Secondary Device to chunky gaming laptop

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by TomOSeven, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. TomOSeven macrumors 6502

    TomOSeven

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2017
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I have a chunky, heavy gaming laptop that I'm pretty satisfied with. It's not super powerful, but it was the cheapest 1650 option I could find and is reasonably proficient at doing anthing I want of it.

    However, it's 2.3 kilos heavy and the charging brick pushes that over three kilos.

    Since I have to fly once a month and take a lot of trains, I'm looking for a secondary computer as a complement.

    Here are my requirements:

    Tier 1 (important):

    • Light

    • bright screen

    • usable outside

    • be able to code on it
    Tier 2 (less important, sometimes mutually exclusive):

    • USB-C charging

    • Linux support

    • Pen support

    • HDMI out

    • great keyboard

    • expendable storage via micro-SD or replaceable SSD

    • great speakers
    • WWAN / LTE
    Tier 3 (would be nice bonus, doesn't really matter):

    • MX150 / MX250 "gpu"

    • < 1k Euros


    Anything you can recommend?

    I was considering the Surface Go, but the screen looks like a makeup mirror and I'm afraid of the Pentium level performance. It does tick most of the other boxes though and it's a serious contender.

    I was considering the Surface Pro, but for some reason it has a proprietary charger and the need for an expensive dock puts this firmly into the "I might as well get a monitor stand" category.

    I was considering the iPad Pro 10.5, mainly for its weight and humongously good speakers, but iPadOS might be too limiting, I wouldn't be able to code on it. But it is seriously sexy.

    I was considering the new Macbook Air, but those prices are a slap in the face and the keyboard would make me very hesitant to use it outside.

    I was considering the old Macbook Air, but the screen is terrible.

    Could you help me make a choice?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    #2
    I have an Asus ROG GL703GS set up as my primary workstation and Acer Switch 5 for on the go, day to day basic productivity, traveling internationally for work purpose with both. The Switch 5 offered more than the Surface Go and offers more value than the Surface Pro 6, with both USB A & C which I wanted.

    I like the Switch 5 as it's more than adequate, offers tremendous value, coming complete with backlit keyboard & pen. To date it has exceeded expectations, never presenting any issue. I just added a high capacity microSD card for media. Acer also offers a Switch 7 with MX150, however the GPU and larger display takes a heavy toll on the battery in this tablet 2in1 format.

    It's a good combination; having the performance of a small desktop in a portable chassis and the flexibility of a 2in1 with a full desktop OS. I've tried both android and IOS tablets and in time found both to be lacking for my need, discarding both.

    Q-6
     
  3. SteveJUAE, Jun 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68030

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #3
    I have the SB2 not quite as big as your gaming laptop but not travel friendly as some so i have the Surface GO as my travel companion

    I have really enjoyed the GO on travelling and although a little light in the CPU arena it still gets the job done all be it one or two beers behind :)

    As I already had the pen so the GO with KB is quite modestly priced given its a full W10 laptop and not some limited Mobile OS

    If your an Office 365/Outlook type person its more than capable and I have done some light CAD type work on it and 360 Photo work for virtual tours plus the usual dailies

    As long as your expectations of performance is tempered to suit it wont disappoint however as Q6 notes the Switch is another option with more bang for your buck

    if I did not have the SB2 I would of opted for the SP6 despite what you think the proprietary charger is the same as the GO and a bonus really as its magsafe like and frees up a port, the dock is not really necessary as MS makes several adapters for HDMI etc a SP6 spec range is impressive depending on your wallet

    All three GO/SP6/Switch can be had at some good prices of late

    PS I also like the Samsung Tab Pro/Book with AMOLED display is great but a bit harder to find and at a good price W10/USBC etc
     
  4. Silvestru Hosszu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Location:
    Europe
    #4
    Hi,

    I have a maxed out SB2 as the main laptop but on the go I have a Huawei Matebook X Pro.
    It ticks all you boxes minus LTE support and the 2018 variant is close to 1k.
     
  5. TomOSeven thread starter macrumors 6502

    TomOSeven

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2017
    #5
    The difference being that the Go also has a USB-C port, so I can use my phone charger to also charge the tablet, that cuts down on travel weight even more. The added benefit to that is that my monitor has a USB-C dock built in, so with one cable, I could charge, use the monitor and use peripherals.

    If the Surface Pro 6 had USB-C, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

    Perhaps a second gen Surface Go isn't too far off?
     
  6. Silvestru Hosszu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Location:
    Europe
    #6
    The GO is a truly nice device, I have it also. It is the carry everywhere gadget. But I don't know if it's ok for coding because I don't do that kind of stuf.
    The GO 2 should be released either in a month, max 2 (the original was launched roughly a year ago) or next summer if Microsoft is on a 2 years cycle (like the SurfaceBook series).
     
  7. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    #7
    Hopefully SP7 should have USB C/TB-3. IMHO the current GO is overly bottlenecked by the CPU, making it more a casual device than a more rounded tool, added in you need to opt for 128 or more to see reasonable disk speed, keyboard, pen. Better to track down a discounted SP5.

    I can see why MS opted for the Pentium Gold CPU as in a 10" predominantly tablet format battery life is everything. The Switch 5 was an instant buy for me as it has USB A & C, separate "barrel" type power port and microSD Card slot as few if any offer this. Switch 5 isn't perfect by means, equally I'm happy to settle for usability over looking good.

    Another factor was as much as I like the 10" form factor, I find it's too small for W10 with 12" being the minimum for me.

    Q-6
     
  8. SteveJUAE, Jun 13, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019

    SteveJUAE macrumors 68030

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #8
    The GO will only trickle charge from your phone charger, if you buy the SP6/SB charger the brick has an additional USB-A port so can charge the Go and your Phone at the same time as would if you just bought the SP6 in the first instance

    My GO sits relatively unused between trips but I guess you can use it as a simple document reader when hooked up to a monitor but obviously the Switch and SP6 have more grunt

    August seems the MS refresh time so although we hope for an up-rated SB/SP not sure if the GO will be given any TLC

    If your one of these people that are obsessive about perceived lag on your smartphone don't get a GO as that extra 0.5 second to open explorer will annoy you and if your lazy in closing progs, hence my tempered expectation note above :)

    Take note of Q6 advice I swap quite often between 10/12" devices but I am enjoying the build quality and cuteness of the GO as truly portability is not without some compromise and there is 100's of shades of grey as you move up the power tree :)
     
  9. TomOSeven thread starter macrumors 6502

    TomOSeven

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2017
    #9
    The Go charges 0-80 in two hours with my phone charger or powerbank.

    I wish I knew someone who had the larger Surface so I could test the speakers.
     
  10. SteveJUAE macrumors 68030

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #10
    Depends on your phone :)

    Whilst the Samsung Fast charger is around 15W max and the Huawei’s is 40W max

    The standard MS charge for the GO is 24W using its proprietary port, not knowing the USB-C port spec but assuming it can take advantage of more modern fast chargers by Phone OEMs YMMV

    Using the MS charger the GO takes about an hour to get to 80% but another hour to 100%

    The Surface Charger is 65w rated and includes a 2nd USB-A port which is a good option for even faster charging and powering/charging a 2nd device simultaneously
     
  11. LindsayD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2019
    Location:
    England
    #11
    My ‘on the go’ machines comprise a Lenovo L390 Yoga (13.3”) and a Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (12.3”). The SP6 offers only a USB port and has a proprietary charger so may not suit you, but otherwise it's a great little device. I've got the i5, 256 SSD, 8Gig RAM version and it performs better than expected, I got a bundled deal with the keyboard for your budget. The pen costs extra.

    The L390Y is a better deal overall but is heavier - I’ve got the i5 Whiskey Lake, 512 Gig SSD, 16Gig RAM version and I’m impressed with it. It’s a two in one and it comes already bundled with a very good pen. Although the panel is FHD it’s nice quality and is pretty bright. The keyboard is gorgeous, being a Thinkpad. It’s also upgradable which makes it fairly unique amongst the Ultrabooks. I paid less than £1000 for mine. It has an excellent range of ports. There are lighter weight and fancier looking options out there, but they may not be within what you want to spend for a similar specification.

    I don’t think many laptops will give you particularly good sound and for that reason I tend to carry my little Bose Soundlink Micro with me (it’s excellent for its size). The speakers are pretty good on my Surface Pro 6 - better than any of my other mobile devices. But if you want to crank up some music then a decent portable bluetooth speaker is the way to go.
     
  12. TomOSeven thread starter macrumors 6502

    TomOSeven

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2017
    #12
    The Yoga and Surface seem to cover a lot of the same ground, why do you use both if I may ask?
     
  13. LindsayD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2019
    Location:
    England
    #13
    Levels of redundancy (I run a small business) and size - it suits me to have a small and very light machine for personal transit or when I have to travel extra light, which is where the Surface Pro comes in. The L390Y acts as a backup to my Aero, which in turn is a backup to my main desktop machine.
     
  14. SteveJUAE macrumors 68030

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #14
    Very wise :)
     
  15. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    #15
    Feel that, as it's exactly what I do project to project. Always two systems, always backed and a point to point encrypted cloud solution.

    One the heavy lifter, the other a lightweight 2 in 1. For me it's just a function of business, however as it's my business my choice :) I've had guys notebook's fail answer is simple 24 hours to replace, repair, or go home as the client is not paying for downtime...

    I pick my personal hardware according to the complexity of the project and portablity need.

    Q-6
     
  16. LindsayD macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2019
    Location:
    England
    #16
    Yep, I actually had two laptops go down on the same day (about two months ago). Rare, but not unheard of. One started blue screening that morning and the new Yoga appeared to brick itself. My assistant wasn't in that day so I couldn't borrow his machine. Pure panic. I was able to defer the client a couple of days and in fact the Yoga recovered itself fully that evening. But it was enough to send me out to buy another spare, in the form of the Surface. Its size means that like you I can carry it on the road as well, which was previously impossible as both the office laptops added too much weight.

    As you allude, a failure in front of a client means either immediately hooking up your backup, or the client leaves and may not bother returning.

    I know more than a few business owners who have just one computer. That is lunacy.
     

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15 June 13, 2019