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Author: OrmontUS Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 189504  
Subject: Jeff buys a new toy Date: 12/26/2013 6:27 PM
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Yes, I finally bit the bullet and decided on the laptop to buy to replace my (aging, but still graceful) Sony Vaio VGN-TZ170N which, after about five years has finally been surpassed.

I travel a lot, so the temptation of using a laptop as a desktop substitute isn't even on the radar screen. IMHO, a laptop's main purpose is to be portable so minimizing the size and weight of a capable laptop is what I'm concentrating on. Budget was secondary to size/weight/durability and the ability to provide another five years before being replaced. The final contenders were the Apple Macbook Air 11, the Sony Vaio Pro 11 and the larger Toshiba Dynabook Kira V834 (not yet available in the States, but I travel to Asia enough that that's not a show stopper) and Samsung ATIV Series 9.

I also looked at the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and the Sony TIP 11, but while they met the weight criteria, they lacked storage and or ease of typing capability.

Anyhow, while there are many laptops which cost a few hundred dollars (at most), all of the above cost in the $1,200-$1,500 range to get the capabilities I'm looking for: Less than three pounds, preferably close to two pounds in weight, 256GB solid state hard disk, at least five hours of "real" battery usage, premium display to allow usage of tiny text. Also an easy way to use SD (or at least micro-SD) memory chips.

After looking at Asian prices (as over the next few months I will be in India, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan), the prices in the US are close to the best (though there are many more advanced products of all types available in Asia than in the US).

After getting a low-ball (comparatively, at least) quote, I ended up with the Sony Vaio Pro 11.

The three negatives (based on reviews):

1) Loud fan noise - I can mitigate it a bit with drivers, but I can live with that

2) The thing is somewhat flexible plastic - well, it's actually carbon fiber and I suspect it's tougher than the reviewers know.

3) Lousy WiFi reception - well, I usually use a high gain external gadget (TP-Link TL-WN822N) anyway, so that's not a showstopper either (though it came close and I hope Sony pays more attention to it).

While the hard disk will be encrypted, I will miss the fingerprint reader built into my current model, but I guess it went the same way that the DVD burner did. Oh well - I guess that's why they call it progress :-)

Jeff
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