Laptop/notebook recommendations
Thread poster: Diana Coada

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Aug 20, 2012

Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some recommendations for buying a new, lightweight laptop.

I would primarily need it for interpreting assignments, but would also like to take it on holidays for entertainment and some translation work if needed. Needless to say, long battery life is high on the priorities listicon_smile.gif

TIA!


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Tablet? Aug 20, 2012

Diana Coada wrote:
I was hoping to get some recommendations for buying a new, lightweight laptop.


I've actually been considering buying a tablet with an external keyboard instead of a laptop. A disadvantage of tablets is that they don't come with Windows. An advantage of a tablet is that its start-up time is much faster than that of a laptop. And tablets are now cheaper than laptops. On the other hand, tablets don't have multiple USB ports, CD drives, and memory upgrade slots.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:14
Member (2008)
Italian to English
nor... Aug 20, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

tablets don't have multiple USB ports, CD drives, and memory upgrade slots.



and, uh, keyboards. You might as well buy a proper laptop with a proper keyboard and all that other stuff too. A real computer that can store and process far more data than a tablet can.

What's the point of tablets anyway? Specifically, what is the point of buying a tablet and then buying a keyboard for it, when you could just buy a proper laptop?

Am I missing something?

[Edited at 2012-08-20 13:35 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:14
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
In defence of tablets Aug 20, 2012

Tom in London wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
..tablets don't have multiple USB ports, CD drives, and memory upgrade slots.

and, uh, keyboards. You might as well buy a proper laptop with a proper keyboard and all that other stuff too.


No, you can buy a [leather] fold-out sleeve for a tablet that comes with a built-in keyboard that plugs into the tablet's USB port. The combination is about twice the thickness of the tablet alone, and not much heavier.

A real computer that can store and process far more data that a tablet can.


A desktop computer can store and process more information than a laptop, so why buy a laptop? Because it is portable. Tablets can store sufficient data for many purposes.

What's the point of tablets anyway? Specifically, what is the point of buying a tablet and then buying a keyboard for it, when you could just buy a proper laptop?


Well, I'm thinking about the OP's reasons for getting a laptop. A "proper" laptop is heavier and bulkier than a tablet, takes longer to start up, and has a much lower resolution for the same screen size. Tablets can often connect to the internet natively (even via cellphone networks), for which a laptop would require an external dongle. For the same price, tablets often have better webcams than laptops. Most tablets can be charged via USB, whereas laptops require mains to charge. Besides, laptop power cables are typically much bulkier and more fragile than those of tablets.

That said, perhaps the OP should tell us a little more about what her requirements are.


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Samuel Aug 20, 2012

Well, I have to say that I am not a big fan of tablets - they are fine for entertainment purposes, but I can't see myself looking for a term in an excel sheet on a touch screen. I also can't imagine working in Wordfast Anywhere (for example) on a tablet.

 

Serge Mazille
Local time: 11:14
I wouldn't buy a tablet for work either... Aug 20, 2012

I have a tablet PC and I wouldn't recommend it for work.

I would'nt worry too much for choosing a laptop because they're all fine for translation work.
The points I would look for :

- 2 GB of RAM (minimum)
- dual processor (2.5 Ghz each minimum)
- 250 GB for the harddrive (at least)


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:14
Finnish to French
Asus Zenbook Aug 20, 2012

Diana Coada wrote:
I was hoping to get some recommendations for buying a new, lightweight laptop.

I would primarily need it for interpreting assignments, but would also like to take it on holidays for entertainment and some translation work if needed. Needless to say, long battery life is high on the priorities listicon_smile.gif

A colleague of mine had a similar requirement (she's also an interpreter). She ended up buying an 11" Asus Zenbook (Asus also has a similar model with a 13" display) that I set up for her. She has now been using it for a couple of months and has been very happy with it. She also purchased an optional docking station from Asus, which makes it much easier to connect all peripherals (external keyboard, mouse, display and printer) in one go. The build quality of the Zenbook is similar to that of the MacBook Air, but the Zenbook is significantly cheaper (which is hardly a surprise).


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Dominique! Aug 20, 2012

The Zenbook looks great! Do you know what other laptops your friend was considering?

 

Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 12:14
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Netbook Aug 20, 2012

I've bought an Acer netbook a few years ago, I'm happy with it. Now they have fancier models icon_smile.gif It fits in most bags and it's light, it has the power of a medium computer. I've also purchased an extended battery for it which takes its battery life to more than 9 hours. I use it when I travel and even for presentations to seminars and conferences. My "laptop" is a 17" screen machine (almost 4 kg + bag = 6 kg) that I normally use in addition to my desktop.
The netbook is not as practical for translation as my normal laptop or a desktop, due to screen size, but it's better than a tablet. I have SDL STUDIO, Idiom, MemoQ and other CAT tools that I regularly use installed on it (I have to remember to migrate licences...). Since I used to carry my 4 kg laptop everywehere, the netbook is an improvement for me as it does not break my back icon_biggrin.gif In my opinion, if you need to add a keyboard and mouse to the tablet, you might just as well go for a netbook. I would buy a tablet for entertainment purposes, but for work I prefer big screen powerful machines.

[Editat la 2012-08-20 14:59 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:14
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Big screen Aug 20, 2012

Cristiana Coblis wrote:

..... for work I prefer big screen powerful machines.


Me too. I like to translate with 2 documents side by side. To achieve this I plug a big Apple Cinema display into my MacBook Pro. This works with the lid of the MBP closed. The MBP is as powerful as a big desktop computer but I can carry it around with me in my backpack.

I imagine it's equally possible to plug a big display into a PC laptop and get the same "best of both worlds" effect.

I wouldn't buy a big laptop since the whole point of a portable computer is smallness. Small enough, for instance, to use on an aeroplane on one of those tiny tables.


 

Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 12:14
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Possibilities and personal preferences Aug 20, 2012

To each his/her ownicon_smile.gif I personally like these big laptops they call desktop replacement computers, they are not exactly portable, but they have other advantagesicon_smile.gif I normally do not work at the desk, where my desktop is, and sometimes I like working in the yard/garden. I also do not keep data on secondary machines, I store data on the desktop computer and access it through wi-fi from any device in/around the house. This works best for me and how I work. I think the same goes for a netbook/tablet, it really depends which one you prefer.

 

Enrico C - ECLC  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 17:14
Member (2011)
English to Italian
+ ...
Many choices out there Aug 20, 2012

Hi.

If what you need is something small for checking glossaries, do searches on the net and help you while interpreting in the booth then an ultrabook may be your choice.

I'd go for an Acer U5 or a Lenovo Carbon or an Ideapad, with a 13"/14" screen, which is the minimum needed to work long hours in case of translating.
I would not recommend a tablet because the processing power is not enough to handle a CAT, the SO is normally Apple or Android (Windows 8 coming in October) and external keyboards don't offer the same feeling a good ultrabook offers. Also, an i5/i7 CPU with an SSD disk and at least 8GB ram would do (if you need it for translating).

There are other brands out there but some make you pay 20 to 30% more for a product that, essentially, offers the same as the ones above (or even less in some cases) just for the sake of the brand. If you want something work-proof go for a Lenovo. If you also want a touch of style, check the Acer. They are similar to the Asus but slightly cheaper (at least in Asia, where i live).

I am a desktop replacement lover so i go for 18" screens and up with laptops. My current one is an Acer 8951G which i had modified from the shop to be faster. Have been using it for one year more or less and am definitely happier than the previous brand i had.

Hope the infos help!


[Edited at 2012-08-21 07:20 GMT]


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:14
Finnish to French
Size doesn't matter Aug 21, 2012

Cristiana Coblis wrote:
I personally like these big laptops they call desktop replacement computers

What qualifies a laptop as a desktop replacement isn't its size: with the right hardware (eg. a docking station and external devices connected to it), even a tiny laptop can make a perfect desktop replacement.

Of course, you are still free to like big laptops for other reasons, just don't think they are the only laptops that qualify as desktop replacements icon_wink.gif


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:14
Finnish to French
Zenbook alternatives Aug 21, 2012

Diana Coada wrote:
The Zenbook looks great! Do you know what other laptops your friend was considering?

Actually, I don't know what other alternatives she had considered. If she had asked me, I would have recommended a higher-end Lenovo ThinkPad (eg. X220/230 or T420s/430s), but that's only because I'm a sucker for ThinkPads myself. However, I think the smaller Zenbook was a good choice for her, given her budget and her requirements (interpreting). As I said, I was positively impressed by the build quality and the performance, during the few days when I had it at home. On the negative side, RAM is limited to 4 GB (but it's sufficient for most needs) and there's no slot for a SIM card (3G connectivity).

If I were in the market for an ultrabook right now myself, I would go for the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but it's going to be quite expensive.

If you want to watch good reviews of the current crop of laptops, I warmly recommend the YouTube channel of Lisa Gade, MobileTechReview: http://www.youtube.com/MobileTechReview
Her reviews are very thorough.

Zenbook: -> http://youtu.be/bVK-9cPRTLw
X1 Carbon -> http://youtu.be/lShEJBuk94Q


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for all your comments and help Aug 24, 2012

In the end I went for a 1 kg netbook, as laptops are not as mobile as I want them to be. This fits my needs perfectly.

 


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