Need help buying an ultrabook-type laptop for travelling

Travellin

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Jul 16, 2017
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Hi all, need some help from people who know more than me about laptops! Basically I'm going travelling abroad and looking to replace my ageing laptop.

I'm not quite going backpacking or anything but I *do* need a laptop that's very portable and has good battery life. So a sturdy build is pretty essential too. I'm looking at 13" models mainly. I also would prefer decent hardware as I do edit photos and videos a lot and would want something that would be able to do all of that processing etc and also want a laptop that would last me a few years, so was thinking I may need i5 or i7 with 8-16gb ram and also just generally being pretty powerful to suit my needs.

I was looking around the £1000 mark and was really liking Dell's XPS 13 series! But after reading into it and the coil whine issues, I'm really worried about it and put off. I know that's not going to be a deal-breaker for most but it would be really irritating on such an expensive laptop and I don't want one with coil whine, and I don't want the fear I'll be travelling abroad and then get coil whine later.. Still thinking about it as it looks like an amazing laptop but really torn on the issue. I was also looking at the HP Spectre which looks great but battery life doesn't seem amazing.. I don't need insane battery life but something around at least 8 hours or more would be perfect. Again, I'll be abroad so more battery is essential although I realise that decent screens and hardware suck battery life.

Anyway any really good ultrabooks for travelling or recommendations would be really useful! Again, I really love the XPS 13 range but doesn't seem any guarantees the coil whine issue has been fixed
 

velocityg4

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What do you mean by photo and video editing. Screwing around with some vacation photos and videos or serious Photoshop work with files several hundred MB in size and editing hours of raw footage?

If just simple stuff you may even want to consider an iPad Pro. It has a superb screen. Apple's warranty is worldwide. You can edit photos and videos. Battery life is excellent. Plus you can get an IP68 case for it. Providing excellent protection from the elements and shock. Plus if it is stolen. If you have find my iPhone turned on and erase data. You can be sure it will just become a useless paperweight to would be thieves. Keyboards are also available for it.

As for an ultrabook. I would look at the Yoga 710 14. After a lot of research. This is what I settled on recommending for a client. It had excellent reviews both professional and on Amazon. When installed it for them I found the same things. It had a nice bright screen. The battery barely budged during three hours of moderate use. The keyboard had decent keystroke. I'd say the case felt quite firm. Even when transitioning from laptop to tablet mode (some ultrabooks feel flimsy). There was no coil whine on the two 710 I setup.

If I were in the market right now for a laptop. I would buy the Lenovo Yoga 710. Overall build quality was much better than most ultrabooks I've setup for clients.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-YOGA-14-Inch-Convertible-Notebook/dp/B01NARDPK0/

Lenovo is also the top rated brand for 2017, by laptopmag.com.
https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/laptop-brand-ratings

The coil whine issue has not been fixed on the Dell XPS 13.
 

Travellin

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Thanks for your answer! I'll look into it!! And I've got a DSLR 4K-capable camera which I'm taking travelling -
planning on taking and editing RAW photos as well as editing 4K videos. Not sure how 'serious' the level of Photoshop work I'll be doing but it's definitely somewhere in between messing about with vacation photos and serious work. So I don't need the highest-spec laptop on the market but I definitely want a laptop that can handle workloads easily without lagging or overheating or whatever.
 

velocityg4

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Well, you'll want more RAM for 4K video. Even 16GB is a little light. Although short clips should be fine. A quad core CPU would be preferable for 4K. A dual core i7 u-series will work. It will just be a bit slow editing 4K. As you want an ultrabook the quad core is out.

Crucial sells a 16GB kit for the Yoga 710.
http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/compatible-upgrade-for//yoga-710-%2814-inch%29

As for pictures. The Yoga 710 does 96% Adobe sRGB. It has a Delta E of 1.12. So accuracy is not perfect but way above average.

If your budget was higher. I would recommend the HP Spectre x360 13t. As it has a better screen. While the Lenovo is quite good the HP is even better. As it covers 102% Adobe sRGB and has a lower Delta E of 0.74 (lower is better). Battery life is about 10 hours. The SSD is faster.

Just for reference the 1920x1080 Dell XPS 13 covers 94% Adobe sRGB and has a Delta E of 1.3. So, the Lenovo is better.

Given your budget the Lenovo with an aftermarket RAM upgrade still sounds like the best option.
 

Travellin

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Thanks for the help! I don't mind paying a bit more for durability and processing. I was actually really interested in the HP Spectre X360! Although I was reading complaints re: it getting very hot during use. However I'd definitely rather spend more for a laptop that would do all my needs whilst abroad. I won't be editing feature-length 4K films but I'll certainly be processing RAW videos and 4K shots.. unfortunately I don't know a huge amount about laptops so not sure about the requirements needed for video/photo editing. I know quad-core is better but do you think the HP Spectre x360 13t would handle that workload okay? It certainly seems a solid build-quality, decent battery life and so on. I could probably live with the heat issue if it wasn't too bad and if it could handle processing on the go. My only concern is spending £1000+ on a laptop only to find it's chugging or has poor performance when editing. Obviously desktops are better for this sort of work but I really need something portable that still does the job. Touch-screen isnt' essential although I am really interested in a touchscreen/stylus-enabled laptop as well so the Spectre looks very promising there too...!

 

Travellin

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Also I suppose I'll be looking for 16GB RAM, and quad-core processing as you suggested so not sure if the Spectre has this, seems to be dual-core only?
 

velocityg4

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The HP just has a slightly nicer screen, longer battery life and a slightly faster SSD. There won't be much if any difference in 4K video. Only 16GB Ram will make a difference. As it still has the same CPU and integrated graphics.

Most ultrabooks get hot under heavy load. That is a price you pay for thin, light and fast.

You aren't going to get a quad core in a real ultrabook. They generate too much ch heat and use too much power.

You can get some fairly thin and light quad cores. But they won't be nearly as portable as an ultrabook.

Depending on the type of editing you are doing a dual core may be plenty. Some tasks are CPU intensive. Others are just limited by your storage devices speed.

Way back when, I messed around with video editing on a PowerMac 7100/66AV with 72MB RAM. I did quite a bit of SD video on a 466 Mhz PowerMac G4. By the time I had a Core 2 Duo, I found most tasks I did with HD video was limited by the speed of my hard drives not CPU. All I ever really do is simple edits. Cutting, transitions, adding an audio track, and outputting the finished file.

What CPU you want depends on your workload. If just simple edits. Do your edits then go do something else while you save your finished edit.
 
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