Needing to get a new portable, because the battery in my workhorse laptop is borked, I ordered a refurbished 13" MacBook Pro - which I am typing on at the moment. So far, it seems fine for what I need, but I was wondering whether the hive mind could think of a better solution. Generic snowflake detail inside.
posted by running order squabble fest to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My basic needs are that I travel a fair amount, and need to be able to write on the move, along with the usual productivity stuff (spreadsheets, presentations and so on). When I was thinking about my options, I figured the priorities were probably:
1) Battery life - all-day seemed like a good minimum standard.
2) Keyboard - a really good keyboard is essential. I have large and slightly clumsy hands, so the closer to full-size a keyboard can be, the better. Travel, spacing and the like are all also important.
3) Portability - to a degree. I'm a big person, and I tend to carry a big bag pretty much everywhere. I limited myself to a maximum screen size of 13" for this device, but I was prepared to go lower if I could find a good enough keyboard.
4) Screen resolution - ideally, I want to be able to have two documents, or a document and a browser window, side by side.
So far, these all seen to work out with the Air (Core i3, and I went for the 256GB upgrade rather than the 8GB RAM upgrade, because I don't plan on using it for serious computing or gaming, but 120GB of storage felt a little weedy and not contingency-proof. Screen resolution is the only real issue, but it seems workable, and no doubt contributes to the battery life.
But I have a week until I have to decide whether to keep it, and was wondering if anything meets my needs better. Cheaper is also nice, but if this is going to be with me for 3+ years I'd rather front-load cost and get a better device.
For example, I considered the 11-inch MacBook Air, and the keys didn't seem cripplingly smaller, but the loss of screen real estate was a factor, and it felt like for not a very large increase in footprint i could get a couple of hours' more battery life.
I was also tempted by various ThinkPads (because of the high-quality keyboards), and in particular the ThinkPad Yoga - 12" is about my favourite screen size for a portable device, going back to the G4 Powerbook. However, the battery life in particular, at 7 hours, seems poor (I mean, not _terrible_, but not great). The IdeaPad Yogas were also temping - the Yoga 2 Pro in particular - 9 hours of battery life, 3200x1800 screen and that folding-to-a-tablet thing, which I can imagine being useful on planes, in particular. That said, my primary need is for something I can type on, and the IdeaPad keyboards don't always have the convexity or the travel of the ThinkPad. Also, the ThinkPad Carbon X1 and the Sony Vaio Pro 13 were in the running, along with the 13" Macbook Pro...
So, I guess my question is - in your opinion, what is the best portable productivity solution (prioritising battery life and keyboard quality) for about $1000-$1500? In your opinion, do things like tablet formats, passive digitisers and hi-res screens make a meaningful difference (I will be watching the odd movie on this laptop, I imagine, but I don't need pin-sharp 4K)? And, for those who have used the MacBook Air 13", do the battery life claims actually stand up? And does the battery hold its charge over time?