Buying a new laptop (main computer)
Thread poster: Virginia Castellano

Virginia Castellano  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 11

Hi all the ProZ colleagues!,
I'm about to buy a new computer for my translations/proofreadings. So far, I'm using Word and WordFast so I don't need something fancy.
I had before a basic Asus X55A-SX094H (Pentium B980 4Gb 750Gb 15.6", 380€) which was fine but now does not open cause of Windows updates that can be install. Then an Asus Zenbook UX303LA (800€) which felt faster but it has physically broken twice in only 3 years!!
Now I'm looking for something in between (500-65
... See more
Hi all the ProZ colleagues!,
I'm about to buy a new computer for my translations/proofreadings. So far, I'm using Word and WordFast so I don't need something fancy.
I had before a basic Asus X55A-SX094H (Pentium B980 4Gb 750Gb 15.6", 380€) which was fine but now does not open cause of Windows updates that can be install. Then an Asus Zenbook UX303LA (800€) which felt faster but it has physically broken twice in only 3 years!!
Now I'm looking for something in between (500-650€), solid and resistant but not too heavy (bellow 2kgs).
I had the idea that Lenovo ThinkPad could meet this requirements, any thoughts? (I'm looking at the Lenovo ThinkPadL480 but open to any advice).
Any other laptop that you would recommend?
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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 07:42
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Your needs? Jul 11

Think about what you need in terms of screen, keyboard and battery time, decisions which no one can make for you - see: https://www.proz.com/forum/hardware/335006-laptops_lessons_learned_and_the_things_that_matter.html

While the L480 starts in the 500-650€ range, to actually get reasonably productive specs (quad-core CPU, 8G
... See more
Think about what you need in terms of screen, keyboard and battery time, decisions which no one can make for you - see: https://www.proz.com/forum/hardware/335006-laptops_lessons_learned_and_the_things_that_matter.html

While the L480 starts in the 500-650€ range, to actually get reasonably productive specs (quad-core CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1920x1080 IPS screen) you need about 850€. You should also be aware that the default configuration does not have a backlit keyboard; the option costs an additional 20€. The E490 will cost a little less to spec properly.

Be careful about Thinkpad keyboards, because your mileage may differ. They are very clicky as far as laptops go, and will feel quite different from your Asus. While some people swear by them, I actually prefer the softer travel on my Gigabyte Aero. And the reversed Fn/Ctrl layout takes getting use to, even if you reconfigure them with software, because the keys are different sizes (look it up and you'll understand).

[Edited at 2019-07-11 15:17 GMT]
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Erik Hansson
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Lenovo Ideapad 330 Jul 11

Virginia Castellano wrote:
Now I'm looking for something in between (500-650€), solid and resistant but not too heavy (bellow 2kgs).
I had the idea that Lenovo ThinkPad could meet this requirements, any thoughts?


All I can tell you is that two family members of mine have Ideapad 330 and they (and I) are quite happy (impressed even) with the quality. The Thinkpad that you're looking at is lighter, has slightly more battery power, and has one extra USB port {1}, its CPU is 30% faster {2} and it's video card is 30% faster {3}. On the other hand, you probably won't be working 30% faster (-:



[Edited at 2019-07-11 09:28 GMT]


 

Virginia Castellano  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Buying a new laptop (main computer) Jul 11

Samuel Murray wrote:

Virginia Castellano wrote:
Now I'm looking for something in between (500-650€), solid and resistant but not too heavy (bellow 2kgs).
I had the idea that Lenovo ThinkPad could meet this requirements, any thoughts?


All I can tell you is that two family members of mine have Ideapad 330 and they (and I) are quite happy (impressed even) with the quality. The Thinkpad that you're looking at is lighter, has slightly more battery power, and has one extra USB port {1}, its CPU is 30% faster {2} and it's video card is 30% faster {3}. On the other hand, you probably won't be working 30% faster (-:



[Edited at 2019-07-11 09:28 GMT]


Hi Samuel,
Thanks for your comment. I've checked the Ideapad 330 and the 15" is too heavy and the 13" too expensive! thanks anyways


 

Virginia Castellano  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Buying a new laptop (main computer) Jul 11

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Think about what you need in terms of screen, keyboard and battery time, decisions which no one can make for you - see: https://www.proz.com/forum/hardware/335006-laptops_lessons_learned_and_the_things_that_matter.html

While the L480 starts in the 500-650€ range, to actually get reasonably productive specs (quad-core CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1920x1080 IPS screen) you need about 850€. You should also be aware that the default configuration does not have a backlit keyboard; the option cost an additional 20€. The E490 will cost a little less to spec properly.

Be careful about Thinkpad keyboards, because your mileage may differ. They are very clicky as far as laptops go, and will feel quite different from your Asus. While some people swear by them, I actually prefer the softer travel on my Gigabyte Aero. And the reversed Fn/Ctrl layout takes getting use to, even if you reconfigure them with software, because the keys are different sizes (look it up and you'll understand).


Hi Lincoln,
Thanks for your comments. I don't quite understand what you mean by "reasonably productive specs" as I was working for 2 years with a modest Asus X55A-SX094H (Pentium B980 4Gb 750Gb 15.6", 380€) and it was overall very good (of course slower when doing multiple searches and with large TMs/files). As I a, very dissapointed with my investment in the ASUS Zenbook I thought an in-between laptop would be great.
I'm looking for a small, light-ish (less than 2kgs) laptop as I will connect it at home to a larger screen and keyboard.
Thanks again for your thoughts,
Virginia


 

Virginia Castellano  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Buying a new laptop (main computer) Jul 11

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Think about what you need in terms of screen, keyboard and battery time, decisions which no one can make for you - see: https://www.proz.com/forum/hardware/335006-laptops_lessons_learned_and_the_things_that_matter.html

While the L480 starts in the 500-650€ range, to actually get reasonably productive specs (quad-core CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1920x1080 IPS screen) you need about 850€. You should also be aware that the default configuration does not have a backlit keyboard; the option cost an additional 20€. The E490 will cost a little less to spec properly.

Be careful about Thinkpad keyboards, because your mileage may differ. They are very clicky as far as laptops go, and will feel quite different from your Asus. While some people swear by them, I actually prefer the softer travel on my Gigabyte Aero. And the reversed Fn/Ctrl layout takes getting use to, even if you reconfigure them with software, because the keys are different sizes (look it up and you'll understand).


Hi Lincoln,
Thanks for your comments. I don't quite understand what you mean by "reasonably productive specs" as I was working for 2 years with a modest Asus X55A-SX094H (Pentium B980 4Gb 750Gb 15.6", 380€) and it was overall very good (of course slower when doing multiple searches and with large TMs/files). As I a, very dissapointed with my investment in the ASUS Zenbook I thought an in-between laptop would be great. Could you please let me know what you mean by reasonable? what kind of work do you expect to do with a reasonably productive laptop?
I'm looking for a small, light-ish (less than 2kgs) laptop as I will connect it at home to a larger screen and keyboard.
I'm also checking ThinkPad E490 vs ThinkPad L480 if you have any thoughts...
Very interesting post in the link,
Thanks again,
Virginia

[Edited at 2019-07-11 13:43 GMT]


 

Virginia Castellano  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Lenovo ThinkPad E490 vs ThinkPad L480 Jul 11

Samuel Murray wrote:

Virginia Castellano wrote:
I am now comparing Lenovo ThinkPad E490 vs ThinkPad L480. I'm trying to spend 500-650€ max.


I have no experience with either, so I can only compare them on screen (you're likely doing the same).

My local store sells both of them for around €650 (8 GB, 256 GB). From what I can see, both have the same graphics and while the E490's Core i3 has 2 cores and the L480's Core i5 has 4 cores, their pro
... See more
Samuel Murray wrote:

Virginia Castellano wrote:
I am now comparing Lenovo ThinkPad E490 vs ThinkPad L480. I'm trying to spend 500-650€ max.


I have no experience with either, so I can only compare them on screen (you're likely doing the same).

My local store sells both of them for around €650 (8 GB, 256 GB). From what I can see, both have the same graphics and while the E490's Core i3 has 2 cores and the L480's Core i5 has 4 cores, their processors perform very similar in benchmarks (although the E490 has 30% less powerful overall, but 10% more powerful in single-core usage). The E490 has Bluetooth 5.0 instead of 4.1. Holewise, the L480 has 2 x USB 3.0 and 2 x USB 3.1 (type C, 5 Gb/s) whereas the E490 has 1 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 3.1 (type C, 10 Gb/s).

So, with that in mind, let's see:
1. What will you be connecting to this computer via Bluetooth in the near future? Probably no more than a mouse and keyboard, so Bluetooth 4.1 should be more than sufficient. Bluetooth 5.0 devices can potentially use less power, but only if the device is set up like that. It is unlikely (touch wood) that you'll be connecting to a Bluetooth external monitor any time soon.
2. Most CAT tools are not programmed to use multi-core capability, so single-core strength is more important to us. However, the E490's processor is only about 10% better on that front, so it won't be noticeable.
3. If your external hard drives are not SSD drives, there is no speed difference between USB 3.0, USB 3.1 (5 Gb/s) and USB 3.1 (10 Gb/s). However, SSDs are getting cheaper all the time, so in future you might have an SSD external drive, and then the E490's 10 Gb/s USB hole may reduce file copying times... but only for really large files, like movies.

Conclusion: given that the L480's processor is somewhat more future-proof than the E490's, and given that the L480 gives you four USB 3 ports instead of 3 (regardless of the E490's higher future movie copying speed), my preference would go for the L480.

[Please double-check everything in this post yourself -- for all we know I mixed things up and didn't realise. Also, it may be that the model sold in your country comes with other specifications.]


Thanks Samuel for your reply and advice,
I don't connect with
The ThinkPads I have in mind are virtually the same though price and RAM. It looks to me like this 2 models have 4 ports USB each, don't they?:
L480:
587€
RAM of 8GB DDR4 to 2.400MHz
Ports: looks like 4 USBs, isn't it?
2 USB-C
2 USB 3.0
HDMI
Card reader Micro SD 4 in 1
RJ-45
Combined port for audio and micro

E490:
539€
RAM of 4GB DDR4toa 2.400MHz
Ports: looks like 4 USBs too, isn't it?
USB-C
2 USB 3.1
USB 2.0
HDMI 1.4b
RJ45
Card reader microSD
Combined port for audio and micro

Thanks again!
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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 07:42
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Reasonable specs Jul 11

Meaning that you will in most cases not encounter avoidable slowdowns. If you save just 1 minute per day, you're saving 6 hours a year, which is about 150-200 Euros worth of productivity for most people.

The gap between a dual-core CPU and a quad-core CPU, 4GB RAM and 8GB RAM, mechanical drive and SSD, 128GB storage and 256GB storage, 1366x768 TN and 1920x1080 IPS is significant. Going above that, not so much for most people. And given the fact that all of the above can be had with
... See more
Meaning that you will in most cases not encounter avoidable slowdowns. If you save just 1 minute per day, you're saving 6 hours a year, which is about 150-200 Euros worth of productivity for most people.

The gap between a dual-core CPU and a quad-core CPU, 4GB RAM and 8GB RAM, mechanical drive and SSD, 128GB storage and 256GB storage, 1366x768 TN and 1920x1080 IPS is significant. Going above that, not so much for most people. And given the fact that all of the above can be had with just a little more than the absolute minimum, one should never go for the absolute minimum.

ThinkPads are fully customizable on the Lenovo website, and you can outfit both the L480 and E490 with similar specs.
Under these circumstances, the only advantages the L480 has that I am aware of are:
1. It has 2 USB-C ports, so one is available while charging. The E490, for all due intents and purposes, does not have a USB-C port, because that's the charging port. Whether you own any USB-C peripherals is another matter; I know I don't.
2. The L480 has a couple more security features. I doubt you'll ever use them.
3. The L480 can be configured with LTE mobile broadband. The E490 cannot.

You'll have to decide whether you care about any of these. The E490 is thinner, and I believe it's a hair cheaper with a similar configuration. I cannot speak for whether the L480 will have better build quality, but based on my E585 I believe the build quality of the current E-series is entirely adequate.

[Edited at 2019-07-11 15:15 GMT]
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Lincoln and @Virginia Jul 11

Lincoln Hui wrote:
ThinkPads are fully customizable on the Lenovo website, and you can outfit both the L480 and E490 with similar specs.


It is true that you can customise them on the Lenovo site, but I was surprised at the country differences: I just checked the UK site, and for identical customisations, the E490 is €653 and the L490 is €710! (The L480 is unavailable on Lenovo's UK site.) On Lenovo's Spain site, identical customisations cost the same, but: the L480 costs €825 if customised to the specifications that I can buy it at my local store for €650.

I agree with what Lincoln says about the L480's USB ports. As I said before, the extra USB 3 port on the L480 clinches the deal for me.

Virginia, I see one of the laptops that you specify appears to have only 4 GB of RAM -- make sure about that. If offered a choice between 1 x 8 GB and 2 x 4 GB, I suggest 1 x 8 GB since these laptops have only two RAM slots. In your case, RAM speed is also irrelevant (so, 2.400 MHz is the same as 3.200 MHz or anything in-between).

I see on the Lenovo site that both laptops can have two drives, namely an M.2 drive and a normal SSD/HDD drive. I recommend that you pay a little extra and get yourself an M.2 in addition to the normal SSD or HDD drive.


 


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