Hi LH, I’m going to be moving interstate in the coming months and my employer wants me to continue working as a telecommuter. The boss will be buying me a notebook to work with. I've barely used them before as I’ve always been a Windows desktop man, so what should I recommend for him to get me?
My software requirements are nothing more strenuous than Skype and the Microsoft Office suite. I will need to do a lot of my work using a remote desktop due to an in-office router configuration I won't be able to replicate at home. A very cheap notebook or even a netbook could easily handle that. Budget is a concern though. I haven’t been given a price range, but I suspect every $100 under $1000 is going to be appreciated.
My main concern is size: is it practicable to work daily on the keyboard of a 13in or 15in notebook and will the screen size bother me? I currently use 23in monitors on home and work desktops. For the most part my work environment is going to be at a desk in a spare bedroom at home, though I will travel back to the office on occasion.
The need for daily comfort versus the lack of need for power is a bit of a compromise. Should I go for a lightweight notebook attached to USB keyboard and a monitor or go for a more full-featured model with only a USB mouse? Comments and advice from Lifehacker readers would be much appreciated!
Thanks, Laptop Newbie
Picture by Tina Lawson
This is definitely an area where reader experience will be more useful than my observations, so please feel free to share thoughts in the comments. I'll just offer a handful of starter observations:
- Given that you're not really looking for a travel machine, I'd go for a larger screen (17 inches or more). This isn't a keyboard issue: I use much smaller machines than that and have no problems typing. I just suspect that if you're used to a 23in monitor, dropping that much screen real estate will be a shock.
- That said, if you're using a desk in your bedroom, I'd resist having the monitor unless you also plan to use it as a TV. Having just a notebook means you can close it up and separate your work life from your bedroom life to some extent. For the same reason, I'd resist having a separate keyboard, though admittedly it's not hard to put one in a drawer.
- Make sure that you have a good support package/warranty which includes on-the-premises service. While that will cost a little extra, for a machine you're using to earn your crust, it's a sensible investment for a remote worker.
Now it's over to you, readers. Particular machines you'd recommend? Experience with a notebook and monitor setup? Other thoughts? Tell all in the comments.
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