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Best hardware for freelancing?
Thread poster: PetraFencer

PetraFencer  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 17:22
Italian to German
+ ...
Nov 28, 2011

1) I need to buy a new computer for freelancing (translator and interpreter) and am wondering if some of you can recommend any particular notebook/brand/...

The notebook should of course be light for travelling yet powerful enough to run translation software; and the screen big enough (not to hurt your eyes) . I also do like to have CD/DVD, CD card reader and as many USB hubs as possible.

I was recommended the new hp ProBook series. Personally, I have only had Toshiba so far. Vaio seems a good option. I was discouraged to go for an Asus or any Apple...
Any suggestion is welcome!

2) I have long put it off, but need to buy a smartphone. However, I know no single person who's happy with what they have! Would be grateful for any personal experience on that, too!

Thanks in advance!


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What do you want to do with your smart phone? Nov 28, 2011

PetraFencer wrote:
2) I have long put it off, but need to buy a smartphone. However, I know no single person who's happy with what they have!


What do you want to do with it? I have a HTC Desire Z and I'm reasonably happy with it. That said, I can think of many ways to improve it, but half of those ways can be done using free apps from the Android market. It is my first smartphone. The greatest dislike is the fact that surfing the web isn't easy. The second-greatest dislike is the lack of navigation keys on the keyboard (i.e. arrows to move the cursor about).




[Edited at 2011-11-28 18:09 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
In my experience Nov 28, 2011

PetraFencer wrote:
I have long put it off, but need to buy a smartphone. However, I know no single person who's happy with what they have!



You don't "need" a smartphone. It's just powerful marketing and peer pressure.

As for laptops, I have always used Toshiba and have never had any problems. I recently picked one up in Media Markt for around 400-500 € (although I then had to spend about 30 euros getting all the preinstalled rubbish out).

I would avoid the Vaio simply because it's overpriced. I used to work with Sony technical staff and they told me that their products are more expensive because of the brand image and marketing, and no better than most of their rivals'.

PS: Unless you are doing graphics or most of your clients require Apple (I know Macs are used extensively in France), I'd avoid Macs like the plague due to the compatibility issues. For example, although you can convert a doc into Word format on a Mac, you may then find that you can't modify it easily on the PC, or not all the changes may be served.
Caveat emptor!

[Edited at 2011-11-28 18:20 GMT]


 

Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:22
Member (2004)
German to Polish
+ ...
Best hardware Nov 28, 2011

PetraFencer wrote:

1) I need to buy a new computer for freelancing (translator and interpreter) and am wondering if some of you can recommend any particular notebook/brand/...

The notebook should of course be light for travelling yet powerful enough to run translation software; and the screen big enough (not to hurt your eyes) . I also do like to have CD/DVD, CD card reader and as many USB hubs as possible.

I was recommended the new hp ProBook series. Personally, I have only had Toshiba so far. Vaio seems a good option. I was discouraged to go for an Asus or any Apple...
Any suggestion is welcome!

2) I have long put it off, but need to buy a smartphone. However, I know no single person who's happy with what they have! Would be grateful for any personal experience on that, too!

Thanks in advance!



The quality of HP is dramatically poor, Sony Vaio is the worst quality you can buy for a lot of money.

Toshiba is still a good choise, as well as Asus.

Avoid Acer.

Regards

A.


 

Anne Pinaglia
Netherlands
Local time: 17:22
Member (2011)
Italian to English
+ ...
How funny! Nov 28, 2011

I was JUST thinking about asking the very same question earlier! You beat me to it.icon_smile.gif I'm curious to see what everyone says.

Over in our workspace we've eaten through a few computers in the past few years, and we're incredibly gentle with out computers. Here's my experience:

Sony Viao: had two up and die (one was the replacement for the other, I believe it is a faulty DC jack). Sony customer service was awful, will never go back to them. PRO: none at the moment CON: can't get these running, period - and they're a ridiculously expensive paperweight

HP Compaq Notebook: Had 2 - one died, the other is still running strong, though I am constantly worried I will get the "blue screen of death" one day, so I regularly back up all info on it. PRO: on the cheap end, can be pushed pretty hard and upgraded easily CON: need to be replaced more often and I've had a few battery issues

MacBook: the first MacBook that came out in 2006 is the main workhorse in my translations. I've had zero problems with it, though I can only run Trados through a virtual machine system. That's a bummer. PRO: it's sexy and never lets me down, can easily upgrade RAM CON: $1,100 minimum investment necessary and not all translation software can run on it (though Wordfast isn't too bad)

We're getting a couple of desktops this month (thanks to my father-in-law's office's computer overpopulation) - one to use as a server and the other as generally a Trados-only workstation. The mac and HP laptops are working... for now, fingers crossed.

And my opinion about the smartphone... it's a must have. You can constantly get your work email (for some this is undesirable but I am a emailcheckaholic) so you can stay in touch with your clients and respond whenever you are needed, wherever you are. It's absolutely worth it. Here we have an iphone and HTC Desire, we're both very happy with them.

Looking forward to others' responses!


NOTE: I forgot to add that we connect a large flatscreen monitor with our notebooks in order to see our documents better while we're working on them. Helps a lot!

[Edited at 2011-11-28 19:07 GMT]


 

Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:22
German to Spanish
Yes Nov 28, 2011

Anne and Paolo wrote:



MacBook: the first MacBook that came out in 2006 is the main workhorse in my translations. I've had zero problems with it, though I can only run Trados through a virtual machine system. That's a bummer. PRO: it's sexy and never lets me down, can easily upgrade RAM CON: $1,100 minimum investment necessary and not all translation software can run on it (though Wordfast isn't too bad)



Same, same here... but different. Have you consider to use "Space"? just put Mac on screen 1 and Windows on screen 2. Then Ctrl + arrows to change between the "computers".



And my opinion about the smartphone... it's a must have.


Yes, it is.


with.... Hotspot functionality! A must have for me.

I canceled my landline phone, no more need and I travel too much, dont want to pay for nothing, no more contracts. Now I use my Galaxy S as a hotspot for Laptop, and iPad. It works.

Regards



 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Sony Vaio Nov 28, 2011

neilmac wrote:
I would avoid the Vaio simply because it's overpriced.


http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/31/sony-vaio-s-series-review-15-inch/

Overpriced? What other 15" laptop has a four column number pad, Full HD, a weight of 2 kg, and an extra slate battery that can be charged separate from the laptop? I've never used a Vaio and I'm not a fan, but those features look quite nice.


 

MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:22
French to English
+ ...
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm! Nov 28, 2011

I cannot imagine working extensivly on a laptop, secondly, the fragility, and worst of all, what if it dies! at least with a PC, if the worst should happen, it is easy and cheap to change components, and not be without the machine for long periods, imagine having to send your laptop back for repair, how long could that take?

As for smartphones, I quite recently changed to a blackberry, mainly for the excellent email service, (cant afford to miss those can we) I am 100% happy with it!


 

Mohamed Kamel  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 17:22
English to Arabic
+ ...
Toshipa is the best... Nov 28, 2011

neilmac wrote:

PetraFencer wrote:
I have long put it off, but need to buy a smartphone. However, I know no single person who's happy with what they have!



You don't "need" a smartphone. It's just powerful marketing and peer pressure.

As for laptops, I have always used Toshiba and have never had any problems. I recently picked one up in Media Markt for around 400-500 € (although I then had to spend about 30 euros getting all the preinstalled rubbish out).

I would avoid the Vaio simply because it's overpriced. I used to work with Sony technical staff and they told me that their products are more expensive because of the brand image and marketing, and no better than most of their rivals'.

PS: Unless you are doing graphics or most of your clients require Apple (I know Macs are used extensively in France), I'd avoid Macs like the plague due to the compatibility issues. For example, although you can convert a doc into Word format on a Mac, you may then find that you can't modify it easily on the PC, or not all the changes may be served.
Caveat emptor!

[Edited at 2011-11-28 18:20 GMT]


Agreed! Toshiba is the best from my IT and Engineers fellowsicon_smile.gif, though I use a desktop.
As for smartphones, I use HTC ozone and reasonably happy with it.

[Edited at 2011-11-28 20:19 GMT]


 

Mohamed Kamel  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 17:22
English to Arabic
+ ...
I use a desktop PC! Nov 28, 2011

MartinPorto wrote:

I cannot imagine working extensivly on a laptop, secondly, the fragility, and worst of all, what if it dies! at least with a PC, if the worst should happen, it is easy and cheap to change components, and not be without the machine for long periods, imagine having to send your laptop back for repair, how long could that take?


Agreed! I use a desktop PC and it works fine with me.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 17:22
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Smartphone Nov 28, 2011

PetraFencer wrote:

2) I have long put it off, but need to buy a smartphone. However, I know no single person who's happy with what they have! Would be grateful for any personal experience on that, too!


The smartphone landscape is varied and rapidly changing, but there is a simple rule of thumb for those who want the best:
If you're a power user/geek and want to do things like use your phone for mass storage, put widgets on the homesreen and customize anything and everything, go with Android. It's the most popular and arguably the most powerful smartphone OS. The best Android phone right now is the brand new Galaxy Nexus, by miles.
If you want an easy-to-use, "simple" smartphone, get an iphone 4s. It's arguably the most elegant handset with the most polished and intuitive smartphone OS out there.

BTW I'm in the Android camp myself, and I'm happy with my HTC Desire.


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 17:22
English to Hungarian
+ ...
"need" Nov 28, 2011

neilmac wrote:

PetraFencer wrote:
I have long put it off, but need to buy a smartphone. However, I know no single person who's happy with what they have!



You don't "need" a smartphone. It's just powerful marketing and peer pressure.

Well, most people don't need a smartphone, that's true enough. But if you've used one for a few weeks, you won't want to go without one ever again, not for a single day. There is something to having, quite literally, the world's information at your fingertips. Got lost in an unfamiliar city? Can't remember who said a famous quote? Want to find out about some football results when you're at the post office? Need to look up a word in the dictionary on the bus? Want to take a photo and send it to a friend? Want to listen to the radio? Playing chess and you need a chess clock? Pull out a smartphone and away you go.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:22
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Aren't they all the same? Nov 29, 2011

All these devices come from Chinese factories and the same production lines.
I stopped using desktop pc in 2006. This is my third laptop, the second HP ProBook 17". Never any problems with either XP, Vista or Win7.

My phone is a Nokia 5230, which I bought 14 months ago for 72 Euro. If I want I get my mail checked continuously. Free navigation (if I load the maps via my computer before I leave abroad). Navigation is great when travelling in strange places!
What is missing is Wlan-compatibility, but otherwise 3G works almost everywhere and is not expensive. When I spend two weeks in Britain I got a local account for 10 GBP. I spent only a fraction of the data access I was allowed to use.

In fact my phone is good enough for all internet surfing (Opera browser), so I hardly take any laptop along if I don't expect to do actual work.

I looked into buying a mac but decided again on a HP. The mac costs twice as much and I would run only Windows XP on it with my current software. So why bother?


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not quite zero Nov 29, 2011

[/quote]

MacBook: ...I've had zero problems with it, though I can only run Trados through a virtual machine system. That's a bummer.

[/quote]

I find a virtual machine OS slows down my computer quite a bit and sometimes on the one Mac we use we have to reinstall Office before it will work properly...


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Enough drugs already Nov 29, 2011

[quote]FarkasAndras wrote:

neilmac wrote:

PetraFencer wrote:
I have long put it off, but need to buy a smartphone. However, I know no single person who's happy with what they have!



But if you've used one for a few weeks, you won't want to go without one ever again, not for a single day.


I'm afraid that description makes it sound just like a tech version of diamorphine (aka heroin) to me. I must admit some of the apps you can get now are amazing, but I'm still not convinced that I will ever "need" one.


 
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