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Monday, 19 March 2018

Replacing my old notebook computer

Some years ago we bought a small, cheap notebook computer that we could take on holiday. It has served me well, but it is now beginning to show its age (like me it is getting slow and cannot do as much as it used to!) and we have been looking around for a new notebook computer to replace it. On Sunday morning Sue was looking through the online offers from Lidl and spotted what she thought might be a suitable replacement. It is a Trekstor Surftab® Twin 10.1 2-in-1 Convertible Notebook that was priced at £169.00, and after looking at the specification, we went and bought one.



I know that there will quite a few people out there who will tell me that I should have bought this or that notebook because it is better than the one I have purchased, but for the price and convenience this seems to suit my purposes.

Its specification includes:
  • Processor: Intel® Atom™ x5-Z8350
  • Operating System: Windows® 10 Home
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 64GB internal memory (expandable with an additional 128GB MicroSD memory card)
  • Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 400
  • Screen: 10.1" 10-point multi-touch with Full HD IPS display
  • Facilities: USB 2.0 port, mini-HDMI, mic, audio jack, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Cameras: front and rear 2MP
The only thing that it lacks is a port for normal SD cards (each day we are on holiday I back-up the photos we take have taken onto our computer), but as these can be purchased for only a few pounds from a number of retail outlets.

I am now looking forward to setting up our new notebook computer. Experience tells me to leave plenty of time to do so, and to expect things not to go as smoothly as I would like ... but once done, I hope that it will gives us as many years of useful life as its predecessor.

12 comments:

  1. Five-minute jobs always take two hours. I still run my PC, which, what it lacks in portability it makes up in staying in the same place. My one bugbear is that under Win 10 my printer-scanner no longer scans into a machine-readable format. That is a real nuisance.

    Snarl.

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    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      Computers are wonderful things ... once they are functioning properly. Having taught IT/Computing for some years, I've had plenty of experience with 'quick' updates that take hours ... and in one case, over twenty four of them!

      I haven't ever tried to use my current printer/scanner to scan documents into a readable format. In the past I always found that going through the resultant document to resolve the inaccuracies was more than a little frustrating and very time-consuming.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I was thinking more of photocopying pictures into a data file, rather than hard copy. This is particularly useful when hand drawing maps, or cartoons. That was how I could present my 'Age of Unreason' strip on my blog back in 2010.

      Now the only way to do it is to take a photograph instead. Doable, but the thing looks someone has taken a photo of it and downloaded the picture... that is to say - not so good.

      Having said that, computers have progressed far beyond where I imagined they would be when I quit systems programming and analysis back in 1982. So I don't complain so very hard... :-D

      Cheers,
      Ion

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    3. Archduke Piccolo,

      I see your problem ... and unfortunately cannot suggest a solution.

      I well remember the first PC I ever used. It was made by a company called Research Machines and its screen (black with white characters), CPU/Disk Drive, and keyboard were all encased in black steel boxes. The programs came on huge floppy disks that took hours to load, and all commmands had to be input as command lines ... and woe-betide anyone who got a command even slightly wrong.

      The good old days? Not really!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob,
    Glad your into portable computing - especially important for your away journeys. I'm still in the world of a fixed 'ACER'-Asire PC with 'Keyboard' & 'Mouse'- it suits my needs admirably- certainly the large 24inch screen I'm very fond about. I spend a great deal of time on my computer at home in the Study and I do like getting away from it at times to go to our local Cafe for a Capachino and a bit of 'just thinking time' or a 'friendly chat'. Cheers Bob- your new Lap Top looks superb- have fun. Regards. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      When it comes to serious work - especially writing - I like to use a proper PC, keyboard, and mouse with as large a screen as I can have on my computer desk. (Funnily enough, mine is also an Acer!)

      When we are away from home, I like something that is light and easy to use, hence the dozen or so laptops and notebook computers that I have owned over the years. This latest one converts into a tablet as well, which makes it even more versatile, although I doubt if I will use that function too often.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. I for one am NOT going to tell you which alternative PC you should have bought. By and large you get what you pay for and you don't need to pay for a higher spec than you need, so as long as this does what you want it to do on your trips it's a bargain. For example, the cameras don't sound as if they are very good but I doubt that you'll use them anyway so why would you pay for more? Mind you, I am surprised that they can run Windows 10 in so little memory and wonder if it's been cut down? I hope it works well and set up isn't too much trouble.

    As for micro-SD cards, all mine came with adapters allowing them to fit a normal SD card slot. I'm now wondering if I can't use these in my cameras - instead of the full size card - and then plug the micro card into a tablet to do the on holiday back ups? I guess that I should try this.

    I'm sorry to hear that using OCR with your scanner has been frustrating. I scanned several of her favourite books for my last mother-in-law after she had to switch to Kindle only reading and had some problems but most were predictable enough that I could cure them in bulk with use of find and replace. It took about 15 hours per book but my typing would have taken longer and introduced more errors than the OCR software so scanning paid off.

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    1. Mike Hall,

      I have a friend who really was quite scathing about my recent purchase, and who told me that it would have been much better if I had bought an Apple laptop ... at ten times the price! As to the built-in cameras ... well they are there, but I cannot see myself using them.

      As far as I am concerned, the Trekstor Surftab® Twin should meet my need for a small, light laptop/tablet that will be used when I am on holiday to look at emails, download photographs, and to write my blog. It has a simple version of MS Word that should be more than adequate and - once it has had its memory increased - more than enough storage for my holiday requirements.

      I haven't used micro SD cards other than in my dashcam, but as far as I can see it should be relatively simple to use them with an adaptor in a digital camera. If I do, I'll let you know.

      I've never had a lot of luck with OCR since I changed from a dedicate scanner to a printer/scanner a few years back. As you comment, you get what you pay for, and the printer/scanner was cheap and the software didn't seem to support OCR. That said, since I retired the need to be able to have access to an OCR capability has diminished, although it might be useful on the odd occasion.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. I tend to be a bit on the nerdy side and have a... few? laptops lying around. Personally, I tend to buy second hand higher spec models rather than newer low spec - works for me. Gave up on OCR years ago - never worked out the way it was supposed to.

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    1. Rob Young,

      At one point - before I had a clear out some years ago - I had six laptops, one of which was so old that it weighed more that my desktop PC and used the earliest version of Windows. Most of them had obsolete operating systems, faulty power supplies, or had batteries that refused to hold a charge. In the end I scrapped five of them ... after removing their hard drives.

      I did consider buying a reconditioned PC when I retired, but in the end I bought a discounted new one that was being replaced by a slightly newer model.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. I wish you joy of your new laptop. A far cry from Donald Featherstone's handtyped Wargamers Newsletter? Today is Don's Centenary
    https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/donald-featherstones-centenary/

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    1. MIN ManofTin,

      It's taking me less time to do some things and a lot of time to do others ... and the logic as to why this happens completely baffles me.

      Until you mentioned it, I had not realised that it was the centenary of Donald Featherstone's birth ... as well as being the same date that Napoleon returned to Paris and the famous 'Hundred Days' began.

      All the best,

      Bob

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