For the past few months I have been in quest of a new computer – well, maybe a slightly used one but newer than what I’m using. The past couple of computers I’ve used have been hand-me-downs. Nothing wrong with that. They more than served their purposes. I’m using one of them now, so obviously I don’t absolutely, positively need a computer at this moment, but I am planning ahead a little.
I’ve saved some shekels this year. It’s been a challenge between working more hours and trying to continue my other roles. I’ve had to force the issue many times to write blog posts let alone make headway on sequels to Fried Windows and Becoming Thuperman – imagine that writing a sequel for a book that hasn’t been released yet. That’s my life lately. Still, I need the money so I’ve been putting in as many hours as work will allow me. I’ve saved enough that sometime before my birthday I’ll probably buy a new computer – a laptop.
In the past I was not much of a fan of laptops. As a computer tech I can tell you they are hard to work on and each manufacturer has some proprietary stuff involved, so you need to be factory certified to work on them. For a long time the question for me was “why bother?” Traditionally laptops were inherently slower than desktop computers. Desktops were easier to upgrade and much easier to repair. But over the past half dozen years the performance gap between desktops and laptops has narrowed sufficiently that for most people a laptop can be a desktop substitute, especially if the portability of the device matters.
There is something to be said about being able to pick up everything and go somewhere else with it. That is the main reason I’m looking for a laptop. And since I have been using a Mac for the past 8 years I started my search there. But I have not excluded PC’s. Lately I’ve been leaning toward a Windows based machine. Here’s why.
A couple of years ago my son talked me into switching to a Windows Phone. Although I found the transition between an iPhone and the Nokia problematic at times I liked the phones features. I’m hardly a power user when it comes to smartphones, so I would never think of suggesting that my experiences with Windows Phone OS are universally applicable. The largest frustration has been application support for specific things. For example, my publisher has started using Slack and for that there is no Windows Phone application. I’ve been using the Windows Phone 10 preview for the past few days and, though it is buggy and certainly not quite ready for primetime, I like the direction Microsoft is taking the operating system. If they can enlist developer support for the devices the phone OS is potentially better than either Android or iOS. And the intangible lingering in the background is that since businesses predominantly use Windows having a phone that works int he same universe as the computers at work and likely as not at home – as well as tying into Xbox One – would be a significant benefit for having such a phone.
Because of what I have been seeing with Windows development combined with some of the directions I see Apple going has led me to broaden my search for laptops. The premium price charged for a Mac is hard to justify on my budget. There is one piece of software that I use that performs better on a Mac but the Windows version does everything I would need. And the integration with my Windows Phone would be much simpler. (There is a application to connect and synch my phone to my Mac but I have not been totally happy with it.)
Currently I do most of my writing at a desk. So I haven’t needed a laptop. What I am using is technically a laptop but its screen doesn’t work so it is plugged into a monitor. keyboard and mouse. It works fine in that configuration, but it is not portable. I have an older Mac that is showing its age. It is slow and I haven’t even booted it up in the past month. The fact that it still works and still runs the latest version of Mac OS is kind of a tribute to how well the mac world functions. The laptop is 8 years old. The battery is shot. So, when in use, it is plugged into a wall all the time.
Sometimes it is nice having a different device to connect to the internet while I’m in the middle of writing something. In the past I have used a iPad for that. Sometimes I used my Windows Phone. But there are times when it would be damned convenient to have another computer – especially if I wanted to export a document and take it with me to work on it somewhere else – like during my breaks at work. Also, I expect to be traveling a bit int eh near future doing book signings and I will be staying overnight away from home. The iPad I have would be a paid in the arse to deal with traveling documents, some of which are not made for MS Office. That is why I need a laptop.
So, after searching what’s out there I have narrowed things down to a Macbook Pro 13.3″ with a 256GB SSD, a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro 14″ with a 256GB SSD and a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with 256GB SSD. Brand new, the Lenovo is the least expensive but it also looks less rugged than either the Mac or the Surface Pro. I prefer the feel of the Mac’s keyboard, though the Lenovo’s is a close second. The Keyboard for the Surface – which is extra – is its weakest feature though I played with one and it’s usable. And if I find it annoying I could use a bluetooth keyboard. For portability the Surface winds hands down, with the Lenovo a close second. The Mac has a newer generation of the Intel I-5 processor and it is running slightly faster memory. For what I do with a computer I doubt I’d notice a difference. After all, we are talking about nanoseconds.
I haven’t made a decision yet and I may end up delaying it further – who knows. It’s not like I need to make a choice immediately. But at the moment I’m leaning toward the Surface Pro.
#Microsoft #Apple #MacOS #Windows10 #WindowsPhone #Lenovo #Yoga2 #SurfacePro3 #MacBookPro