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RLS24
12-16-2012, 11:59 AM
I'm at a bit of a technological crossroads: My current laptop is aging. I've had it since college (so its about 6 years old), and was VERY good when I bought it. It still keeps up with my computing needs for the most part, but I cannot use it as a laptop anymore cuz the battery is shot so it always has to be plugged in. That doesn't bother me so much because I have it hooked up to a monitor and keyboard/mouse so basically I'm running it like a desktop anyway. I'm looking for something that I can take with me to do estimates and customer consultations. I am debating between keeping my current setup with the laptop as my main office computer for now (prob will replace it anyway over the summer when I have more money) and get an iPad or similar tablet, OR buy a nice desktop computer for my office NOW and then spend some money on having my laptop fixed up (new battery, etc) and take that around with me. If I use the laptop, I'd wipe everything off of the hard drive except my landscape design software, Quickbooks, and all of my landscape related pictures (before and after type things). That would prob make it run a little faster and un-clog it a bit haha. I don't know much about the tablets and what their abilities are as compared to a laptop for this type of use. Opinions?

Bunton Guy
12-16-2012, 02:13 PM
In the same situation as you so I had bought a droid tablet. I have yet to bring it out in the field for a dozen reasons. I have had it for roughly 2 months and haven't had the time to set it up like I need it.

I was going to do a slide show of my clients properties....having a hard time with the slide show app not working right. Then I have had issues with transfering photos from my PC and other cell to the tablet.

I bought quickbooks online so that I could run mobile with my program for estimates,invoices & more. I have had a hard time transitioning my invoice template from my QB 2008 on my PC over to the online version. That has delayed use even more

Once I get all of these issues and more figured out I think it will be a great investment.

I wouldn't hesitate to get a Ipad or similar to replace a laptop. At this point they can do almost as much as any computer. It all depends on how much time you can devote to setting it up and keeping it up to date. Since everything I need is on my old PC I keep running back to using that seeing that im short on time and always in a hurry.

GreenI.A.
12-16-2012, 09:32 PM
Not sure what you have for a laptop. But I have picked up batteries from amazon for around $100 for dell and sony. Have found them to be just as good as the original ones.

PaperCutter
12-17-2012, 01:14 PM
Bunton Guy, what are you using for portfolio presentation? Because I like to jump around by category I'm using Fotolio for my Nexus - love it.

RLS24
12-17-2012, 03:45 PM
In the same situation as you so I had bought a droid tablet. I have yet to bring it out in the field for a dozen reasons. I have had it for roughly 2 months and haven't had the time to set it up like I need it.

I was going to do a slide show of my clients properties....having a hard time with the slide show app not working right. Then I have had issues with transfering photos from my PC and other cell to the tablet.

I bought quickbooks online so that I could run mobile with my program for estimates,invoices & more. I have had a hard time transitioning my invoice template from my QB 2008 on my PC over to the online version. That has delayed use even more

Once I get all of these issues and more figured out I think it will be a great investment.

I wouldn't hesitate to get a Ipad or similar to replace a laptop. At this point they can do almost as much as any computer. It all depends on how much time you can devote to setting it up and keeping it up to date. Since everything I need is on my old PC I keep running back to using that seeing that im short on time and always in a hurry.

My hope with the iPad is that it would be more of a seamless transition since I already have an iPhone. I want to do this now in the winter while I have plenty of downtime so I can play around with it.

Not sure what you have for a laptop. But I have picked up batteries from amazon for around $100 for dell and sony. Have found them to be just as good as the original ones.

Its a Dell. When I bought the thing, I had every option you could get, accept for some reason I missed the part about the battery upgrade so I ended up with the lowest battery possible, which in its prime would only run the computer for like a half hour. Can I upgrade to a better battery now or would I have to get the exact same one it came with?

Horizon Jay
12-17-2012, 04:42 PM
First off if your computer is full (no memory left) it will run terrible! Also about laptop. Technology is changing so fast that for $350 you can probably replace it with a new one that would blow it out of the water. Top of the line 6 yrs ago has been replaced. I am a biased Apple fan ( you've been warned!) I say Ipad all the way! You can keep your laptop at home plugged in and take the Ipad on the go! I would highly recommend a good case for it or any tablet though. I have an Ipad 2 with a Griffin Survivor case. It is idiot proof (thats me) and kid proof (so far). I havent figured out how to use it to show a design or a plan on it but, I did sell a nice hardscape/plant install this summer with an Ipad! I used it on the initial meeting to show different plant and stone options (pictures/slideshow to help them decide what plants they actually like). Then I created a design on paper and showed them the pictures of each plant (google image search, right click save as;) on the Ipad on their porch. Worked like a charm! Not only were they happy with the plans but they loved the use of the "new" technology to show them exactly what they were getting where. (seriously though I asked them if they liked the Ipad demo and they said Yes). I am sure there are programs that, like a laptop, have a 3d visual slide show/movie of the plan available for the Ipad I just dont have one yet. (they have apps for everything!) Its lighter, more portable than a laptop and for the most part can do all of the same things! Also, if you are concerned with the crossover from a pc to the ipad dont be. If you have pictures you want and cant get them on the ipad, email them to yourself and download on the ipad. Done! (Itunes works well to sync it though and does work with pc). They are bascially plug and play. If you have any problems with it or tech questions, ask me. I may be able to help! Good luck!
I will add that most tablets are all capable of doing the same thing. Buy what you like (you are paying more for the Apple name, remember that). I have Iphone, MacBook Pro already so Ipad was a no brainer. Apple syncs very well together. A cheaper android tablet will do the exact same thing! Seriously it will...

RLS24
12-17-2012, 09:03 PM
First off if your computer is full (no memory left) it will run terrible! Also about laptop. Technology is changing so fast that for $350 you can probably replace it with a new one that would blow it out of the water. Top of the line 6 yrs ago has been replaced. I am a biased Apple fan ( you've been warned!) I say Ipad all the way! You can keep your laptop at home plugged in and take the Ipad on the go! I would highly recommend a good case for it or any tablet though. I have an Ipad 2 with a Griffin Survivor case. It is idiot proof (thats me) and kid proof (so far). I havent figured out how to use it to show a design or a plan on it but, I did sell a nice hardscape/plant install this summer with an Ipad! I used it on the initial meeting to show different plant and stone options (pictures/slideshow to help them decide what plants they actually like). Then I created a design on paper and showed them the pictures of each plant (google image search, right click save as;) on the Ipad on their porch. Worked like a charm! Not only were they happy with the plans but they loved the use of the "new" technology to show them exactly what they were getting where. (seriously though I asked them if they liked the Ipad demo and they said Yes). I am sure there are programs that, like a laptop, have a 3d visual slide show/movie of the plan available for the Ipad I just dont have one yet. (they have apps for everything!) Its lighter, more portable than a laptop and for the most part can do all of the same things! Also, if you are concerned with the crossover from a pc to the ipad dont be. If you have pictures you want and cant get them on the ipad, email them to yourself and download on the ipad. Done! (Itunes works well to sync it though and does work with pc). They are bascially plug and play. If you have any problems with it or tech questions, ask me. I may be able to help! Good luck!
I will add that most tablets are all capable of doing the same thing. Buy what you like (you are paying more for the Apple name, remember that). I have Iphone, MacBook Pro already so Ipad was a no brainer. Apple syncs very well together. A cheaper android tablet will do the exact same thing! Seriously it will...

Thats why the title of my thread was left open so people could make other suggestions! I do have the iPhone now so I know syncing it with the PC will not be a problem. I agree about the case, I have the Lifeproof case for my phone, best $80 I spent! I'll have to look at the Andriod tablets, maybe I can get some deal with Verizon to add one of those with internet onto my plan fora reasonable amount.

GreenI.A.
12-18-2012, 12:16 AM
...................
Its a Dell. When I bought the thing, I had every option you could get, accept for some reason I missed the part about the battery upgrade so I ended up with the lowest battery possible, which in its prime would only run the computer for like a half hour. Can I upgrade to a better battery now or would I have to get the exact same one it came with?

I have the extended battery for my dell. I did the same as you and ordered every bell and whistle for it. Every choice I had, I chose the highest quality, memory, speed etc. for some reason I also went with the standard battery. At the time I figured I wouldn't run it off the battery that often. I plug it in in the office and I have a inverters in the trucks. The extended batteries for it will fit as long as the battery lists your model number. The only complaint I have about the extended battery is that it is about 3/4 of an inch thicker than stock. So it makes the back of the lap top thicker. The laptop case I use is already full of so much stuff that the laptop nearly fits in. On the plus side, being thicker it lifts the back of the laptop up and puts the keyboard at an angle. Simular to how a desk top keyboard normally, so it is a more comfortable when doing a lot of typing.

DanaMac
12-23-2012, 11:03 AM
I am looking to go with something like this Samsung (http://www.staples.com/Samsung-Series-5-Slate-Tablet-PC/product_990648). It is a larger tablet at 11.6", and can dock with a separate keyboard to make it much like a laptop. I need a tablet for the new software we are going with, which is Hindsite Solutions. With the tablet in the field, I can easily enter all the info from the jobsite, which then uploads back to QB at the office. Then if I'm doing a lot of QB data entry, or word/excel/photo type work, I can dock with the keyboard.

My current laptop, which is on its second battery that is almost shot, will live at the office with QB and the full Hindsite software on it. I can access both with a secondary program that lets me log in remotely. I've never used a Mac/Apple machine, and don't want to change over at this point. Not that I have anything against it, just never used either.

branchoutshrub
12-23-2012, 12:06 PM
We use the ipad for on the road stuff and a laptop back at the office. Works very well for our situation.

weeble67
12-24-2012, 12:10 AM
I to am an Apple guy (you are again warned) and I love the products. I have utilized my iPad several times and don't regret it one bit. I use a Otterbox for it and have never had a problem. I like the way my iPhone, and Mac Book Pro communicate and functions seamlessly. I vote for the Ipad.

New2TheGreenIndustry
12-24-2012, 12:24 AM
If the battery is dead, why not buy a new one? I find you will need a laptop or desktop for certain applications, and then a tablet will work in others. You might need to think about an integrated approach to design, estimates, billing, etc.

maelawncare
12-24-2012, 10:44 AM
I have a nice desktop and my ipad. Love having the ipad in the truck. So many apps and just a perfect size for in the field. Getting a mini before spring starts, i think it is an even better size.

Lazer Cut
12-24-2012, 12:46 PM
I've always wanted to do a setup in a truck have a tablet fill out the estimate, go back to the truck print it out right then and there on the spot... I think that'd be really cool to do that for the customer.

I like Ipad because I have one and use it all the time... I too have a dell laptop at work lol Latitude E6500 with extended battery life... I like it a lot but I bumped it the other day and the screen went hazy blue then back to noraml... dont know how a laptop would hold up on the jobsite... I've dropped my ipad before (with case) and it doesnt miss a beat

calvinslawnservices
12-25-2012, 12:43 AM
I am in the same boat right now. I had a laptop that took a crap on me and now I am trying to decide whether or not to get a ipad or tablet. I am leaning towards a ipad mostly because of the mobile factor, the only thing that is holding me back is picture editing and graphic design. I am working on my logo right now and think it would be hard on an ipad, as well as working on my website.

maelawncare
12-25-2012, 10:28 PM
Don't go with only a ipad. You need it as a compliment to another.

H & M Yard Improvements
12-26-2012, 09:34 AM
Just like any other piece of equipment, I would keep the laptop as a backup just as a precaution. God forbid if something were to happen to the iPad. Gotta have something to backup your files. You may say nahhhh! But you never know when something might happen. Most importantly, don't forget to write it off!
Posted via Mobile Device

Dtkeith
12-26-2012, 12:23 PM
Have you thought about the new Microsoft Surface?
(in the spirit of disclosure, my winter work is at a Microsoft retail store)
It has a full version of Microsoft Office 2013 built in from the factory
2 styles of covers- and both have built in keybords!!
full size USB port right on the side
Skydrive- all of your stuff gets instantly synced between computer/phone/surface/web. I use this for billing. And everything else.
built in kickstand-with a cover and kickstand, the form is a laptop.
2 HD cameras- great for documenting work
live tiles on the start screen to keep you up to date at a glance (mail, calendar, weather, everything else)
full IE10 web browser with adobe flash
8.5-9 hour battery life (what I've been getting) and it charges back up in 2

This little rig has been great for me and my business. If you have any questions, please ask on this thread or feel free to PM me!!

alldayrj
12-26-2012, 12:28 PM
Have you thought about the new Microsoft Surface?
(in the spirit of disclosure, my winter work is at a Microsoft retail store)
It has a full version of Microsoft Office 2013 built in from the factory
2 styles of covers- and both have built in keybords!!
full size USB port right on the side
Skydrive- all of your stuff gets instantly synced between computer/phone/surface/web. I use this for billing. And everything else.
built in kickstand-with a cover and kickstand, the form is a laptop.
2 HD cameras- great for documenting work
live tiles on the start screen to keep you up to date at a glance (mail, calendar, weather, everything else)
full IE10 web browser with adobe flash
8.5-9 hour battery life (what I've been getting) and it charges back up in 2

This little rig has been great for me and my business. If you have any questions, please ask on this thread or feel free to PM me!!

What are they going for? My friend sells these things too and just bought one for his dad
Posted via Mobile Device

burnsyscapes
12-26-2012, 02:04 PM
i would rather get a surface than an ipad, but, the surface is wifi only so it had to be used at your home. not worth 600 buks to me.

i think the whole point of a tablet is to use it out in the field, and have internet. but thats just me.

alldayrj
12-26-2012, 02:07 PM
You can steal wifi almost anywhere by me. No way I'm paying for a data plan on my phone and a tablet.
Can you use a usb disk drive and install programs like realtime landscape pro on the surface?
Posted via Mobile Device

maelawncare
12-26-2012, 10:31 PM
Have you thought about the new Microsoft Surface?
(in the spirit of disclosure, my winter work is at a Microsoft retail store)
It has a full version of Microsoft Office 2013 built in from the factory
2 styles of covers- and both have built in keybords!!
full size USB port right on the side
Skydrive- all of your stuff gets instantly synced between computer/phone/surface/web. I use this for billing. And everything else.
built in kickstand-with a cover and kickstand, the form is a laptop.
2 HD cameras- great for documenting work
live tiles on the start screen to keep you up to date at a glance (mail, calendar, weather, everything else)
full IE10 web browser with adobe flash
8.5-9 hour battery life (what I've been getting) and it charges back up in 2

This little rig has been great for me and my business. If you have any questions, please ask on this thread or feel free to PM me!!

I'd wait for the surface pro instead of the RT. The RT is like the ipad compared to macbook. Don't think of it as a full computer.

If you wait next month for the surface pro to come out, it is a full computer with i5 processor. You could completely replace your laptop with that.

i would rather get a surface than an ipad, but, the surface is wifi only so it had to be used at your home. not worth 600 buks to me.

i think the whole point of a tablet is to use it out in the field, and have internet. but thats just me.

Exact reason why I haven't bought one yet. I could get a wireless router but that's $65 a month, while the ipad is only $30. So money is money. So far sticking with my ipads, unless microsoft pulls their heads out of their ass and puts 3g in the surface.

You can steal wifi almost anywhere by me. No way I'm paying for a data plan on my phone and a tablet.
Can you use a usb disk drive and install programs like realtime landscape pro on the surface?
Posted via Mobile Device

Not here. Your lucky to find a unlocked wifi. You'd screw yourself if you needed to find customer info and cant because you dont have internet access when you counted on it.

Dtkeith
12-26-2012, 11:42 PM
Surface starts at $499. I usually suggest the 32gb surface with a touch cover for $599. Most smartphones anymore have a hotspot feature, or as someone pointed out, Wi-Fi is almost everywhere.

Good point bringing up the Pro v. RT. The RT only runs apps from the built-in Windows Store. It is quite extensive already, and truly does grow daily. If you have questions about a particular app, feel free to ask and I can check, or swing by your local computer shop and check it out on a Surface or Windows 8 machine.
Another few things about the pro v. rt.. don't take this as putting down the pro, it will be a great rig for many people. I just don't think it has its place in the field yet.
The battery life will be about half as long as the RT (around 4.5 hours)
it will be about half as thick again (I believe around 14mm.. still very small for what it is)
the price will be starting at $899 for a 64gb machine

The RT has done everything I need so far, I haven't used my laptop since I bought this. The cloud storage integration is great, I have all of the files on my surface, in real time, as I do on my home computer. huge for me.

the number one thing that is killer for me is the Office software built in. Not a day goes by that I don't use this. from billing to taking notes (i'm in hort. school right now) to writing papers and even making up powerpoint presentations to show to (potential) customers, it has been killer.
If you want to check out a surface, head to your local Best Buy, Staples, or if you have one in your town, Microsoft Store. Word of warning, if you do head to BB or Staples, take what they say with a couple grains of salt. I was lucky enough to receive over a month of very in-depth training from Microsoft about Surface and all the rest of the stuff we sell, where I bet those guys might have heard a 3 hour lecture.

again, if you have any questions, please ask. I really do like the surface, and i'm lucky to know its uses in our field

Dtkeith
12-26-2012, 11:47 PM
Exact reason why I haven't bought one yet. I could get a wireless router but that's $65 a month, while the ipad is only $30. So money is money. So far sticking with my ipads, unless microsoft pulls their heads out of their ass and puts 3g in the surface.

By the way- a 4g hotspot on its own costs 30/month from Verizon. i'm sure AT&T is the same. or $20 to add it to a current family plan. Well worth it if you aren't close to Wi-Fi often.

maelawncare
12-27-2012, 12:52 PM
By the way- a 4g hotspot on its own costs 30/month from Verizon. i'm sure AT&T is the same. or $20 to add it to a current family plan. Well worth it if you aren't close to Wi-Fi often.

Only if you have one their shared plans. I'm not falling for that crap and changing my plans getting rid of my unlimited data for that.

maelawncare
12-27-2012, 12:58 PM
Surface starts at $499. I usually suggest the 32gb surface with a touch cover for $599. Most smartphones anymore have a hotspot feature, or as someone pointed out, Wi-Fi is almost everywhere.

Good point bringing up the Pro v. RT. The RT only runs apps from the built-in Windows Store. It is quite extensive already, and truly does grow daily. If you have questions about a particular app, feel free to ask and I can check, or swing by your local computer shop and check it out on a Surface or Windows 8 machine.
Another few things about the pro v. rt.. don't take this as putting down the pro, it will be a great rig for many people. I just don't think it has its place in the field yet.
The battery life will be about half as long as the RT (around 4.5 hours)
it will be about half as thick again (I believe around 14mm.. still very small for what it is)
the price will be starting at $899 for a 64gb machine

The RT has done everything I need so far, I haven't used my laptop since I bought this. The cloud storage integration is great, I have all of the files on my surface, in real time, as I do on my home computer. huge for me.

the number one thing that is killer for me is the Office software built in. Not a day goes by that I don't use this. from billing to taking notes (i'm in hort. school right now) to writing papers and even making up powerpoint presentations to show to (potential) customers, it has been killer.
If you want to check out a surface, head to your local Best Buy, Staples, or if you have one in your town, Microsoft Store. Word of warning, if you do head to BB or Staples, take what they say with a couple grains of salt. I was lucky enough to receive over a month of very in-depth training from Microsoft about Surface and all the rest of the stuff we sell, where I bet those guys might have heard a 3 hour lecture.

again, if you have any questions, please ask. I really do like the surface, and i'm lucky to know its uses in our field


While you are working in the field. Are you going to use that thing more than 4hrs during the day? If so, then you should not be in the field, you should be in the office. It is a full computer, how do you expect greater than 4hrs.

The pro is a laptop/desktop replacement. Do not compare it to the RT or a ipad. Compare it to a macbook or laptop. Throw in the keyboard and it is truly a laptop.

Still, I'd love the have the surface. But I am not going to inconvenience myself of carrying around a hotspot or connecting it to my phone and draining its battery every time I need the internet.

RLS24
12-30-2012, 12:48 PM
Sorry I let this thread go! With the holidays and a couple snows storm we've had I've been busy haha

Don't go with only a ipad. You need it as a compliment to another.
Yes the plan is to have both.

I to am an Apple guy (you are again warned) and I love the products. I have utilized my iPad several times and don't regret it one bit. I use a Otterbox for it and have never had a problem. I like the way my iPhone, and Mac Book Pro communicate and functions seamlessly. I vote for the Ipad.
I have the iPhone and it seems to connect well with my PC so I'm presuming the iPad would work just as well


I am looking to go with something like this Samsung (http://www.staples.com/Samsung-Series-5-Slate-Tablet-PC/product_990648). It is a larger tablet at 11.6", and can dock with a separate keyboard to make it much like a laptop. I need a tablet for the new software we are going with, which is Hindsite Solutions. With the tablet in the field, I can easily enter all the info from the jobsite, which then uploads back to QB at the office. Then if I'm doing a lot of QB data entry, or word/excel/photo type work, I can dock with the keyboard.

My current laptop, which is on its second battery that is almost shot, will live at the office with QB and the full Hindsite software on it. I can access both with a secondary program that lets me log in remotely. I've never used a Mac/Apple machine, and don't want to change over at this point. Not that I have anything against it, just never used either.
I honestly think that I'd like to switch over to Mac at some point, BUT may main issue is I'd have to re-purchase Quickbooks and my landscape design software. Big $$ there. I also have all of my photography and graphics design software from when I went to college (and was purchased at an extremely discounted rate through the college) that I still use all the time. I think I'm kinda stuck in the PC world.


If the battery is dead, why not buy a new one? I find you will need a laptop or desktop for certain applications, and then a tablet will work in others. You might need to think about an integrated approach to design, estimates, billing, etc.

its not so much the battery, I have my laptop wired up like a desktop with a separate keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, etc. So anytime I want to make it mobile, I have all that stuff to unhook.

marks500
01-01-2013, 01:01 PM
My iPad goes to work with me everyday...I use my iPhone as a hotspot for my iPad.

Ticolawnllc
01-06-2013, 08:43 PM
Lap tops are so dead. I-pad with a life proof case is the way to go.

Will P.C.
01-06-2013, 11:41 PM
Get an IPAD and you will not regret it.

In other news, I can't stand when contractors try and show me previous work on there cell phones. This is followed by a quick reply of I am not interested in hiring you. I don't want to look at your crappy cell phone pics on a tiny ass screen. Are you that cheap that you cannot afford a decent camera and learn to take pics?

Mahoney3223
01-10-2013, 12:54 AM
Anyone have the galaxy tab?