Need compact laptop for Filemaker and Office in Australia

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by BrendanS, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. BrendanS

    BrendanS Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi everyone,

    This is an easy one for you guys, I thought you'd like it. Very clearly defined what the user needs. I'll start with the form.


    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?

    Somewhere around $500 Australian dollars. Needs to be well under $1000.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    a. Ultraportable; 10" - 12" screen
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen

    Being portable is the primary requirement. 11.6-12 inches is ideal. But can go up to 14 inches.

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?


    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    Price is more of a factor than brand.
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    If they are easy to get and have a period of guaranteed functioning.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Office work, nothing processor-heavy. Needs to run FileMaker, Adobe PDF Reader, and Microsoft Office Suite. Needs to run them efficiently.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

    It will mainly be used as a portable device.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)


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

    As much as possible.

    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?

    Not terribly important.

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

    Windows. But if you can get a Mac for $600, then go for it.

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)

    At least 1377x768, but more is better.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)

    Matte is better, but glossy is acceptable.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?

    No, it just needs to be portable.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?

    Probably at least 320 GB.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity

    16) When are you buying this laptop?


    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?

    At least 2 years.

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

    Not long.

    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?

    Hard to say.


    Please state any additional features you need. It's also helpful if you can indicate how experienced you are with computers. If you're a novice and don't know much, that's alright. Everyone's a novice at some point.

    Thanks for reading this. So, this is for a relative in Australia who needs a laptop for portable office work in the medical field. Nothing powerful or fancy, just mobile and cheap. Those latter two are the important qualities.

    She has been looking at the Acer Spin 1 convertible, which is $399 AUD in the config she is looking at. It's the Acer Spin 1 SP111-33-C7RJ 11.6" 2-in-1 Laptop.

    The Acer uses an Intel® Celeron® N4000 Dual Core processor (1.1GHz - 2.6GHz, 4MB Cache).

    But there's also the Acer Spin 1 SP111-33-P8N8 11.6" 2-in-1 Laptop, which runs an Intel® Pentium® N4200, Quad Core up to 2.5GHz.

    Both models have 64 GB eMMC hard drives and 4 GB of RAM.

    I can see why she is looking at this model, as it is portable and affordable. However, the screen is only 768P, it has eMMC hard drive, 4 GB RAM, and not the most powerful processor. She is used to these qualities, though, as she is still using a Thinkpad T420 as her main computer.

    Does it have enough horsepower to comfortably use the Microsoft Office suite, along with FileMaker?

    She is also looking at the Lenovo Ideapad 130-14IGM 14" Laptop (Pentium). I know we like Thinkpads here, but it's powerful enough on the inside. Is it durable enough, though?

    I had been considering the Surface Go, since it is on sale in Australia currently, and appears to meet these requirements.
  2. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I'd avoid that Acer you're looking at, and it's nothing against Acer as a brand. The Celeron N4000 processor is a terrible performer for the most basic of things, which will be compounded by just 4GB of RAM.

    Maybe try a refurbished ThinkPad E- or L-series. They have reasonable durability, good keyboards, and should come with a 15-watt processor. They also have upgradeable RAM and storage. A Dell Latitude 5000 series is a solid alternative.

    Just avoid those Celeron/Pentium chips and any CPU with a TDP under 15 watts. You can look up the chips on Intel's ARK site. Also avoid eMMC storage as it's very slow.

    One more thing. I'd try to look past the budget if it seems like you're not finding what you want at your desired price point. Really, you should do this the other way around: Find notebooks with the specs you want, then look at the prices and decide how to afford them. (You might have to eat some spartan meals for a week, two weeks, etc.) Setting a budget without knowing what something is going to cost is a recipe for getting let down, especially with the machine you'll reluctantly buy that fits your budget but little else.


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