Windows 10 := New Computer

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Windows 10 := New Computer

Postby Graham Smith » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:27 pm

For all who may be thinking along the same lines as I am...

I have an old Desktop with Win7 on it which don't use any more, having switched to using a Win7 laptop connected to a docking station with two additional monitors, mouse, keyboard, and network. With the coming of Windows 10, I've had a look at a few a possible replacements for my laptop. But I really can't see replacing my exiting laptop as long as it still works because it does everything just fine.

So, I've been kicking around the idea of moving to a hybrid computer - a tablet that's got enough guts to act as a laptop/desktop but can be used as a tablet by itself. The hybrid everyone is comparing against is the Surface Pro 3.

In looking at what I use a computer for these days, about the only real program I use is Ffenics. Almost everything else I do could easily be done on almost anything with almost any OS. In fact, I setup an ASUS T100 (Win8.0) last year for a club I belonged to and took the opportunity to install and test Ffenics on it just for fun. It worked just fine and that has only half the computing power the larger devices have.

Interestingly enough, CPU, memory, and SSD have gotten so good that they are no longer a deciding point for me. The display size is, however. My brief time using the T100 told me that a 10" display is too small for regular use. While I'll be able to connect to a larger display at home, if I have to go somewhere, the onboard display will be it and it's not enough.

That eliminates the smaller Surface 3 as well as a variety of similar sized devices. The Surface Pro 3 has a 12" display and there are a few, like the Asus T300, with a 12.5 display and several others with 13.3 displays. The only real downside to the larger displays is that it makes them a bit big if they are to be used as a tablet.

Of course, I can simply forget the whole thing and just get another normal laptop when mine reaches the end and keep using my 10" iPad as a tablet. But the idea of having a true all-in-one computer has a certain appeal.
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Re: Windows 10 := New Computer

Postby leethr » Tue Jul 21, 2015 2:16 pm

I've had my surface pro 3 since December, and I wouldn't be without it now. It replaced an ageing 17" Dell Laptop, and realistically the only thing I miss whilst working mobile is the real estate of the larger screen. But it didn't take long to get used to the smaller screen of the surface pro, it runs in a very very sharp resolution, 2160X1440 so there is plenty of real estate to use for applications even on the go. Some applications can test your eye sight but nothing a simple adjustment of the text size can't solve.

It really is what it says on the tin in terms of a true hybrid, I can use it pretty much exactly the same as my home built gaming desktop, obviously the performance of games is never going to be matched but it can still produce some pretty good results. I can get an average FPS of 35-40 with Flight Simulator X with all the graphics settings on max. Which just shows how much raw power they do have. So would be more than ample for any of your needs. I went for the I5/256GB/8GB model, I would have liked the I7 but just couldn't justify the extra £250 they wanted, but even still the I5 has plenty of power to go with it.

The only (I want to say down sides, but it's not quite the right word) but points to mention are:
1) The price, they are a very pricey piece of kit, mine with the keyboard still came to £1100 even with student discount
2) When under very heavy load it can run a bit warm making the screen a little bit uncomfortable to touch around the area in front of the CPU it doesn't make it unusable it's just enough for you to notice, but it's to be expected with the power of the hardware they've squeezed into such a small working space.
3) Connecting to external displays requires an adapter as the only output is a mini display port, the docking station does have VGA & DVI connections, but that is the best part of £160 just for the docking station, so on the move if you want to plug into an external monitor you will need to remember to take the adapter with you or you've had it.

Apart from those issues I really can't fault it at all and mine gets it's fair share of use. Give me a shout if you want any more details on it. :)
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Re: Windows 10 := New Computer

Postby Graham Smith » Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:46 pm

There are a couple other machines that look interesting. The Dell Latitude 13 7000 is a 13" screen with a detachable keyboard - a real laptop keyboard with additional ports. The Toshiba Portege Z20t also has a real keyboard but ups the ante by putting a battery in it which doubles the time between charges.

Both are about the same price as the Surface Pro 3 with keyboard but are heavier due to the keyboards. The Toshiba is a real porker as ultrabooks go with that extra battery. But neither is bad when the tablet is detached.

One thing that's hurting the SP3 some in the reviews is the proprietary charger and higher voltage. Not being able to charge it from a standard USB connection and/or external battery decreases the usefulness for some.
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