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Hardware  » New Laptop for school (ultrabook)?

18 posts found
  wyrdaskolir

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/09
Posts: 575

 
OP  11/17/12 6:10:22 PM#1

Hi I haven't had a new laptop in years and am not sure how to select the best possible laptop for my price range.

I just found out about the ultrabooks and was wondering if the processors are fast enough for what I want to do since it seems like they are slower.

My budget is $800. I've been looking around and it seems that ASUS is one of the top brands. Black friday and cyber monday is coming up which makes it harder to choose a laptop since I'm not sure where the best deals are.

I was looking at the ASUS vivobook S400 but I'm not sure if its worth it.

http://www.amazon.com/VivoBook-S400CA-DH51T-14-1-Inch-Touch-Ultrabook/dp/B009F1JL5A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353193352&sr=8-1&keywords=asus+vivobook

I will be using it for programming, general web surfing/internet usage, and not for gaming since I have my PC already.

I want a 14-15inch screen, 5+ hours battery life, and it to be really light(ultrabook preferred?). Discrete graphics doesn't matter, 4gb+ ram. Do you guys know if Windows 8 is bad for programming/multitasking?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I know Quizzical and other members of this community gave me a lot of help last time to help choose PC components which made my building experience very smooth. Thanks again

 

 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13678

11/17/12 8:34:06 PM#2

The ultrabook question is pretty simple:  do you value thinness above all else?  That is, are you willing to pay a higher price tag for less performance, shorter battery life, less reliability, and so forth in order to get a laptop a few millimeters thinner than it otherwise would have been?  Not necessarily lighter, either, but only thinner.  If not, then you should dismiss the entire ultrabook category out of hand.  Because the entire concept of an ultrabook is to sacrifice everything else for the sake of making a laptop a few millimeters thinner.

Windows 8 isn't bad for programming or web browsing.  An itty-bitty monitor like that sure is, though.  1366x768 is not what you want unless you're forced into it by having to cut somewhere to save money.  That shouldn't be the case with an $800 budget and not that great of performance needs.

  wyrdaskolir

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/09
Posts: 575

 
OP  11/18/12 12:44:44 AM#3

Yeah, I don't really need a powerful laptop for what I want to do with it since my PC would be for gaming. I feel that a touchscreen ultrabook is perfect because I don't really want a tablet and W8 + touchscreen on a laptop would be interesting

 

EDIT: I can't find any ultrabooks in my budget with higher resolutions

  Cleffy

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/09/04
Posts: 5531

11/18/12 1:59:35 AM#4
  wyrdaskolir

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/09
Posts: 575

 
OP  11/18/12 2:48:08 AM#5
Those really do seem enticing (more powerful hardware than ultrabooks for same price), but I kind of want a touchscreen and light/ portable 14-15" laptop. My current 17.3" laptop is way to heavy and annoying to bring around to class and everything. Are there any good normal laptops with touchscreens? I want the Windows 8 tablet experience on a laptop actually
  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13678

11/18/12 10:20:00 AM#6
Originally posted by wyrdaskolir

Yeah, I don't really need a powerful laptop for what I want to do with it since my PC would be for gaming. I feel that a touchscreen ultrabook is perfect because I don't really want a tablet and W8 + touchscreen on a laptop would be interesting

 

EDIT: I can't find any ultrabooks in my budget with higher resolutions

Why are you looking at ultrabooks at all?  The only advantage of ultrabooks is that they're thinner.  That's the only one.  On basically everything else (price, performance, battery life, reliability, etc.), they're at a disadvantage to normal laptops.

If you want a laptop with Windows 8 and a touchscreen, then get a laptop with Windows 8 and a touchscreen.  That's not a reason to look at ultrabooks.

If you want a tablet/laptop hybrid where you can attach a keyboard to use it as a laptop or detach it to use it as a tablet, then the hardware to do it properly isn't ready yet.  The hardware to do it badly is already available, but they're going to get vastly better in the next several months.

  wyrdaskolir

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/09
Posts: 575

 
OP  11/18/12 7:21:09 PM#7
Would you have any suggestions for thin,light,w8,touchscreen,long battery life, good resolution laptop? I don't think my budget can afford that though
  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13678

11/18/12 8:25:36 PM#8

You've got to set some priorities.

Thin and light means a big battery won't physically fit.  So the lighter a laptop needs to be, the less battery life it can have.

If you want a laptop to be extra thin, that means you can't use standard form-factor parts, but have to do a bunch of custom engineering, which adds a lot to the price tag.  It also makes a laptop basically impossible to repair, as everything is soldered directly to the motherboard, so that if any particular part fails, you have to replace the entire laptop outright rather than just the part that failed.  That's basically what ultrabooks are.  Is that what you want?

The only touchscreen laptops on New Egg are all ultrabooks.  So at the moment, if you insist on a touchscreen laptop, you're saddled with all of the drawbacks of ultrabooks.

So it's really a matter of priorities.  You'll be able to get a lot more of what you want next summer.

  jdnewell

Elite Member

Joined: 7/04/06
Posts: 1914

11/19/12 11:47:04 AM#9

Sounds like you are looking for an Ultrabook. But unless you really need something that thin then a laptop would probably serve better.

I travel for work and am out of town 10-15 days a month some months. I looked at ultrabooks before I bought my laptop. I use it mainly for work so an ultrabook would have done the trick. But for the price and literally no advantage except for being thin I choose a laptop and glad I did.

I see the appeal for an ultrabook and understand where people would need or want them. But for most purposes a laptop will do it better and cheaper in many cases, + have more features and longevity.

Just my 2cp

  dave6660

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/26/08
Posts: 2350

"Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you."

11/19/12 4:44:29 PM#10
Originally posted by Quizzical

The ultrabook question is pretty simple:  do you value thinness above all else?  That is, are you willing to pay a higher price tag for less performance, shorter battery life, less reliability, and so forth in order to get a laptop a few millimeters thinner than it otherwise would have been?  Not necessarily lighter, either, but only thinner.  If not, then you should dismiss the entire ultrabook category out of hand.  Because the entire concept of an ultrabook is to sacrifice everything else for the sake of making a laptop a few millimeters thinner.

Windows 8 isn't bad for programming or web browsing.  An itty-bitty monitor like that sure is, though.  1366x768 is not what you want unless you're forced into it by having to cut somewhere to save money.  That shouldn't be the case with an $800 budget and not that great of performance needs.

My job gave me one those tiny 10" ultrabooks.  I hate it and avoid using it whenever possible.  So little screen real estate makes everything you do such a chore.

"Why so serious?"
-- The Joker

  ZombieKen

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4410

Zombie - Dead but still moving.

11/19/12 4:55:34 PM#11
Ditto on sentiments expressed by the others.  Pay more, get less doesn't sound like a win to me.

MSOTSG with PPE : Massively Single-player Online Task-driven Storyline Game with Purchasable Performance Enhancements *grin*

  wyrdaskolir

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/09
Posts: 575

 
OP  11/19/12 10:20:05 PM#12
Looks like I'll be trying to look for a normal laptop with a touchscreen then. Thank you all for steering me towards the right direction!
  Kilrane

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/16/09
Posts: 229

11/19/12 10:29:39 PM#13
Originally posted by wyrdaskolir
Looks like I'll be trying to look for a normal laptop with a touchscreen then. Thank you all for steering me towards the right direction!

Why do you need a laptop that sports a touchscreen? There is absolutely no functionality you will gain from this that would be beneficial in any form. Touchscreen's on a Laptop/PC are pretty much nothing more than a gimmick outside of very rare/select situations.

  wyrdaskolir

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/09
Posts: 575

 
OP  11/19/12 10:35:27 PM#14
Why can't I be excited about trying out Windows 8 with a touchscreen? It may seem lame to you but I feel like it would make computing in general more fun for me
  User Deleted
11/19/12 10:41:37 PM#15

I'm going to chime in and just recommend not getting Windows 8...

It's horrid for multitasking, and not at all conductive for general productivity.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13678

11/19/12 10:42:22 PM#16

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with buying a toy because you think it would be fun to mess with.  Most people don't actually need a high end video card, for example, but that doesn't mean they're not cool to have.

The problem is that you're looking at giving up needed functionality for something that you think would be cool to have.  It's likely that a week after you get it, you'll no longer care that it has a touchscreen--but you'll still be stuck with poor performance for programming, web browsing, and so forth.  And then when a memory module has trouble in a year, you'll have to replace the entire laptop outright rather than just being able to replace the broken memory module.

  wyrdaskolir

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/09
Posts: 575

 
OP  11/19/12 10:55:19 PM#17

I read reviews for many of the ultrabooks and it sounds like the the people are satisfied with the performance (many tabs/ applications running). I understand that I will not be playing games on it or doing anything that would require me to switch to my desktop. 

I feel like the touchscreen and maybe gesture control is not only fun but it would be useful to have.

  Kilrane

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/16/09
Posts: 229

11/19/12 11:47:04 PM#18
Originally posted by wyrdaskolir

I read reviews for many of the ultrabooks and it sounds like the the people are satisfied with the performance (many tabs/ applications running). I understand that I will not be playing games on it or doing anything that would require me to switch to my desktop. 

I feel like the touchscreen and maybe gesture control is not only fun but it would be useful to have.

If you came on here asking for a toy, which is all an ultrabook with touchscreen really is, then yeah....they're fun, its neat, it's nothing more than a gimmick though.

 

It's your money in the end so spend it however you wish. Just realize what it really is and not what you want it to be.