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Laptop Usage & 2 in 1's/Touchscreens...

Laptop Usage & 2 in 1's/Touchscreens...

Old Jul 16, 18, 1:28 pm
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Laptop Usage & 2 in 1's/Touchscreens...

I'm thinking about replacing my 6ish year old Toshiba laptop. It is a 15.6" with the full keyboard (including number pad).

I use my personal laptop as a desktop replacement, so I prefer widescreens with bigger keyboards and the number pad. I (mostly) use it on a lapdesk with a mouse. Mostly web surfing/ streaming/ music/ shopping/ lesson planning/ data entry (entering grades and such). Take it on a trip once or twice a year, and will take it to a bar to do stuff over a beer sometimes. I also have a work laptop that mainly lives in its docking station in my classroom.

My desire is a faster processor and faster internet. I have cable internet, which hits 200 mbps on my phone when I do a speedtest. It shows 35-45 on my laptop, which I assume is due to outdated wifi/network equipment/protocols. When I plug in, the speed is the same.

Touchscreens and 2 in 1's intrigue me, but I wonder if it wouldn't be a waste due to my usage profile. I still desire the 15+ screen and the number pad. I don't care about weight. I tend to keep my laptops for 4+ years (unless I kill it). I don't really buy "good" computers, either, mainly low-to-midlevel consumer versions.

I guess I am mainly wondering about the utility of touchscreen and convertible laptops. Your thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.

Last edited by empedocles; Jul 16, 18 at 2:12 pm
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Old Jul 16, 18, 1:38 pm
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It's a nice to have feature; in your use case, probably not as necessary. I specifically bought a 2-in-1 because I wanted that feature; however, I rarely use it in tablet mode. I do use it a bit in tent mode when traveling on planes. If you consume a lot of media on your laptop, then a touchscreen is nice--you touch the screen to pause, just like your phone--so you don't have to fiddle with the keyboard/touchpad.

The features you should be looking for in your next laptop would be...

* 8th generation Intel processor
* 8GB RAM (minimum)
* Solid-state hard drive (128GB is probably sufficient depending on how much you rely on cloud storage, but 256GB is obviously better)
* 1080p screen (minimum)
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Old Jul 16, 18, 2:06 pm
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Just glanced at my HD properties. Currently have a 300 GB drive and am using around 100 of it.
I've seen a lot with 128 GB SSD's; I wonder if that is really enough space, though. Not sure how much space Win 10 uses these days. The Toshiba is on Win 7. Looks like it uses 43 GB on this machine.
I don't use cloud storage, although I've played around with it in the past. I have an external drive that I use for backups and music storage.

Yeah, 1080p definitely. And I was looking at at least 6 GB of ram, 8+ is preferred.

I suppose I need to think about Office, too. I can get a free 365 sub through work, but when I taught kids how to use Office I've noticed some functions I actually use semi-regularly are missing from Office 365. Maybe I'll grab one of the freeware clones. (I've used OpenOffice before, main issue is you have to remember to save it as a Microsoft file for cross-compatibility.)
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Old Jul 16, 18, 5:10 pm
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6ish years is a long time for a laptop for work.

I'm 100% laptop use for work and personal, we replace every 3 years (was every 2 years when I was on the road). Every 3 is a bit of a stretch IMO.

That said I have a touch screen and I've disabled it...I just don't see the need and if I was ever showing someone my screen I have a bad habit of touching it.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 5:11 pm
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My wife has a two-in-one with a touchscreen. The main reason she got that one was that it had fast electronics (for then) in a very light package. She basically uses it as a laptop, usually with an external mouse. The touch screen comes in handy once in a great while, not often. I don't think she's ever used it as a tablet.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 5:40 pm
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Thanks for the replies thus far.
Unless I can find a screaming deal, I am leaning toward a non-convertible laptop, but may go with a touchscreen. I would probably use the touchscreen enough to justify (especially with Win 10), but I would probably rarely use a 2-in-1 tablet mode.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 6:13 pm
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I will say a 15.6" 2-in-1 is pretty useless unless you want to use it in tent mode a lot. Trying to use a laptop that large as a tablet, I would imagine, would be quite heavy and bulky. My 13.3" 2-in-1 is somewhat difficult to handle in tablet mode.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 6:32 pm
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Iíve had a 2 in 1 for 6 months or so as they are deploying company-wide. I never use the touchscreen and rarely see anyone who does.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 6:34 pm
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I'm also looking to replace my desktop-replacement laptop, so a very similar situation. My question isn't so much whether I want the 2-in-1 features, but whether the touch screen and the smaller screen would be detrimental. Because woot has a great deal today on a Dell 13 inch 2-in-1 refurb (16G ram, 512G SSD drive, i7 7600 processor, win10 pro), about $1000 cheaper than a similarly spec'ed 15 inch new standard Dell laptop.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 7:12 pm
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Originally Posted by swag View Post
I'm also looking to replace my desktop-replacement laptop, so a very similar situation. My question isn't so much whether I want the 2-in-1 features, but whether the touch screen and the smaller screen would be detrimental. Because woot has a great deal today on a Dell 13 inch 2-in-1 refurb (16G ram, 512G SSD drive, i7 7600 processor, win10 pro), about $1000 cheaper than a similarly spec'ed 15 inch new standard Dell laptop.
That speaks volumes about how many people want them.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 7:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
That speaks volumes about how many people want them.
Originally Posted by swag View Post
I'm also looking to replace my desktop-replacement laptop, so a very similar situation. My question isn't so much whether I want the 2-in-1 features, but whether the touch screen and the smaller screen would be detrimental. Because woot has a great deal today on a Dell 13 inch 2-in-1 refurb (16G ram, 512G SSD drive, i7 7600 processor, win10 pro), about $1000 cheaper than a similarly spec'ed 15 inch new standard Dell laptop.
you can find good deals on dell's outlet page (even better when coupons stack on top of the discounted devices)

go here, pick 13" screen size, add to cart plus coupon "13LAT15%". full 1-year warranty, optional warranty extension (generally not worth it). woot offers 90 day

Dell Official Outlet Refurbished Laptops, Desktops, Servers & Monitors

don't get tempted by woot


the dell XPSs are pretty good. 15" monitors in 14" body ( or 13" in 12" body)

build quality is generally better on the latitude business line. same thing, theres a 17% coupon

there's a 360 deg version of the xps 13 with a very slow processor (skip it)

Dell Official Outlet Refurbished & Overstock Laptops, Desktops & Monitors

Last edited by paperwastage; Jul 16, 18 at 7:52 pm
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Old Jul 16, 18, 10:17 pm
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I don’t particularly find a benefit to touchscreen laptops / 2-in-1s given your intended use.

That said, look at a Dell Precision 5520 or XPS 15 refurb from the Dell Outlet. A beautiful 15 inch ultrabook with killer specs. The optional 4K display is beautiful on its own, and is a touchscreen for the occasions when you want it. I just bought one to replace the nearly identical Precision 5510 I’ve used for the last 3 years. Quad-core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and 4K touchscreen for $1350. Normally $2000-2500+ new. It’s my current value pick for a top-of-the-line machine.
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Old Jul 17, 18, 8:02 pm
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I've got the XPS 15 9560, equivalent of the 5520. The touchscreen is an annoyance, as is the 4K resolution most of the time, but both were required to get the better contrast/color gamut/brightness -- it's a package deal -- and the 4K is nice once in a while for photo editing. The screen quality is superb, and worth the annoyance of getting stray clicks if I try to brush dust off it. The keyboard and "clickpad" style touchpad are both nowhere near as good as the business-line Latitudes or the better Lenovo Thinkpad models, but they're not bad, and otherwise it's a superb machine.

For general use (not gaming or CAD where you want the 2nd GPU, or programming where you'll want the i7), if you're looking for a high-quality machine but don't need the higher performance, configurations with the i5 processor and no discrete GPU will be fine cheaper and will get better battery life. The 4K screen also hurts battery life. I'd normally say they're a lot cheaper as well, but right now stock on Outlet doesn't really reflect that (the cheapest XPS 15 is a 9560, with i5/no GPU, but with the 4k screen, and it's under $1000; you're unlikely to beat that.)

The one other piece of advice I can give for any these machines is to buy it with the 6-cell battery if at all possible (87Whr on hte 9550/5510, 97Whr on the 9560/5520.)
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Old Jul 17, 18, 9:02 pm
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I have a different opinion than a couple of others. I don't think a convertible is needed or useful for the scenario mentioned, but I do like the touch screen. I have a 15 inch, full keyboard with number pad as a "desktop", and use the touch screen reasonably often. I don't use a mouse, so I find it easier to do lots of scrolling on touch screen, then on the touch pad. If I used a mouse with a wheel, I might feel differently, but when I use the kids' laptop for any reasons, I constantly find my self touching the screen to move (even though that one does not have touch screen).

For other purposes (travel, work, etc) I have a 2-in-1 foldable 13 inch, and a Surface Pro. While I am a fan of the Surface Pro, for various reasons, I don't seem to use the 13 inch 2-in-1 in anything but laptop mode 98% of the time. I don't find the folded over tablet style of a not super light/flat unit that useful.

So for me, touch screen yes, convertible/2-in-1 no.
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Old Jul 18, 18, 12:00 am
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Originally Posted by nkedel View Post
I've got the XPS 15 9560, equivalent of the 5520. The touchscreen is an annoyance, as is the 4K resolution most of the time, but both were required to get the better contrast/color gamut/brightness -- it's a package deal -- and the 4K is nice once in a while for photo editing. The screen quality is superb, and worth the annoyance of getting stray clicks if I try to brush dust off it. The keyboard and "clickpad" style touchpad are both nowhere near as good as the business-line Latitudes or the better Lenovo Thinkpad models, but they're not bad, and otherwise it's a superb machine.

For general use (not gaming or CAD where you want the 2nd GPU, or programming where you'll want the i7), if you're looking for a high-quality machine but don't need the higher performance, configurations with the i5 processor and no discrete GPU will be fine cheaper and will get better battery life. The 4K screen also hurts battery life. I'd normally say they're a lot cheaper as well, but right now stock on Outlet doesn't really reflect that (the cheapest XPS 15 is a 9560, with i5/no GPU, but with the 4k screen, and it's under $1000; you're unlikely to beat that.)

The one other piece of advice I can give for any these machines is to buy it with the 6-cell battery if at all possible (87Whr on hte 9550/5510, 97Whr on the 9560/5520.)
Iím surprised you havenít disabled the touchscreen if it annoys you. The 4K display is beautiful, and with display scaling having come a long way since Windows 7 and 8, getting things up to a readable size is pretty trivial.

I would not want a 4K display without a discrete graphics card, even for basic use.
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