Monday, June 23, 2014

Slightly off topic... choosing a new laptop

** Update ** decided to plump for the ThinkPad Yoga on an i7 and 8GB RAM.  I wish there was a 16GB option, and I will miss Quad Core but my back will be much happier! The final deciders were 

1) ability to use it on a train
2) "good enough" screen res (not this stupid high res fad thats going around) 
3) its an i7, even if its only dual core.  
4) It's a nicely made machine.  

Hoping to get it in a couple of weeks



My trusty (not) Lenovo W520 is approaching three years old now, and the heft of this machine is really starting to get to me, or should I say get to my ageing back.  So I reckon it's time to look at replacing her.

When I chose this beast back in 2011, things we're very different.  If I needed to demo SharePoint, I would have to bring along a Windows Server laptop running Hyper-V with some serious RAM and SSD add-ons, which meant my laptop options were limited.  The main contenders were some nameless HP thing, a Dell Precision and the Lenovo W520.

Now this lappy is 6lb or 2.8KG which is bad enough but the power cable weighs about as much as I do, and I think this has contributed to a rather nasty shoulder complaint!

Fast forward to 2014 and we have SharePoint Online, Project Online and decent enough upload speeds on cable to support RDP to my home server, all of which - assuming the customer has a wifi/guest network access point - mean the need for a workstation has dropped significantly.  Even without a network access point i can usually fall back on 3/4G and get "good enough" results.

So... the window of opportunity now presents itself for an "80% of the time" machine for doing the everyday stuff (docs, browsing, customer support and some BI stuff), whilst the Lenovo can sit at home to be called upon for the 20% that needs more grunt.

A colleague recently went for the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro which is an ok machine but not really what I want.  I cant see me making use of Tent Mode et al, and it looks a bit plasticky (sic!) for me.  

Dell XPS13 - Well, its a Dell so it's dull dull dull.  Sounds like there's some issues around the cooling system (fan noise) which wouldn't be cool.  I find it hard to get excited about it

Lenovo X1 Carbon - Expensive.  Crappy keyboard

Yoga2Pro / Thinkpad Yoga - Could be the best of an average bunch. Thinkpad Yoga gets very expensive with a decent screen, and I am not sure of the necessity for the "mad resolution" of the Y2P.

Samsung Series 9 - seems impossible to buy, and i dont like buying computers from companies that sell Hoovers.  It's a bit shiny for my liking too (not picky, much!)

Macbook Pro 13 / Macbook Air - well I would have to run windows 8.1 on these machines which is a horrible thing to do to a Mac.  Potential for driver/software issues too.  MBA is a little behind the times on screen resolution now too.  The MBP is still a possible though.... 

Surface Pro 3 - I am worries about the typing position, which I suppose could be resolved by a keyboard when at home.  Docking station seems difficult to buy in the UK (I think I'd want something) and I am not 100% on hooking this up to multiple monitors, although it appears possible (USB hub or DP Daisychain)


I think my heart wants a Surface Pro 2 but the costs on purchase including keyboard, dock, etc do rocket up quite quickly.  It'd need to be a 256GB min on i5 (£1100) although I would prefer an i7 for those BI moments (£1339-1649) but those prices are way steep, the base i7 taking me to £1493 (including portable mouse as that trackpad won't cut it).  

well as we dont get the SP3 until the end of August 2014 over here in the UK, I guess it's a waiting game for now.