The NotebookReview forum is the best place to go to interact directly with other readers, ask questions, and find answers to specific questions concerning notebook and notebook accessory tech. Here’s a roundup of the latest trending topics and buying advice.
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The issue of which laptop is best for college students is one that continues to be among the most popular. The reasons why are obvious: most college students have to be thrifty, without sacrificing quality and capability. User bluedangler5 wanted to know the best make and model for a laptop to get him through engineering courses at a budget of around $1,100.
The consensus has it that the heavy CAD usage required for engineering courses would necessitate foregoing a consumer laptop in favor of a workstation-class laptops, which also offer greater durability. There were strong recommendations for the Dell XPS 13, as well as urgings in the MacBook direction—but user z31fantastic warned that MacBooks may be insufficient due to the fact there are few CAD applications available for Mac.
Forum contributor pitz added, “An external docking station is a must, as well as external LCDs, as you will probably destroy the USB and/or Ethernet ports and/or Thunderbolt ports if you plug devices in and out a few thousand times. You will be glued to a computer for enough of the next 4-5 years that trying to do everything on a laptop screen will cause you significant pain and/or injury.”
Continuing on the (clearly pertinent) issue of best college laptops, user Wild Bill hit the NBR forum asking for advice on the best new laptop for medical school courses—also within the $1,100 range. The Lenovo Thinkpad T460, Dell Latitude E5450, and retina MacBook were recommended, with a 1080p display as a strongly suggested inclusion.
Additionally, it was noted that laptops with solid state drives are better for everyday usage, as opposed to laptops with hard drives. User DRFP, a physician, noted, “To expect 5 years out of any computer, though is short sighted” and added that an expected life of 3 years is closer to real-world expectation.
To score a top-rated all-purpose notebook for around $1,500 isn’t impossible, but it may require the advice of fellow readers and experts in the area of getting the most bang for your buck. When this question was posed on the NBR forums—with the requirements of an SSD, a 15- to 16-inch 4K screen, the ability to run programs like Dreamweaver, and capability for light gaming—the recommendations were varied.
Users suggested the Lenovo Thinkpad P50, Dell XPS 15, Asus Zenbook UX501VW, and Clevo P750DM. There seemed to be a split on opinions of Asus. Some said they had great experiences with then, while one user proclaimed it as a “junk company with crap support and warranty, and very hard to get parts.” The MSI GS60 was also recommended. User EduardoDaVinci delivered the mic-dropping statement, “I believe I can say with comfort that the ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW is the greatest all-purpose notebook to have been produced thus far in human history.”
Rumors that the next MacBook will reportedly to have a touchscreen display found its way into the forums. Additional information suggests that it may include TouchID, USB-C, and Thunderbolt 3.
However, some comments indicate this would be a counter-intuitive pursuit for Apple. “Apple would never cannibalize their iPad pro sales by introducing a touch rMBP,” said user Raidriar. “[It] would make absolutely no sense to buy an iPad pro [sic] at that point.”
Forum contributor Genryu wrote a helpful review of the Razer Blade, summing up his findings by saying, “This is easily the best windows computer I’ve ever used, hands down.” Genryu lauded the Razer Blade’s solid aluminum design, keyboard, and adequate audio (albeit lacking in bass power). Downsides were high fan volume during heavy-duty gameplay. Indications are that battery life will vary depending on how you use it, lasting about 5 to 6 hours at 50 percent brightness in normal use.
A question was posed about the value and performance of the Asus F552MJ-SX039T, resulting in a slew of negative feedback from users with hands-on experience using Asus laptops. “ASUS machines are only great on paper,” wrote forum contributor Phoenix, with the added kicker: “Friends don’t let friends by Asus.” There were further recommendations for HP laptops, as well as MSI and Dell brands.
A request for help in finding “the best tablet money can buy” with decent battery life, plenty of processing power, and a good Wacom digitizer for 3D modeling and animation was received on the forums. The Vaio Z Canvas was recommended, as was the upcoming Surface Pro 5—but others suggested the Thinkpad P70, and the Best Buy-exclusive Thinkpad Yoga 14 to keep cost down.
Citing an article published by Windows Ink, which called the Asus Transformer Mini the best Surface 3 successor of 2016, discussion commenced in the NBR forums about some of the tablet’s specs. The 2GB RAM limit was deemed unacceptable. Further, it was pointed out that the Transformer Mini appears to be powered by an Atom x5-Z8350 CPU, which together seems not to warrant its $350 sticker price. Mystery abounds about the Transformer Mini’s pen tech, of which little details were given, which was found to be a point of concern among many potential adopters.
Dell’s announcement of an updated line of convertible laptops, arriving under the monikers of Inspiron 13, 15, and 17 7000 Series (starting at $750) stirred discussion about the possibility of significant overpricing—one user pointing out that no mention of a stylus pen and only full-HD resolution made it a non-starter. Further investigation sparked the rumor that none of the new Inspiron computers will support a pen, which inspired the remark, “Welcome to 2003, Dell.”