Best Ultrabook or Tablet for my Work Situation

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zachlegomaniac, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    Hello all,

    I started a new job as a client representative a little over a year ago. It's a great job, but I travel (locally) quite a bit during the day, and my employer issued me with a (pretty heavy) 17" HP laptop upon starting. It works well, but opening it up in my compact car to log info into Salesforce and enter client info all day is a nightmare. It feels like I'm trying to work on a desktop in my car, and I have to either tether to my phone, or find wi-fi. If it were for logging in at home (as it is for other employees) it would be a different story.

    I absolutely love my rMBP (and prefer to keep it for personal use), but if I get a Windows machine I will be able to remotely log in to my work desktop, and the company will be able to load all of their MS Office software onto the machine (as well as the Access program we have built and use heavily).

    I'm looking for suggestions for the thinnest, lightest possible option for something that can sit on my lap in the car as I go in and out of meetings, but won't break the bank (but perhaps this combo doesn't exist). I told my employer about my situation, but he feels the 17" HP should suffice (so I don't want to push it).

    Can anyone recommend a device or computer that doesn't have a giant price tag (I don't have a ton of disposable income) that is still very portable? It certainly doesn't have to be a powerhouse as it will be used for MS Office and

    Right now I feel like I'm literally wasting an hour of my day just working with the wrong hardware, yet my tasks have to be completed regardless of how many hours I put in to my (salaried) position.

    Thank you for your input.
  2. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    To help my clarity, I have a few questions:
    • Do you have a Desktop at work, currently?
    • If so, what method do they allow for remote access to the system
    • Is this where Access and office programs are installed
    If you currently have a desktop, and the remote access is simple (like VPN + RDP) I would suggest that you simply "try out" your own rMBP for a couple days... I know you want to keep your personal product separate than work, but a clean trial would offer a prospect of "My rMBP is too big/weird/just right" which will help narrow your search.

    Due to the car work, I decided on MacBook (or Air years ago). When I was in Starbucks or planes, I could enjoy my time on iOS (iPad or iPhone 6) with keyboard as I had a sturdy table that supported my setup... But that's my personal opinion -- I like solid folding laptops for productivity.
  3. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    Thank you for your reply. I do have a desktop at work. I log in remotely via RDP. I then open a shortcut that takes me to the shared Access program on our network (I believe - I'm not the most technically inclined guy), and then I have access to the MS Office Suite (I don't have MS Office on the work-issued HP laptop).

    I feel similarly about having a solid folding laptop. I imagine a tablet would be difficult in the car (especially when entering lots of text). I don't know how to set up remote access from my Mac to my Desktop, but can ask our IT professional.

    The only problem I foresee with mixing my personal computer (rMBP) with my work desktop is that our IT guy has everything on such lockdown that I'm not sure he will allow it on my MacBook.

    It has made me appreciate the 13.3" MacBook I have, though. What a wonderful machine compared to the HP!
  4. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    If you can get the RDP sorted you can use anything you want (phone/tablet/laptop) but for office work you need a keyboard so you should focus on a laptop. Unless work allows Mac products, you should look at Windows.

    The most portable laptops are so called ultrabooks. In exchange for dropping the cd drive you get a thinner and lighter laptop with a bigger battery, like the current MacBook trend. I personally like the Dell XPS 13 for a portable Windows machine as you get portability while keeping the screen big. The 13 inch MacBook Pro is a better deal than the MacBook unless you really are strapped for space and weight.
  5. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    Thanks @cruisin I'll check out the Dell. I'm all for the ultrabook, and don't need a CD drive at all. I couldn't ever afford another Mac for work so need something much more economical that isn't junk, but I'm not sure that exists. I'm also not opposed to going down in size from the 13" rMBP I own and use at home.

    I agree on a Windows machine probably being the best option for this situation.
  6. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    If your IT only have RDP for access, then try out this:

    I'm surprised that the business doesn't have anymore than RDP, but this should operate similar to the HP/Window comparison.

    Since you appreciate your rMBP so much, it seems like it would make sense to simple test it out with your personal mac. I think you'll find that it works beautifully, and then you can invest in your own 'ultrabook' or mac dedicated to work. I suggest simply trying it out with your personal device.

    IF, you are happy with that performance, then: the cheapest mac you can buy now is the MacBook Air, however, I left the Air due to the screen quality... in all honesty, it's going to be better than your HP is now, so it might not matter to you. You can buy great brand new MBAs from many different areas (MacMall, BHPhotos, locally on sale at BestBuy) or refurb (my usual) from the apple store. All solid buys, but know that you're sacrificing the amazing screen comparison to your rMBP.

    If it's windows you must roll with, then follow some others on this forum for great advice. For me, I would scrutinize two things: 1) keyboard quality and 2) screen quality.

    Good luck
  7. bbrks macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2013
    Check out HP 820 2G lap top, 12,5 inch, very lite and fast....
  8. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac or for iOS will work, unless there is a VPN required, in which case it should still work but some IT shops won't support you so getting the right client software can be a problem. If they have a Remote Desktop Gateway, the RD Client will make it's own tunnel and you don't have to worry about VPN - in that case, even an iPad would connect (or an iPhone, but it's pretty much unusable at that screen size).

    Take a look at the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3. I bought a MS Surface Pro 3 a year and a half ago when I had to have a Windows system, but if I had it to do again I would go with the Yoga Pro - the surface is an OK ultrabook, but it needs a solid work surface due to the flexible keyboard cover and kick stand.
  9. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I I think Gotomypc offers a better solution, as there's no need to deal with VPN or get the IT folks involved.
  10. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    No need to get the IT folks involved is what I needed to hear. I feel like he'd give me an emphatic "no" if I asked. I'm going to look into this today. Thanks!

Share This Page