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View Full Version : 13.3" Business Laptop / Ultrabook



swazi
04-11-2013, 04:36 PM
Hi

I am currently using a Sony S Series 13.3" laptop with Win 7 and i5 processor. It is now over 3 years old and whilst still does everything I need, it is getting a bit slow and I am looking to upgrade. It is for business use and is at least on (if not in use) for probably 12 hours a day every day and endures a fair bit of travel.

I am wanting something that will see me through for another 3 years so needs to be both sturdy and future proofed as much as possible. I like the 13.3" size. I am fairly relaxed on budget but am hoping to get something good for under $2k. Can't be an Apple. I guess one has no choice but to accept Win 8 these days? (I have no problem using Win 8 itself, its just that half the accessories around the office will no doubt stop working once I upgrade...).

Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

Also, I need to replace a battery for a Dell Vostro 3500. is there anywhere in particular that is best to get replacement laptop batteries from?

Many thanks.

wratterus
04-11-2013, 04:48 PM
http://www.global-battery.co.nz/battery.php/Dell+laptop+battery

I would look at something like this for a replacement.

http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=NBKTOS2411632&name=Toshiba-Portege-Z930-Ultrabook-Intel-Core-i5-1.9GH

This is good value, but I personally don't think much of those HP ultrabooks.

http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=NBKHNB00765&name=HP-Envy-SpetreXT-Pro-Business-Ultrabook-Intel-i7-3

The lenovo carbon series is very very nice, they are probably a bit out of your price range though.

Nerdtastic
04-11-2013, 05:18 PM
A few of my friends use macbook aris running windows 7 for school with no problems.
It is a beautifully designed laptop.

Webdevguy
04-11-2013, 05:52 PM
Is your reason for not wanting to consider a Apple laptop/Macbook Air/iPad/ based on a business decision, price limitation, pre existing software limitation, or more or of a "I won't consider anything with an "i" in front of it" type choice?

And yes, judging by what Ive seen, when you buy a new PC laptop these days you pretty much have to run Windows 8

FWIW.. PB Tech for $2000 or less http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=c&p=laptops

swazi
04-11-2013, 07:14 PM
Thanks guys

Watterus thanks, will check out that Lenovo range. Don't know much about them. Maybe I need to increase my budget a bit. What about these Samsung Series 9 laptops which seem to get top reviews (or is it just the Samsung buzz at the moment)?

Nerdtastic, Webdevguy, whilst I do have a little bit of the "I don't want to consider anything with an "i" in front of it" mindset, the main reason is we have enough computer accessories lying around the office that I am already worried won't work when I upgrade to Win 8 let alone changing OS. Besides, I do a lot of travelling overseas with work and I very rarely (if ever) see Mac's in the workplace and when I need to plug into printers and projectors etc in far flung places it is far easier being mainstream.

Cheers

Webdevguy
04-11-2013, 07:59 PM
Thanks guys

Watterus thanks, will check out that Lenovo range. Don't know much about them. Maybe I need to increase my budget a bit. What about these Samsung Series 9 laptops which seem to get top reviews (or is it just the Samsung buzz at the moment)?

Nerdtastic, Webdevguy, whilst I do have a little bit of the "I don't want to consider anything with an "i" in front of it" mindset, the main reason is we have enough computer accessories lying around the office that I am already worried won't work when I upgrade to Win 8 let alone changing OS. Besides, I do a lot of travelling overseas with work and I very rarely (if ever) see Mac's in the workplace and when I need to plug into printers and projectors etc in far flung places it is far easier being mainstream.

Cheers

Fair enough. With regards to printing to different printers various business premises from a Mac. Pretty much every printer on the market should have downloadable drivers available online for the recent versions of OS X so that wouldn't be an issue. (unless its a really old printer that predates Windows XP.) <gasp>

FWIW, pretty much any Mac laptop will have longer battery life than the "equivalent" model PC laptop.

Other than that, happy hunting for your new PC laptop.

icow
04-11-2013, 08:01 PM
How about another Sony Vaio? http://www.playtech.co.nz/afa.asp?idWebPage=39235&CATID=511&ID=20823&SID=984252545&ref=pricespy (can probably be found cheaper) It's pretty much the new Macbook without the "retina" display (1080p instead) and made by a company that isn't Apple.

Might be worth looking at the Lenovo Carbon X1 as well, think it's just outside your price range. These are also nice: http://www.trademe.co.nz/computers/laptops/laptops/ibm/auction-655443184.htm (only problem is it's running on the old gen cpus so it won't have as good battery life as the new haswell stuff)

In regards to Apple and being incompatible: computers are computers. If you install Windows onto it and it's the same as a windows laptop. The only time I can see issues arising is if the bootcamp drivers are bad for proprietary hardware. In which case you have no other option but to put up with horrible drivers. This will be for specific components only e.g. if the thunderbolt port on the new macbook is running through some obscure oem controller. Everything else usb, gpu, ethernet etc etc should have minimal incompatibilities.

Webdevguy
04-11-2013, 08:08 PM
With regards to running Windows on a Mac, as icow just mentioned there is Bootcamp (comes pre installed with every Mac and its free)which runs Windows natively but requires you to restart your laptop if you want to switch between OSs for what ever reason. Macs by default will boot up to OSX for obvious reasons. I find that can be a bit fiddly if you happening to be working across platforms. The other alternative is VMWare or Parallels which allows you to run both systems in parallel without any loss of performance.

Nerdtastic
05-11-2013, 07:13 AM
With regards to running Windows on a Mac, as icow just mentioned there is Bootcamp (comes pre installed with every Mac and its free)which runs Windows natively but requires you to restart your laptop if you want to switch between OSs for what ever reason. Macs by default will boot up to OSX for obvious reasons. I find that can be a bit fiddly if you happening to be working across platforms. The other alternative is VMWare or Parallels which allows you to run both systems in parallel without any loss of performance.

Parallels is nice, but it you bought a Mac with the intention of dual booting Windows as your primary OS then you wouldn't really be doing much switching.
As far as I have seen, there have been no issues with Windows 7 on the MBA and most peripherals should, the only real problem is the lack of ports.
2 x USB3, SD card reader, headphone jack and thunderbolt/mini-displayport sometimes aren't enough. (especially only 2 usb ports.)
Though I guess you would get that with most ultrabooks wouldn't you :)

Webdevguy
05-11-2013, 08:01 AM
Yes I'd say some smaller laptops would be limited in the amount of USB ports. With regards to dual booting,
I've found it's mostly a convenience thing where 80 percent of my work is done on a Mac and the last 20 percent has to be done on Windows (IE 8 and 9) and for that I prefer the switching option rather than the dual boot option.

Alex B
05-11-2013, 10:19 AM
Does it need to have the ability to dock? If no the Lenovo X1 Carbon with 3 year warranty upgrade. Note you can spec them with Windows 7, but only Home Premium, no good if you have to join a company domain. Lenovo took over making endpoint gear that IBM used to make.

http://shopap.lenovo.com/nz/en/laptops/thinkpad/x-series/x1-carbon/

Lots of other stuff posted here is just the consumer grade gear.

swazi
05-11-2013, 10:46 AM
Hi Alex B, good question about the need to dock. I have got a Docking Station for my current Sony laptop which works really well. However I know the Docking Station isn't compatible with current Sony's on the market which annoys me a bit. So I was thinking of going down the line of getting some sort of 3rd party universal docking station (presumably via USB?) that I would therefore be able to use on any laptop going forward. Presumably this is possible?

Yeah, Home Premium is no good. What is the difference between consumer grade and business grade gear? Is it more than just marketing?

On the Lenovo's I am not so sure I like the mouse buttons above the mouse pad or the joystick thing on the keyboard. But I guess I can overcome that in time...

Webdevguy
05-11-2013, 11:01 AM
Windows 8 home vs Pro
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-nz/windows/compare

dugimodo
05-11-2013, 11:13 AM
You could look at upgrading your existing Laptop, when you say it's getting a bit slow is it underpowered for newer software you're running or has it just slowed down over time due to bloat etc?

If it's in good condition a modern SSD, a RAM upgrade if possible, and a fresh install of windows could make it feel like an entirely new machine. If the CPU is a bit weak then you're better of replacing the machine as you originally said. A great alternative to SSD's is the seagate hybrid drives which balance price, performance, and space quite nicely.

Alex B
05-11-2013, 11:36 AM
Hi Alex B, good question about the need to dock. I have got a Docking Station for my current Sony laptop which works really well. However I know the Docking Station isn't compatible with current Sony's on the market which annoys me a bit. So I was thinking of going down the line of getting some sort of 3rd party universal docking station (presumably via USB?) that I would therefore be able to use on any laptop going forward. Presumably this is possible?

Yeah, Home Premium is no good. What is the difference between consumer grade and business grade gear? Is it more than just marketing?

On the Lenovo's I am not so sure I like the mouse buttons above the mousepad or the joystick thing on the keyboard. But I guess I can overcome that in time...

USB docks exist, but my understanding is they are not as reliable as a proper dock.

Home VS Business gear
Business usually built to a higher standard, has pro versions of operating systems, much better warranty support, more likely to have the ability to use a proper docking station.

The Lenovo X240, you can spec with Windows 7 Professional, an 3 year next day on site warranty, docking station and an SSD for about $2400.

Yeah the mouse thing takes some getting used to, I quite like them. You don't have to use it, they have a standard track pad also.

wratterus
07-11-2013, 01:34 PM
I've found the Toshiba USB3 Dynadock pretty reliable. Can be used with any brand too.

Geek4414
13-11-2013, 11:25 PM
How about another Sony Vaio? http://www.playtech.co.nz/afa.asp?idWebPage=39235&CATID=511&ID=20823&SID=984252545&ref=pricespy (can probably be found cheaper) It's pretty much the new Macbook without the "retina" display (1080p instead) and made by a company that isn't Apple...

Love my Vaio Pro, it is amazingly light at 1.06kg, even compare to my Vaio Z at 1.49kg, makes a huge difference if you travel a lot; the 11" model only weighs 867g. Even with the sheet battery added, it is still lighter than the MBA. However, that does add to the profile, but it should give you enough juice for the longest flight across the world (VGP-BPS38 + VGP-BPSE38 Lithium-ion battery: up to 17 hours of use). You can leave the sheet battery in your bag and only connect it up when you need the extra power.

The Full HD 1920 x 1080 is gorgeous, it is not Retina level but it is 186 PPI vs MBA at 1440x900 / 127.68 PPI. The TouchScreen input is also a nice addition, even though I don't use the modern/metro interface much. The 13" model has much faster PCIe SSD instead of mSATA in the 11" model, Windows 8 boots in about 5 seconds from cold boot!

As much as I love the Vaio Pro, it does have a few quirks which I have worked around now. Windows 8 is also not everyone's cup of tea, but I have worked out all the shortcut keys and pretty much use it like Windows7. Never really use the Modern/Metro interface, pretty much work exclusively in Desktop mode, it is Windows 7 on steroid.

For some unknown reason, Sony doesn't sell the 8GB model in NZ or Australia, you have to go to the ultra expensive Red Edition to get 8GB of RAM. I emailed and rung Sony a number of times b*tiching over the past few months, and I was told they have had lots of similar feedback. My partner walked into the Sony Store Wellington and found out they were bringing in some (i7/8GB/256GB) the following week and was told there were 3 in the country, so immediately ordered one before they sold out; they weren't even listed on their web site.

Here is a review of the Vaio Pro http://www.pcworld.com/article/2049120/sony-vaio-pro-13-review-this-audacious-ultrabook-is-guaranteed-to-get-you-noticed.html


While trying to get the VaioPro 8GB model, was considering the Samsung AtivBook 9 Plus, but they still have not arrived in NZ and from the look of it, they will only have the 4GB models with Full HD screen and not the ultra high res 3200 x 1800 models.

icow
14-11-2013, 10:52 AM
Here is a review of the Vaio Pro http://www.pcworld.com/article/2049120/sony-vaio-pro-13-review-this-audacious-ultrabook-is-guaranteed-to-get-you-noticed.html

I can only hope that the battery benchmark is intensive usage.

DeSade
14-11-2013, 01:32 PM
I would recommend the Lenovo Carbons (X1 model) also.
I just brought 4 of them and although it cost a little extra I got them with Win7 PRO 64bit
Mine are not stock standard so the cost is $2429.86 each

The nipple mouse thing can just be ignored, it has a full trackpad and buttons.

Also ordered the ThinkPad USB 3.0 Dock for ANZ @ $189.18

SolMiester
14-11-2013, 02:00 PM
Thanks guys

Watterus thanks, will check out that Lenovo range. Don't know much about them. Maybe I need to increase my budget a bit. What about these Samsung Series 9 laptops which seem to get top reviews (or is it just the Samsung buzz at the moment)?

Nerdtastic, Webdevguy, whilst I do have a little bit of the "I don't want to consider anything with an "i" in front of it" mindset, the main reason is we have enough computer accessories lying around the office that I am already worried won't work when I upgrade to Win 8 let alone changing OS. Besides, I do a lot of travelling overseas with work and I very rarely (if ever) see Mac's in the workplace and when I need to plug into printers and projectors etc in far flung places it is far easier being mainstream.

Cheers

I wouldnt get Samsung series 9 myself, the last one i tried, the chassis was too flexy, the connectivity port were poorly located and the feel was just cheap!

SolMiester
14-11-2013, 02:25 PM
Further, I cant imagine a i5 slowing down that much, perhaps as already advised, a SSD and more RAM with clean install may be the ticket..

Cato
17-11-2013, 06:51 PM
Noel Leeming has a 20% off atm, if you haven't bought anything yet, get this: http://www.noelleeming.co.nz/shop/computers/notebooks/pc-notebook-computers/samsung-np940x3g-k01au-ativ-13-3-hd-notebook/prod123849.html

QHD+ EPIC :D

wratterus
18-11-2013, 09:38 AM
Aw that screen.... :drool