What laptop/tablet do you prefer for remote working?

Hi,

as I’m looking into buying a new laptop/tablet, I’m wondering what everybody is using here for work and why?

Mentioning your profession or business, location, travel activities or anything related to this will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Robert

I’m primarily a .NET developer but chose a Macbook Air 13" for my dev machine. I’ve got the latest model in the highest standard configuration which is more than ample for me as a developer plus it’s extremely lightweight so great for on the move.

It allows me to run a virtual windows install with Visual Studio in parallels whilst giving me the option of dropping back to Xcode for iOS/Mac development. In essence it covers off the main platforms I would develop for (plus I much prefer OS X in general use).

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You can call me web-developer. I like cross-platform stuff and open source, so most of stuff I do can be done on a Linux machine. But while picking a compact computer, I noticed that it’s pretty hard to find a decent laptop that supports all the hardware on a Linux.

MacBook Air was a good option, but I was scared that it will have heating problems (it had before). So I bought MacBook Pro 13’ - it fitted perfectly to my requirements, but it took me couple of months to get used to.

3 years later i would say that I’m happy with my pick :smile: If i had to buy new one i would look in to Dell XPS 13 or buy another MacBook Pro :smile:

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I do a range of things for my day job from people and project management to web development and data analysis. For hobbies I do photography and started getting into video editing (mainly gopro footage). I’ve been running on 15" Macbook Pros for the last 6 years and upgraded recently to the newest gen with most of the bells and whistles.

I don’t always need the power, but it’s really nice to have when I’m doing lots of work with photos or videos, running VMs and/or lots of apps at once, etc.

It stays with me practically all the time (along with photo gear, etc) when I’m traveling or at home in Australia (I take it to the office and back home every day). Lots of people comment about the weight I carry around most of the time, but it works for me. When I need to go light weight I just grab my iPad Mini (with bluetooth keyboard) which is enough for lightweight working on the go (coding, social, email, etc).

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I am in love with my Surface Pro 3.

Just a bit of background, I’m an SEO guy so a lot of my work involves se,tting up Wordpress and such. Whenever I’m not working from home, I work primarily at coffee shops. I also like going to the beach on random overnight trips, so traveling lightly is of utmost importance to me.

I’ve been an Apple guy for the longest time now, but after years of service my Macbook Pro started failing on me. I always had a difficult time traveling with the MBP just because I found it to be too heavy especially if you’re carrying around the charger, so I was planning on the Macbook Air until I saw the SP3 was about to be released.

After checking it out, I decided to go with the SP3 for several reasons:

1.) It’s powerful enough to be a laptop… it runs the full version of Windows 8.1. Perfect for me because I tend to use Photoshop quite a lot. I also like the screen-splitting feature it has which allows me to run a browser side-by-side with Word without having to Alt+Tab like crazy. I can also play games like Counterstrike and such whenever I’m taking a break.

2.) …But it makes for an excellent bedtime-companion tablet as well. at night, I simply disconnect the SP3 from the keyboard and it instantly becomes a tablet I can use to stream TV shows and movies from. Planning to buy a Miracast device of some sorts as well so I can easily stream to my TV. Apps are pretty shitty (the Windows Store has a LOOONG way to go if they want to compete with Android and Apple’s App Store in that regard) but who really needs apps when you can run the full version of programs anyway?

3.) The form factor is great. at around 2 pounds, this thing is super light. Even with the charger in the bag, I hardly notice it around my shoulders. Perfect for when I’m walking around for hours – my shoulder don’t get tired at all from carrying it. I never liked typing with a computer on my lap anyway because I don’t want to burn my thighs when the system heats up, so the adjustable kickstand is just right for me.

So yeah, there. While I don’t think I’ll be fully able to let go of the OS X environment (I still use a Mac Mini as my personal/music studio computer) I’m actually really loving the Surface and the Windows ecosystem so far. Either the Macbook Air or the Surface Pro would meet my needs really, but the lightweight form factor of the SP3 makes it the winner for me. Good luck with your choice!

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Designer here and working on a MacBook Pro Retina 13" and love it.

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Love my 13" Retina MBP. Plenty of power, and the retina display provides amazing screen real estate.

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I use a cheap Fujitsu. Never a great laptop to begin with, it’s beaten up from being on the road for two years. The WiFi adapter doesn’t work anymore so I bought a USB one. I have broken the screen twice, and had it changed twice, by dodgy repair shops in China.

Why do I bring all of this up? Anything you take on the road is going to be beaten to hell, and you’re likely going to need it repaired a thousand miles from the nearest Apple store. So, if you’re going to be a nomad, buy things that people use in nomad country like low-end Lenovo laptops. Dell is also a safe choice; you can also get these fixed almost anywhere. Both are a lot more durable than some delicate flower like a MacBook Air, although your expensive Mac (with a resale value of approximately 3 months’ average salary in many parts of the world) might get stolen before it breaks. Also, the keyboards on full-size laptops tend to be better to work on for long periods of time (remember, you’ll be making a living by typing–be kind to your wrists).

My advice? Buy the absolute cheapest laptop that will meet your minimum requirements right now. Choose a brand that is sold in the area where you’ll be traveling. If you haven’t become attached to it and all the memories you have together, as I have become attached to my battle-worn Fujitsu (which has been abused so badly the letters have worn off the keyboard), replace it–whether you need to or not–a year later on your next visit to the US where electronics are half the price of almost anywhere else in the world.

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I use a 2013 Macbook Air 13" and LOVE it.

If you’re on a budget and aren’t’ doing video editing I’d get a 13" Chromebook which is what my girlfriend uses and it’s perfect.

Just got the new Thinkpad X1 and deeply in love with it, only minor downsides are no Caps lock indicator light and only 8G RAM which make multiple VMs a bit of a no go. Other than that it’s a form factor that’s lighter than the air with the specs of the Pro.

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I’m tied to Windows due to the potential for working for clients who use Windows applications (I’m a part time geo). I currently carry around a right brick, an old Toshiba, which I’m thinking of changing. I’ve already dumped the battery and dvd drive to save weight out of desperation. The main reason for thinking of changing though is laptop ergonomics. They’re rubbish.
So I’ve been thinking about this and really it’s an impossible mission to nail completely. The problem is that if you get something expensive then it’s something else to worry about. And it’s the Windows7/8 capability that really upps the price.

Now, I have a Windows VPS I got for cheap so I’m thinking I can use that. But it seems risky to rely on such connectivity…
And also I was thinking, I could get a tablet and separate keyboard to solve the ergonomics… rather than carry round this heavy laptop stand.

But here’s a tip. Have you noticed how cheap VGA monitors are these days? Less than €20 in some places. That’s cheap enough to buy, use for a few weeks and then dump when it’s time to leave. A dual monitor setup is a real luxury. If you haven’t got VGA out you can get a fairly small adapter for it.

edit I personally like the look of the SurfacePro3 but the screen I’d prefer to be just an inch bigger. I guess that’s where grabbing an old monitor could come in.
This is the most important piece of gear so it’s worth thinking about.

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I’m a developer. I was offered a Mac and turned it down to get a Dell XPS 13. It was my choice for a few reasons:

1 - I hate all things apple and prefer Linux
2 - It is a significantly lower theft target
3 - If something goes bad on the road, I can get it fixed. Getting anything on a Mac fixed/replaced outside of the US or maybe Western Europe is either ridiculously expensive, exceedingly difficult, or both. For example, in the same week in Mexico, my power cord died and my friend’s mac power cord died. I went to Radio Shack and bought a new one for $12 and was up and running in an hour. He had to order one for $170 and wait 2 weeks to get it. He ended up just flying back to the US and getting one as it was faster. No. Thanks.

When it was up to me, I had a crappy netbook that cost $300 so I didn’t feel bad about beating it to hell (which is pretty much guaranteed to happen). But that doesn’t work for developing so I have to have something more powerful. I hate carrying something this expensive around.

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Developer here :slight_smile: Bought new laptop last year, was keen to get the Lenovo X230 (had one at my old work and they’re pretty rugged and good battery life). They stopped making that model though.

Ended up going for a 13" Retina MBP and couldn’t be happier. Having a unix-based system makes working with everything other than .NET so much easier.

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I’ve been using my Macbook Pro Retina 15" for the two years of travel. I work primarily as a web developer but also spend quite a bit of time in Photoshop.

If I had to choose again, I’d probably go with a 13" MBP Retina instead for a few reasons:

  1. I use carry-on luggage only, and my laptop currently consumes 20% of my total luggage
  2. I don’t need such a big screen, especially when using the Retina screen
  3. It’s easier to move around with a smaller laptop, and I’d be more inclined to work in a coffee shop or cafe

It really comes down to what sort of work you’ll be doing, how much power/performance you need, and what your budget is for the work.

People will have different opinions on Mac Vs Windows Vs Unix but ultimate that’s up to you. Personally, OS X suits me far better than Windows when it comes to the nature of my work, and I’m happy to pay the premium for (what I consider) a better device.

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software developer (99% MS stack) here (seems common huh?)

currently use a macbook air 13" - light, all day battery life and lets me work without having to deal with some of window’s annoyances. i use parallels when i need to run windows or linux or another copy of os x. i’ve been working this way since 2006. couldn’t be happier.

i traveled with a 15" MBP and now it seems so porky compared to the 13".

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Have brought my old faithful Macbook Pro, but before I left purchased an Air to migrate to, and will hand over the Pro to my partner to have his own device :slight_smile: Love them both, but as someone else mentioned, the Pro is heavier and I prefer carting around the Air than the Pro. If you’re trying to stay light, the Air is great.

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Marketer on a MacBook Pro… really just for Abode CS.

Managed to work full-time on a Chromebook for about 6 months when I didn’t have any design work.

The Chromebook was manageable because it’s:

  • so lightweight, so easy to travel with
  • so cheap I’m not stressed about it being lost or stolen during my travels

Obviously, the Chromebook has a LOT of limitations, and most lines of work simply need a REAL computer. I was able to do everything through apps, miraculously. I figure there are a lot of MacBook users in this thread and I should let it be known that somewhere out there in the cosmos someone is managing their work on a $200 Chrome Browser. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Macbook Pro Retina 15"

Is there really any other option? Hah, no.

I even run Visual Studio, SQL Server, SQL Management Studio, etc, when I need to. They run super fast with Parallels (faster than on my old Windows laptop). With coherence the windows (or linux) programs look just like mac apps. Wish I had made the switch sooner, no regrets.

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Like @thisiscarlo, I use a Surface Pro, though mine’s a 2. The power combined with the portability, the option to use a stylus, is unmatched. Looking forward to Windows 10 and Universal Apps, as I now have a Lumia 1020 as my phone.

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Mainly software development, management stuff and some occasional designing.

After switching to the Apple PowerBook G4 1.0 17" in 2003 I’ve been using Macs ever since (and a lot of Linux and flavours of Unix in vm’s and on servers). First larger laptops, from 17" to 15" to 13" and now 11". Don’t like the Quality Control of Apple these days, with the focus shift from prosumers to consumers it seems to be getting worse and worse, but still better than most other manufacturers. Did flirt with a Lenovo Thinkpad X220t (2012, really loved the special outdoor screen for working in direct sunlight) and a Dell XPS 13" (2014, really disliked the font rendering on Ubuntu).

Currently I use a MacBook Air 11" and love it. Although I’m hoping on a new Macbook Air release next week.

I have a bootable encrypted backup disk (USB+FireWire) with OS X and Ubuntu and my software/projects, just stick it into any Mac or PC and I’m ready to go (needed it 2 times when experiencing hardware failure in the last 11 years).

As for issues with the power adapter, I always bring a spare one. The 45W MagSafe 2 power adapter is quite small anyways.
As for display size, I can hook up to a larger screen most places I visit. For me it was worth trading in the screen size for extra portability: less size and weight.

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