Best Laptop for Work / Table Top Gaming


Technology


I'm a teacher and a Pathfinder GM/occasional player.

The job is more demanding than ever, and I don't have time to do the tech research like I used to.

I would love any thoughts and suggestions on the best Laptop for the money. I'm sure I want something that runs Windows 8.

Horsepower wise I'm just looking to run email & microsoft office, along with reading large pdfs, and a few table top gaming apps (Herolab and Ttop RPG to be specific). Maybe a bit of internet browsing.

Dell had a low level laptop on sale over labor day for about $375. I'm sure they'll have a similar deal around Black Friday time. My last Dell, which was an expensive PC gaming affair, fried out after only 2 years and 2 weeks, and I'm hesitant to return my business to them.

Will I be happy with an entry level laptop performance wise? Do I want to pay the extra for touch screen capability? Those tablet/laptop hybrids I've seen are intriguing.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


There isn't a single answer to this question. There are too many personal preferences involved and too many options available. What the 'best laptop' would be for me may be a total mess for you. Here is what I would recommend you consider:

1. It would be difficult indeed to find a laptop of any brand or style on the market today that could not handle your stated needs with ease. In fact many of the top line laptops would probably just be overkill.
2. I like a large screen, my laptop has a screen that is larger than many desktops I've used in the past. Some people don't want a large screen and what I see as a benefit would just be bulky to others. As a gaming bonus, when I am GMing a game, my laptop is an excellent GM screen all by itself.
3. I like a full sized keyboard and a numeric keypad. My laptop has both. It matches the large screen very well. But that means it's a bit heavy for literally sitting on your lap. Plus most cheap laptop cases are too small for it.
4. I don't mind a "heavy" laptop. I'm willing to put up with the weight for the large screen, keyboard and numeric keypad. My wife won't even use it because she wants everything small. She has a netbook that weighs less than 1/3 what my laptop weighs.
5. I wanted all the connectivity possible so my laptop has both RPG and HDMI video output, several USB ports, firewire, and accepts two different kinds of digital camera storage card formats. Plus it has a CD reader/writer. My wife's netbook has a couple of USB connectors.

Anyway, for most people these days the thing that drives them to purchase one laptop over another is style, weight and size. So find one that fits your style and is the right size.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

While most laptops these days come with them, I'd be certain to buy a model with both an HDMI output and a webcam. The HDMI port comes in handy when you want to display artwork, world maps, or even a VTT to the group without disturbing the game table. The webcam will be handy if you ever play/host a VTT game via Skype, Google Hangouts, or the like.

Another feature that I personally like is a back-lit keyboard. Those can be very handy on night-time flights and road trips. Lastly, having a built-in card reader that is compatible with the removable media from your camera can prove handy on vacations (assuming you aren't simply taking photos on your cell phone).


Thanks for the tips. I'm definitely not interested in anything top of the line at this time.

Back-lit would be really ideal for me, and is something I did not even think to consider.

I would still be thankful for any brand/model recommendations.


Whatever you get, make sure you get the extended warranty option ;) I'm pretty sure manufacturers design those things to explode just as the warranty period is over.


Organized, my wife loves her Samsung netbook. I have a Gateway and have used it for going on five years now and it still works fine. I used it to write software for my brother's website, I've edited photos and videos on it, recorded music on my guitar and burned CDs with it.

I would suggest that you head to your nearest mall with an Apple and Microsoft store and do some comparisons of the different models and pick the one you like best.

The Exchange

Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Organized, my wife loves her Samsung netbook. I have a Gateway and have used it for going on five years now and it still works fine. I used it to write software for my brother's website, I've edited photos and videos on it, recorded music on my guitar and burned CDs with it.

I would suggest that you head to your nearest mall with an Apple and Microsoft store and do some comparisons of the different models and pick the one you like best.

Just to mention it since I saw the manufacturer mentioned....I really like my Samsung laptop. I bought it 2-1/2 years ago for $350 (RV515 model) and it has never given me an issue or had any problems running stuff.

I can't speak for what is a good, current laptop but I would trust and suggest that a Samsung is a good quality manufacturer, even at the economical end of the spectrum where things can get dicey in the quality department, and think that looking at some of the low-end Samsungs would be a great place to start and just let your wallet guide you to your final goal.

The Exchange

Here is a nice Samsung that seems to meet your needs for $400. The ATIV Book 2. Has Windows 8, HDMI, 3 usbs, 4.8 hours of battery, weighs under 5lbs, good display.....I would buy it.


Sounds good. Samsung is a brand I have come to trust in my home, for televisions and computer monitors (and very recently, a refrigerator).

Didn't even realize they made laptops.

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