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  1. #1
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    New computer for Windows 10: Hybrid?

    While I still make a living on a computer, it's now just a part time job as I'm semi-retired. I currently have an aging Dell laptop with a 15" screen and Win7. I can work on that size screen but there are times where I need the two additional (larger) screens I have connected to a Targus docking station. Actually one additional is all I really use 90% of the time but the docking station is handy and it supports two so what the heck.

    With Win10 on the horizon, I rather suspect that there are a few people thinking about a new computer. I certainly am, but this is probably the first time in a very long time where I'm very conflicted on which way to go. At this point, I'm just looking at newer laptop to replace my existing version. But before I go much further down that road, I thought I'd toy with the idea of a hybrid laptop/tablet.

    I know from setting up and testing out an ASUS T100 for a friend last year that there's a lot you can do with that kind of configuration, including connecting it to a docking hub like I do now. A 10" screen would be too small, but a 12" wouldn't so the Surface Pro 3 is a viable option. However, I can see almost no advantage to having a dual purpose tablet/laptop. I've already got an iPad and 12" is a bit large for a tablet. I haven't been a road warrior for many moons now and the few times I've taken my iPad to meetings, I found that paper and pen worked just as well, if not better. (Hey, I'm old, give me a break!)

    Of course, everyone has different wants and needs. Leaving out the "cool factor" of a hybrid, what's the appeal for someone who isn't a road warrior.

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    I have a tablet for mobility and a desktop for "normal" use. I find I get more for my money doing it this way.

    cheers, Paul

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    I rather suspect that I'm going to repeat what I already have, maybe sometime next year.

    There was a time when I couldn't see using a laptop as a replacement for a desktop, but that's just what I've been doing for the past 2 years. Perhaps there will come a time a few years from now when a hybrid will be able to fill that roll but I'm not sure we are there yet.

    I'm just enough of an explorer that I'm still considering it. But I fear that the tablet will just sit on the desk and won't do double duty to replace the iPad, so I will have spent that extra money for nothing.

    Problem is, I'm a Geek. But I'm kind of a hybrid Luddite/Geek if that makes any sense. Probably comes from starting with computers in 1972 when the rate of change was nice and slow and one person could actually know almost everything. Basically I hate Moore's law but live in a world governed by it.

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    It sounds to me like you could use an "all in one" type of machine setup.
    That'll give a very decent amount of viewing realestate without the fuss of a full on bulk desktop computer.

    Browse around and check them out, most of the major manufacturers have them.
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    Well I am suspect, as my 3 last laptops, 2 were tablet Pcs (Toshiba Tecra M4 and Portegé M750) and 1 is an hybrid of sorts - a Toshiba u920t. So I would say, definitely go with a hybrid . I think the Surface Pro 3 is a bit on the expensive side, but the non Pro seems a great option.

    On both the Tecra MM4 and the M750, I used the stylus extensively to take notes or comment documents. I don't need to do it as much as I did now, but I hear that the Surface stylus works wonderfully. .
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    It sounds to me like you could use an "all in one" type of machine setup.
    Sorry, but that misses one of the marks completely - it needs to be portable. The reason I'm considering a hybrid is that it can be used as a 3 in 1 (or 2.5 in 1). It can be a laptop, a modest desktop, and a tablet. It's the third one that I'm not sure I really need.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    So I would say, definitely go with a hybrid . I think the Surface Pro 3 is a bit on the expensive side, but the non Pro seems a great option.
    Part of the Surface Pro 3 price is the stylus display, which is more expensive than the more common touch screen. I had ruled out the Surface in preference to the Pro earlier but that may have been premature.

    One of the things that still bugs me in this is screen size. Since this has to do duty as a laptop on the rare occasions where I hit the road, the screen needs to be large enough that I don't get eye strain. That makes the larger 13.3 screens attractive but then that becomes rather too big for a tablet.

    Lots to think about, not least of which is whether or not I'm willing to replace my iPad with a Windows tablet.

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    My Tecra M4 was 14", it was a bit too big and heavy, but I often took it across the classroom and interacted with students while taking notes on it.

    Both the M750 and the u920t are 12". Size is not really that bad and I can even code on them. I guess 10.1" would feel a bit to cramped, though.

    I guess there is nothing like going into a shop and experimenting a bit. That should give you a much better idea on how the regular Surface Pro and the Pro 3 can work for you.
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    I actually have looked at the Surface Pro 3 and while the display is a bit small, it's not bad at all. One thing I have to look into is what the display resolution options are. If it's limited to 2160x1440, that's going to end up with things being a bit small. I need to get somewhere that has one I can spend some time looking at.

    One thing I do make use of a lot is Remote Desktop and trying to get that to look right could be a challenge. Fortunately, I can probably run that on an external monitor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gsmith-plm View Post
    I actually have looked at the Surface Pro 3 and while the display is a bit small, it's not bad at all. One thing I have to look into is what the display resolution options are. If it's limited to 2160x1440, that's going to end up with things being a bit small. I need to get somewhere that has one I can spend some time looking at.

    One thing I do make use of a lot is Remote Desktop and trying to get that to look right could be a challenge. Fortunately, I can probably run that on an external monitor.
    Can't help with that, unfortunately, but seems a legitimate concern. It's a high resolution for a small screen. You can run it on an external monitor, but you will need to buy an adapter (it's all adding up with the Surface).
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Can't help with that, unfortunately, but seems a legitimate concern. It's a high resolution for a small screen. You can run it on an external monitor, but you will need to buy an adapter (it's all adding up with the Surface).
    Well, trying to run any hybrid as a 3-in-1 is going to result in the need for extra stuff. I've already got the Targus dock I can plug into which gives me network, usb hub, and two monitors so that's taken care of.

    So, let's say that a hybrid can work for me. Looking at the Surface Pro 3, the i5/4gb/128gb model with keyboard cover is just under $1000 on Amazon. The next thing would be, what others are worth considering. I've seen mention of the Asus Transformer T300, HP Spectre, Lenovo Yoga, Samsung Activ. Probably more.

    One other interesting question, at some point, these computers will start shipping with Win10 installed. There might be a price break for versions with Win8.1 that will need upgrading. And being a frugal type, that's a consideration. But I've never been keen on major upgrades like this if I can have a clean install instead.

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    Yeah, I agree, an hybrid does require extra stuff. I guess that for the price, a keyboard and the stylus should be included, but Microsoft does want this as an high margin product.

    If budget is not a problem, I think there isn't much better than the Surface, IMO. Build quality is great, probably on a level none of the others can even aspire.

    Windows 10 is just around the corner. I would think they will want some flagship products to show off the new, shiny OS. Unless you have an urgent need, it may be simpler to get one with Windows 10.
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    I'm leaning toward waiting till they start shipping with Win10. If there were an easy way to wipe the drive and do a clean install of Win10, that would be another matter.

    Two interesting alternatives to the Surface that are much more like a laptop are the Toshiba Portege Z20t and the Dell Latitude 13 7000. Both have larger screens and come with much more robust keyboards but are heavier because of that. Particularly the Portege which has an additional battery in the keyboard. But that shouldn't be a problem for me.

    Even if I do nothing for now, this is an interesting exploration because it really shows how sophisticated things have gotten.

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    The alternatives' CPUs seem less powerful than the Surface's. Probably better on battery life, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    The alternatives' CPUs seem less powerful than the Surface's. Probably better on battery life, though.
    I'm starting to see that. Found a really in depth review of the Z20t and it lagged behind the SP3 in every test they did. I could take that because I don't need to do any processor intensive work. BUT, the killer is heat - the i5 SP3 gets hotter than the i3 SP3, but the Core M processor in the Z20t gets even hotter - uncomfortably so.

    Here's a question that hasn't been asked... I've used a Logitech Tablet Keyboard with an iPad, which is larger than some of the folio types but smaller than a normal keyboard. It's a bit over 12" wide and was OK but a bit cramped. This is about the same size as the keypad for the SP3 - how is the Type Cover to type on for any length of time?

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    Yeah, the processor for the Z20t seems to have been conceived for fanless designs and it seems, in tablet mode, it can reach temps of 106 degrees. Ouch.

    As for the type cover, all I can state is what I have read. Paul Thurrott suggested getting a bluetooth keyboard, if you plan to do a lot of typing. I guess that in this case, a bit of on hands testing can be the best option?
    Rui
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