Starting Upper Cut – A Great Laptop Recommendation



Upper Cut needs a laptop so that I can email customers & vendors, maintain the website, blog, stay in touch with other woodworkers, archive project photos, run the business with Quick Books, and most importantly design projects and visit customers!

I have been researching and debating laptops for a long time now. I was focusing on laptops with 14” screens and avoided the gigantic desktop replacements. Here are the 14” class laptops I eliminated:

  • Mac – I work at Microsoft prefer Windows. Although I can run Windows 7 on Mac I didn’t want to pay the Apple Premium for a Mac. Nice machines though.
  • HP dv4i – great processor, RAM, and HD. Cruddy display, it’s low-res and LCD.
  • HP envy – these things are basically expensive heaters.
  • Toshiba – I liked almost everything about the Toshiba except the screen resolution. There was another model that had really bad trackpad buttons.
  • Dell – I just couldn’t get a Dell configured with the right options unless I went to the really high-end expensive stuff.
  • Gateway – I didn’t bother to look.

I learned more and more about the latest processors, display technologies, and other tech I’ve been ignoring the last few years. I knew I was going to order online because I get a discount as a Microsoft employee – but I wanted to see and touch the laptops first hand, so I have made a few fieldtrips to Best Buy. I started to hone in on the faults in each model, hoping I could take pieces from multiple laptops and combine them to create what I wanted. Today I explored some Sony options, and I was happy even though Sony competing against Xbox 360.

I looked at the Sony Vaio VPCS111FM/S which came with free Intel Wireless Display tech – it’s essentially a thing you hookup to your TV so that you can display your laptop on your TV without wires. That’s cool but I didn’t really need it. The on board display was low res, the hard drive spun at 5400rpm instead of 7200, and the graphics chip was an Intel which isn’t great.

With more searching I found the Sony Vaio CCW26FX/W on the Best Buy site, it’s not available on the regular Sony site because it’s a B2B model. It matches the specs of the other Vaio, and is the same size & weight, but it beats the other Vaio (and all the other laptops in some key areas):

  • Higher resolution display at 1600×1200
  • Nvidia graphics card
  • Better processor
  • Cheaper because it didn’t include the Intel Wireless Display tech.

This deal was smoking, so I definitely bought it, the optional large battery, and the extra AC adapter. QuickBooks Pro is on the way as well. This is exciting, next step is to get it setup and sit down with the accountant – he sent me some great information over email that I’ll blog about later.

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