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$800 "Ultrabooks"

VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
Christmas is coming up and I am slightly debating the idea of buying my girlfriend a laptop but I'm not sure if I'll find what I'm looking for in this range.

General usage, no need for large storage so an SSD is preferred (or the option to give her one of mine) as she seems to like how "snappy" my desktop is with all SSD's in it.

Good:
13"-15" screen
i3-i5 processor
4-8gb ram
Quality build. This includes hinges, keyboard, trackpad, etc. An aluminum body would be great for that solid feel.
Lightweight!! When we were looking in store she kept checking weight, it is definitely important to her!

Not needed:
CD/DVD
More than 2 USB ports or HDMI out
touchscreen
"2in1" or the flipover screens


This one looks pretty close, but its a bit out of the pricerange and still only has one of those hybrid drives. What does PA think??

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/hewlett-packard-hp-13-3-touchscreen-laptop-black-intel-core-i5-4202y-500gb-hybrid-drive-4gb-ram-windows-8-1-13-r050ca/10298823.aspx?path=044f39d2e4b15a25ea816ee69c758e54en02

3clipse wrote: »
TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE

Posts

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    Let me ask, does your girlfriend actually create a lot of content, or play lots of games that need a keyboard?

    Because if she's not creating a lot of content, she's better off with a convertible tablet.
    Tablets so much better than a laptop for consuming content that it's not even a fair comparison for laptops.
    Give someone both a tablet and a laptop, they'll use the tablet for consumption 99% of the time.
    Thus, if she rarely creates content, get her a 10" Windows 8.1 pro tablet, like the ASUS transformer.

    If she needs a laptop, does she play games that need a keyboard?
    If not, an i3 and 4gb ram is just fine.
    Games like Candy Crush, Minion Rush, or Plants v Zombies don't need that much cpu, gpu, or ram.

    Does she travel frequently with the laptop?
    Because the more she travels, the smaller the laptop she'll prefer, as size means weight and bulk.
    I'd say an 11" screen is for someone who travels very frequently, schlepping their laptop on their shoulder.
    A 13" screen is for someone who travels semi-frequently, as any larger has problems in planes and small cars.
    A 15" screen is for someone who leaves their laptop at home or at the office the majority of the time.
    A 17" screen will almost never move from the desk it's on.

    iTNdmYl.png
  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    I really appreciate the response, to go through your questions her usage will involve lots of typing, enough that the keyboard, weight, and build quality were her three major concerns.

    She does travel roughly 10 times per year (vacation/work), but her most common carry would be to and from her car when switching between my house and hers. It will see usage like taking notes in school, work related typing and I believe basic calculations for her job. She does not play any "real games". The last time I tried showing her Portal she ended up frustrated when she couldn't navigate out of the first puzzle. I came across these for a good price and it seems like it's plenty capable, but how is the HP quality?

    http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/hp-spectre-13t

    3clipse wrote: »
    TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
  • frenetic_ferretfrenetic_ferret wildest weasel East Coast is Best CoastRegistered User regular
    hsu wrote: »
    Let me ask, does your girlfriend actually create a lot of content, or play lots of games that need a keyboard?

    Because if she's not creating a lot of content, she's better off with a convertible tablet.
    Tablets so much better than a laptop for consuming content that it's not even a fair comparison for laptops.
    Give someone both a tablet and a laptop, they'll use the tablet for consumption 99% of the time.
    Thus, if she rarely creates content, get her a 10" Windows 8.1 pro tablet, like the ASUS transformer.

    If she needs a laptop, does she play games that need a keyboard?
    If not, an i3 and 4gb ram is just fine.
    Games like Candy Crush, Minion Rush, or Plants v Zombies don't need that much cpu, gpu, or ram.

    Does she travel frequently with the laptop?
    Because the more she travels, the smaller the laptop she'll prefer, as size means weight and bulk.
    I'd say an 11" screen is for someone who travels very frequently, schlepping their laptop on their shoulder.
    A 13" screen is for someone who travels semi-frequently, as any larger has problems in planes and small cars.
    A 15" screen is for someone who leaves their laptop at home or at the office the majority of the time.
    A 17" screen will almost never move from the desk it's on.

    This is deadly fucking wrong and laughable. Those 11's use ULV cpus and RAM, ie they are NOT for content creation or actual computing. They are for word, browsing, and other minor crap but you want a keyboard. Actual content creation requires a 15+ system with a non ULV cpu, probably dedicated GPU (quadro not geforce series) and a slew of other things.

    The point of actual "content creation" laptops is you can transport them from home to work, and they are all massive 15-17 blocks. Those thin and lights aren't for creating anything, they are consumption.

    l7qudl3uxpxz.jpg

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    hsu wrote: »
    Let me ask, does your girlfriend actually create a lot of content, or play lots of games that need a keyboard?

    Because if she's not creating a lot of content, she's better off with a convertible tablet.
    Tablets so much better than a laptop for consuming content that it's not even a fair comparison for laptops.
    Give someone both a tablet and a laptop, they'll use the tablet for consumption 99% of the time.
    Thus, if she rarely creates content, get her a 10" Windows 8.1 pro tablet, like the ASUS transformer.

    If she needs a laptop, does she play games that need a keyboard?
    If not, an i3 and 4gb ram is just fine.
    Games like Candy Crush, Minion Rush, or Plants v Zombies don't need that much cpu, gpu, or ram.

    Does she travel frequently with the laptop?
    Because the more she travels, the smaller the laptop she'll prefer, as size means weight and bulk.
    I'd say an 11" screen is for someone who travels very frequently, schlepping their laptop on their shoulder.
    A 13" screen is for someone who travels semi-frequently, as any larger has problems in planes and small cars.
    A 15" screen is for someone who leaves their laptop at home or at the office the majority of the time.
    A 17" screen will almost never move from the desk it's on.

    This is deadly fucking wrong and laughable. Those 11's use ULV cpus and RAM, ie they are NOT for content creation or actual computing. They are for word, browsing, and other minor crap but you want a keyboard. Actual content creation requires a 15+ system with a non ULV cpu, probably dedicated GPU (quadro not geforce series) and a slew of other things.

    The point of actual "content creation" laptops is you can transport them from home to work, and they are all massive 15-17 blocks. Those thin and lights aren't for creating anything, they are consumption.

    There's this thing called the Surface Pro. Lots of people use them to create. Including the artist for the webcomic this very forum is from. Now, it might be priced a smidge outside of the OPs budget, but there are smaller form factors that ARE good for creating content on.
    For instance, I know a lot of creative types that do things like edit video on a 13 inch Macbook Pro.
    So no, you don't have to lug around a 17 inch Quadro-powered behemoth to create with.

    toloveistorebel Synthesis
  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    Hell, Damon Albarn made an album on an iPad, for goodness' sake!

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    My sysadmin friends, who are on call 24/7, all seem to carry 11" Macbook Airs, sometimes hacked for Windows. Funny how, when forced to carry a laptop on their shoulder 24/7, they all choose the absolute smallest form factor possible.

    I'm a developer, who codes for a living. I still choose a 13" ultrabook, the smallest form factor sanctioned by my company, with an i7/16gb/3.5lbs. I just dock it to dual monitors, mechanical keyboard, mouse, wired ethernet, and usb headset in the office. Any larger than 13" makes airline travel hell, as economy seats barely even fit a 13" laptop. Interestingly, pretty much every single person in my office made the same decision as me, even though my company offers 15" and 17" laptops.

    And also, unless you work for the gaming industry, there's no need for a high end gpu for work, as no one outside the gaming/movie industry needs the massive 3D processing power of modern gpus. Spreadsheets, powerpoints, coding, even photoshop and video editing, none of those need a hefty gpu. Hell, for the vast majority, even my i7/16gb ultrabook would be overkill.

    hsu on
    iTNdmYl.png
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    Varinn, my suggestion, take your girlfriend to Microcenter (or Best Buy), have her look over all the laptops, and just get the one she likes the best. Don't pick out one yourself, as laptop ergonomics are quite personal. At most, the only changes you should make to her choice are options like larger drives or more memory.

    And don't prejudice her choice, like trying to steer her away from convertables or tablets with detachable keyboards, as those are far more useful, far more powerful than you seem to believe.

    iTNdmYl.png
    toloveistorebel
  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    edited November 2014
    hsu wrote: »
    Varinn, my suggestion, take your girlfriend to Microcenter (or Best Buy), have her look over all the laptops, and just get the one she likes the best. Don't pick out one yourself, as laptop ergonomics are quite personal. At most, the only changes you should make to her choice are options like larger drives or more memory.

    And don't prejudice her choice, like trying to steer her away from convertables or tablets with detachable keyboards, as those are far more useful, far more powerful than you seem to believe.
    There is likely some truth to that, when we looked initially it was in the sense that she was going to buy it herself. The decision not to use it as a detachable or a tablet was as much hers as mine, we've both used them at one point or another and neither of us like them much. The downside to taking her again at this point with Christmas nearing is it eliminates the surprise. That being said, you're right, it's a lot of money for something people tend to be picky about. I guess we can go look this weekend.

    Varinn on
    3clipse wrote: »
    TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
    Synthesis
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    If she's willing to spend her own money on a laptop, I'd just gift her a few hundred dollars, to open up her options. With her own money and say a $300 gift, she might have enough to splurge on an 11" or 13" Macbook Air.

    iTNdmYl.png
  • toloveistorebel toloveistorebel Impressive. Most impressive. Central FLRegistered User regular
    And as far as quality goes, I'd stay away from anything HP. I've worked on so many HP laptops that were just terrible build quality.

  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    I would absolutely recommend one of the i5 Surface Pros, which are expensive, but (for their price range) have power to spare and have very good build quality. They are expensive, in part, because of the cost of an additional Surface keyboard, and also because of their form factor (they're basically large tablets), but do come with very good styluses (the Surface Pro 3's is powered though).

    But, as already mentioned, whether that size and design works for you is very much on a person-to-person basis, so like any laptop (including a Macbook Air), you really want to have girlfriend try it out physically.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    Well, did exactly as recommended and though we had avoided it for quite some time I was playing with the MacBook Air as she shopped for clothes. I really like it, I opened every program on the bottom launcher bar, multiple excel sheets, multiple internet tabs, still lightning quick. Light, sturdy, slim, perfect. She came by and I had her try it, despite our hesitations with the OS (my parents have a Mac and to this day every time I drop by i feel lost on it) she has chosen the 13" Air as the perfect unit for her.

    3clipse wrote: »
    TERRANS MORE LIKE OPRANS AMIRITE
  • HardtargetHardtarget There Are Four Lights VancouverRegistered User regular
    hsu wrote: »
    My sysadmin friends, who are on call 24/7, all seem to carry 11" Macbook Airs, sometimes hacked for Windows.
    there is no better ultrabook on the market than the 13inch MacAir. Also fyi, they aren't "hacked" to run Windows. Windows is fully supported on apple through creating a Bootcamp partition.

    In fact I probably haven't been booted into my OSX partition in at least 6 months

    steam_sig.png
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  • DixonDixon Screwed...possibly doomed CanadaRegistered User regular
    Yeah we're the same out our work; we all have varying models of Macbook.

    My boss has the air, I've got a 13.3" MBP and let me tell you that retina display is soooo nice. Makes me sad that I haven't really seen any Windows native units that are built as well.

    The 2nd best laptop I've probably had was an HP Elitebook and only because it took all the beatings I accidentally gave it.

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