In Quest of a Robust Laptop
Following on from last weeks’ Byte Me article we continue our quest to track down reliability and robustness in the current crop of IT offerings. So far, we have eliminated mechanical drives, dedicated video cards, multiple storage drives, gaming PC complexity and have given Apple Macs a good side swipe for their exorbitant cost.
Our process of elimination will next focus on a range of devices that we often see breaking down – the hybrid or 2 in 1 laptop. Laptops that have fancy hinges that allow the screen to swivel around a single pivot point or to disconnect completely from the keyboard containing base section are very problematic. This type of hinge will often mechanically fail, and the detachable connection points may work well when new in the store, however this is unlikely to continue with everyday use.
All laptops by their very nature present problems because of their portability. In 22 years, we have seen literally thousands of laptops brought in with broken screens or smashed bases due to a drop, however I have rarely ever seen the same damage in a desktop PC or desktop monitor. If you must have a laptop for portability, then the most reliable and robust models are the Toughbook’s made by Panasonic.
We have supplied Toughbook’s to farmers and industry when they needed a portable device to withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Manufactured to meet Military specs, they are waterproof, dustproof and rated for drops onto concrete from a height of 1 metre. Some of their models also have screens rated for use while under direct sunlight and achieve this with measured brightness levels more than 3 times that of standard laptops.
If portability is needed without the extreme robustness of a Panasonic Toughbook then you should be considering a good quality commercial laptop from HP, Dell or Lenovo. All 3 manufacturers turn out devices that are the swiss army knife of laptops which would outlast ANY of the consumer grade laptops that are on the market. Unfortunately, there is a price to be paid for quality so commercial grade laptops start at the $1200 mark.
The fact that most of the sub-$1000 laptops on the market are absolute junk is the reason we came out with our Eco laptop range. Taking factory refurbished, ex-corporate, commercial grade laptops that retailed for over $2000 just a few years ago and installing new Samsung solid-state drives and 8GB of new ram to offer them at well under $1000 with 13 months warranty. They are all based on Intel i5 or i7 CPU’s and offer a staggering mix of performance & reliability at a low price point.
While considering portable devices we must look at the vast array of Tablets that are currently flooding the market. Again, there are many brands and a lot of junk on the market here, but a true tablet will either be a Samsung Galaxy running an Android operating system or an Apple iPad running iOS and neither will have a keyboard with discrete keys but rather the representation of a keyboard on a glass touch surface. While both devices are very reliable, neither will offer even half the flexibility and resources of a proper laptop.
If portability is not needed, then closer look at a standard desktop is. Next week we will further eliminate lemons and bad IT investments on our quest for ultimate reliability and robustness.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.
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