Laptop decision help - form filled - I'm a bit stuck.

alansamuel

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Aug 22, 2017
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I hope you don't mind me picking your grey matter for some laptop advice. I'd like to improve my skills and laptop capabilities in some graphic design and simple (perhaps leading to intermediate) video editing (for marketing purposes). I'd also like to have a go at creating maps (for our guests). I don't want to over power the machine but want something comfortable.

My budget could stretch to £1000.

Some ideas:

256 ssd or better
8gb or better
i5 or i7 better
Maybe a 4gb graphics card
Touchscreen (for map work?) - or is a peripheral stylus better?
1080 screen res?
USBc necessary?
Strong battery life.

I've never considered a Mac before but some computing industry guys suggest I look at the Mac Book pro. Macs are a bit like Marmite - either loved or hated (a fashion accessory).

I'm in Canada until 6th Sep and Best Buy have a 2016 Macbook pro with 8gb, 256 ssd and 13.3" screen for £1000.

Would my money be better spent on a PC? If so can you suggest some?
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
The MacBook is definitely an attractive machine - even more so with a CAD300 discount. But it isn't touchscreen and it doesn't have a digitizer panel, so no stylus. From your background info, I would imagine that such features would be not only nice to have but pretty much required. Take a look at this slightly less expensive alternative from Lenovo:
http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/lenovo-lenovo-thinkpad-yoga-460-20em001pus-ultrabook-tablet-14-quot-in-plane-switching-ips-technology-wireless-lan-intel-cor-20em001pus/10433760.aspx?

You get a 14" 1080p screen which is both touch and stylus-ready. And the 2-in-1 design offers increased versatility compared with a traditional clam-shell design. The weak points are RAM and storage, both of which can easily be upgraded later on (it's a ThinkPad). Lenovo claim 10 hours of battery life, but that's the gutted-out version. This version (with an IPS touchscreen) is likely to land at 6 to 7 hours of useful up-time. Price is CAD1,400 or ££872.
 

alansamuel

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Aug 22, 2017
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alansamuel

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Aug 22, 2017
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Thanks GreyCayz. Some sound thinking there. To sound a bit cheeky, I don't suppose you know how the prices from UK suppliers stack up? Also I've been in touch with Dell and they keep edging me towards their XPS range. Why do you think of them?
 

GreyCatz

Admirable


I managed to find this ThinkPad Yoga 460 from Amazon UK:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-ThinkPad-i7-6500U-1080pixels-Touchscreen/dp/B01D1QO9QK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1503548327&sr=8-2&keywords=lenovo+thinkpad+yoga+460

It's rather more expensive, but it does come with more RAM and storage, and an i7 CPU. For your intended use, I don't think that an i7 will make that much of a difference compared with the i5 in the BestBuy version - but you'll probably want to add more RAM and storage. Even so, that's still a £400 difference.

Also on Amazon UK, there's this Dell XPS 13:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/1920x1280-InfinityEdge-Display-Ultrabook-Dell/dp/B01MCVYGQZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1503548948&sr=1-1&keywords=dell+xps+13

Very popular with reviewers and users, and for £1,000 you get decent specs but a traditional chassis and screen. Battery life is listed at 17 hours, and even with the usual adjustments that's significantly more than you'll ever get from the Yoga (or any Lenovo currently available).

John Lewis has a 2-in-1 touch version of the XPS 13 at £1,250:
https://www.johnlewis.com/dell-xps-13-convertible-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-ram-256gb-ssd-13-3-touch-screen-silver/p3149675

The only 2-in-1 touch XPS 13 from BestBuy CA I could find was sold out (priced at CAD1,400).

 

alansamuel

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Aug 22, 2017
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I can't thank you enough for the help here. I've got a good few models narrowed down thanks to you GreyCatz.

One follow up question yo help me bag the right laptop ... would a peripheral stylus/pen be a effective if I were to choose a non touch screen?
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
1. If you have to choose between a touch-screen and a stylus-ready screen, I think you'll be better off with a stylus panel. You did mention an interest in graphics design, and I would imagine that a stylus will afford more precision and versatility compared with a touch screen.

2. The Dell in your latest post is a very compelling proposition: It may not support a stylus, but Dell's screens are praised by professionals in the fields of photography and, yes, graphics design. Consequently, these Dells are also typically significantly more expensive than Lenovos, say. This is borne out by the rather high price for this refurbished machine. The CPU is Intel's super-efficient dual-core series humming along at 1.30 GHz but capable of 3.60 GHz when needed. You should probably check the kind of professional software you'll be using to make sure this type of CPU can provide sufficient base power.

3. If your budget is somewhere around £1,000 I think your best option is the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga. A similar Dell (touch and stylus) will be around £1,400 - but then you do get a very good screen in the process. Lenovo's 2K IPS panel isn't bad, it's just that Dell offer a broader range of high-quality panels.

I hope I haven't made matters worse.
 

alansamuel

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Aug 22, 2017
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The Dell is stylus ready (and the £17.95). There's also 10% off the Dell until tomorrow.

The heaviest application I'm likely to run is:

Adobe Premiere Pro CC (2017) system requirements

Multicore processor with 64-bit support
Microsoft Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 (64 bit) or Windows 8 (64 bit), or Windows 10 (64 bit).
8GB of RAM (16GB or more recommended)
8GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on removable flash storage devices)
1280x800 display (1920x1080 or larger recommended)
Sound card compatible with ASIO protocol or Microsoft Windows Driver Model
Optional: Adobe-recommended GPU card for GPU-accelerated performance

What do you think?
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
Well, it's getting increasingly more difficult for me to find fault with this refurbished Dell. In addition to covering all your stated requirements it also gives you a blindingly fast 512 GB M.2 SSD - and keeps you on budget. Not bad at all.

Here's an exhaustive review by notebookcheck from early this year:
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-XPS-13-9365-2-in-1-Convertible-Review.193704.0.html

The overall verdict is positive (display and battery life), and Adobe Premiere Pro CC won't be a problem.

Best of luck,
GreyCatz.
 

alansamuel

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Aug 22, 2017
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GreyCatz we've been on a journey together. Once ordered the refurb with one year's warranty. Thanks for your excellent advice. Couldn't have done it without you :)
 
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