Work at home, online teaching and electronic leisure at home, is increasing due to the mandatory or recommended confinement established in a number of countries to curb the coronavirus pandemic. We have already offered you some articles to telework in the days of COVID-19 or to survive without getting bored in the weeks ahead and today we wanted to focus on the computer tools we have available for it.
Demand for notebooks has begun to rise in the business market as COVID-19 spreads across Europe and North America, sources in the supply chain in Taiwan cite. Added to this is the demand that comes from students who have to follow the course at home or from common users who are looking for electronic leisure the best way to spend isolation at home.
Laptops and convertibles for work at home… and leisure
If you think that the situation advises the acquisition of computer equipment, there is little doubt about which to choose. Along with what comes with the label "Gaming", the large group of laptops It is the most attractive of today's computing, those who are maintaining sales in the PC segment and surely the most suitable to buy now thinking that the coronavirus pandemic will pass and the team can use it later in the home, mobility or in the job.
As for formats, you know them perfectly because there are three clearly differentiated, starting with the classic notebooks They are offered in a great offer with sizes from 10 to 19 inches; the 2 in 1 / detachables with tablets attached to removable keyboards and convertible with hinge system that allows various modes of use from laptop to tablet.
We have selected some proposals trying to add models from all manufacturers, designs and prices. We have not focused on equipment for companies that go another way, but on equipment that can be used for (almost) any computer, consumer and professional use.
HP Specter x360 13
We recently analyzed it and it is a guarantee as one of the best convertibles you can buy. HP has managed to improve it even more in its new version, with a spectacular 4K OLED multi-touch screen; bevel reduction; support for new connectivity standards such as Wi-Fi 6 and use of the most advanced Intel processors, the 10nm Ice Lake.
The cover letter of every self-respecting convertible is clear: combine the power of a PC with the mobility of a tablet in a single team. HP Specter x360 13 takes the concept to its maximum expression and for this it has a hinge system that allows you to rotate the screen from 0 to 360 degrees to place it above the keyboard and facilitate various modes of use.
Its 1.3 kilograms of weight and its wide autonomy allow maximum mobility and function as a laptop or tablet. And the same on the desktop, with the addition of tented modes that improve the interaction or handling of the stylus with its touch screen or allow it to be used to share presentations or view multimedia content.
And when it comes to increasing productivity, there is nothing easier than connecting it to a good monitor. Or take advantage of its Thunderbolt port to "plug in" an external GPU and use it for games. Or even as a basic workstation if the graphics used is a dedicated professional one. It is what we like most about these convertibles, their maximum versatility that allow it to be used for any computing task in mobility and at the desk
The icing is put by a optical pencil, HP Tilt Pen, and an exclusive leather case that HP gives away to transport the equipment. HP Specter x360 13 is available on the company's web portal and retail channel in various configurations, the most economical with previous generations of Intel processors, which may be a good opportunity. It is also available with a 15-inch screen in case you need more productivity and size.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The new version of the series that has powered the "2 in 1" and the best-selling of all the Surface, is another of the models that you will see in any list for work at home. It offers no major design changes, but maintains outstanding build quality thanks to the magnesium alloy that the Redmond giant uses to shape the chassis of this team, a durable, lightweight and premium-looking material.
The support foot is kept to adapt the position to the surface and the work that we want to do, as well as the removable keyboard that will allow us to write in a comfortable and natural way. This element is one of the key pieces next to the Surface Pen, a stylus that allows you to write and draw directly on the screen.
Your screen is a 12.3-inch multi-touch with a resolution of 2,736 x 1,824 pixels (3: 2 aspect ratio) and its internal hardware base has been upgraded to 10th generation Intel Core processors based on the Ice Lake (10nm) architecture. Equipped with an integrated Intel Gen11 GPU), supports up to 16GB of RAM and enables mounting of high-performance solid state drives with a capacity of up to 1TB.
It includes (finally) the USB Type-C port, one of the most demanded novelties by users since it simplifies the use of latest generation devices, accessories and peripherals. Also important is the support for the latest generation Wi-Fi 6.
Surface Pro 7 is available on the international channel in all Microsoft Store stores. In Spain, it has an official price that starts from 899 euros. Retailers like Amazon have it for sale at a discount like this setup 839 euros.
Dell XPS 13
One of the most reputable in the ultraportable segment and like most recently updated. If we already liked last year's model the XPS 13 (2020) looks more attractive than ever. Dell has scaled down the display bezels on the sides and wiped out the oversized bottom bezel that was a blur in a great design and great build quality in a chassis that repeats machined aluminum and carbon fiber palm rest . It is also thinner and lighter than ever with a weight of 1.33 kilograms in all its configurations.
Another of the novelties we see on the screen, now with a 13.4 inch diagonal, a 91.5 percent body-to-body ratio and a 16:10 aspect ratio, to our liking best suited for this type of multitasking laptop. You can choose panels with FHD resolution or a last generation UltraSharp 4K. Both display options support HDR and Dolby Vision.
As a result of the new design that the firm says occupies a form factor comparable to an 11-inch laptop, the keyboard now extends to the edges of the device and the typing experience improves by increasing the size of the keys by 9%. The size of the TouchPad has also increased by approximately 17% compared to the previous generation.
Inside, stand out the processors 10th Generation Intel Core, Comet Lake-U series, with six processing cores and integrated Iris Plus graphics. You can equip up to 32 Gbytes of DDR4 memory and PCIe solid state drives of up to 1 Tbyte capacity.
Also updated the section on connectivity with Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3 ports on the front, in addition to an IR camera camouflaged in the upper bezel compatible with Windows Hello for authentication tasks. They mount a 52 Wh battery that according to the manufacturer should offer a range of up to 19 hours with 1080p screen. Dell offers the new XPS 13 on its web portal in various configurations starting at 1,089 euros. Note that it is one of the few large ultraportables that in addition to Windows officially supports Linux.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
And if we talk about working at home, the ThinkPad series is a guarantee because it is focused on that professional or advanced user who is looking for the best features of a premium notebook. One of the ones we like the most is the X1 Carbon, the flagship of the Chinese firm in ultraportables.
It is a model of 14 inch with carbon fiber chassis whose last renovation has been used to slim it down even more, only 1 kilogram of weight and a thickness of 14.9 mm. Lenovo offers a base screen with FHD resolution, a second 2K and a third (spectacular) 4K with 500 nits of brightness, support for 10 bits of color and Dolby Vision.
You can equip processors up to tenth generation intel, up to the six-core, twelve-core Core i7-10710U, accompanied by 16 GB of RAM and internal storage up to 2 Tbytes with PCIe solid state drives.
Among its connectivity stands out Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 1.4 output and optionally a module for 4G broadband access. The security section is covered with an IR camera and fingerprint reader, both with support for Windows Hello biometric authentication.
Their declared autonomy rises above 18 hours with fast charge for the battery. It is available on the Lenovo web portal in various configurations from 1,564 euros. Lenovo revolutionized the current era of the convertible with the Yoga series and if you want it in this format, Lenovo offers several models X390 or X395.
Apple MacBook Pro 13
Apple offers a necessary alternative (such as Linux should be) to the majority offer of Windows computers. For work at home and thinking about the rear mobility it offers, we have selected the laptop with 13.3-inch Retina display, a LED-backlit IPS panel and a native 2K + resolution of 2,560 by 1,600 pixels.
They employ processors 8th Generation Intel Core, doubling the number of processing cores / threads (up to 4/8) compared to the previous generation of MacBook, which managed to significantly increase the performance of the input model, along with an integrated Intel Iris Plus 645 GPU and 8 Gbytes of memory LPDDR3 RAM and a 128 Gbyte M.2 SSD (both expandable components).
After the last update, it included as a novelty the touch bar touch bar that their superior brothers already had. It also added the Touch ID, True Tone on the screen and the ARM T2 chip for security tasks. It maintains the troublesome "butterfly" keyboard that Apple has begun to replace on the new MacBook Pro 16 and the Trackpad Force Touch.
Not missing the connectivity to networks with Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5.1, FaceTime HD 720 camera, stereo speakers, three microphones and headphone jack. Its battery offers an autonomy of up to 10 hours in real use in web browsing. It has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB ‑ C) ports that support charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt (up to 40 Gb / s) and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (up to 10 Gb / s).
With a perfectly integrated macOS system with hardware and silver or space gray color finishes, the MacBook Pro 13 is available at Apple stores at a price starting at 1,499 euros.
ASUS ZenBook Duo
Another of the models that we like for work at home (or any computer use except high-level games) is this ZenBook Duo that stands out for its component of double screen and offers what you might expect from a high-end notebook, with 10th-generation Intel processors; 16 Gbytes of RAM; PCIe SSD-based storage from 256GB to 1TByte, and up to dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics.
The latest ZenBook Duo lowers the screen size to 14 inches (from 15.6 ″) and the resolution to FHD, compared to the 4K of the Pro model. The secondary screen is also smaller, although it still offers a generous 12.6-inch diagonal and all its features. It connects and works in team with the main screen, also touch and like her with support for optical pencils.
Users can manage tasks on the main screen while using the secondary screen for additional toolbars, multiple cross-references, and companion applications, as well as being used as an application launcher, a control interface for some of them running on the main screen or a place to see mini-apps.
Supports gestures with up to four fingers, styluses and supports Microsoft Precision. You also have options to extend the Windows desktop to the secondary screen using it as a second monitor or to move the screen of an external mobile device such as a smartphone or drag discrete applications, toolbars or menus to reduce clutter on the main screen and improve efficiency. Very interesting this screen that ASUS calls ScreenPad Plus.
Among the elements of connectivity we see an IR camera with support for facial recognition in Windows Hello and an additional trackpad to the right of the keyboard. Supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, offers USB 3.2 ports, high-capacity battery and Harman Kardon certified audio.
ASUS ZenBook Duo is available on the ASUS web portal with a starting price of 1,499 euros. Cheaper is being offered by Amazon with interesting setup (Intel Core i7-10510U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Windows 10) for $ 1,399.
Huawei Matebook 13
Another one that we have recently analyzed and that shows the ambitions of Huawei also on PCs. A premium ultraportable that positions itself as a competitor to models like the MacBook Air and confirms the good work of the Chinese firm beyond its smart phones.
It is based on a screen 13.3-inch multi-touch IPS with native FHD + resolution, slim bezels for an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio, and support for 100% of the sRGB color gamut. Renewed inside and out, its aluminum chassis It has slimmed down to 13.9mm thick. Its 1.28 kg weight allows it to be transported and used anywhere.
Its hardware base is the responsibility of the eighth generation Intel ‘Whiskey Lake’, with integrated graphics and the option to mount a dedicated NVIDIA. It has a special cooling system to keep temperatures at bay.
Among its connectivity, we find Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5; USB Type-C and Type-A ports; webcam; fingerprint sensor on the power button; audio outputs; an included Mate Dock 2 dock and NFC support that combined with Huawei Share 3.0 software enables fast file sharing between a PC and a Huawei smartphone at speeds of up to 30MB / s.
One of the configurations that we like (Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce MX250, Windows 10 Home) is available on Amazon at a discount up to 949 euros.
Acer Swift 5
Acer, like the big PCs, has a vast catalog of laptops. Swift 5 is an ultralight that adds power to a extremely low weight (less than a kilogram) with a chassis made of an alloy that combines magnesium, lithium and aluminum.
In its latest review, it has released a new 14 inch IPS LED panel with FHD resolution, a brightness of 300 nits and the addition of touch technology. Its internal hardware has also been updated with 10th generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake processors.
The possibility to choose between an integrated Iris Plus graphics or a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX 350 Last batch, the 512 GB PCIe SSD of internal storage and 16 Gbytes of RAM guarantee the performance of the laptop.
Debuts important connectivity features like Wi-Fi 6, MU-MIMO, fingerprint reader, and support for Wake on Voice, which lets you activate the Cortana wizard even when the screen is off. It offers the already standardized 2nd generation USB 3.1 internally connected USB Type-C ports and the promise of 12.5 hours of battery life with fast charging system.
It is available on the Acer website with a base price based on the 999 euros. Both the Acer Swift 5 and its younger brother Swift 3 will also be available with Ryzen 4000 processors. We would have liked to include them, but we do not see them for sale in Spain.
Slimbook PRO X 15
Windows sweeps market share and much of it has to do with dominance of the OEM channel. In laptops and convertibles, everything comes to the market from the manufacturers. In addition to the Linux capability on the Dell XPS shown above, we wanted to include an alternative with GNU / Linux.
Our verylinux colleagues have recommended us the Slimbook PRO X 15, the "big brother" of the original PRO X that they had the opportunity to thoroughly review and one of the most powerful laptops of the specialized Spanish firm. It is based on a screen 15.6-inch IPS with native 2K resolution, covering 100% of the sRGB color spectrum and anti glare matte panel against reflections.
In the new team we do not find a low-power processor, but an Intel Core i7-9750H. At the graphics level, the jump is even greater, since it includes an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Max-Q with 4GB of VRAM. You can install a minimum of 8 Gbytes of RAM (up to 32 GB) and a 256 Gbyte M.2 SSD (up to 2 Tbytes) for internal storage.
Among its connectivity we find two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C, a USB 2.0 Type-A, Ethernet, an HDMI 2.0, a jack connection for audio output and microphone input and a microSD card reader. The battery offers 5 to 8 hours of actual continuous office use.
The Slimbook PRO X 15 is available at the manufacturer's official store with a base price of 1,199 euros. It can be configured with a good number of GNU / Linux distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu, Zoris OS or Linux Mint.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
We did not want to end this special without including another alternative. Chromebooks are the spearhead of Google's platform for PCs. Laptops under the Chrome OS operating system that have not stopped growing in sales since their launch and, in fact, are the only "Linux computers" that have been able of beating Windows on some segments of the computer desktop.
And we could not choose any other than this Samsung model, since it is the Most advanced Chromebook, beautiful and fast of the Google ecosystem. It is the first of the Google platform with AMOLED screen, in a 13.3-inch multi-touch panel with 4K resolution that already tells us that this equipment is not one more, nor is it intended only for the educational segment.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is really a convertible that allows various modes of use thanks to a hinge system that allows you to rotate the screen up to 360 degrees. It includes an S Pen stylus inserted in its base, in a very elegant way as everything in this equipment. It has an ultra-thin thickness of 10 mm and a weight of just over a kilogram.
Its internal hardware confirms the level jump with 10th generation Intel Core processors, 8 Gbytes of RAM and 256 Gbytes M.2 SSD, expandable up to 16 GB and solid state drive up to 1 Tbyte in the top configuration. Its chassis is made of aluminum and its passive cooling design frees personnel from annoying fans.
Samsung's new Chromebook pre-installs the latest version of Chrome OS and will be released this quarter in two color finishes, red and gray. Its price with the configuration listed is $ 999. It is considerably higher than most of the equipment on this platform, but it should be considered quite tight considering its AMOLED panel, aluminum chassis, convertible mode and Intel processors. It is available in the Google store and we hope to see you soon in Spain. If you need it, you already have some model stories in this special.