Advice on new laptop/opinions on the new 13-inch Acer Aspire?
Thread poster: Jennifer Schottstaedt

Jennifer Schottstaedt  Identity Verified
United States
German to English
Sep 25, 2013

Hello!

I cracked the screen on my absolutely massive HP Envy and instead of fixing it, the warranty service is just sending me a check; apparently they can't get their hands on a replacement screen. So I'm in dire need of a new computer! My boyfriend the tech geek is recommending the Acer Aspire S7-392-6832 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook, but I have a few issues with that, to wit:

1. I have no idea why on earth I'd need a touchscreen.
2. Because I don't intend to use Windows 8. I have a long-term client who still uses the parts of Trados 2007 that aren't in 2011 and I don't know if they'll be in 2014, so I've got to have Windows 7/Microsoft Office 2007 for compatibility reasons.
3. It's got 8 GB memory but a 128 GB drive and I'm a little worried that the 128 won't be sufficient. I had 1 TB, which was excessive, but 128 sounds a bit small.
4. The 4 GB version is cheaper. What are your opinions on the 4 GB vs the 8 GB size? I often get huge files to translate that involve lots of pictures, so converting to sdlxliff and creating projects often takes awhile. I'm mostly worried about that taking forever.

Do you have any other recommendations?

This is what I need:

1. Mobile and portable. Battery life over 4 hours.
2. I use MemoQ 6.2 and SDL Trados 2011 and Suite 2007; will be upgrading to 2014. I also use Adobe Acrobat X Pro and Photoshop. I don't really listen to music/watch videos. But I do need the system to be as fast as possible.
3. Lightweight. The thing I had before weighed over 10 pounds. Nightmare.
4. I generally run two programs side by side, often with a widget or two, so a high resolution and/or larger screen size would be nice. I have no eyesight issues and can read pretty small fonts, though. 17" is too big, and under 13" is much too small.
5. At least 3 USB ports; more would be nice.
6. PC operating system. I don't do Mac; hate working on them.
7. Keyboard should be responsive and sufficiently large enough to type comfortably.
8. Shouldn't get so hot that it requires a cooling mat

Suggestions would be very welcome, and thanks in advance!

Jennifer


 

James Hodges  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 02:04
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
A Single Comment Sep 26, 2013

Are you planning to use this PC as your main machine? If so, I would suggest a slightly bigger screen to prevent eye strain. Having a slightly wider keyboard would also be nice because after a full-day of working on a very small laptop, you might end up with cramping shoulders.

 

Enrico C - ECLC  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 01:04
Member (2011)
English to Italian
+ ...
My 2 cents Sep 26, 2013

Jennifer Schottstaedt wrote:

Hello!

I cracked the screen on my absolutely massive HP Envy and instead of fixing it, the warranty service is just sending me a check; apparently they can't get their hands on a replacement screen. So I'm in dire need of a new computer! My boyfriend the tech geek is recommending the Acer Aspire S7-392-6832 13.3-Inch Touchscreen Ultrabook, but I have a few issues with that, to wit:

1. I have no idea why on earth I'd need a touchscreen.
2. Because I don't intend to use Windows 8. I have a long-term client who still uses the parts of Trados 2007 that aren't in 2011 and I don't know if they'll be in 2014, so I've got to have Windows 7/Microsoft Office 2007 for compatibility reasons.
3. It's got 8 GB memory but a 128 GB drive and I'm a little worried that the 128 won't be sufficient. I had 1 TB, which was excessive, but 128 sounds a bit small.
4. The 4 GB version is cheaper. What are your opinions on the 4 GB vs the 8 GB size? I often get huge files to translate that involve lots of pictures, so converting to sdlxliff and creating projects often takes awhile. I'm mostly worried about that taking forever.

Do you have any other recommendations?

This is what I need:

1. Mobile and portable. Battery life over 4 hours.
2. I use MemoQ 6.2 and SDL Trados 2011 and Suite 2007; will be upgrading to 2014. I also use Adobe Acrobat X Pro and Photoshop. I don't really listen to music/watch videos. But I do need the system to be as fast as possible.
3. Lightweight. The thing I had before weighed over 10 pounds. Nightmare.
4. I generally run two programs side by side, often with a widget or two, so a high resolution and/or larger screen size would be nice. I have no eyesight issues and can read pretty small fonts, though. 17" is too big, and under 13" is much too small.
5. At least 3 USB ports; more would be nice.
6. PC operating system. I don't do Mac; hate working on them.
7. Keyboard should be responsive and sufficiently large enough to type comfortably.
8. Shouldn't get so hot that it requires a cooling mat

Suggestions would be very welcome, and thanks in advance!

Jennifer


Hi Jennifer,

Although Acer S7 is a nice machine i don't deem it suitable for a translator. Drawbacks are:
- Screen size (I have tried and used it many times in Taiwan, also as a test machine) and once you open Trados/MemoQ screens it's very hard to focus on work for too long as soon your eyes will be sore and tired. You can increase character size of course but it's still not a good solution. My opinion is a translator should use any screen 15" and up (I use an Acer 8951G with an 18" screen and am fairly happy although the ideal would be an all in one with at least 24" of estate to work with).
- Low storage capacity. People are developing a mania for SSD but as an IT translator and half geek i can tell you it's not worth yet. You pay a lot of money for something that's only marginally faster than a good, say 7200/10k rpm top notch Mechanical HDD and offers ten times less capacity.

I'd suggest a configuration like this:

New I5/I7 Processors
RAM: 8/16GB. You'll see that increasing ram you will have much faster performances (I have 16 DDR3 and my pc is blazing fast compared to when it had 8GB)
Hard disk: you can go for one single top speed HDD (7200 RPM and up but not the too fast ones as many tend to break pretty often) or an hybrid solution, SSD for operative system and some apps (so 128GB SSD) and a big, fast HDD (500G and up, i use two 750 GB ones). Screen resolution is something you should care about too. If average users don't need that, translators work all day on these machines and the way we use eyes on them is different from that of those who scan random information on the web. Better resolution means more sharpness and definition which translates into less eye stress.
The rest is up to your choice. Acer has quite a few nice machines at decent prices and you can then use the spare money to modify the machine according to your needs (Change HDD if the standard one is not ok, add up more RAM). That's what i did. I bought it new and asked them to change things based on my needs.
Maintaining them speedy and good then is matter of maintenance (Registry cleaning, compression, defragmentation, trash cleanup). Mine has almost two years and it's as fast as day one on Windows 8 (Which is indeed much faster than Win 7). I have a startup time (Fully operational) of about 15 seconds to password/thumb scanning and then around 40 seconds in all to see things happening (Antivirus slows down things).

Hope this helps.

Regards

Enrico

[Edited at 2013-09-26 04:28 GMT]


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:04
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
some thoughts Sep 26, 2013

I have a 3-year old Lenovo Z-Series and it runs smooth and efficiently with similar software packages - lots of space eating applications. So I am definitely sold on this brand, though I would probably go for a high performance model when I upgrade. The Z-series is only an all-purpose laptop.

I think Windows 8 is pretty much standard now, I don't really understand the compatibility issue with Trados. I guess, you can always remove the operating system and install an older version? Or actually buy a used laptop that still runs on Windows 7? It's been around for a while now.

I really wouldn't drop to 4GB. I have 6 on my 3-year old machine and there is no chance I would reduce that.
But speed issues may be easier and cheaper to resolve with an external hard drive?

I definitely wouldn't class 1TB as excessive if speed is an issue.
The SSD works differently. I'm not sure if I would settle for 128 if I was buying now. 256 is widely available. These drives solve a lot of your key issues - they operate faster, use less power (i.e. longer battery life) and reduce heat.
If you are worried about the storage, I would be more inclined to opt for a hybrid system with both HDD and SSD, as SSD still carries a premium price. Then you have the efficiency of the SSD with "cheaper" storage of the HDD.


 

Lennart Luhtaru  Identity Verified
United States
Member
English to Estonian
+ ...
Lenovo Thinkpad or Dell Latitude Sep 26, 2013

+ keyboards have best feedback
+ they have touchsticks (I actually prefer it to real mouse as I don't have to move hands away from keyboard at all; also irreplaceable if you travel a lot)
+ they are extremely durable
+ like most other business class laptops, these are dockable (so you don't have to plug in each cable separately if you're going to use it with external monitor, keyboard and mouse)
+ much better warranty terms and quicker response

- they look ugly to some people
- pricier than consumer models
- are not as good for video/photo editing, DTP and other graphic intensive tasks unless you're getting a mobile workstation (Lenovo W-series or Dell Precision)


I'd recommend Lenovo X-series if you're looking for something that's with a great keyboard but really thing and light like a macbook air http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/x-series/

Or something from T4xx series if the lightness is not that important http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/t-series/

Also:
* Get SSD instead of HDD (makes a ton of difference in speed).
* For most business class computers from Lenovo and Dell you can replace the DVD drive with a second HDD for larger storage (like put a cheap 1 TB HDD in there for all your documents and files). For Lenovo you can get something like http://www.ebay.com/itm/2nd-SSD-HDD-hard-drive-Caddy-For-Lenovo-Thinkpad-T430-W530-T530-/221069776771?pt=US_Drive_Bay_Caddies&hash=item3378c91783
* Get at least 8 GB of RAM (web browser with lots of open tabs + Skype + SDL Studio + Acrobat + dictionaries take absurd amounts of RAM and 4 GB is usually too little)
* If you can configure the display before buying, get the one with highest resolution

I use Lenovo W510 that's by now a few generations behind, but thanks to SSD and 12 GB of RAM is still fast enough for all my needs.


 

DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 18:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
Avoid Acer Sep 26, 2013

I use an Aspire and it's very unsatisfactory. Keyboard and touchpad have a mind of their own and lead to endless mistakes. It hangs more than occasionally. Normal shutdown is sometimes impossible and it has to be unplugged and the battery removed to force a crash before it can be used again.

Not at all suitable for real work!


 

KateKaminski
Local time: 18:04
German to English
I had this problem Sep 26, 2013

DLyons wrote:

Keyboard and touchpad have a mind of their own and lead to endless mistakes.

Not at all suitable for real work!


Have you tried a download called Touchfreeze? It might solve the problem, as it disables the touchpad while you are typing.


 

DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 18:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
Touchfreeze Sep 26, 2013

KateKaminski wrote:

Have you tried a download called Touchfreeze? It might solve the problem, as it disables the touchpad while you are typing.


Thanks, I'll look into that!


 

Enrico C - ECLC  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 01:04
Member (2011)
English to Italian
+ ...
That computer has issues Sep 26, 2013

DLyons wrote:

I use an Aspire and it's very unsatisfactory. Keyboard and touchpad have a mind of their own and lead to endless mistakes. It hangs more than occasionally. Normal shutdown is sometimes impossible and it has to be unplugged and the battery removed to force a crash before it can be used again.

Not at all suitable for real work!


That behaviour is not normal at all. You could either go for a formatting and total reinstall or use a set of suits made to fix these issues, which abound on the Internet. I had similar problems with an HP 20" laptop (Old HDX) generation that bugged me during its whole life. Keyboard would type things i didn't want, INS key would activate alone, some touch buttons on a special panel never worked, switching it off was like impossible mission. And it was slow...terribly slow in performing any task, since brand new. HP never solved the issue and i changed to Acer. Never had one issue to date. Cross fingers. Lenovos are really nice machines, although i don't like their displays and the size of screens is normally too small for my needs.


 

shfranke
United States
Local time: 10:04
English to Arabic
+ ...
Acer products - customer support & technical support: anemic to none Sep 26, 2013

Greetings to all in this thread.

Ref Acer products

Based on my disappointing (understated to remain dignified) experience with two Acer laptops, may I observe that the concept, terms and practice at Acer of "customer support" and "technical support" can be summarised along a Likert-like scale of anemic to indifferent to none.

Never again an Acer product.

Laptops by Lenovo and Toshiba have been clear winners, across the board.

Hope this helps. Today is Thursday, 26 September 2013.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
Senior veteran Arabic linguist
San Pedro, California (Los Angeles Harbor Area)


 

Jennifer Schottstaedt  Identity Verified
United States
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks so much! Opinions on Asus vs. Lenovo? Sep 26, 2013

Thank you all so much for your advice!

I've been looking at the Lenovo ThinkPad T530 15.6", which with a lot of specifications (i5 core, 1920 x 1080 display, 16 GB DDR3, 256 GB SSD, and a second 500 GB HDD, 7200 rpm plus a few other things) comes out to $1697.52 with just a year-long warranty (and I'd want to buy at least 2 and more likely 3 years).

The other one I'm looking at is the Asus N56VJ-DH71 15.6". It has an i7 core, 1920 x 1080 display, 8 GB DDR3 expandable to 16 GB, 1 TB 5400 HDD, better video card, and optical drive. I'd be buying an extra 8 GB of RAM, replacing the optical drive with a 2nd HD caddy and 250 GB SSD, creating a hybrid, and adding a 3-year SquareTrade warranty. This combination comes out to $1413.98 and Amazon reviewers who have done the same thing say it's a pretty amazing powerhouse.

Thoughts on the Asus? Both the Lenovo and the Asus have an Editor's Choice rating on pcmag.com and the Asus looks nicer. But a lot of people here seem to be hardcore Lenovo fans and apparently the Lenovo keyboard is fantastic for people who use it as much as translators do. Still, I'm not sure if that's worth the $300 price difference.

What are your opinions on these two options, or should I keep looking?

Thanks!

[Edited at 2013-09-26 23:13 GMT]


 

Lennart Luhtaru  Identity Verified
United States
Member
English to Estonian
+ ...
Lenovo warranty Sep 27, 2013

Take a look at http://www.lenovo.com/services_warranty/us/en/lenovo-warranty.html. You can definitely configure T530 with up to a 5 year warranty.

But I just pay for my electronics with an AMEX card that gives an extra year of warranty for free (in addition to manufacturer warranty). Most flaws come out in first year anyway.

On the other hand this Asus looks like a solid laptop also. If you get a chance then, try both before making your final decisionicon_smile.gif


 


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