODERN, light, IPS laptop with 7+ hrs battery for $600 new?

It's an expensive tool, but it's not a $3k Surface Pro, you know what I mean?

 

Just really take a seat back and think about the laptop you're replacing.

When did you last use its power? And if you did, was it just convenient, or important?

More convenient than halving your carried weight?

If you insure it, how much do you save by NOT insuring a $600 laptop?

 

All things to consider :)

 

Oh, and going on from Rybags post there, stick to the U series. H and HM, while still being fairly power efficient are impossible to heat control.

Edited by Master_Scythe

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Thin laptops are great but yes cooling sucks on them because you can't fit fans at all, so passive heat sinks are only option.

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Hmm,

 

I had this issue a while back and ended up with an HP Mini 5101, sort of a hybrid netbook - you can detach the screen if you know you can plug into a VGA monitor where you are going or just take the screen with you, it is still only 1.2KG all up.

 

The specs are hardly earth-shaking but neither is the price but with a RAM upgrade it runs Wireshark fine which is what I mostly use it for anyway.

 

Worth a look, for general travel use it suits me fine.

 

Cheers

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