Dear LH, Please don't be too harsh on me. I am quite the noob when it comes to computers in general. I need to purchase a laptop -- or maybe a tablet. I would appreciate any (simple) suggestions you have.
Basically, instead of a filing cabinet, I will use this to make notes on clients. I have an android phone and people have told me that whatever I put in my phone's calender, it will sync with my computer, which would be awesome. I'd like good battery life, I'm prepared to spend around $1500, and I don't want anything too bulky (I'm okay with 1.2 kilograms or so).
I've eyeballed the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 and the Surface. Do I need this kind of device or something else? Suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tech Noob
Dear Tech Noob,
From the sound of it, you won't need a machine that can handle an onslaught of taxing applications at once, so we'd strike premium models like the Yoga 13 off your list (unless you really want to impress your clients). Instead, save some money and plump for a mid-range tablet. You'll still be able to sync to your phone's calendar, no matter what you buy.
The Nexus 7 is a good all-rounder that can currently be purchased from JB Hi-Fi for $240. The Nexus 7 is extremely compact and has solid battery life (you can expect around 10 hours of active use in-between charges). It runs on Google's Android operating system, so the interface should be nice and familiar to you.
Another Android tablet worth checking out is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - it boasts a larger 10.1-inch screen and comes with an inbuilt stylus suitable for sketching and note taking. If you like the idea of adding handwritten notes to onscreen documents, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a good option. It can be snapped up for around $550.
The main downside to a tablet is the lack of a keyboard, which can make using word processors and other typing applications annoying. That said, both of the above models have keyboard accessories (sold separately) that essentially turn them into miniature laptops.
Before purchasing, it's always a good idea to get some hands-on experience with a tablet to ensure it caters to your specific requirements. If you're planning to order online, try and give it a test in the shops first.
One final piece of advice: whatever machine you choose, make sure you back up your clients' files regularly with a cloud storage service like Dropbox -- for all their strengths, computers aren't nearly as fail-safe as a filing cabinet, so it pays to be prepared!
Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact tab on the right.