Tablet PC for Engineering Undergrad

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by barnesgj, May 10, 2017.

  1. barnesgj

    barnesgj Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Am trying to decide on best choice for a new engineering student. Have completed part of form questions, but am not sure of the rest. This will be a graduation gift for my nephew. He's not sure what he needs. We are looking at the Surface Book with Performance base. i7/16/512.
    He likes the size and weight, but I'm concerned that the tablet portion will not last long enough to get him through a class without needing to recharge. There doesn't seem to be any other detachables that have extra graphics card and I am not sure what engineering apps require these days.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    General Questions.

    1. What is your budget?
    $3000

    2. Would you consider purchasing used/refurbished?
    no

    3. Do you prefer a media/mobile tablet like the iPad, Windows tablet PC, or notebook convertible?
    Windows tablet PC

    4. What size Tablet
    13 - 14 inches

    5. Which country do you intent to purchase from [where do you live]?
    US

    6. Do you have any preferences to brand loyalty or dislikes?
    no

    7. How many hours battery life do you require?
    10+

    8. What will be the primary usage scenario of this tablet? (Email/Web Surfing/Drawing/Word Processing/Entertainment/Notetaking etc)
    Notetaking. Applications required for university engineering and math courses

    9. Do you have an OS preference? For example, do you own an iPhone and a Mac, or are you a Windows fan? Do you own an Android device and use Google services frequently?
    Windows

    10. What software and tasks do you intend to run? (Microsoft Office or other Word Processing Suite/Photoshop/3D Studio Max/Autocad etc)

    11. Do you intend on playing Games?
    some lighter stuff

    12. Would you like to stream content through your home theater system?
    probably

    Screen Specifics

    1. Any preference on screen resolution?

    2. Will you be using the tablet outdoors? Do you need to be able to see it through glare from the sun?
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance

    3. Do you require a pen? With or without pressure sensitivity? Do you prefer Wacom EMR, AES or N-trig?
    See the above linked FAQ for guidance


    Component Specifics

    1. What size Hard Drive and Memory do you require? Would you like expandable memory?

    2. What sort of inputs do you require, if any? Would you like full-sized USB and SD card slots? Are microUSB and microSD ok? Do you require HDMI inputs?
    yes

    Misc
    1. Other non specific items ~ please add other items you require not covered above?

    2. Additional requests ~ anything other you wish to take into consideration?
     
  2. DRTigerlilly

    DRTigerlilly Tablet Lead Mod (Retired) Super Moderator

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    I don't think 10+ hrs is realistic with a dedicated graphics card, it's not even realistic without it...
     
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  3. barnesgj

    barnesgj Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I guess it doesn't have to be continuously on for 10 hrs. Just to get him through a day of classes.
     
  4. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    My daughter will be an incoming freshman in an engineering department. I've been thinking about the same thing. She has an IPad already with a keyboard base, so she has a light note taker for class. Yet, she needs something a bit more powerful as her main computer. Keyboard is important. As is the display. It has to be large enough to permit long hours of work without eye strain. I considered a tablet 2 in 1 with docking solution using a 24" monitor but the dorm rooms at her college are rather small and a simple notebook with a 13" or 14" display would suffice.

    Where that left me was with a number of categories that each had a few real contenders. Lets start with the top end convertible notebooks that fold 360 to work like a tablet. At the top of the list is the Surface Book with performance base. 7 to 10 hours of heavy use. $2300 for base model with performance base. http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-surface-book-performance-base-review-2016-11 Microsoft Complete Care warranty is great. Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga. Doesn't detach like the Surface but is a decent performer for a few less $$. Incredible display. https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Think...2&sr=8-4&keywords=Lenovo+ThinkPad+X1+Yoga+2nd

    For something less stratospheric, there are a few Lenovo Yogas that are reasonable. The 720 is a bit larger than the other's I've identified. It's a 15.6" display. That size might be a bit more cumbersome for use in tablet mode or while transporting. The extra display real estate might be nice. Prices are significantly lower than the Surface or the X1. Like the Surface, the 720 can be purchased with a dedicated GPU but for most things a student will use the notebook for, the GPU is really overkill. HP makes a 15" Spectre x360. http://store.hp.com/us/en/Configure...8_1494461641_08b7d647e0edacbc03c804c3db4e8554 Another great, affordable option is the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1. Order it with the 1080p display instead of the QHD+ and you can easily get 10 hours of battery life. Lisa's review.

    I haven't considered tablets. As I noted at the beginning, my daughter has an IPad for light class notes. For some students, it might be an option, if they are looking for something very portable yet capable. The Surface Pro 4 would be at the top of this list. HP, Lenovo and Dell all have their Surface competitors but I think the Surface is worth the extra money. The only exception might be the Dell Latitude 2 in 1 which has a keyboard base.
     
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  5. barnesgj

    barnesgj Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Thanks so much for the information. I hadn't even considered getting him an iPad or Android tablet for notetaking and a less expensive laptop. The tablet would certainly be easier to carry to class and be more likely to last the day. Gives me more options on the laptop, too.
    So which laptop are you going to get your daughter?
     
  6. byviolet

    byviolet Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I wouldn't suggest the xps 13 or any xps because it doesn't have pen support. I've steadily converted a few of my engineering friends to using pens when notetaking since it's really helpful for a lot of their coursework (drawing diagrams, doing math, lots of eng kids take ochem which is impossible to take notes on with a traditional laptop).

    I'm actually looking to buy the new yoga 720 for myself now that I was accepted into my professional program!
     
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  7. Starlight5

    Starlight5 I'm a cat. What else is there to say, really?

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    @barnesgj consider Thinkpad 370 Yoga as well. It's pretty much like X1 Yoga, but more compact and cheaper, upgradeable and serviceable alternative. It doesn't have an Iris GPU option, however.
     
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  8. barnesgj

    barnesgj Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I will look at it.
     
  9. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    I'm still considering the options. My big decision is whether to get a 15.6" or 13" model. I'm leaning heavily toward the Yoga 720 or the 370 ATM. If there was an incredible sale at the MS Store, I might give the SB a try as well. I still have a few weeks to graduation.
     
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  10. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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