Another laptop recommendation, i7 needed
December 21, 2013 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Another laptop recommendation (or how can I get back to as good a laptop as my 2002 laptop?) Wanted:i7 tablet with digitizer and matte screen without all the extra frills.

I've looked through some of the other posts before posting, but can't find anything specific to my needs so here is having to go:

Looking for the following:
Windows 8 Tablet PC
Capacitive stylus compatible
Matte finish screen (I cannot stand writing on glass)
Intel I7 quad core
8g ram or more
No SSD required (I already have an SSD hard drive)
No Special graphics card required
Not sensitive to weight
Decent trackpad--not track point, And I cannot use an external mouse.
Crap, cramped keyboard is ok! Yes ok, not important. (I never type;as long as I can do keyboard shortcuts)
12 inch real larger screen would be preferred, but this is not a breaking point
International warranty honored in China (makes Lenovo preferred in many ways)

The challenges I am having our of course that nowadays laptop manufactures sometimes don't even bother specifying whether or not it is digitizer compatible you have to call them. Matte screens seem to of gone the way of the dodo bird, But I am able to take notes by hand for short periods of time and like to do so, but found it very difficult to do so on glass As this requires even more fine motor skill than I have at this point for more than even a short period.

The reason why I want high-end processor is because I am almost completely reliant on voice recognition + Accessibility software which without copious amounts of RAM runs into lots of latency issues. I only use a keyboard for keyboard shortcuts sporadically and never (read can't) use a mouse. Unfortunately the higher end models seem to want to load in copious amounts of SSD space and correspondingly have a higher price, And sometimes bundle with higher-end graphic cards which I don't need either. I already have a decently sized SSD hard drive so don't want to pay for it.

Being able to write on the first tablets really made me more productive and changed my life. I was able to work from a café, library, or airplane for the first time and markup documents, take notes, and send short messages and so forth when otherwise I wouldn't of been able to because of the background noise negating voice recognition. A glossy screen more or less removes this function for me.

I know it is out there right?:
I already had my idea laptop a 2002 acer 301 TravelMate that despite some issues I had to fight with the company(External sound interference from the motherboard) on proved great otherwise. The screen size was exactly the same as an eight and half by 11 sheet of paper which was quite intuitive and the matte screen had beautiful tactile feedback despite getting slightly scratched up over the years. Unfortunately, after 6-7 years of Use by me and my roommates, it's barely usable. I honestly would buy it again, but the processor is not able to handle the updated voice recognition software and everything else that needs to be run these days. My Lenovo X 200 I bought a couple years ago also was great and if the track point didn't give me wrist pain I wouldn't have sold it right away. My Fujitsu t730 i5 powered book, seemed to do the trick, but the thickness (my fault for not checking before purchase) and screen rotation issues almost just about negated its ability to take notes in tablet mode and had what became a well-known problem with sound high-pitched sound which negated my voice recognition, Even though I was using an external soundcard.

Rant begins: (with just enough relevant information to stay with and posting guidelines)
I am so frustrated right about now. I'm home for the holidays just for week and a half and have already spent 12 hours researching this stuff. Since I am only here once a year this is my time to get it. It seems that Tablet PCs as us early users knew them have gotten further and further away from what we loved about them. Ostensibly, my Fujitsu has been repaired by now, but there are several issues with it anyway. I really hate spending money and time even thinking about buying this, and I wouldn't even be bothered if I didn't have specific issues because of my wrist anyway. I really hate spending extra money on top of being disabled, but the reality is I've had trouble getting work done because of computer interface issues and so need to get it solved. On the other hand, I have absolutely no confidence in my ability to pick the right laptop. Acer eventually was working well, but had extensive periods of time getting fixed(And required a lawyer), likewise the Fujitsu also had issues as well.
End rant

I've heard the windows surface Pro has some kind of antiglare screen, but does this result in increased texture when writing on it? But I think it's limited to I5 and the amount of RAM don't make it a contender anyway.

Yoga 13 and yoga pro 2 look good, but have glossy screens.
Any other suggestions?

Is there still an option out there for me? Or my stuck having to give up the writing? Am I stuck getting a lower end processor unit just for taking notes on and a higher end processor-based laptop For my voice recognition and primary usage?

Any single machine recommendations or combinations would be greatly appreciated!
posted by chinabound to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard the windows surface Pro has some kind of antiglare screen, but does this result in increased texture when writing on it?

It's just glass, like the iPad or anything else. By "antiglare coating" they mean the special spray-on coating some TVs have and such. I've tried it out, it's not any more antiglare than any smartphone i've seen. Nor is there any texture or anything, it's just smooth glass.

So that said, getting in to the meat of it here...

First of all, are you sure that your voice recognition and other software is even multithreaded in a way that would benefit from a core i7? The first gen i5's in the t730 you mentioned were wimpy, i agree, but the modern ones are VERY fast. Not to mention the fact that nearly all tablet systems like this include a dual core, not quad i7 which is really a pointless upgrade(barring some use cases like virtualization). A modern dual core i5 is essentially as fast, and sometimes a bit faster than two cores of a quad i7. The quad cores are really just for people who heavily use apps that take advantage of it. I just went down this road when buying a new system, and was a bit surprised by that. On single or two threaded load, just as an example here, the 13in retina macbook pro was exactly as fast as the 15in quad core.

So with that in mind, the biggest issue here is matte.

And ugh, i feel you on that one. I've ALWAYS bought matte machines. I was quite angry that none of the macs are available matte anymore. Looking around at various models includes the x230t(which is oddly outdated for the price. 3rd gen intel CPUs and windows 7 for >$1000? wtf) even if they're advertised as matte, if you google around you just get "i ordered the matte and it showed up and it's just antiglare glass what the hell is this crap?". I used my 17in matte macbook pro, and a little 8in core2duo matte fujitsu tablet into this year because there was nothing remotely comparable available.

I can't even find any intel 3rd gen tablets that are matte. And stuff like the panasonic tough book uses very slow under clocked CPUs so they can use passive cooling(and are also CRAZY expensive).

I think you can get everything you want here but the quad core and the matte screen. There may even be a few quad core active digitizer machines out there, but i haven't seen them. I don't think there's any such thing as a non glass(or glossy plastic) convertible tablet machine anymore though :(
posted by emptythought at 3:04 PM on December 21, 2013

Response by poster: "First of all, are you sure that your voice recognition and other software is even multithreaded in a way that would benefit from a core i7?"

Yep, pretty much. More or less straight from the mouth from the techno files on the voice recognition forum including from a couple developers for companion/assessability software.

We, apparently, are not alone in our disdain for glossy.
posted by chinabound at 4:21 PM on December 21, 2013

I don't have any good recommendations for you, but it might be possible to use a stopgap solution on the glossy screen bit. I've been having this problem with a new monitor that work got for me--it's glossy glass and I've been trying to find something like this for it without much luck yet:

It might be easier to get for a laptop's screen, however!
posted by foxfirefey at 6:56 PM on December 21, 2013

Just got the Dell XPS, 8GB version. So far, love it.
posted by MattD at 9:49 AM on December 22, 2013

the thinkpad x230t has a touchpad now... it's not clear whether it comes with windows 8 but i'm sure that's possible one way or another.
posted by at 2:23 PM on December 22, 2013

the thinkpad x230t has a touchpad now... it's not clear whether it comes with windows 8 but i'm sure that's possible one way or another.
posted by at 2:24 PM on December 22, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks. Do either of those models screens have a matte finish?

The stupid reps at Lenovo didn't say that model had an input when I asked for which models did, so they lost a customer. I ended up getting a non-tablet, but I could always offload it on someone if I had to so please keep the suggestions coming.
posted by chinabound at 6:13 PM on December 23, 2013

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