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BlackCatAus
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Looking for Recommendations

HP Recommended

Hi There, 

I'm in the middle of doing a search to upgrade my notebook.

I currently have a HP Envy 17 Leap Motion which I have upgraded to Windows 10. To date this notebook has done everything I needed it too, however, I have recently purchased a business and due to physical (cat caused! I am not amused!) damage to my current computer, it will not do what I will need my computer to do for me to successfully operate my business. 


Rather than purchasing a desktop and a new notebook/tablet so I can operate my business both from home and when on the go, I decided I would rather buy a notebook that is powerful enough to be a destop replacement type notebook, however small enough to make it ideal for portable business operation. 

I thought if I could get a notebook where I can place it on a docking station (which must be able to have 2 monitors connected too it), this would give me everything I need to operate the business from home and while out and about I would still be able to answer technical problems and emails etc. 

I do not need a notebook with a H.U.G.E. harddrive as all my files (both personal and professional) are stored on my OneDrive Account. 

However, I am getting myself very confused when looking at all the different models available. Could anyone please recommend a model and applicable docking station that they use in a similar situation? 

Thank you! :generic:

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Kalt
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HP Recommended

@BlackCatAus wrote:

Hi There, 

I'm in the middle of doing a search to upgrade my notebook.

I currently have a HP Envy 17 Leap Motion which I have upgraded to Windows 10. To date this notebook has done everything I needed it too, however, I have recently purchased a business and due to physical (cat caused! I am not amused!) damage to my current computer, it will not do what I will need my computer to do for me to successfully operate my business. 


Rather than purchasing a desktop and a new notebook/tablet so I can operate my business both from home and when on the go, I decided I would rather buy a notebook that is powerful enough to be a destop replacement type notebook, however small enough to make it ideal for portable business operation. 

I thought if I could get a notebook where I can place it on a docking station (which must be able to have 2 monitors connected too it), this would give me everything I need to operate the business from home and while out and about I would still be able to answer technical problems and emails etc. 

I do not need a notebook with a H.U.G.E. harddrive as all my files (both personal and professional) are stored on my OneDrive Account. 

However, I am getting myself very confused when looking at all the different models available. Could anyone please recommend a model and applicable docking station that they use in a similar situation? 

Thank you! :generic:


I've been recommending the HP ProBook 450 G5 with USB-C Docking Station lately.  It's not too expensive and seems to meet most business needs.

 

Notebook: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076NJGVYJ

 

Dock: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0774KGV91/

 

 

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David_J_W
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The idea of a dockable notebook is an excellent one. I've used dockable notebooks since 2010 and have found it works well for me. If you need a mobile system and your needs are beyond the capabilities of a tablet, you're going to need some sort of notebook. These days, notebooks are so powerful that you have to have quite specialist requirements to require a desktop computer. A well-chosen notebook can cover your needs at your desk and when mobile.

 

If you want docking, I would always go for a system from the business ranges. Many HP consumer notebooks will work with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 docks, but HP only support docking on the business ranges. Omitting a few specialist machines, these are ProBook, EliteBook and ZBook in increasing order of functionality and normally increasing cost.

 

 

Based on your user name, you're in Australia. The HP Australia business notebook homepage is here (click).

 

 

The first question to ask is what is your most demanding workload. If your needs are general productivity only (Microsoft Office / web / light media use such as music and video playback), the 'Essential' models might be all you need. The ProBook 4xx range that @Kalt recommended are an excellent starting point. The second digit of the model number is the screen size - 3 is 13 inch, 4 is 14 inch, 5 is 15 inch and so on. The 'sweet spot' for laptops at the moment is in the 13 inch to 15 inch range; the market is moving away from 17 inch models, though they are still available for those that want them. The smaller models are smaller and lighter, but have more cramped screens. I'm a great believer in 14 to 15 inch for general purpose laptops, though for those who value portability highly the 13 inch option is worth considering. If you are going to be at your desk most of the time, 13 inch might be a great compromise - a lightweight portable computer for when you are out of the office, but plenty of power for when you are docked.

 

If you see a HP with a G number, this is "generation". Most current business notebooks are G5, with some G4 models still available for those who do not want or need the 'latest and greatest'. However, some models have G numbers that do not follow the general pattern. Most 8th generation Intel Core processors of the 'U' type used in most notebooks are quad core; in most cases it's well worth having quad core in my opinion. 7th generation Intel Core 'U' processors are all dual core.

 

Business ranges have a 'QuickSpecs' document which gives lots of helpful information including the list of supported docks and other accessories.

 

 

I'm a big fan of x360 convertibles, especially those with active pen support (you have to check: some are touch only, and some with active pen support require you to buy the pen separately). The active pen is valued by creative types who use it to draw and sketch, but they also have uses for CAD, document mark-up, photo retouching and - especially on the smaller lighter x360s - handwritten notes.

 

I prefer IPS screens; I find them much less tiring to use. These are available now on very modest notebooks, unlike a few years ago when they were reserved for premium models.

 

 

There are sometimes reasons to move to more upmarket models. If you require a lot of content on screen or simply appreciate a sharper picture, a 4K screen can be worth having. There is a price penalty, also battery life is typically shorter with a higher resolution screen. Notebooks are always a trade off; you can't have small, light, inexpensive, robust, powerful and long battery life! If your needs are more graphics intense or you go in for video editing, a dedicated GPU is worth having - this will force you to move to a more premium model. If you don't need any of this stuff, stick with the more basic options.

 

8GB of RAM is the sweet spot for many Windows 10 users. If you have lots of applications open at once or you work on large files, 16GB or more can make sense. Most business models can have the RAM upgraded later.

 

I would always opt for a solid state drive over a hard disk - the machine will be more responsive, less fragile and have better battery life as a result. Even fairly modest configurations have a SSD now.

 

 

So far as docks go, I would opt for a Thunderbolt dock if your chosen laptop has Thunderbolt 3. The HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 is very nice; I have one on my desk. The more modest models lack Thunderbolt 3, in which case I would go with @Kalt's recommendation of a USB-C dock.

 

 

I would always opt for an on-site warranty on a business notebook - HP's default on most business notebooks now in the UK (where I live)  is 3 year mail-in. You can get up to a 5 year warranty on most business notebooks, at extra cost of course. If you were buying a high power premium machine like most of the ZBook range this may well be worth it, but I doubt it's worthwhile for a more modest machine.

 

 

I'm coming to a similar place as @Kalt, though I'd go for something slightly different. What about a ProBook x360 440 G1? QuickSpecs is here (click). HP Australia have this (click), which has a powerful Core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The screen isn't the most amazing in terms of colour gamut or brightness, but it is IPS and at a very useful 1920 x 1080 resolution. It's a 14 inch machine, so a good balance between portability and usability. It has a touch screen and it seems to have support for the 1FH00AA active pen (click) if you find you have a use for an active pen. The RAM is 8GB in an 8x1 configuration, so you can add a second 8GB module in the empty slot to boost the machine to 16GB later if you want more RAM. The base warranty in Australia is 1 year on site, which I'd upgrade to 3 year on site with a Care Pack (click).

 

For a docking station, I'd go for the USB-C G4 dock (click), which is broadly similar to the Universal dock that @Kalt mentioned. The Thunderbolt G2 dock is mentioned in QuickSpecs for the notebook, but there's no point buying a Thunderbolt dock for this model: the notebook has no Thunderbolt support so the dock would be running in its fallback USB-C mode. The only reason to buy a Thunderbolt dock would be if you had another device with Thunderbolt 3 support.

 

 

In this case, I'm selecting items from the web site, whereas @Kalt has 'hands on' experience with the items being recommended. I hope this is helpful, anyway.

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