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The Three Best Laptops For Real Estate Agents For 2011

Real estate agents tend to spend most of their time outside of the office, in cars, and showing homes to clients, therefore they need devices that are portable and advanced, such as smart phones, to manage lists and email streams. However with the progression of technology, you can streamline your devices into one product that will not only have the abilities of the smart phone, but also the convenience of a home office – the laptop.

While laptops are not a new technology, companies are remodeling laptops with business men and women in mind by adding wireless capabilities, large hard drive, and long battery life. A computer’s speed and memory make it an optimal tool for managing Web sites, storing files, and accessing the local MLS system.

Here is a list of the three best laptops in 2011 based on capabilities:

Lenovo ThinkPad X201/X201 Tablet

The thinkPad is the PC professional standard for a reason: quality. The ThinkPad X201 series is the ultra compact high performance series. Housed in a magnesium alloy case with metal hinges and a spill resistant keyboard, it will take on any abuse travel could throw at it. The black case is very unobtrusive and does not scream “BRAND NAME” on the front cover as most companies do. With up to an Intel i7 processor, the X201 will handle any programs, including Adobe Creative Suite, very easily. At 2.9 pounds with up to 12 hours of battery life, not only is it extremely light, but it will keep working all day.

My aunt, who works as an agent in Arizona and also teaches real estate courses with Sanford Brown, told me over the holidays: “The ThinkPad is just as good, if not better for my business and teaching than the iPad.”

Every ThinkPad is customizable and has features, such as mobile broadband, that can easily be added. An optional docking station has a DVD burner and speakers built in. What you could miss is the lack of an option for a discrete graphics card for video editing and possibly a built in optical drive. Starting price is $879 (1300 recommended), and $1300 for the tablet version.

Sony Vaio Z Series

Very few of Sony’s laptops even come close to the $1000 line, yet its high performance Z class is one sweet piece of machinery. Its durability is sold by its encasement in carbon fiber, standard solid-state hard drive, and aluminum keyboard panel. Solid State drives not only perform faster and more efficiently than traditional hard drives, they are less prone to failing because they have no moving parts . NVIDIA’s Optimus technology comes standard, which switches to its more powerful discrete graphics card the 330M when it will make a difference. This saves battery life, and offers great graphics performance when needed. These lightweight materials keep it at around three pounds and give it seven hours of battery life. While the standard 128 GB hard drive seems sort of small, it is an expensive upgrade for competing machines, and is expandable up to 512 GB. The Z series can also be upgraded with other luxuries such as a full 1080P display and blue ray burner. A great feature is the option to have a “Fresh start” application wise with the purchase of Windows 7 Professional. Fresh start meaning no annoying trial software, and Sony software would not be included. The Sony Z is a sexy machine and might as well yell luxury when taken out of a bag. Whether this is a pro or con is up to you. If computer performance matters, this is the one. It starts at a much higher price than the competition, but this is due to the more powerful standard features. Starting price is $1900.

Macbook Air 13 inch/Macbook Pro 13 inch

You know who are you when you’re looking at a Mac. Nothing in this article should steer you towards or away from Apple. Nothing is cooler than the Macbook Air, yet no Mac is more practical than the 13 inch Pro. Neither Mac is more powerful than the Sony Z. The aluminum alloy enclosures on both look very elegant and professional. The widths and depths are the same, while the Air is about 1/3 to ½ the height of the Pro. Going with the Air saves your back about a pound and a half. The five hour battery life for the 11 inch Air is just not enough for a full day, while the 13 inch Air’s battery life of seven hours and Pro’s battery life of ten hours are pretty similar to the Sony and ThinkPad. Choosing between the two should be based on whether or not an optical drive is important, but most of the other features are similar if not identical. The Air uses a solid state drive just like the Sony Z, while they are an optional upgrade on the Pro. What you will miss with the Macs is the option for built in mobile broadband; you will have to buy an external adapter. Starting price for the Macbook Pro is $1,200 and $1,299 for the Macbook Air.

And for some real agent comments, check out this debate on RealTown about the Mac’s.

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