Convertible for university, light gaming, creative work

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Florder, Nov 18, 2018.

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  1. Florder

    Florder Newbie

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    Dear forum users!

    Since my notebook (Lenovo Z570) needs to be replaced soon I am looking for a new device and I am having difficulties making a decision: First of all, here's the form:

    1) What is your budget?

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?
    Austria or Germany

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    I do like Lenovo devices, after all mine has served me very well for about 7 years without any hassle, but I am open for everything.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    No, not really.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Note taking at university (music studies), composing, photo editing with Lightroom (wide color gamut would also be nice), audio editing with Cubase
    Device needs very good pen support because I will take my notes by hand and write music by hand also (had a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition for that until now that worked really well for that)

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Different places, so has to be light and small (up to 1.5kg max.)

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    Yes, a bit of everything (GTA, Tabletop Simulator, Rocket League,...), more on that further down

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    7-9 hours

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    Online without seeing is ok

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer?

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?
    Since I want a touchscreen device I'll have to go with a glossy screen

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Just a little bit

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity

    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    Hopefully in the next few weeks

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    At least three years

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    1 week

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?
    Shipping is okay for me

    Devices in my narrower selection:

    Just a few words on the plans I had in mind. Since I want to do some gaming on my device even if it's only occasionally and casually I need a dedicated GPU. The only device that has that in my price and form factor range is the
    Asus Zenbook Flip 14 (preferably the i7 config)
    I also had the HP Envy 13 x360 with Ryzen 2500U and Vega 8 mobile GPU in mind but I heard it has some throttling issues and the overall perfomance can't match the Asus' performance. I heard that the pen writing experience on the Asus isn't the best and the screen could also be better in terms of brightness and color accuracy. In the specsheet you can see that it only features DDR3 RAM instead of DDR4, does that make a big difference? What I do like is the variety of ports and the dedicated MX150 which I think should be enough for my needs.

    My other plan was getting a device that supports thunderbolt 3 and an external enclosure for a graphics card (I don't really need the gaming power on the go). I specifically thought about the Lenovo Yoga 730 or the Lenovo Yoga X380 and a HP Omen accelerator or a Razer Core X with a GTX 1050 or 1060. Again, there are drawbacks and advantages, if I want to stay in my price range I would have to go with the i5, 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM configurations which are at around 1000€ for both devices plus 300€ for the eGPU and another ~200€ for the graphics card which will get dangerously close to overshooting my maximum budget. The i7, 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM configs would set me back another 200-300€. One advantage is the obviously better performance and upgradability later on, another great thing is the versatility of the thunderbolt 3 port in terms of speed, display output, etc. Also the devices seem better for my main use cases as they have better displays (especially the X380) and the X380 even has a stylus integrated in the device (and also many other ports), which I think is very handy.

    So my case is very extensive and I am very undecisive on what I should do. On one hand the Asus would be a good allround package but if the pen issues are true it wouldn't be the right choice for my uses and the eGPU solution is the best one performance wise but is much more expensive.

    I would be very thankful if anyone could help me with definite recommendations or offer some other solution and help!
  2. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    First of all, the need for stylus support significantly limits your options.
    I searched for a laptop that matched all your criteria and gound only one: noteb search.
    You can see and change the search parameters using the "Refine results" button in the upper-left part of the search results page. You can also click on the laptops for more information.

    So basically you already found the laptop that seems to match your needs. However, as you already pointed out, Asus is not the best when it comes to pen-enabled devices. Plus I am fairly certain the GPU and CPU will throttle a bit in that device, but it shouldn't really be an issue for your kind of work.

    The problem with the Vega laptops is not so much the throttling, I am sure most of it can be partially fixed with some better thermal paste, but the poor battery life you will be getting. Plus, the Vega 8 will be significantly slower versus the MX150, but also significantly faster vs any Intel integrated solution.
    Here is a comparison, notice the video card rating: Asus ZenBook Flip 14 UX461UN vs HP Envy x360 13, use it to compare video card performance in relative terms of one to another. BTW, for your laptop, DDR3 or DDR4 shouldn't really make any difference. Also, the FullHD display in the Envy x360 is only 70% sRGB, I hope you were looking at the 4K version.

    And these are all laptops with Stylus and Vega graphics: noteb search 2.
    As for Thunderbolt 3, then you can open up to a lot more options: noteb search 3.

    I would advise you to buy the Flip 14, test it and if you don't like it, return it. You live in Europe and you have 14 days to return any product, no questions asked. If the Flip doesn't satisfy you, then you might want to consider between the Vega and eGPU.
    I would also advise against the Yoga 730-13 because it has a poor display.
  3. Florder

    Florder Newbie

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    Dear people, just a quick update: I decided to go with the Yoga X380 and the Zotac Ampbox Mini with a GTX 1050, although this is quite over my budget, I felt, I would have to make the least compromises with that setup.
    Blacky likes this.
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