Law Office Technology–Value Propositions Pt. 3

Sourced from wikimedia, By dnm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Sourced from wikimedia, By dnm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve said it a lot, and I’ll maintain it here, that waiting until this fall is probably a better time to buy a new computer, when Windows 10 is supposed to be released (though the pace of TP releases admittedly causes a little concern) and when even newer, more efficient processors are available. That being said, it makes sense to start thinking about things right now to get a feel for what you’re really comparing.

The past couple of posts in this series have focused on the “Apple tax” and this post continues the trend. For this exercise’s purpose, I’m going to look at machines in the so-called Ultrabook class, which are light-weight, decently powerful laptops with 11-13″ screens.  Full disclosure, I’m using a table to do this, and I fully expect it to wreck formatting for people on smaller screens. I’m sorry, but I don’t really know how else to organize a comparison of 6 different devices.  I’m also going to limit myself to off-the-shelf configurations. As I showed in the last post in this series, configuring something as limited as a MacBook Air leads to a lot of expensive variance.

To make sure the comparisons are accurate, I will only choose Core i5 configurations with SSDs, and the computers I am going to compare are: the Microsoft Surface Pro 3;  Dell XPS 13; HP Spectre x360; Acer s7; MacBook; MacBook Air 11″; and MacBook Pro 13″.

 MS Surface Pro 3 Dell XPS13 HP Spectre x360 Acer s7-392-5410  MacBook Air 11″ MacBook Pro 13″
 Price $999 / $1130 with Type Cover  $899  $899  $1199  $899  $1299
 Processor Core i5 (4th Gen) 1.9GHz  Core i5 (4th Gen) 1.7GHz  Core i5 (5th Gen) 2.2GHz  Core i5 (4th Gen) 1.7GHz  Core i5 (5th Gen) 1.6GHz  Core i5 (5th Gen) 2.7GHz
 Memory 4GB  8GB  4GB  8GB  4GB  8GB
 HDD 128GB SSD  128GB SSD  128GB SSD  256GB SSD  128GB SSD  128GB SSD
 Screen 12″ (2160 x 1440) (touch)  13.3″ (1920 x 1080) (touch)  13.3″ (1920 x 1080) (touch)  13.3″ (1920 x 1080) (touch)  11.6″ (1366 x 768)  13.3″ (2560 x 1600)
 Ports 1 USB 3.0, microSD reader, Mini DisplayPort  2 USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort  3 USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, SD reader  2 USB 3.0, SD reader, HDMI  2 USD 3.0, Thunderbolt 2  2 Thunderbolt 2, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, SDXC reader
Battery Life Up to 9 hours  Up to 11 hours Up to 12.5 hours   Up to 7.5 hours  Up to 10 hours  Up to 12 hours
Stylus Input  Yes  No  Yes1  No  No  No
Weight 1.76 lbs (without cover), 2.42 lbs(with cover)  3.07 lbs  3.26 lbs  2.87 lbs  2.38 lbs  3.48 lbs

Clearly, the price that Apple charges for its products is largely in line with the prices charged by other PC manufacturers, if perhaps a tad more expensive. This means that when it comes down to the technology you are going to purchase, it really comes down more to the OS environment you want to work in, more so than the price of the hardware. That will be subject of the next entry in this series.


1This is based on reports I have read; I can’t see anything on HP’s website that confirms this.