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Author Topic: Advice on a good laptop
WheatPuppet
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My girlfriend is looking for a cheap, small, windows-based laptop. I've poked around and am having trouble finding a windows-based laptop that's cheap, small, and also falls within my standards of power and reliability.

Any pointers?

So far I've nixed Hewlett-Packard, and I'd prefer it not to be a Dell (I don't like Dells).

[edit] My first suggestion was a cheap iBook, but my girlfriend wants to stick with Windows.

[ January 06, 2004, 09:02 PM: Message edited by: WheatPuppet ]

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Bokonon
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IBM Thinkpads are your friend. Not necessarily the most stylish.

But they are bulletproof. Seriously. And they run well.

-Bok

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fugu13
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http://www.ubid.com

You'll be able to do well by finding one that's a bit older.

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TomDavidson
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Modern HP laptops are, sadly, unreliable. Dell really isn't all that bad. Thinkpads are okay, but they're built like bricks and have that awful thumb-mouse thingy. Christy's got a Sony at the moment that seems pretty nice.

Basically, though, I tell people they can get two of any of the following things in a laptop: price, performance, and size.

If you want a small, light, performance laptop, you're going to pay a lot. If you want a cheap, high-performing laptop, it'll be a nine-pound desktop replacement. If you want a cheap, small laptop, you'll be frustrated by its sluggishness and lack of features.

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fugu13
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Oh, you're not going to get a super speedy laptop that's cheap and small, but if you go for a slightly older used or refurbished one you can get one that's more than adequate.

1.2 GHz and above is more than adequate for most people. Just throw in a bit of RAM.

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kwsni
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Dell laptops suck. Mine broke within the first six months, and each time i've sent it in to get fixed, it comes back with a different problem, or sometimes the SAME ONE. My dvd drive has read nothing i've put in the drive for a good year now, and i've sent both the drive and the computer in for that problem three times.
I've finally resorted to using my external drive to read anything i have on disk.

Ni!

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mackillian
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*pat pats the thus far reliable gateway* [Big Grin]
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Nick
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Yeah, I have some laptop advice for you: Don't get one unless it's absolutely necessary. [Razz]

Reasons:
-They are nowhere near as reliable as desktops
-They are far more expensive
-They are not upgradable for the average user (expansion bays don't count. They're for drive swapping, not upgrading)

All three of those seem to strike the idea of wanting to get a laptop dead.

If you had to get one, Dell makes a good laptop, but I would recommend IBM over Dell just because they are more solid (though they are both solid). Let's face it: accidents happen. If you were to drop a Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, or Sony laptop, you would have to have some repairs done in most circumstances.

Just make sure you don't buy one just because they look cooler than desktops do. You won't find the purcahase worthwhile later.

But if you do get one, IBM is your best bet. [Smile]

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Robespierre
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If you are looking to operate your laptop under battery power, make sure you get a system with an optimized processor. If you get the latest processor, it will shred your battery in .5 hours.
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mackillian
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I'd like to mention that I don't know much about hardware, but was able to easily and safely upgrade the RAM in my laptop from 256MG to 1GB.
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Dagonee
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I like Dell's - they've been my standard for 6 years now, ever since I got fed up with Gateway and constant repairs. However, I pretty much buy the high-end ones only, mainly because of the lack of upgradeability Ė I donít know about the cheaper ones.

All of this is obviously anecdotal Ė I know people have had problems with them. But my current one fell about 4 feet onto concrete and survived just fine.

Tomís right on the 2 out of 3 rule, and be sure to consider the upgradability. If you buy one thatís just adequate now, it may not be powerful enough in a year or two. You can expand memory and hard drive, but not much else. However, thereís a lot of good USB peripherals now, so you can add DVD burners, etc.

Thinkpads are also good; Iíve heard the new HPs are good but have no firsthand knowledge. There are some second tier ones you may want to consider such as Sager at http://www.sagernotebook.com/index.html or Winbook.

Dagonee

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saxon75
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Interesting to hear people hating Dell. My wife's Dell laptop has had no problems not caused by either her or me (all of which were fixable at home). I think she's had it something more than a year and less than two. My Dell desktop is about four and a half years old, and the only problem I have with it is that 450 MHz no longer pleases me.
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dkw
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The HP laptop tech support people are poopheads.

That's all I have to say about it.

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aspectre
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Nope, Carla Fiorini is a poophead. She's managed to destroy the high reputation -- for quality, reliablity, and service that founders Hewlitt and Packard established -- in a few short years by "downsizing" a large portion of the people who actually built the company.
Instead of having a company run by engineers, HP is now a company run by salesmen and stock speculators.
-------------------------------------------------
Forgot to add: Take a look a Fujitsu's products before making any final decision.

[ January 07, 2004, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Jenny Gardener
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I like my Gateway Solo, but I only use it for writing and internet. Games are annoying, at best, on a laptop.

I would recommend getting a laptop that has a flat pad you drag your finger across for a mouse. The ones at school have a "bellybutton" in the center of the keyboard, and they are a mega-pain. My laptop has a large rectangle that I drag my finger over, two click keys underneath,and a rocker key. Very intuitive and easy to use.

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BYuCnslr
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The deal on dells: Don't get a lower end Dell they are very unreliable, in fact...lower end laptops from anyone are unreliable. I really like the higher end gateways though they're large, they're very powerful. HP and Compaq are one and the same, a friend of mine has a high end compaq and he's had it since the summer and has had no problems with it except the touchpad likes to act up. Personally I have a Fujitsu C-series lifebook that I bought used, for scanning documents and bring home with me (because desktops aren't portable...even if it only weighs 17 pounds) it works well enough for what I need it for, though I have the slightest feeling that it's previous owner didn't treat it with the loving care that it should have gotten. Toshibas on the whole are rather nice, though, you may want to watch out for the harddrives...they tend to die, but they have the most responsive touch-pad ever. IBMs...cost a lot, yet again, the lower end ones are a little finicky, and if they're also using the Hitachi harddrives, you wanna look out for that as well. Also, RAM all laptops are very picky about RAM, the generic Delta-Omega crap just-doesn't-work, but it's easy enough to find good Kingston RAM. I suggest on going to someplace like fatwallet.com and see what deals different companies have put out, and go into the forums to see what sort of deals the stores are doing as well.
Satyagraha

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WheatPuppet
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Well, my girlfriend is looking for something she can write on and take notes. Power is not a deciding factor at all.

I really wish I could get her to cave to my Apple-pushing. From everything I've seen, apple notebooks are very decent.

I'll take a look at the links posthaste.

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fugu13
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Refurbished laptop is the way to go, I maintain.

You get the warranty of a new laptop, and can trade off the power you don't need for size and battery life more easily as you have a lower low end for power.

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Kasie H
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Apple notebooks are AWESOME, and if all she needs it for is notetaking....

I have a 12" Apple PowerBook and I absolutely love it. I would never recommend anything else -- several of my friends from school have had hard drives fail only months into the first semester. Two owned HPs, one had a Dell, and one a Sony. I'm proud to say all invested in PowerBooks after that. [Big Grin]

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