Recently, I’ve been considering upgrading my current laptop (a 7th gen i7 Asus best buy special, with 16gb and 256gb). I was looking at various ultrabooks and low-end gaming laptops, but none of them really clicked with me.
I realized rather quickly that my use case is really not one demanding of a full-fledged PC.
Here’s what I used my Windows laptop for:
First, I used it for Indie gaming. Stuff like Stardew Valley, Darkest Dungeon, and others. Nothing super demanding, but stuff that was fun to play on the go without having a full setup.
Secondly, I use it for quick configs on my firewall/routers/switches. I also use it with a usb->serial cord to do console configs as needed.
Thirdly, general web browsing when I’m on the go, as well basic document editing. Nothing crazy.
Finally, I use it to RDP back to my main desktop to do Lightroom, and other tasks that need too much CPU for my lowly laptop to handle.
I had some complaints with the laptop itself, which we’ll cover now.
First and foremost, an i7 in an ultrabook is way too hot. I ended up keeping it on a hardcover book when I’m in bed, and used powerconfig to max it at 50% speed while on battery. It was the only way that I could comfortably use it without cooking myself medium rare.
Secondly, the keyboard was starting to go. The keys were always a bit flimsy, but after 5 years, they started popping out.
Finally, the screen was 14” and 1080p. It’s not a huge issue, but it always felt a bit fuzzy.
So, what were my options?
I looked at some basic gaming laptops (so that I could do more gaming) as well as the surface line. After some thought, I decided that that wasn’t really what I was looking for. Cost and heat would be an issue, and then, with the Surfaces, there’s definitely an additional cost to get what I was looking for.
I glanced at Android, since most of my RDP/SSH/console needs would be met. But, gaming on Android is pretty limited.
That brought me to iPads. What started as a “haha, I’ll just look for fun” quickly crossed into “Wait, this is actually viable.” The games I like have an iPad version. RDP works solidly on it. Logitech has some good keyboard options. I would just have to sell my soul a little tiny bit.
So, I got the iPad Pro 11”, and a logitech keyboard case, and have been using it for a few days now. I have not needed my laptop for anything yet. I even could sync my Darkest Dungeon saves over so I didn’t have to restart anything there.
All in all, I am quite happy.
I suspect I’ll be writing some more posts in the future on this.