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Thinking of buying a new computer - The Ex-Communicator

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February 14th, 2012


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08:50 pm - Thinking of buying a new computer
I am still too busy. When I told the current place that I was leaving they offered me a better job, but not enough to tempt me. Nice to be asked though.

The computer I mainly use is quite rubbish. I was wondering what I should buy next. I have a little bit of money to spend. I want a decent new computer to use at home, and something I can carry around with me. I was wondering whether I might get a slate with a docking station like this. Or get a laptop and an i-Phone (or something). I am quite ignorant.

I was at a meeting last week where someone passed round a document they had made on a i-Pad and it was pretty awful. I could get some kind of tablet and a laptop perhaps. At H's work they use a lot of Lenovo products, and he says they are quite tough and reliable.

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:February 15th, 2012 02:52 am (UTC)
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I second the rec for Lenovo. My last two normal-sized laptops have been (Lenovo) ThinkPads, and they've been very good.

What are the things you want to be able to do? A tablet is good for some things and not for others. Not very good for typing things on. Consider also the contexts you will want to be using your computer(s). At a desk? Sitting down in a train? Walking around?

So far as I can see, your options are:
* at home, a desktop, because it's more value for money.
* at home, a large laptop (17" or more) so that you can use it at home and then take it with you and use it elsewhere. Downside is that it would be more expensive than an equivalent desktop, and also heavy for a laptop.
* on the go, a normal-sized laptop; reasonable amount of CPU power and disk space; downside is that it's not light and you can't put it in your handbag. Me, I use a small backpack with a laptop section in it, and use the backpack as a surface to rest the laptop in when I'm sitting in the bus.
* on the go, a netbook with a HD (hard drive); lower CPU power but a reasonable amount of disk space. Lighter than a laptop, not as light as a tablet, but the keyboard is built in. Can carry it in a handbag.
* on the go, a netbook with a SSD (solid state drive); lower CPU power than a laptop, small amount of disk space, but the disk itself is faster and more robust (less prone to damage if you drop it etc). Same sort of weight and size as a HD netbook. The smaller amount of disk space means you might not be able to have all the programs you want on it.
* on the go, a tablet; lighter than a netbook, probably similar amount of CPU power, less disk space (because they tend to use SSD drives) and will probably be running Android rather than MS-Windows, so all the programs will be different. Can carry it in a handbag. Good for surfing the net and listening to music. Very easy to use one-handed. Not so good for word-processing, because (a) needs to use a software keyboard and (b) won't be using MS-Office.
* on the go, a tablet with a bluetooth keyboard. As above, but solves the keyboard problem and probably cheaper than a tablet with a docking station. Heavier than a tablet alone, of course.
* on the go, a tablet with a docking station. More expensive than a netbook, more expensive than a tablet + bluetooth keyboard, but the docking station will have more things than just a keyboard, and will probably fold up neatly like a netbook. Will still have low disk space, and will likely be running Android. Not sure how the weight will compare with a netbook; probably similar.

So... what do you want to be able to do?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 15th, 2012 07:28 am (UTC)
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This is such a helpful answer kerravonsen, thank you very much.

I think you have helped me to realise that while I want a new computer Now (because my old one is so bad) I don't have a good idea about how I am going to use it, or use them, because my life is about to change radically as I start my new job.

However, you have set out the options very clearly, so I might be able to work it out straight away.

[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:February 15th, 2012 07:59 am (UTC)
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8-)
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From:happytune
Date:February 15th, 2012 10:49 am (UTC)
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I'd third the recommendation for a Lenovo product. Most techie-types I know have one. If we weren't Apple freaks, and SC didn't get them so cheap from work, we'd definitely go down that route.
[User Picture]
From:iainjcoleman
Date:February 15th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
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My work has provided me with a Dell Latitude E4300. I'm not going to recommend this specific machine to you, as it's a Dell (and therefore a bit shit) and a work machine (therefore loaded up with all sorts of guff that the IT people think should be there), but physically I find it pretty much ideal.

I'm guessing that, whatever you precisely end up doing, your requirements will be much like mine in that you need to work in various places and at home, and will be doing a lot of typing. I find my machine pretty much hits the sweet spot: it's big enough to have a proper keyboard and a decent screen (a little on the small side, but serviceable enough), while being relatively small and light for easy portability. It won't fit in a pocket, but the carrying case isn't too bulky and has enough room for all the other crap I like to carry around with me.

So, don't get the same machine as me, but do seriously consider the 13-inch or so laptop.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 15th, 2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
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Yes, it's the typing that's significant for me too. You have also reminded me that I will get a work laptop, I think, though possibly we will have to leave it in the office. It's just another reason I probably ought to wait to decide.
[User Picture]
From:iainjcoleman
Date:February 15th, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Another thing I've just remembered: it turns out this size of laptop is ideal for use on the train.
[User Picture]
From:catalyst42
Date:February 20th, 2012 09:18 am (UTC)
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Why have a laptop if you have to leave it on in the office? Seems a bit of a waste of money, why not give everyone desktops then?

I'd like to add my vote for Toshiba laptops. Not perfect, but I've always found them very good for ongoing support, ongoing drivers and downloads, and nice value for the money. I've got a very nice Tecra I bought before I left the UK with a 17" screen, but it is too big, and I have a work Tecra M5 which is fairly light, very good keyboard and more than fast enough for anything I need to do!
[User Picture]
From:trixieleitz
Date:February 15th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
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Was it the iPad that was awful or the document? If the iPad, think about what about it you didn't like, because that might be an issue for you with all tablets, not just that one kind. Or it might be something about an older tablet (if applicable), that is different in the newer ones.

FWIW, I have an iPhone, which has a very similar interface to the iPad, and I find it very easy to use. Just not for lots of typing, because it's about the size of my hand ;)

Whatever hardware you narrow it down to, I suggest you get your hands on the actual model you're considering and try to do stuff on it. Just to see how you get on with it.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:February 16th, 2012 07:32 am (UTC)
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It was the document itself, which was a table of facts. It was dismally formatted, and everyone was like 'Oh, she typed it on a iPad what do you expect' and that made me think, right well I'm not getting one of those then.

I am thinking maybe a better laptop for typing and a i-Phone for on the move.

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