Very small laptop. Dell's nice horrorshow

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
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I wanted something small to take with me traveling, essentially just to upload photographs with.

(I'm not taking my good Thinkpad: too large, too heavy, too valuable, too hard on batteries for this trip. Thought about my old 14 inch T-Series Thinkpad, which would be fine except it has USB 2 only and takes forever to upload pictures. The same applies to my elderly ASUS Netbook. I dislike those special-purpose upload-picture bricks. so buying something new was the only answer.)

REQUIRED FEATURES (or at least desired): 2 x USB 3 ports, cheap. Small, light, long battery life, Windows (not Android or Chrome or any other rubbish).

NOT REQUIRED: speed (any CPU is OK), RAM beyond enough to single-task, storage space (I'll need to use external drives anyway).

I wound up with a very small Dell. Beautiful sharp 11 inch screen, folds backwards to convert into a tablet (cute, though probably useless), some gutless little wonder of an AMD CPU, 4GB RAM, 32GB flash storage, only one USB 3 port (so I have to use an adaptor) but two USB 2 (which is handy), $400, which is really, really cheap.

RESULT: It is a lovely little unit in most respects, but the 32GB non-upgradable hard drive is a disgrace. It is so small that it is unable to run Windows Update. In my book, that makes it not fit for purpose, and Dell should be prosecuted by Consumer Affairs and made to pay a massive fine for fraud. It is just not good enough to sell equipment which the ordinary user cannot in fact use because it is unfit for purpose. (I naturally assumed that Dell had done some de-crappified thing with Windows 10 to make it fit OK in 32GB. It never even occurred to me that they would ship something so bad that it does not even work ex-factory.)

Sadly, and much against my better nature, I have opted not to return it for refund. Instead, I bought a 64GB micro-SD card (another $40) which makes it OK for someone with my skills (but not, repeat not, a typical user with average skill) to operate. This is like paying off the blackmailer, but there doesn't seem to be much alternative. Lenovo have one at about the same price, but the screen is really carp. The larger Dell, with 128GB on-board, only has 2 USB ports. Three is much better.
 

LunarMist

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That hardware looks like it was spec'd for Chrome rather than Windows.
I've been pleased with my 925g Fujitsu U938 i7 8650U other than the fan noise under load.
 

LunarMist

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You'd think so Lunar. No you'd catch me running a Snoopbook though.
I don't know what your budget was or what the prices are in your region, but the LG or Samsung 13.3" <1kg class notebooks w/Karby Lake type R, 8GB RAM, 250/256GB SSD, and three USB 3.0/3.1 ports are about $1100 or so here.
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
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My budget was rock bottom, Lunar. I need this unit (or something like it) for a trip to Sri Lanka shortly, but it is unlikely to get much use and entirely possible that I'll never use it again. I prefer to do all my traveling in my own car, where I can take as much stuff as I like (within reason), but for this trip I need something small (limited weight allowance), with good battery life (normally I have more-or-less unlimited AC power from the car's inverter) and cheap (if it gets knocked off in a hotel room, well, who cares?).

So I spent $400 Australian, that's less than $300 US. The sort of thing you are mentioning, well, they'd be in the $1800 class here, and if I was going to spend that I'd go the whole hog and get a Thinkpad, spend $3000 or so, in which case I'd need something cheap to travel with. The almost 6-year-old T530, my main machine, will do me for another couple of years yet, I reckon.

It would have been more sensible to take my ancient Thinkpad T400 - semi-retired now (so old it shipped with Vista) and long since replaced by a newer T Series Thinkie, but still an i7, still perfectly usable, and still capable of using two internal hard drives, but it chews through the batteries a bit even though it has a hi-cap one, and (most important) it only has USB 2, and I hate waiting for pictures to upload on USB 2.

So there is $400 spent to save 20 minutes once a day for three weeks.

Is it sensible? No. But since when was I ever sensible about equipment?
 

ddrueding

Fixture
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You were more sensible than me Tannin. I had a similar trip with similar requirements. I bought this. It worked great, and has been sitting in my bag ever since.
 

Chewy509

Wotty wot wot.
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@Tannin, have you returned the Dell for a full refund? (As you're aware, it's certainly not-fit-for-purpose, which is a legitimate reason to return under ACL).

There are many complaints about these netbooks (I class these laptops as netbooks) and the lack of space for Win10 - many can't even install the latest release, having to resort to a clean install from installation media. Which means wiping all user files and applications...
The other option is to wipe and go with Linux (which 32GB primary storage is ample).
 

Tannin

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Dave, Dave, Dave ... why am I not srprised?

Chewy, as I wrote above "Sadly, and much against my better nature, I have opted not to return it for refund. Instead, I bought a 64GB micro-SD card (another $40) which makes it OK for someone with my skills (but not, repeat not, a typical user with average skill) to operate. This is like paying off the blackmailer, but there doesn't seem to be much alternative. Lenovo have one at about the same price, but the screen is really carp. The larger Dell, with 128GB on-board, only has 2 USB ports. Three is much better." I feel bad about not returning it - Dell really ought to be punished for this scam - but it will actually do what I need and anything else would be inferior (Lenovo - poor screen, 128GB Dell, fewer USB ports) or substantially more expensive (everything else on the market). Come the revolution, Comrade, I'll be the first one up against the wall 'coz I am a traitor to the working classes.
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
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By the way, if I happened to have a spare Windows 8 licence (I probably don't, but just suppose I did), would that take any less space? Not that I'd waste a perfectly good Win 8 licence on this machine, just asking out of curiosity.)
 

LunarMist

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You were more sensible than me Tannin. I had a similar trip with similar requirements. I bought this. It worked great, and has been sitting in my bag ever since.
What does this mean?
Storage: Super RAID 4 1TB SSD (NVMe) [512GB *2]
The only modes that include full capacity are JBOD or RAID 0, no?
 

Chewy509

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IIRC, Windows 10 is more space friendly than Win8.1 unfortunately...

My understanding was that these netbooks where meant to use the CompactOS** option for Win10, hence could be quite serviceable with 32GB of primary storage. However it would appear that none of the manufacturers are using that option? I wonder why?

** https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/compact-os
 

ddrueding

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This is the smallest, lightest laptop I've had in ages. The previous recordholder was a ThinkPad X-series many years ago with a 12.1" screen. This 15" screen is a smaller footprint due to the absurdly smaller bezel. It is also half the thickness and about the same weight. No 2.5" drive bays in that size unit with a high-end graphics card.
 
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