Ultrabook for Near College Student

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Sacyro, Sep 6, 2012.

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  1. pianowizard

    pianowizard Notebook Evangelist

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    There was no need to because you had already made the best recommendation: the Samsung Series 9.

    I totally agree -- just look at the incredible number of posts he has made. Many of his recommendations are excellent; on the other hand, he also tirelessly shoves the X220 and X230 and the 1366x768 resolution down people's throats. Now, imagine this: my favorite laptop is probably the Panasonic Toughbook CF-Y7, despite its age. If I were to recommend this model on this forum 30 times a day, 365 days a year, even to people who clearly indicate they want specs different from those of the CF-Y7, I bet sooner or later someone would "lecture" me on my behavior as well, and that's why I don't do it. Keep in mind that ZaZ and I are both active on Bill Morrow's Thinkpad forum as well, and so I have witnessed his overenthusiasm even more than you have.

    I actually don't have problem with this phrase the way you do, because he's right, more than 50% of people are fine with 1366x768, more than 50% of people don't view windows side by side, more than 50% of people don't need the fastest CPU, more than 50% of people don't need >4GB RAM, and more than 50% of people don't need great color gamut. In fact, more than 50% of the world population probably don't even need computers! But when someone clearly states that s/he does need these things, what's the point of saying "most people don't need these things"? Is that to imply that person is ignorant, or wrong, or strange, or should change? I am sure ZaZ doesn't realize it but such a comment does have a strong holier-than-thou tone. Again, doing this occasionally is fine, but up to 30 times a day is too much.
     
  2. pepper_john

    pepper_john Notebook Deity

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    Obviously there are a lot of enthusiasts here who favor different notebooks. Obviously anyone can claim their favored one to be the best as if it were sent by the god. However IMHO what is the best notebook depends on what the user wants to do with it. If the main purpose is to watch movies then one with FHD is nice to have. But whether it is the best depends on also whether you have a HDTV or 24" external monitor. ZaZ already mentioned several options, which are all good.
     
  3. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops MY FRIENDS CALL ME JEFF!

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    Wow, is this ever an intense thread! As many of you know, I love a hot debate as much as anyone, but there are a few things in the OP's list that may be getting lost in the discussion. Here's a few that I consider really important:

    1) Willing to wait 6 months. This industry is moving so fast and some very specific technology advances that will go to your getting a notebook that truly has it all are already announced with dates for release. The most important is Intel's next line of low voltage cpus, known as "Haswell." These will apparently double the battery life vs. today's very efficient low voltage Ivy Bridge processors and they will cost the same or less! Of course, they will also be faster and have far better graphics and be more likely to realistically meet your time horizon of 3-4 years of useful life. Of course, in technology, waiting will always get you more of everything for less cost. But yours is an unusual post in that you stated you are in no hurry. Even before the machines with Haswell cpus are out (could be more like 7-8 months) there are still some awesome machines on the horizon using today's technology. If you are willing to wait just 4 months, the January sales on a slew of new models that will be released in the Oct-Dec time frame, Christmas being the driver of getting new models to market and January being when consumer electronics retailing goes dead - plus, people return their Christmas purchases and you can get some sensational "open box" bargains.

    2) 11" target screen size. You said you were a bit flexible, but many of the models being discussed are 13.3" and that makes for a far larger, heavier "package" than the 11" (actually, 11.6" is the standard screen size you'll find in that range. In any event, I would reconsider your size and weight considerations, because the laptop industry is moving away from screen sizes below 13" while making the 13" models lighter and even smaller (by making the bezel/frame around the screen very small). The problem is the dreaded TABLETS! They seem to own the 7-10" size class and many have plug-in keyboards to make them function like laptops, some actually quite well done, but these are worlds away from the power and flexibility of the laptop models being discussed here. My point, though, is that with tablets occupying screen sizes which are now even breaching the 13" size class there's become something of a chasm in the 10-12" form factor formerly occupied by netbooks, which were beginning to get larger and more powerful, the inevitable blurring of the netbook/ultraportable categories, but then the iPad made its big splash and both consumers and manufacturers abandoned the netbook concept (very small, light, all-day battery, but quite weak initially; as tech advanced, they would likely have become what, say, the Macbook Air 11 is, but again, the market abandoned the size and concept for tablets.

    There was a point in there! Decide if 13" screens and 3 lb weight is ok for you, then change that criteria. The only model that has come up in this thread - and boy has it come up! - that is under 13" is that Thinkpad X230, which has a 12.5" screen, but is as large and heavy as most of the 13" models, larger and heavier than some.

    3) Style. You said it was a big point for you (actually, you said "Bit point," but I think the meaning was clear :)) Well, if style is important, don't even consider a Thinkpad. Even to those who like them, they are not considered to have style; rather, it's their lack of style - and other attributes - that attract people to them. "Ultrabooks," those very thin, sexy looking products like the Samsung S9, Macbook Air, Asus Zenbook, etc, are at the high end of design language these days. Sony, especially in the Z (note my signature line; I'm biased towards them!), tends to go its own way with style - which is to say, they don't try to make copies of Apple products! - and models like the Z are thinner and lighter than many Ultrabooks, but substantially different in style, and power. The products coming out over the next 4-6 months will have the dual objectives of achieving high style (which includes light weight and thin profiles these days) without sacrificing power or flexibility. Right now is a particularly bad time to buy in this range because it came upon the industry rather suddenly in early 2011, largely due coincidence of two cataclysmically disruptive new product from you-know-who: the MacBook Air (2011 re-do) and the overwhelming popularity of tablets, but especially the iPad. We are currently in the second generation of "Ultrabooks," which is just a branding thing Intel came up with to get Windows brands to compete against the MacBook Air and the iPad by bringing thin, light, stylish, fast ultraportable computing that ran a full day on a battery charge. It's actually been a remarkable achievement by some - especially Samsung and Asus - to see how quickly they moved from infancy (gen 1, circa mid-late 2011) to "adolescence" (gen 2, 7-9 mos after gen 1, mid 2012) with products that addressed 75% or more of the shortcomings the review community balked about - again, these were primarily "ways in which the Ulttabooks were inferior to the MBA!" So, generation 3 will start rolling out this Fall and into the Spring of next year, with Windows 8 (beginning October) and, later, the Haswell line of Intel chips (coming next Spring) being the outside catalysts driving both changes and improvements. If Gen. 2 Ultrabooks were 75% better than Gen 1, I'd expect Gen 3-3.5 to nearly double Gen 2 in terms of everything from design to power for the $ to battery life to...

    4) SCREEN QUALITY - this strikes me as the fourth area of your criteria that got a little lost in the debate. You want a great screen for doing Photoshop, watching video and some video editing, and you want it to work reasonably well outside, in the sun. Well, once again you've come to the right place, and this time the technology is largely here, now, though it will continue to improve and go down in price. In order to meet your criteria you need a very high quality screen with excellent color reproduction and contrast. Then you need it to be super-bright and non-glossy (a.k.a. "matte") finished so that it looks really good in bright light. Finally, you will want a screen that has great viewing angles, so that you can turn it away from the direct sunlight (no screen can be seen in direct sunlight) but not distort the image or colors by turning it to the side or shifting it up or down. Done, done, done. The perfect example of what you want is the screen in the Asus UX31A. A close contender is the one in the latest model S9, 13", but it doesn't have the color fidelity that is ideal for photo editing, though it's good enough for most. The screen in the Sony Z is truly "legendary" for it's color fidelity, contrast and color gamut, reaching some 94% of all the colors in the Adobe RGB color palette, a feat not achieved by any other 13" screen ever made. The Z screen's weak points are outdoor viewing; it's bright enough, but only just, for viewing in bright light (the screen in the Asus is twice as bright and in the Samsung it's about 50% brighter), but it doesn't do as well as these other screens viewing off-axis, which you sometimes need to do when the sun is too bright. Indoors, you still can't beat the Z's screen for all of your criteria. Outdoors, you'll need to restrict yourself to shady areas. Bottom line, there are already a number of great screens (this is a brand new phenomenon: 1 year ago, NONE of this - except the Sony Z - even existed!)

    5) Almost forgot: battery life. It's been said by others that thin/light means smaller batteries and there is no new battery technology on the immediate horizon, so size and weight pretty much drives battery life. Makers have gone to sheet batteries because they enable them to keep the base model very thin and stylish - and still get 4-5 hrs actual battery life - but then add about .5 inches and 1-1,3 lbs and double the life to 8-10 hours with the sheet battery. It's definitely the best way to go. Machines like the Thinkpad X230 with a 9 cell battery that sticks out the back and makes the whole computer weigh nearly 5 lbs doesn't cut it compared to adding a sheet to the Sony Z, keeping the slim lines, making total weight no more than 3.6 lbs and giving you lots of options. Unfortunately, Sony and Lenovo are the only brands with sheet batteries or other ways to extend life. All the other ultrabooks have sealed batteries (so you can't just carry a charged up spare and replace the one that is running low as used to be common) and no ability to do add-on batteries. This will change too. Particularly when Intel's Haswell technology is incorporated in notebooks next Spring, the models that are getting 4.5 hrs now will get nearly 10.

    I'm afraid to post this and see how long it is! Worse yet, I don't have time to edit it! Hope it helps, hope you can read through it! If it wasn't obvious, my recommendation for now would be, in this order, Sony Z, Samsung S9, Asus UX31A. The Asus would be far ahead of the Samsung and on the heels of the Sony (but much shorter battery life cuz no sheet battery) except that there have been quality problems widely reported. These will get sorted out and it is a drop-dead gorgeous design and has the best screen by far in terms of brightness, outdoor usability and even indoors it gives the Z a run for its money. To get any of these with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM you will need to spend high teens to $2,000, but no more, so it's in your budget. Wait 6 months and you'll be able to get this much for $1,200-$1,500 or get increased performance for your $2,000.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sony Vaio VPC-Z22 | i7-2640M |8GB | 256GB SATA III SSD | 1080p | sheet battery | no PMS, er, PMD! Liking it better every day.

    Sony Vaio VPC-Z13
    | i7-640M | 8GB | 256GB SSD | 900p | WWAN | there will never be a laptop this close to perfection made again!

    Brand? "MBA" 13. It's mainly for my wife, but when I need to do a lot of typing or web surfing, somehow it's what I grab for - no, not to throw it across the room!

     
  4. talin

    talin Notebook Prophet

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    Again, I don't see what the problem is, and why you're making such a big deal out of it. If you don't like the advice that someone else is giving, than you are free to give your own, or better yet, just don't post if it bothers you so much. Why should it bother you?
    You know, if I had a notebook that I was very impressed with, and have a lot of experience with, I too would recommend it, because that would be *my* perspective. If you can't understand any of that or be a little more respectful, then STFU or GTFO. I'm not going to put up with this childish, needless bashing of helpful members that does a lot for YOU GUYS. That is not fair to him, or to anyone else. Got it?
     
  5. V_Chip

    V_Chip Be about it.

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    Soo.. on the topic of a fitting notebook for the OP? :rollseyes:

    OP: Have you had any hand on experience with any of the recently mentioned notebooks?

    Sometimes just holding the device in your hands will swoon you in one direction or the other. I know of some members here who buy and return notebooks on their prospective list before they find one that omits the right "aura". Rather than arguing and comparing spec sheets, sometimes it's nice to just get some hands-on time with the notebook yourself.

    Just a tip. :D

    Best of luck.
     
  6. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    I take umbrage sir, and I use that loosely, at your characterization that I shove the X230 down peoples throat, thereby not serving there needs. In your own post you said I recommended the Samsung, the best choice. How does that add up? If someone post looking a small notebook, I of course suggest the X230 because it's a fantastic ultraportable. It offers a light durable design with a great keyboard and screen, and long battery life. If you're looking for an ultraportable, why wouldn't want those features? I also often mention its weak point, the touch pad, and counsel posters to consider it before buying. Others are free to make their own recommendations and I don't disparage their offerings. The OP is always free to make their own decision. In addition every day I suggest other notebooks like Samsung, HP Dell, Sony, etc., these would be examples of non-X230 notebooks. Do I suggest the X230 to people use to people seeking 15" notebooks? No, and I say show me two examples, nobody's perfect, where I've recommended the X220 or X230 where it was clearly outside of what the OP wanted or needed? I couldn't possibly make 30 X230 recommendations a day as it would be probably at least six times the number of suggestions I make a day. I don't know you feel the need to critique others who are trying to help, but it's really not one of your better qualities.
     
  7. pianowizard

    pianowizard Notebook Evangelist

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    Alright, ZaZ and invisigoth, I see your points, and I am going to say "sorry" like a grown up.
     
  8. lovelaptops

    lovelaptops MY FRIENDS CALL ME JEFF!

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    EDIT of original post, below:

    In finally having the time to re-read my post I have come to realize:

    1) I wrote it as if the OP was far less sophisticated and knowledgeable than h/she obviously is upon my re-read of your base post. (Anyone who has built their own gaming rig and occasionally runs their laptop in Unbutu probably doesn't need the degree of explanation in my post!) I guess it was the "Near-College" description that led me to think I was writing to a young person with limited familiarity. Apologies if I sounded as if i was talking down to you. I write for a number of publications and constantly have to adjust my style for the audience.

    2) I stand by what I said, every word of it. People in this thread were getting so wrapped up in their own pet products they were ignoring those 4 or 5 things in your OP that were your lead criteria: 1) 11" form factor, 2) very long battery life, over 7 hrs if poss, 3) screen must be excellent quality (photoshop, video watching) and extremely bright (using outdoors), 4) LONG purchase time horizon - you said you could wait up to 6 months! Nobody hardly ever writes to this thread with such a long time horizon; very refreshing, also changes to recommendations completely; clearly you are interested in some current models, but it happens that on almost all your major criteria there will be an almost revolutionary change in technology and price over the next 6 months.

    The fact that the OP hasn't weighed in for several days is probably due to the lack of responsiveness to h/her question. I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I suggest contributors at least be responsive to the OP's needs.

    _________________________________________________________________
    Earlier Post:

    My revision to my earlier post reads more logically at the top of this "bump," so this is just filler to vBulletin will treat it as a Reply. ;)
     
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