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Old 11-16-2014, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,226,267 times
Reputation: 1231

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I'm looking for a laptop under $1,000 with slim/light design, great keyboard/trackpad, and is good for multi-tasking. I want to be able to dock and use with 2 monitors, so easy and cheap docking solutions are important. Battery life is a consideration, but secondary as I'll have the power cord most of the time. I currently have a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 14 which I've been very happy with, but is on its last legs. Used for heavy Excel use, some programming, and browsing of course. For this purchase I'm willing to spend a little more for a more premium design, but need to be able to do more without lag than just casual web browsing.

I typically use a bit more hard drive space, but with a little discipline I think the 128 SSD will suffice. I can always buy an external for additional space.

Some initial research has flagged the Asus Zenbook UX303LA ($899) and the Dell XPS 13 ($900 in the MS store currently). The Zenbook is very appealing visually, and seems to meet my requirements, but I wonder if the Dell is a better value with this discount. I've done some quick looking on Lenovo's site, but Lenovo is really pushing its Yoga line and I'm not very excited about convertibles (OK, the Yoga 3 hinge is really cool but I've heard that performance is down. Also, while I love the Macbook Air hardware, I have no interest in switching OS. Besides, I enjoy standing out in the coffee shop


Any thoughts on the Asus Zenbook UX303LA vs Dell XPS 13? Should I reconsider other brands? Since Haswell era is ending, should I just hold off until 2015 for Broadwell or even SkyLake? I have to admit that I knew nothing about Intel chip generations until a few minutes ago, if that tells you anything. However, I don't want to buy something I'll regret in a year or 2.

Thanks!

Last edited by destinedtodave; 11-16-2014 at 10:59 PM..
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:24 AM
 
993 posts, read 1,414,077 times
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When our daughter left for grad school we bought her a new laptop. Her research involves tons of statistics, analyzing data, writing code, and writing long research reports. An IT friend suggested looking for an Intel i7 processor (although now he also recommends the faster AMD processors too), 1080p resolution, a backlit keyboard and at least 8GB of RAM. We don't worry too much about the hard drive size as she backs everything up to a 1TB external drive.

We bought her i7 in the Ivy Bridge days (before Haswell) and it has served her well. She has an HP and we bought it directly through the HP website so we could configure it to certain specific requirements. We also upgraded to a discrete nVidia graphics card (she does lots of presentations) and gifted her a blu-ray drive for fun.

We have not had great luck with Toshiba and Dell products over the years so we avoid them now. But that's just a personal choice. Our daughter had both an Asus and an Acer during her undergrad years and liked them both. But they tend to have the plastic cases and she wanted something sturdier for field work in grad school. If you have the opportunity to buy from Costco I think it's a great way to go as well. They have an awesome concierge service, a great return policy if you don't like it, and double the warranty if you buy it on your Amex card.

My husband is due for a new laptop and I am waiting to see what Costco has on Black Friday. I really hate going to B&M stores on that day so Iwill be looking at there online offerings. We just bought a new tv from Costco, waiting to see what they offer on Black Friday again as I can return the one we bought if something better comes up in the sales.
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Old 11-17-2014, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,820 posts, read 13,961,605 times
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Not an Ultrabook, but a damn powerful laptop in your price range that won't be outdated in 12 months.

XOTIC PC | MSI GP60 Leopard-009- 15.6" Custom Gaming Laptop

Xoticpc is full of such laptops.
Finding an Ultrabook with a slim and easy docking station is going to be hard. They don't make those nice Port Replicators for ultrabooks and most laptops that do have docks like that are business class machines (i.e. a bit boring).
If your heart is set on a port replicator solution, look at dell. You can get a decent laptop and dock for around $1,200.
Your other option is to get that very well equipped MSI laptop I linked ( ) and then buy one of these:

Targus Universal USB 3.0 DV Docking Station review: Turn any laptop or Win 8 tablet into a desktop replacement | PCWorld

Of course, you could also use an Ultrabook with that.
I just think for your budget you should go for power over form factor like those gaming level laptops on Xoticpc. Even if you aren't gaming on it, having a laptop with a dedicated graphics card is just going to make everything run better.

Keep in mind you don't NEED a dock. It's not that inconvenient to plug a VGA cable into a laptop every day.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,226,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Not an Ultrabook, but a damn powerful laptop in your price range that won't be outdated in 12 months.

XOTIC PC | MSI GP60 Leopard-009- 15.6" Custom Gaming Laptop

Xoticpc is full of such laptops.
Finding an Ultrabook with a slim and easy docking station is going to be hard. They don't make those nice Port Replicators for ultrabooks and most laptops that do have docks like that are business class machines (i.e. a bit boring).
If your heart is set on a port replicator solution, look at dell. You can get a decent laptop and dock for around $1,200.
Your other option is to get that very well equipped MSI laptop I linked ( ) and then buy one of these:

Targus Universal USB 3.0 DV Docking Station review: Turn any laptop or Win 8 tablet into a desktop replacement | PCWorld

Of course, you could also use an Ultrabook with that.
I just think for your budget you should go for power over form factor like those gaming level laptops on Xoticpc. Even if you aren't gaming on it, having a laptop with a dedicated graphics card is just going to make everything run better.

Keep in mind you don't NEED a dock. It's not that inconvenient to plug a VGA cable into a laptop every day.
Thanks, Peregrine. I hear you about the gaming laptop approach, but I really do want something lightweight. I would say 20% of use would be on the go (e.g. coffee shop), 20% would be docked as a desktop replacement, and the remainder just around the home. My current Thinkpad can become quite burdensome when traveling.


Asus does have a USB docking station that (at least to my eyes) looks like it fits the bill:
Accessories - USB3.0_HZ-1 DOCKING-STATION - ASUS

Any thoughts? I know that I might be missing something here. I know with Dell Latitudes you can easily "snap" onto a docking station for keyboard and dual monitors while the laptop is closed. As long as I can replicate this experience I'll be happy.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:30 PM
 
7,249 posts, read 5,705,958 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by destinedtodave View Post
Thanks, Peregrine. I hear you about the gaming laptop approach, but I really do want something lightweight. I would say 20% of use would be on the go (e.g. coffee shop), 20% would be docked as a desktop replacement, and the remainder just around the home. My current Thinkpad can become quite burdensome when traveling.


Asus does have a USB docking station that (at least to my eyes) looks like it fits the bill:
Accessories - USB3.0_HZ-1 DOCKING-STATION - ASUS

Any thoughts? I know that I might be missing something here. I know with Dell Latitudes you can easily "snap" onto a docking station for keyboard and dual monitors while the laptop is closed. As long as I can replicate this experience I'll be happy.
Haven't used that one in particular, but Lenovo has a similar product that works pretty well.
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,820 posts, read 13,961,605 times
Reputation: 8055
Yea, that Asus dock would fit the bill. Really they are all the same. If you stick to any brand name, you should be just fine with a USB dock. ANd I DO hear you on the form factor bit. Ultrabooks are damn sexy.

This one is a BEAST.
NeweggBusiness - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook- Intel Core i5 4GB RAM 128GB SSD 14" LED Touchscreen Windows 7 Pro (3448CXU) – Black
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,226,267 times
Reputation: 1231
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Yea, that Asus dock would fit the bill. Really they are all the same. If you stick to any brand name, you should be just fine with a USB dock. ANd I DO hear you on the form factor bit. Ultrabooks are damn sexy.

This one is a BEAST.
NeweggBusiness - Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Ultrabook- Intel Core i5 4GB RAM 128GB SSD 14" LED Touchscreen Windows 7 Pro (3448CXU) – Black
Now THAT is nice! And in my price range. I wonder of the RAM is upgradeable? 4GB is probably fine for me right now, but I'd like the ability to have more in the future.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,226,267 times
Reputation: 1231
Same model on Amazon:Amazon.com : Lenovo 14.0" Touch Notebook PC - 3448CXU : Computers & Accessories
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,880 posts, read 6,226,267 times
Reputation: 1231
Looks like the front runners are Asus Zenbook UX303LA ($799 on MS store) and Lenovo Carbon X1.
I'm also giving the Macbook Air more consideration.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,820 posts, read 13,961,605 times
Reputation: 8055
Few, if any, UltraBooks have upgradeable memory. Soldered directly on the Mobo.
4GB is plenty for 90% of consumers.
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