0

(This question was originally part of another one, which has been divided in two for clarity.)

In my search for a new computer, I narrowed my focus to 2-in-1s (convertibles between laptop and tablet) that allow a dual drive configuration (solid state storage plus spinning hard drive). This will give me a helpful combination of speed, storage capacity, and versatility. It narrows my selection a great deal because there aren’t a lot of computers like that.

I tend to buy direct from major manufacturers where I can get a service contract, so I’ve been mainly looking at Dell and HP, and that narrows the selection to just a few models. The following is a complete list of what I've found from those two companies (plus one other that I saw at BestBuy), along with the basic configurations I worked up and their prices including three years of on-site service with coverage for accidental damage and including offered discounts, plus my bottom-line assessment of each one. They are listed in the order I came across them.

  • Asus Q536FD-BI7T15
    • 15”, i7, 16 Gb RAM, 256 Gb SSD, 2 Tb HD, $1,900 (don't know if service is on-site)
    • Unknown (to me) manufacturer
  • Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (review)
    • 17", i7, 16 Gb RAM, 128 Gb SSD, 1 Tb HD, $1,430
    • Too bulky
  • HP Pavilion x360 Laptop - 15t (review)
    • 15", i5, 16 Gb RAM, 256 Gb SSD, 1 Tb HD, includes stylus, $940 (accidental damage coverage not available)
    • The review suggests it’s not just inexpensive, but cheap (i.e., not a good value)
  • Dell Precision 5530 2-in-1 (review)
    • 15", i5, 16 Gb RAM, 512 Gb SSD, space to install HD, $2,487 (excluding HD)
    • Too expensive
  • Dell Inspiron 7590 2-in-1
    • 15", i7, 16 Gb RAM, 512 Gb SSD (32 Gb Optane), 2 Tb HD, includes stylus, $1,707 (including HD ordered separately and installed by user)
    • Very attractive set of specs (more than just what's listed here) for reasonable price

One of the things that impresses me about the 7590 is that it is one of the very few touch screen computers that incorporate a crevice to hold the stylus when not in use. To me this indicates the engineers were thinking carefully about the design of the whole system. I was astounded to find out how rare this obvious and simple feature is.

Two drawbacks of the 7590 are that it’s not available with a matte screen, so its use outdoors will be limited, and that it does not have a socket for a Noble lock, which I find handy when I need to step away from the computer for a few minutes. There's also a concern about the available hard drive, which I ask about in a separate question. Most important, it’s so new that there are no reviews of it yet, so I’ve posted a separate question to ask if anyone has seen and used it yet.

I’m interested in input from people on this buying decision. Are there other machines I should be considering? I’ll consider buying from a different company if I can be confident of the quality of hardware and availability of service. Or are there few computers like this because it’s not a good idea for some reason?

  • Lenovo offers service contracts served by IBM, and in my experience, they've provided great support. – K7AAY Jun 26 '19 at 20:55
  • Does Lenovo have a good 2-in-1 with dual drives? – NewSites Jun 27 '19 at 0:45
0

I’ve made a decision on this, and it has surprised me. I’ve ordered a computer built by a company that didn’t make computers the last time I bought one, and I ordered it from a company that I’ve never considered a serious place for a computer-literate person to buy a computer.

I’ve ordered the Asus Q536FD and I’ve ordered it from Best Buy. It’s available only in one set configuration, but it’s a pretty loaded configuration. It’s a “2-in-1” design with a 256 Gb SSD and a 2 Tb hard drive. It’s got an i7 processor with 16 Gb of RAM and NVIDIA graphics running on a 15.6 inch UHD (4k, 3840 x 2160) antiglare display. It comes with Windows 10 Home, which I will need to upgrade to the Pro version.

The storage specs are SATA 3.0 M.2 for the SSD and 5400 rpm SATA for the hard drive. I don’t know enough to judge those specs myself, but I haven’t seen any complaints about them in reviews I found.

The primary complaint I’ve seen in reviews has been about battery life, but they seem to mostly say not to expect more than about four hours. That’s longer than I’m used to being unplugged for. Strangely, and perhaps suspiciously, the specs do not state the Watt-hours of the battery. (Edit: It's on the label on the computer box: 57 WHr.)

Best Buy offers a service contact on the computer, including coverage for accidental damage, at $350 for three-years. I’ve always bought that on my Dell computers and I’ve never made a claim for accidental damage, but I consider it smart insurance to buy, so I did now as well. While the Dell service was for next day on site, this is unfortunately for carry in and any hardware problems will require the store to ship the computer off to their central repair facility for a round trip that could take several weeks, which is a period without my computer that could cause me serious problems. So I hope I never have to use that service contract.

I did not find any reviews of this model from the professional reviewers, including NotebookCheck. I did find fairly positive evaluations of Asus itself by Consumer Reports (subscription required, $8 for a month) and Laptop magazine (1, 2), and of the Asus Q series by Soul of a Geek.

There are several customer reviews of the Q536FD:

  • There's a glowing video review that compares this computer favorably to Microsoft's Surface Book 2 selling for twice the price.
  • Amazon has one long and partly undecipherable customer review that lists ten things he likes about the computer and three he doesn’t and reports being happy with the compute overall.
  • Best Buy has 198 customer reviews. I wonder if Best Buy includes all bad reviews posted. It reports having 70% with five stars, 19% with four, 5% with three, and 3% each with two and one. It lists five pros and cons reported by customers:

    • Pros: Speed (63), display (43), Design (17), Touchscreen (18), 4k (17)
    • Cons: Battery life (11), price (6), USB (3), Noise (3), touchpad (4)

    The first page of reviews that comes up in the site’s default “most relevant” order shows 20 reviews, of which three have five stars, eleven have four, and two each have three, two, and one star. Six of the reviews have responses from Asus offering either suggestions or help with the stated problems and providing two different e-addresses to reach back to them for help. I wrote to both addresses to ask if I can contact them if I have a problem that is not resolved by Asus’ ordinary warranty support system. I got a reply from one of them four hours later, and from the other one the next day, both saying yes, I could do that.

    In the 20 reviews on the first page, the most common complaints are battery life and problems with the trackpad, heat, and noise, although other reviews report the trackpad is great and the computer runs quite and not overly hot. Two reviewers reported a problem with pixels of the display going bad, so this appears to be a problem that might occur if I’m unlucky, and it would require service if it does happen.

    Changing the sort order to “most recent” changes the first page of 20 to a list that makes me more suspicious about whether the reviews were written by the PR department and not by real customers. Fifteen have five stars, two have four, and three have three. None are detailed and most just consist of a sentence or two saying how wonderful the computer is.

  • Two posts at Adobe Community and Microsoft Community complain about problems with scaling of images and text on the 4k display.

  • A post at Reddit reports a problem with stylus pressure sensitivity.

No computer is without problems, so those reviews don't dissuade me from buying this one.

Best Buy is currently offering this computer for $1,400, so the total with the service contract came to $1,750. I’m going to pick up the computer at a local Best Buy in the next day or two, and then I’ll have 15 days to evaluate it with the ability to return it for a full refund for any reason. So I’m interested to know if anyone has any input to this purchasing decision that either agrees or disagrees with it.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.