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  #1  
Old 07-08-2014
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laptop choice

Sure this is covered somewhere but haven't found anything recent.

It's time to replace the laptop and I'm looking for thoughts on a Windows laptop something that's reasonably tough, bright with good battery life. We run Rose Point Coastal Explorer and other normal Windows programs.

Also any thoughts on a good DC - DC converter options so we don't use the inverter.
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Old 07-08-2014
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Re: laptop choice

The MS Surface works if you put a case on it.. Another bonus is it will run directly from 12V power without a converter(just a $12 cable from ebay).

These days I think you are better off with a tablet (or tablet like) device as they are much better on power. Windows 8 is actually usable with all the service packs.
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Old 07-08-2014
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Re: laptop choice

Did you see the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet? See the review at CNET;
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review - CNET

It's water proof! Lower in cost and looks good.

NOTE *** I DO NOT HAVE ONE! Just looking at it.

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Old 07-09-2014
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Re: laptop choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delezynski View Post
Did you see the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet? See the review at CNET;
Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review - CNET

It's water proof! Lower in cost and looks good.

NOTE *** I DO NOT HAVE ONE! Just looking at it.

Greg
Water proof or water resistant?
John
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Old 07-09-2014
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Re: laptop choice

Buy a MacBook Air and run Windows on it. There’s hardly anything out there right now that touches it on battery life, especially in its weight class. The build quality and customer support are top notch and its trackpad is excellent. If you’re taking it on and off the boat its portability is great too. Spec for spec they’re really not any more expensive than a comparable PC anymore either. A DC-DC adapter can be purchased from Marinebeam.

I say this as longtime PC person and as someone who can see the potential of the Windows 8 concept of a unified desktop and mobile OS while others have bashed it undeservedly. I just haven’t been very impressed by hardware coming from PC manufacturers lately as there seems to be, at best, significant inconsistency in build quality, reliability, and customer support. The user serviceability and upgradability advantages of PC laptops are quickly becoming things of the past as well.

The Windows laptop/tablet hybrids are interesting but get mixed reviews largely over hardware and build quality annoyances. I’m not sold on the hybrid concept anyway. Although they’re lighter than most laptops, they’re heavier/bulkier than tablets. I wouldn’t ever use one in tablet mode except in a pinch. It seems like kind of a gimmick to sell an expensive laptop to someone who otherwise would have bought one each of a laptop and tablet.

A pure (non-hybrid) tablet makes a good boat computer if you can either live within its limitations or use it as a supplement to a laptop. For chartplotting and instrumentation, a tablet is great due to its portability and low power consumption. It’s also great for weather, music, movies, light e-mail, and light web surfing. Most tablets will become frustrating if you want to do real word processing, spreadsheets, photo manipulation, web editing, or even surfing the web with multiple tabs open at once.
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Re: laptop choice

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Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
Buy a MacBook Air and run Windows on it. There’s hardly anything out there right now that touches it on battery life, especially in its weight class. The build quality and customer support are top notch and its trackpad is excellent. If you’re taking it on and off the boat its portability is great too. Spec for spec they’re really not any more expensive than a comparable PC anymore either. A DC-DC adapter can be purchased from Marinebeam.

I say this as longtime PC person and as someone who can see the potential of the Windows 8 concept of a unified desktop and mobile OS while others have bashed it undeservedly. I just haven’t been very impressed by hardware coming from PC manufacturers lately as there seems to be, at best, significant inconsistency in build quality, reliability, and customer support. The user serviceability and upgradability advantages of PC laptops are quickly becoming things of the past as well.

The Windows laptop/tablet hybrids are interesting but get mixed reviews largely over hardware and build quality annoyances. I’m not sold on the hybrid concept anyway. Although they’re lighter than most laptops, they’re heavier/bulkier than tablets. I wouldn’t ever use one in tablet mode except in a pinch. It seems like kind of a gimmick to sell an expensive laptop to someone who otherwise would have bought one each of a laptop and tablet.

A pure (non-hybrid) tablet makes a good boat computer if you can either live within its limitations or use it as a supplement to a laptop. For chartplotting and instrumentation, a tablet is great due to its portability and low power consumption. It’s also great for weather, music, movies, light e-mail, and light web surfing. Most tablets will become frustrating if you want to do real word processing, spreadsheets, photo manipulation, web editing, or even surfing the web with multiple tabs open at once.
I highly suggest you do an extended demo on a Microsoft Surface.. The latest Surface has none of the drawbacks you mention above and it truly usable in both laptop and tablet mode. I'm sure you will be impressed with it.. I would not have believed MS could make such a polished device until I played with one.

The latest Surface also has better real world power consumption when compared with a Macbook Air running Windows. Just do a quick google search on power consumption of both devices. Many tests done by users in the real world. Not to mention double the performance when required.
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Old 07-09-2014
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Re: laptop choice

Went for a preliminary shopping trip today and spent a while with the MS Surface. Very interesting but you need the Surface Pro to run full Windows which I need for Coastal Explorer. By the time you add a keyboard, USB hub etc. it's pretty pricey. Also not sure how the bracket that supports the screen would hold up.

However comments about other laptops and cheesey build quality are accurate. Lots of plastic that seems one good bounce from disaster. The Mac running windows may be an answer but having spent a little time on a mac I'd rather find a PC solution if possible. Will look around more but appreciate any other thoughts.

thanks
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Re: laptop choice

I just ordered a HP Omi 10.8. Win8.1 fully, IPS display, high resolution...$240.

I'll just order a vanilla bluetooth/mouse combo and a case/stand and all set.
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Old 07-10-2014
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Re: laptop choice

Standard Dell Inspirion with windows 7 pro. Mine is a 17 inch, wife's is 15.
I run a Dell Notebook (10 inch) for my charting, it's also running windows 7 pro. If it gets wet below decks I have bigger issues than the loss of a notebook pc. Since I'm on a center cockpit the same is essentially true if I bring it up to the cockpit.

All of my PC's/laptops on board (a total of 7, I know, I know some are for work and I work from home/aboard) and tablets (2) can sling to the 24 inch TV (smart tv with a network connection) including my laptop.
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Old 07-10-2014
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Re: laptop choice

"Lots of plastic that seems one good bounce from disaster."
There are some PC lines that are designed to be more rugged in laptops. I think that's HP's EliteBook line (hard to find retail) and there's one other major brand I can't remember, similar claims for "stronger case and hinges" than the usual. Then there's the king of the pack, Panasonic Toughbooks. Pricey, but designed for field use by commercial users. They made ToughPads as well.
Of course at those prices, you can buy 3 "consumer" machines and just keep two as hot spares down below.
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