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I'm in the market for a new laptop/tablet like device, and I'm wanting some advice. My main requirements are:

It will be mainly used for web, email, video, and viewing photos from my DSLR in the field.

Excellent battery life - a full working day if possible.

A halfway decent keyboard solution. Not going to by typing a novel, but I do want to be able to compose a decent email without issues.

Decent office application support.

SD Card support - HC as a minimum, XC ideally

Budget around ?500ish

The current front runner device is the Lenovo Ideapad 11 running WinRT. Big plus points are that it recently had a price reduction to under ?500. 64GB of storage, and it has a claimed 13 hour battery life, although real world is probably more like 10. Plus I love the orange cover. :)

I'm also interested in the MS Surface RT. Looks good, and the covers mean I can change my mind on the colour easily enough. Bit more expensive though for the 64GB version, and I would have to use a USB reader for SD cards I think.

Any opinions on the Ideapad vs the Surface? Any other options?

Also, if I get an RT device now what is the likelihood that it will get an upgrade to RT 8.1? Is that dependant on the manufacturer meaning the Surface is probably a better bet?

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from my understanding RT devices aren't selling. There are articles all on the net about it, even one here posted just last week

http://www.neowin.net/news/dell-exec-windows-rt-demand-is-slow-but-future-rt-devices-still-planned

As for suggestions, I can't give you any, because I love the iPad's and doesn't look like thats what you want, even though, it has the storage, it has the keyboard solutions, it has good office solutions and with the SD card attachment, it has that as well.

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Thanks for the response. The way I look at it, what does it matter how well they are selling? After I buy one, it's not like it will stop running even if it was the last RT device ever sold. If it does what I want out the box then that's great. In this respect the Surface RT has an advantage in that MS have already indicated that it will have ongoing support from them until 2017 at least, which should be plenty. If I could pick up a normal laptop that was comparable to the Surface or Ideapad then yes, it would be an easy choice. But I have yet to see one with a similarly slim form factor, long battery life, and touch screen that is much less than twice the price.

As for the iPad, suffice it to say that it isn't an option. I have a philosophical dislike for how Apple operate, and on the very few occasions I've had to use an iDevice it has been far from a happy experience.

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Hello,

I am not a photographer, so I'm not familiar with specific requirements like software, but I have had Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 (model # is 20187; not sure if that makes a difference) for several weeks now and it sounds like it will meet your needs, especially given the requirement for a decent keyboard. The island-style keyboard on this feels as good as my ThinkPad X120e, which is a similarly-sized laptop, if somewhat fatter. I personally think the keyboard is much better than the Microsoft Surface's, since it feels like a real notebook keyboard. On the other hand, it's probably a little thicker than the Surface. Specs here say it is about 0.6" high.

The unit I have has what appears to be 60GB of eMMC for storage, of which about 5.75GB is allocated for boot loader, UEFI and recovery partition and, thus, unavailable for use. The remainder (52.3GB) accessible for the OS, apps and data. My Yoga 11, which has had minimal use by me, is showing 37.4GB free right now. I'm assuming this is actually a 64GB part but with 7% overprovisioning, which explains the "missing" 4GB. In any case, that's pretty standard with other SSDs.

The Yoga 11 has two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, headphone jack and card reader. The card slot read a SanDisk Ultra 32GB MicroSDXC card that I put in its SDXC adapter just fine, as well as a 4GB Apacer SDHC card I had at my desk. I plugged a no-name SD/MMC/RS/MiniSD/MS/M2/T-Flash/MicroSD reader into one of the USB ports, and it read the SDXC card in its adapter just fine. I also used a Cisco Linksys USB 2.0 to Fast Ethernet adapter as well, but that required some hunting for the drivers. An Authentec EIKON Mini fingerprint scanner was not recognized at all when plugged into USB, but Authentec was acquired by Apple, so long term Windows support for their products is in doubt. I also tried plugging in a generic Bluetooth to USB adapter. It was recognized, and drivers were loaded, but it showed up in Device Manager with an error. That may be because the built-in Bluetooth was active.

My Yoga 11 came with Microsoft Office 2013 preinstalled in the form of Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word. There's no Outlook client, though, just the built-in Mail app, which is more limited. I don't use the machine for email, though, so I really couldn't say. As far as web browsers go, Internet Explorer is the only web browser available (and may be the only one available).

No idea about the upgrade path, if any, to the next release of Windows RT.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

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I was about to mention the Yoga, fits perfectly into your budget and uses the full version of Windows 8, allowing for proper workflow and good viewing as well. It also means you have access to a good gallery for viewing, and Lightroom for editing (Because it's not RT).

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Hello,

I am not a photographer, so I'm not familiar with specific requirements like software, but I have had Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 (model # is 20187; not sure if that makes a difference) for several weeks now and it sounds like it will meet your needs, especially given the requirement for a decent keyboard. The island-style keyboard on this feels as good as my ThinkPad X120e, which is a similarly-sized laptop, if somewhat fatter. I personally think the keyboard is much better than the Microsoft Surface's, since it feels like a real notebook keyboard. On the other hand, it's probably a little thicker than the Surface. Specs here say it is about 0.6" high.

Thanks for the input. I'm not worried about photo editing software as I'm aware that there is very little if anything available, I just want to be able to view photos on the go.

I was about to mention the Yoga, fits perfectly into your budget and uses the full version of Windows 8, allowing for proper workflow and good viewing as well. It also means you have access to a good gallery for viewing, and Lightroom for editing (Because it's not RT).

Which Lenovo Yoga has full Windows 8 yet still comes in under ?500? The Ideapad with RT is also called the Ideapad Yoga 11, that's the only one I've seen that's in budget. If you can show me one running full Win8 for around ?500, and with a days worth of battery life then I'm sold. :)

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Which Lenovo Yoga has full Windows 8 yet still comes in under ?500? The Ideapad with RT is also called the Ideapad Yoga 11, that's the only one I've seen that's in budget. If you can show me one running full Win8 for around ?500, and with a days worth of battery life then I'm sold. :)

Ugh, when I looked on Amazon it listed it as Windows 8, then as you scroll to details it mentions RT :/ That's frustrating.

The SD card support does throw it out a little, but I would recommend an iPad as an alternative, you can get an external keyboard to use with it, as a case or otherwise. The camera connection kit is also available to plug SD cards into the iPad and transfer photos. And it also has the iWork suite which can save as the .docx, .xlsx and .pptx if necessary.

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You can get an SD adapter for iPad to load pics onto it.

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Um, yeah, except as stated above I will never own an iDevice. I'm not doubting that they're great devices, I just dislike the company (and I'm not wanting to start a fanboy/flameboy war about it, just stating my personal choice). Thanks anyway.

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Um, yeah, except as stated above I will never own an iDevice. I'm not doubting that they're great devices, I just dislike the company (and I'm not wanting to start a fanboy/flameboy war about it, just stating my personal choice). Thanks anyway.

Have you looked into a Nexus 10?

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Have you looked into a Nexus 10?

I hadn't really looked at any Android tablets, simply because I already have a HP Touchpad running Cyanogenmod 9. It's a great device, works well enough, but it doesn't have an SD card reader, and using one with an OTG cable is a PITA because it needs external power to work. Just been and looked at the Nexus 10, and it's virtually perfect ... apart from the SD card support again. From what I read it can be made to read from an SD card, but requires rooting to write back to the card. Supposedly Google thinks we're all too stupid to be able to understand tablets with removable storage so they didn't include support for it on the Nexus 10. It's odd because one of the advertising points Google use is its ability to be used to edit photos, but no mention of how to get them on the device to begin with. Weird.

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I'd wait for the Surface mini.

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The only other thing I can suggest is Surface then, since it has the microSDXC slot, and also USB ports for other connectivity.

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I think any Windows RT tablet will fit your needs. I haven't checked USB driver support for cameras though, it should "just work" but you should check.

As for suggestions, I can't give you any, because I love the iPad's and doesn't look like thats what you want, even though, it has the storage, it has the keyboard solutions, it has good office solutions and with the SD card attachment, it has that as well.

Actually iPad fails on almost all counts of his requirements.

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The only other thing I can suggest is Surface then, since it has the microSDXC slot, and also USB ports for other connectivity.

Problem there is that micro SD is no good. I need full size SD, so I would be using a USB SD adaptor. I'm actually wondering if my cameras (Canon EOS 60D and GoPro Hero3) would appear as external storage devices to an RT (or other) device or not, thus negating the need for an SD reader at all.

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Yeah if you don't want Android or iPad.. Surface is your only hope lol

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It's not that I don't want Android. For the right tablet it'd be fine. A Windows 8 Ultrabook is also an option, except battery life and cost don't match up quite as well.

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Problem there is that micro SD is no good. I need full size SD, so I would be using a USB SD adaptor. I'm actually wondering if my cameras (Canon EOS 60D and GoPro Hero3) would appear as external storage devices to an RT (or other) device or not, thus negating the need for an SD reader at all.

Since it's (technically) Windows 8, I imagine it would.

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Perhaps the Xperia Tablet Z? To be released in one of the next weeks, fastest Android tablet out there. It's the thinnest and lightest 10" tablet, excellent USB on the go-support and completely waterproof (with flaps closed), so no need to worry if you're looking at your photos while it's rainy!

In addition to that you get an excellent display. Contrast is high, colours are accurate and the resolution is pretty high.

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I got the Surface RT from John Lewis for ?479 with a touch cover and 2 years warranty. Has what you are describing.

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If you want to look at photos, i don't think any mobile OS can read raw files can they? That might be a problem.

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If you want to look at photos, i don't think any mobile OS can read raw files can they? That might be a problem.

My wife has the original Motorola Xoom. Great device. She has a 64GB micro SD and a card reader. It reads with RAW files directly from her Nikon DSLR's Sd card, then she can view and edit the RAW files directly with an app called RAW Vision. We live in a very remote place and travel to even more remote places. Now she only has to take her tablet with her, rather than lugging around a laptop.

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If you want to look at photos, i don't think any mobile OS can read raw files can they? That might be a problem.

Just checked, and there are several apps on Android that are able to deal with RAW files. Some even claim to be able to read directly from the camera - potentially negating my need for full sized SD card support. So this is making a new Android tablet more of a front runner. The Sony Xperia Tablet Z looks good, but so does the Nexus 10 - the screen of which would be by far the better option for photo viewing.

The only fly in the ointment now is that I've just found out that Lenovo are due to release the Ideapad Yoga 11S soon. Basically the same as the Yoga I was originally looking at, but running an Intel i7 processor with full Windows 8 and pretty good battery life. Cost is a bit more, but it's a fully fledged Windows machine, thus I can run proper photo editing software on it along with all the other Windows apps we all know and love.

Right now I'm tending toward a Nexus 10, I'd just like to play with one first if possible, so looking for a high street retailer.

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Something with a proper Windows would of course be nice. You won't get decent battery life out of it, but you could run stuff like Lightroom while on the go.

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