Which Slate/Tablet PC should I buy for engineering school?

Discussion in 'What Tablet PC Should I Buy?' started by Kaelin, Apr 15, 2012.

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  1. Stan S.

    Stan S. Scribbler - Standard Member

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    for item 2, it's up to you, and your budget. If you can swap to aunit with a better CPU motherboard later, that's great, and your siblings (if any) will be happy with your old computer.

    For item 3. Originally my daughter's convertible came with Vista Ultimate and she qualified for a free Win7 U upgrade. That's not going to happen unless Win8 is released for Xmas 2012 or shortly thereafter. What IS going to happen is that Lenovo (et al) are going to move to the newer motherboards and CPUs in only a few months. That's one of the reasons for the sales right now from all manufacturers trying to reduce inventory stocks. If you want to save a few dollars (or significant dollars when Lenovo does the 30-50% sales). Most Lenovo codes are stackable, so if you're using the 15% off Education portal and there's a valid 10-15% code, you can stack 'em. Know a (ex-)IBMer? they get 10% off too, and most will let you buy a unit through their account signon.

    I will stand corrected here, there is a possibility that a laptop bought June or later MAY get Win 8 upgrade options. Since MS is telling folks that Win 8 is ready for the Fall sales.

    One of the nice things about Lenovo Thinkpad laptops is that you can get them 'mobile ready' for $50 (sometimes included so look for 'mobile ready' in the description). This means that they install ALL the possible antennae in the unit, so you will have 3x3 wifi card connections and antennae for adding either a Wireless card for ATT/Verizon et al. later as well as/or a internal GPS unit. Since the wires go into the sides of the screen, it's a huge PITA to add them later. A cheaper 2x2 wifi card will do you for a while.


    Finally a comment on your "I type faster" segment. The most benefit you will get will be from any math classes for using a pen directly to write formulas. The most benefit you will get from any other class using OneNote is the ability to search and reorganize your notes for study. You will not find it convenient to flip the computer screen around during class. Frankly, type and take a photo of the professor's (more likely a TA's) wall writings with a camera and insert it to the file you created.

    OneNote also has a feature that can record the audio/video of your lectures and sync it to your notes (as well as attempt transcription). There's no camera on any convertible that can be used for it since they are on the screen bezel, and the mic on the unit can't be used for it either due to thier bezel location (more likely to pick up your breathing), so a really good usb mic and or webcam would be needed to implement this. Check with the teacher before recording them.
     
  2. Hattori Hanzo

    Hattori Hanzo Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Well, if intend to buy the unit for Lenovo's common list price, nothing that's just some hundred dollars is making a huge difference. Why not also just buy the memory from them and pay thrice for their SSDs?
    Still, those additional $200 from the i5 to the i7 will never make the difference that really matters, just the 20% it can do more. Even with an i7 it's still going to be a lousy platform for rendering or any really CPU intensive task and will at best beat a used desktop that costs as much as the upgrade.

    If you're sure that you can live with a laptop made now for four years, it's more economical to get just a used one now and again in two years. And I'd say spending more than $2000 for a machine where you can plan ahead and wait a bit for good deals is just crazy.

    And where the point is in the fact that you can get laptops with i5s for way less I also can't see. But by that logic an i7 is still unsuitably slow. Newegg lists plenty of laptops for less than $1000 that feature Sandy Bridge i7 CPUs, most even with quad cores. And real GPUs.
     
  3. Stan S.

    Stan S. Scribbler - Standard Member

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    If he can wait until the updated models should be released (June/July), then middle of the road and several hundred dollars saved is sensible. But those are not going to be onsale like these are:

    http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/...E79E0E7C9A2D&menu-id=products&ref-id=products

    Those are the one configured to Georgia Tech's requirements. There's no 3x3 option but note that it's all 4G on ONE dimm, so that's a keeper and upgrade friendly.
     
  4. Kaelin

    Kaelin Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I guess forget about using the tablet for rendering and playing games. I'll get a laptop for that when the time comes. As for note taking and such, it seems that it's really not going to make much of a difference whether I get one now or wait, except for what was said about MS fine tuning the touch accuracy/friendliness through Windows 8, hopefully fixing the problem with the edge of the Lenovo's.

    @Stan S. - Why exactly do you think that drawing/writing on the tablet then flipping it up to type won't be useful? ..I'm just curious. I haven't used one myself yet, but in my mind it seems like it would be very handy. While most of my classes will be math, there are others where typing will be a necessity.

    So my options are to wait until July or sometime this winter and see what new tablets come out OR buy one now that's onsale. Does anyone know if these sales will still be around by then if I wait then decide to go with an older model to save money?
     
  5. e-schreiber

    e-schreiber ƒ(x) / fashion Senior Member

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    I would never consider an option in which a physical keyboard isn't available. Sometimes there's lots of writing to be done and having a physical keyboard makes all the difference. So the only setups I would contemplate would be:

    • Convertible (with keyboard built-in).
    • Detachable (with removable keyboard)
    • Slate (with a keyboard-folio)

    I would never buy a slate for which there's no keyboard-folio (be it official or through a 3rd-party).
     
  6. Stan S.

    Stan S. Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Here's what you would have to do to get it from laptop mode to tablet:

    1. Twist screen around and close it
    2. get pen in hand
    3. write on screen.

    I think it takes too long to change modes when the teacher isn't stopping and it will be an annoying motion to people around you. Even if you just pushed the screen back flat and either pulled it close to write or rotated the whole thing around, it is not a natural smooth motion, IMHO. If you simply took screen notes with the pen, maybe had the USB mic attached to catch everything, that would be fine. Many of your classes will be math and nothing other than paper will be better than the tablet for notes.

    Older models are generally available, new, for a while, and mostly discounted. What will happen based on past sales history, is that the convertibles will be out of stock in a month or two as they transition to the newer chips and run short. The heavy discounts will move from Lenovo direct sales, down to the brick/mortar and online sellers as they try to move whatever older models they have.



     
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