Productivity device

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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Productivity device

Postposted on Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:04 pm

I am looking for a very lightweight, portable device that is very low in price(up to 400.00 dollars) for productivity. I will be writing much more now that the coursework is picking up. My first though was a chromebook since it has a full-sized keyboard. What scares me is that without wifi this thing is pretty much a brick for what I care.

I am open to suggestions other than chromebooks. Keep in mind that this is a supplementary device for the purpose of on-the-spot productivity and a keyboard is a great plus.

For now, the chromebook is the favorite due to the keyboard.

Thank you.

uni-mitation
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:00 pm

Pretty sure you can install most popular Linux distros on a Chromebook, which would solve that problem. You should be able to find a numberpad keyboard in most 15.6" laptops or larger. 5 years ago, I managed to get a refurbished Compaq for $400, with a dual core Athlon. If you're not running anything CPU/GPU intensive, then you should easily be able to find something that suits your needs. Nowadays, you'll probably end up with something that has a better screen than the 1366x768 TN garbage of old, even at the lower price point.

Being more specific would also help; are web browsers and office software all you're going to use? Even then, I wouldn't go with ChromeOS due to the limitations from installing other software that may be needed later.
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:58 pm

uni-mitation wrote:for the purpose of on-the-spot productivity and a keyboard is a great plus

Does that mean you would prefer a keyboard, or that a good keyboard is important? If the latter, you probably shouldn't expect too much in this price range.

uni-mitation wrote: am looking for a very lightweight, portable device that is very low in price(up to 400.00 dollars)

Have you read TR's review on the Asus T100 convertible? Otherwise, check out this $340 (until 11/28) Lenovo 15.6" A-series laptop (not exactly light by my standards) or this Acer Ivy i3 14" touchscreen laptop. Other than that, watch black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:09 pm

I simply assumed that a keyboard is required after seeing the word "productivity", although I may have underestimated the importance of portability and light weight.
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sat Nov 23, 2013 11:07 pm

I have not been more specific thus I have made your labor harder, and for that, I apologize.

I lug with my briefcase(which I love, leather!) a ton of books, and I have a good laptop, but one that adds 4-5 pounds. By the end of the day of going to class, and walking a good two miles everyday, it takes a toll on your back. So, the problem that i encounter is that in the law library I am unable to take advantage of my laptop, my productivity suffers.

Stabbing a screen for a good three and four hours is not pleasure to say the least. In a sense, a keyboard is a must. Yet, it must also be lightweight(books).

Where I spend most of my time(law library), I have free wifi(secured) available to me. Yet, I can't rely and put my whole basket on Chrome OS. To me, the limitations of the OS do not justify the good keyboard that it has for its price.

So, if I decided to do a Linux distro, my first jerk reaction would be Puppy Linux for the good experience that I had with it. What scares me would be the quality of support for the drivers for such hardware like an ARM processor. I don't want to jump, and waste my money on something that will give me more trouble than the benefit. Now, if someone could point me to install a good supported distro on the samsung chromebook(the one I am leaning towards), then I think I can manage. Meanwhile it doesn't involve much hacking, :D
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:11 am

If you can find some way to digitize those books (for example, finding ebook versions), that could save a lot of weight. As for Linux, I don't have much idea on driver support. I've had very few or no hardware compatibility problems with various systems on Ubuntu-based distros as well as Linux Mint. Your milage will vary, I guess, and I haven't worked with Chromebooks before, so I don't know for sure how well things will fare over there.

Those ASUS transformer tablets may be a good option. Not sure on your opinion of Windows 8, but 8 is easier to acquire than 7 these days.
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:10 pm

C-A_99, thank you for your input. I am going to look closely at those Asus Transformers, maybe when I have free time I would go and try one out. If anyone has one, if they could be kind as to give me their input as to whether is a good productivity device?

DPete27, thank you for your input also. Those laptops referenced are quite good, but they weight kill me.

The books that I have are hard copies. For me, it is the overwhelming experience that having a hard copy book offers the best user experience. With buying an ebook, things get muddy. You don't really own the book, you only own a license, in a sense, you are renting the book. I buy these expensive books not to be in a thumb drive, but to actually have them for life. Weird of me to say, but I develop an emotional attachment to books, lol. With a real life book I can do all that I want with them. Do I have the same freedoms with an ebook? I am afraid not.

I think the most likely path that I will take will be Chromebook with a bit of hacking, and hopefully, having a good Linux distro.

If any other Gerbils have any other suggestions or leads, feel free to share them, I need them.

Thank you again for your time,

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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:42 pm

Students are faced with a few bad options on textbooks these days:

- Lug around heavy dead tree on back, with no access to the material if you leave the book bag around somewhere (while paying exorbitant amounts of money for renting or buying books except in a few cases on Amazon).
- Spend those exorbitant amounts of money on ridiculously DRM'd ebooks (as if students will only ever access a single device in their lifetime), while still being unable to access the material on other devices.
- Copyright infringement (when downloads even exist).
- Mooch off fellow students' textbooks (huge accessibility problem, obviously).
- Don't go to school (generally the worst option).

There's really no way for you to win, although you seem to be way happier with paper than I ever was.

As for devices, I suppose I'm at the end of what I can offer there. I haven't bought any laptop/tablet/hybrid of the sort in a long time. Last one I have is a 15.6" 1366x768 traditional laptop, which is a form factor that may be too heavy (or expensive, if of the lightweight variety) for you. However, I think that's the only way that you're going to get a number pad on a real keyboard.
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:00 pm

The Lenovo IdeaPad A10 should fit your needs very well if you think Android is sufficient for your tasks.
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:31 pm

Looks like it's somewhat common to put linux on a chromebook.

According to this article, chrome OS is basically a flavor of linux. There's a project called crouton to install ubuntu linux on top of chromebook (in a way that you can switch between them without reseting).
http://lifehacker.com/how-to-install-li ... -509039343

Examples
Works on a HP chromebook
http://www.geek.com/apps/hps-chromebook ... d-1574172/

Works on an Acer C270 chromebook, from a brief glance at some of the posts here:
https://plus.google.com/communities/109 ... 5080485536

My cousin got a Chrome Pixel at the google event this year. He put linux on his. That one's obviously outside your price range.
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:28 pm

I actually faced this same dilemma in law school. I tried three different solutions. I'm also assuming you're a 1L.

1) Pen and Paper (Really)

This worked well for taking notes in class, but it was kind of a hassle when it came time to do outlines. The advantage of taking notes by hand is that because you are able to write less you tend to only note the most important information. This can make studying for exams easier because you've already taken the first step of winnowing down the information. Of course, there is also the possibility that you missed key information so there is a trade off. Because you don't have to create very many finished documents in law school this is actually a more viable solution than it would be in the college settings were papers are far more common.

For briefing cases, you could forego a formal brief (if you even do this) and just concentrate on highlighting and notes in the margin.

2) Netbook

I started lawschool around that time that netbooks caught on and before ultralight laptops really existed. I found the netbook very convenient for taking notes and the whole process was helped dramatically by the addition of a solid state drive. The keyboard wasn't great, but I paired the netbook with a full blown desktop for home use so I was able to sacrifice usability for portability. I used One Note for note taking purposes and would highly recommend it for law school use. It is very easy to sync data between multiple devices using a shared notebook and the way the program is organized works far better than simply using a word document or similar.

3) Macbook Air

By my third year of law school the Macbook Air had begun to represent a good value. It was thinner and lighter than anythings else on the market with a superior build quality. The only competition at this point were a few Samsung and Sony laptops that were far more expensive. If I were making this decision today I would be tempted by the Thinkpad X1. This is of course more expensive than what you're thinking about, but this would completely replace your heavier laptop and not be a stop gap solution.

I hadn't used OSX before purchasing the Macbook Air, but found it fine for day to day use. Nevertheless, as noted above, I had gotten used to running One Note on my netbook and One Note is not available on OSX. I actually used the Microsoft One Note web app to continue taking notes using one note which worked alright, especially when paired with my more capable desktop.
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Re: Productivity device

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:35 pm

I want to thank you all for your input(again).

I have decided that I am looking for a netbook, and I am going with an used acer aspire one.

Do you guys think I would notice much difference in going for a c-60 processor over that of a single-core atom clocked at 1.6? Are the graphics better with the AMD solution? How about the drivers? Any of you guys running acer aspire one with linux? How is the support?

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