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Posted: 1/28/2017 4:11:55 PM EDT
I'm in software sales, hybryd VP of Sales/player & coach role for about another year then transition to full time VP Sales.    I travel a lot, work in MS Office 2016 non-stop on lots of customized pricing spreadsheets, sales presentations in Powerpoint, tons of emails in Outlook, etc.  I currently use a 5 year old Lenovo Thinkpad T520 with i7 CPU, 8 gb ram, 500 gb hd.   I have a docking station that connects to 2 24" monitors, backup hard drive, full size keyboard and mouse, Cat5e ethernet and I love the simplicity of coming home to home office and dropping it in.   I use a Samsung Galaxy S7 phone and use an Ipad as an intermediate device when on a plane for email, basic web browsing, kindle app for reading books.  It also has a built in Verizon 4g hotspot.

Ideally I'd like to get down to two devices: cell and something else.  I carry a lot of crap in my briefcase/laptop bag and I need to slim it down..I'm thinking of switching to a backpack (probably Tumi, but open...another thread topic).  I need to be able to present at customer/prospect sites via either HDMI or VGA, connect via Wifi or 4G and I'm more of a separate mouse vs. slide pads guy.

I'm fortunate that the company is willing to get me just about anything I want.  We have a mix of low to moderate powered Thinkpads, Mac Book Pro's around our company.  CEO has a Surface Pro 4 and thats the direction I'm leaning, but trying to keep an open mind.  What do you recommend?
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:19:31 PM EDT
[#1]
Anyone?  Bueller?
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:19:49 PM EDT
[#2]
Anyone?  Bueller?
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:27:44 PM EDT
[#3]
Look at the dell xps13
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:32:16 PM EDT
[#4]
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:33:07 PM EDT
[#5]
You're going to get a LOT of varied advice and competing viewpoints on everything from brand to component choice to (unfortunately) a LOT of useless anecdotal screeds on what never to buy.

Here's what I have observed:  

1.  I am also in a position where I can have anything I want.  We have a large variety of hardware and brand similar to what you have described.  The guys with the Surface Pros love the portability and are to a man not so thrilled with them once they are static and connected to multiple monitors.  I've never asked for any detail but it has to do with scaling/resolution and some other odd behavior when connecting to multiple monitors.  I have no idea if that's a thing or we just have some faulty cables/hardware/configurations from the service desk people.  These are all highly technical guys who aren't challenged by simple things like desktop hardware so it isn't PEBKAC/ID10T at work here.

2.  At the upper class of hardware and price range, all the major players make devices that are pretty much the same in terms of quality and durability.  Some have more or more interesting features than others but it gets pretty subjective pretty fast.  It depends on what YOU need out of the machine.

3.  All manufacturers have lemons and less-than-reliable models in every price range.  Do your homework and research to avoid the latter.  There's nothing you can do about the former.

4.  Anybody who uses anecdotal evidence to support their proclamation about brands or models doesn't know what they are talking about.  Anyone who makes blanket statements about manufacturers (pro or con) really doesn't know what they are talking about.

5.  No, Linux desktop distributions are not a valid choice.

6.  No matter how much the usual suspects claim to the contrary, Windows 10 will not steal your identity, transmit your porn searches to Putin, and ruin your life (in no particular order).

7.  Take every post and recommendation in this thread with a boulder of salt.  This one included.


ETA:  I went with what I always have pretty good luck with... A middle/upper tier business-class machine without the cutting edge of anything.  I think it's an HP 840 G3 with a 6th gen i7, 32GB RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, and a touch screen.  I haven't gotten it yet so no personal observations.  I suspect it'll be just fine without being the most cutting edge or expensive out there.
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:34:22 PM EDT
[#6]
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:39:19 PM EDT
[#7]
Don't worry too much about docking stations - there are plenty of generic USB docks that can run a pair of monitors. It's nicer if it's a model specific dock that also charges but don't let that be the deciding factor.

Do you spend any amount of time working off your lap? If so, the surface isn't great. (I have a pro4 and it sucks if you're actually trying to do some work at the airport)

Do you want to be able to use it as a tablet? If so, some of the laptops where the screen folds around the back are too heavy to be comfortable to use like this.

Don't get hung up on specs - virtually anything will do what you want. Look at the form factor, weight, battery life, etc. instead.

My anecdote about reliability - when I was an IT manager we had the best luck by far with Toshiba.
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:48:22 PM EDT
[#8]
I run parallels on my IPad Pro with a clamcase or Zagg keyboard case just fine.
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:50:00 PM EDT
[#9]
You don't need a whole lot of computer for that.

Get at least 8GB of RAM with a nice monitor.

Definitely get something with a sizable SSD.

Get an external hard drive for backups, and use it nightly.

ETA - I'll second the recommendation for Toshiba.  I gave our manager the specs of my personal laptop, then he went out and bought essentially identically spec'd Asus laptops.  My Toshiba was noticeably faster and is built more solid.
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:52:38 PM EDT
[#10]
MS Surface is the perfect option OP. Not cheap but worth it IMO......

Edit....I see you already bought. The business class HP's are actually very good machines, rugged and well built but I still think the functionality of the Surface would be a game-changa' for you.
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:53:45 PM EDT
[#11]
MB Pro
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 4:57:48 PM EDT
[#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
You don't need a whole lot of computer for that.

Get at least 8GB of RAM with a nice monitor.

Definitely get something with a sizable SSD.

Get an external hard drive for backups, and use it nightly.
View Quote
True don't need a whole lot of CPU for that.

I would absolutely max out the RAM of whatever machine (up to 32 GB, 64 is probably too much).

Agree on the SSD.
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 5:14:57 PM EDT
[#13]
After reading all that, a Surface Pro 4 with a Suface Dock seems like it would fit the bill. You'll have all the connectivity you're after, and if you can stand the size and weight when using it as a tablet - it's at least a decent candidate to replace your iPad. 

I don't personally own one though, and I can only relay that our executives that use them seem to like them. I also don't work on the Helpdesk or otherwise provide any sort of desktop support, so if they have any quirks, I'm unaware of what they may be. 

I'd also take a hard look at a loaded Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, especially since it supports USB-C. Our CIO has one and loves it, but he did mention to me that connecting his 27" Dell display (HDMI) though a USB-C dongle was sometimes problematic. He mentioned something about the display just quitting on occasion, requiring a power cycle to fix it. No idea if his laptop needs a firmware update, or if his dongle is shitty, or if maybe he needs a newer driver, or if there's something up with the display itself, or...you get the idea. I've done zero troubleshooting (not my job) and it doesn't seem to bother him enough to bug anyone about it. 

Echoing what brassburn said, anecdotes are just that - anecdotes. The more you can try it out beforehand and/or grill existing owners, the better. Bonus points if you have an easy way to return what you've bought and exchange it for something else. It's hard to really know what's going to be perfect for you, without spending some quality time with it. 

But between those two, I think you'd be able to find one that suits ya. If it were me personally, I'd probably lean more towards the XPS 13. 
Link Posted: 1/29/2017 5:16:12 PM EDT
[#14]
Look at the t460 series or the X1 with maybe touchscreen. I love the t460. I7, 32-64 ram and ssd, it'll keep you happy down the road to overpower now. Especially if you have a 5 year lifespan before replacement. But I just read books on my phone.
Link Posted: 1/31/2017 6:55:09 PM EDT
[#15]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
After reading all that, a Surface Pro 4 with a Suface Dock seems like it would fit the bill. You'll have all the connectivity you're after, and if you can stand the size and weight when using it as a tablet - it's at least a decent candidate to replace your iPad. 

I don't personally own one though, and I can only relay that our executives that use them seem to like them. I also don't work on the Helpdesk or otherwise provide any sort of desktop support, so if they have any quirks, I'm unaware of what they may be. 
View Quote


I am underwhelmed with mine.

Slightly too big and heavy to be a good tablet. Useless as a laptop (on your lap). Okay on a desk. Mediocre battery life unless you try and use the extra grunt it has compared to most other Windows tablets at which point the battery life shrinks rapidly. 4K screen is great until you're running something in a lower resolution because it can't run it in 4K or when you have an app that doesn't have interface scaling. Pen is nice but the magnetic attachment is too weak. Kickstand is clever but not rigid enough (flexes when you touch so touches aren't always registered) so you have to hold it with one hand and touch with the other.
Link Posted: 1/31/2017 7:36:23 PM EDT
[#16]
Quoted:
I'm in software sales, hybryd VP of Sales/player & coach role for about another year then transition to full time VP Sales.    I travel a lot, work in MS Office 2016 non-stop on lots of customized pricing spreadsheets, sales presentations in Powerpoint, tons of emails in Outlook, etc.  I currently use a 5 year old Lenovo Thinkpad T520 with i7 CPU, 8 gb ram, 500 gb hd.   I have a docking station that connects to 2 24" monitors, backup hard drive, full size keyboard and mouse, Cat5e ethernet and I love the simplicity of coming home to home office and dropping it in.   I use a Samsung Galaxy S7 phone and use an Ipad as an intermediate device when on a plane for email, basic web browsing, kindle app for reading books.  It also has a built in Verizon 4g hotspot.

Ideally I'd like to get down to two devices: cell and something else.  I carry a lot of crap in my briefcase/laptop bag and I need to slim it down..I'm thinking of switching to a backpack (probably Tumi, but open...another thread topic).  I need to be able to present at customer/prospect sites via either HDMI or VGA, connect via Wifi or 4G and I'm more of a separate mouse vs. slide pads guy.

I'm fortunate that the company is willing to get me just about anything I want.  We have a mix of low to moderate powered Thinkpads, Mac Book Pro's around our company.  CEO has a Surface Pro 4 and thats the direction I'm leaning, but trying to keep an open mind.  What do you recommend?
View Quote
So dock is at home in home office?
What device do you use at work?

Here is the bad news: For the most flexibility AND redundancy, you will need three devices.

1. Actual computer to do the heavy lifting and to drive the dual monitors
2. A portable device for those mobile presentations and working late at nights in your hotel room/etc
3. A hand held device that grants you connectivity to the mother ship when you don't have either the time nor space to revert to the portable device.

What I did/do is, stuck with the mid/top tier for one manufacturer for my portable device. That turned out to be DELL. I make sure to choose portable devices that use the same power supply interface. Because all of my devices kick ass out the gate, few of them are totally obsolete - even now 10 years later. For example
I have a Dell Latitude D420 (11" screen) that kicked ass in 2007 when I got it, and still use it occasionally (It came with Win XP Pro). I purchased two docks with it (one for home office, one for work office), and my VPN at the time was setup to tunnel into work from home (it still is).
I replace laptops about every 30-34 months, my current laptop is the Latitude 7000 series. I have six power supplies AT HOME, and maybe 2-3 at work. There is a power supply at my bugout location, one in my travel backpack, one in each car, one in my regular travel suitcase, my wife uses a DELL laptop, our boys all have DELL laptops. I can leave my house with almost 100% certainty there will be a power supply for my laptop at my destination.

Between that D420 and the new Latitude there are two other laptops of the same size, and the next most recent machine (32 months old) could still reasonably do what I need to do. The big downside is the new designs don't fit into the older docks, so I no longer use the massive docks, just the USB3 style MKS14 or the (Dell) WD15 dock.

When I need to travel for work, I always travel with two laptops, because I am paranoid like that. If I need to hook up my laptop for a one day training/conference thing, I can always get to "other" work stuff without interfering with that setup.

I also stay brand loyal for my hand held device. For my intermediate device - not so much. I have ipads, an LG device, I've had devices from a slew of manufacturers. Whatever fits that bill is what I use.
I stay with a 13-14" laptop so I can use the thing in the tightest of airline seating configurations.
Link Posted: 2/15/2017 4:56:33 PM EDT
[#17]
Update:  IT purchased a SP4 for me and it arrived.  Disappointed to see that they went with the i5 with 8 gb ram vs. the i7 with 16 gb that I asked for.  At least it has 256 gb of SSD.  Did get the SP Dock and black keyboard cover.  I've been busy and not able to spend much time with it, but good so far.  Now off to migrate 5 years + of data, apps and settings over from current Thinkpad T520 with Win 10.  
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