Laptop? Tablet? Need to upgrade from 6-yr old netbook.

Potato Pancake

Commendable
Dec 18, 2016
2
0
1,510
0
Need to upgrade from Asus EEE PC model 1005HA (Windows XP 32-bit). I'm open to laptop or tablet (w/ blutooth keyboard), and anything in between. I'm skeptical I'd need to spend more than $1000. Would like something that meets my needs and has a little bit extra to make performance snappy.

What I have in mind:
Looking for something portable and lightweight, e.g. <13.5" screen size. I hear IPS is better than TN.
Should have a good battery life (>8 hours would be nice!)
Would prefer SSD over a mechanical drive. 64GB (as long as it is expandable), or 128GB (or more) SSD.

Here's a list of things I currently do/need it to do:
- Browse web (with 10 or more open all at the same time without getting sluggish)
- Run some Win XP or just light-weight software every now and then
- Connect to home Windows network drives and printer
- Have a USB 3.0 port (full size or otherwise, as long as I can buy an adapter to make it compatible with full size)
- image viewing, light image editing (crop, rotate, resize) (8MB to 16MB for each photo)
- video file playback, light video editing (remove frames, convert file format)
- make word files and spreadsheets
- be able to play the occasional flash/browser-based games
- good, reliable wifi reception

Things that I want it to do:
- handwriting digitization for hand-written note taking. Needs to be a hassle-free and pain-free experience. I am open to suggestions for how to accomplish this.
- Last me at least 3 years (the higher the price, the longer I want it to last before having to buy another!).

Things I don't really need:
internal optical drive
ethernet, HDMI output
be capable of graphic design, modeling, or gaming


 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
You needs seems to be rather basic with the exception of "light video editing". Deleting frames from a video file is no big deal since it should not require the entire video to be re-encoded. However, converting the format does mean re-encoding is necessary. The time it takes to convert from one format to another depends on the format you want to convert to using whatever video codec you have in mind, the settings used for the conversion process, the resolution and finally the length of the video. At a minimum, I recommend a Core i3 CPU, but a Core i5 CPU is highly recommended.

I also recommend at least 4GB of RAM. This basically knocks the Surface 3 out of contention since it has a Cherry Trail Atom CPU.

Laptops are generally easy enough to upgrade the RAM and hard drive... But small laptops and convertibles are typically not user upgradeable. If you want to buy something like the Acer Switch Alpha 12, MS Surface Pro 4 or HP Spectre x2 12, then you need to buy with the specs you want it to have.

I have no idea what technology the Galaxy Tab S Pen uses, but since it is an Android tablet I doubt they are using Synaptic active digitizer tech. There are several active digitizer tech out there; Microsoft's Surface series uses N-Trig tech. In fact, they acquired N-Trig last year which likely means it is exclusive to Surface devices.


If you are okay with a 14" laptop, then the ThinkPad Yoga 2-in-1 offers a decent compromise. It comes with a digital pen which I think uses Wacom tech. The RAM and SSD are upgradeable, however, there is only one RAM slot which means it is possible to upgrade the RAM to 16GB. But a 16GB stick of RAM is pretty expensive; generally around $150+ if you search online for "16GB DDR3L RAM stick". It should have a standard 2.5" SATA SSD which means you can replace it with a larger capacity 2.5" SATA SSD.


http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-thinkpad-yoga-2-in-1-14-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-256gb-solid-state-drive-black/4456400.p?skuId=4456400
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
The following article lists many 13.3" or smaller laptops / convertible laptops that may suit your needs. Since you want "handwriting digitization for hand-written note taking", you are basically looking for a device with Active Digitizer. Look at the screen column for "w/ digitizer" since that is what you are looking for.


http://www.ultrabookreview.com/10522-complete-list-2-in-1-laptops/


You should be aware that some of the devices cannot be upgraded which means you need to order the laptop / convertible with the RAM / storage that you want because there is no way to upgrade it yourself. Examples are the Microsoft Surface 3 / Surface Pro 3 / Surface Pro 4 and Acer Switch Alpha 12 which because only adhesives are used.

Prices do not always represent the base configuration, rather it may reflect the most expensive configuration. For example, the Acer Switch Alpha 12 starts out much less expensive than $1199.

Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-39N9 - Core i3-6100u, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD for $444 (Digital Pen sold separately).
https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Switch-Memory-Windows-SA5-271-39N9/dp/B01F1Z7DEE/ref=sr_1_3?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1482250370&sr=1-3&keywords=acer+switch+alpha+12

Acer Switch Alpha 12 SA5-271-57QF - Core i5-6200u, 8GB RAM 256GB SSD for $679 (Digital Pen sold separately).
https://www.amazon.com/Acer-SA5-271-57QF-i5-6200U-Notebook-NT-LCDAA-005/dp/B01FJT295A/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1482250560&sr=1-1&keywords=acer+switch+alpha+12
 

Potato Pancake

Commendable
Dec 18, 2016
2
0
1,510
0

Let me approach this a different way. What are the kind of minimum hardware specs I should be looking at? For instance, is 2GB going to be too little RAM? Should I be looking at 4GB; is 8GB overkill?
What about CPUs? If that's too nuanced, can it be simplified by justing setting a minimum CPU score from PassMark, and I shouldn't even consider any laptops with CPUs with scores below that threshold?
Would your recommendation change if I sacrificed the handwriting/pen option?

Upgradeable? Unless it is designed with an easy access slot, like a PS3's hard drive, or the RAM in my Asus EEE netbook, then it might as well be fixed in stone for me. Are there really any laptops with easily swappable hardware components? DIY solutions (e.g. soldering and other such 'invasive' modification) is not an option for me.

I am confused by the pen technology, because there seems to be many options. I tried the S-Pen on a Galaxy Tab at a Best Buy, and I really liked the experience! What is like that in the Windows OS line-up?

I forgot to mention in my OP - I am going to buy the laptop (or whatever) at a retail store, not Amazon or Newegg, so I'm kind of limited to: Best Buy, Microsoft Store, and MicroCenter. As odious as Best Buy might be to the savvy electronics shopper, it and its Geek Squad support is the most convenient option for me.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
You needs seems to be rather basic with the exception of "light video editing". Deleting frames from a video file is no big deal since it should not require the entire video to be re-encoded. However, converting the format does mean re-encoding is necessary. The time it takes to convert from one format to another depends on the format you want to convert to using whatever video codec you have in mind, the settings used for the conversion process, the resolution and finally the length of the video. At a minimum, I recommend a Core i3 CPU, but a Core i5 CPU is highly recommended.

I also recommend at least 4GB of RAM. This basically knocks the Surface 3 out of contention since it has a Cherry Trail Atom CPU.

Laptops are generally easy enough to upgrade the RAM and hard drive... But small laptops and convertibles are typically not user upgradeable. If you want to buy something like the Acer Switch Alpha 12, MS Surface Pro 4 or HP Spectre x2 12, then you need to buy with the specs you want it to have.

I have no idea what technology the Galaxy Tab S Pen uses, but since it is an Android tablet I doubt they are using Synaptic active digitizer tech. There are several active digitizer tech out there; Microsoft's Surface series uses N-Trig tech. In fact, they acquired N-Trig last year which likely means it is exclusive to Surface devices.


If you are okay with a 14" laptop, then the ThinkPad Yoga 2-in-1 offers a decent compromise. It comes with a digital pen which I think uses Wacom tech. The RAM and SSD are upgradeable, however, there is only one RAM slot which means it is possible to upgrade the RAM to 16GB. But a 16GB stick of RAM is pretty expensive; generally around $150+ if you search online for "16GB DDR3L RAM stick". It should have a standard 2.5" SATA SSD which means you can replace it with a larger capacity 2.5" SATA SSD.


http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-thinkpad-yoga-2-in-1-14-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-256gb-solid-state-drive-black/4456400.p?skuId=4456400
 
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