A good laptop?

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J Roc
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A good laptop?

#1 Post by J Roc » Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:52 am

I'm in the market for a good and reasonably priced laptop. I've never owned a laptop before and I'm not 100% sure what I should be considering (I'm not much of a computer guy, period.)

I start a new job that requires time away from home and I'm really just looking for something that'll keep me in touch with family and friends while sitting in a hotel. Nothing too fancy but something reliable and maybe with a web cam.

Any suggestions on what make and models are good? I was thinking a base model Dell Inspiron. Maybe something pre-built from future shop, such as a Compaq or HP. I don’t know?



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Re: A good laptop?

#2 Post by Cadismack » Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:21 am

Converted to a Mac myself recently and I love it. If you are used to PC's then it might be a challenge, but for security and anitvirus protection (cause there really aren't any for macs) it can't be beat. Yeah its a bit more pricey but reliable, convienent, easy to pack around fast and powerful. And from what I've heard from Vista users, Leapord is a far better operating system.

Good Luck!
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Re: A good laptop?

#3 Post by 200hr Wonder » Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:35 am

J Roc if all you want to do is surf the net, send an email, upload photos, check out the Asus EEE PC 700 or 900, for the price and size sounds like what you are needing. You will not be playing FS-X on it or anything and the storage is a little small but it is TINY weighs less than 2#, has a great price point and should do all that you need.

Moving up I am partial to HP got about 150+ at my current company seem to be pretty reliable based on how well they are treated. We also run 3 Macs which have been flawless but OSX is not everyone's bag. I would stay away from a refurb because laptops tend to take more abuse and there is nothing to say the HDD is not going to crap out 91 days later and no warranty :S
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Re: A good laptop?

#4 Post by Wacko » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:52 am

Take my advice with a grain of salt but if money is an issue try http://www.dfsdirect.ca/ This is where the open box and off lease products from Dell go. You can find some decent priced items on there sometimes.

I agree with 200hr about laptops being mistreated but at the same time if all you're planning to do is keep in touch etc (no mission critical company data) why pay for new? I wouldn't trust a hard drive regardless of how new it is... I make it a point to backup to a flash drive/DVD ever so often regardless.

I can break down a couple things for you:
RAM: If you buy windows vista you should look for a laptop with 2 Gigabytes of ram. Any other version of windows you're good with 1
Hard Drive: If you're going to watch moves off the hard drive (download from internet not DVD's) look for one that is 5400 RPM.. otherwise the slower drives are fine
Processor: If you need a laptop that will last longer on a single charge (not plugged into wall) look at the centrino family...otherwise you'll be fine with any of them
Everything else comes pretty standard these days in regards to new laptops... of course weight and screen size are a personal preference more than anything.

One thing I would note... as you said you're not very computer literate... you'll always have people tell you to go with a Mac... and they are fine machines BUT you can probably go to your next door neighbor to help you out with a PC while Mac is still quite a limited market.
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Louis
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Re: A good laptop?

#5 Post by Louis » Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:35 pm

Hello,

There's been good advice given so far, here's a bit of my small change...

I would go for a built-in webcam, less hassle, one less little component to crush, lose or break.
15" is a nice size if you want decent portability with a full feature machine. 13" make more compromises or get pretty expensive.
17" are larger and heavier, so unless you absolutely want a full keyboard (with numeric keypad), I'd say they're too big.

Bluetooth capability + headset goes nicely with the webcam, this way you're able to have a conversation without your hotel room neighbors having to hear all of it because of speakers. (If you have one with a cellphone, you should be able to use it with your PC as well.)

While you might not be in a rush to get a laptop with a BlueRay drive, some laptops have so-called "modular" optical drive bays, which are somewhat standardized and upgradeable. I've since become a fan of replacing the optical drive with a hard drive in a caddy and using an external USB optical drive when necessary.

Get an external USB3 (or eSATA if you happen to have that port) backup hard drive you can leave at home, and keep it up to date with FreeFileSync. Its a neat little free, open-source program. But in any case, KEEP BACKUPS!!!! While hard drives themselves sometimes fail, your computer could get damaged in many other ways, or just plain old stolen. (Mine was October 2009, but I lost no significant data because I followed the previous piece of advice.) For maximum data integrity, you can rotate a pair of hard drives, or make periodic backups on DVD-R and store them at another (preferably distant) location.

Most laptops today come with some sort of way to restore them to factory settings. There are a couple of things I'd like to say regarding these:
-They're often put on your hard drive as a hidden partition of some sort, with DVDs not provided. You *need* these DVDs. They're your main ticket out of paying some computer tech to reinstall OS, applications, drivers and all, should your hard drive physically fail.
-They're often loaded with stuff you don't need.
-They often lack stuff you need.
Which brings me to my next suggestion:

When you get your laptop, install the main applications you use: office suite, browser and e-mail clients (if you use Firefox and Thunderbird) and so on. Update the OS, applications and drivers. Set every option and setting to your liking. Then make (or get made) an image of this customized partition. So that the next time you want to start with a clean slate, you can use that instead. Better yet, make an updated version of that image while you're at it.

Many laptop brands don't actually design the laptops they sell. I've seen laptops from one brand that were clearly made by different ODMs (original design manufacturers) one being of decent quality, the other having a lousy touchpad and other assorted flaws.

For more information, I'll forward you to http://forum.notebookreview.com/ instead.

Goodbye,

Louis
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Last edited by Louis on Wed May 22, 2013 10:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: A good laptop?

#6 Post by Spinner » Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:10 am

I have been using an inspiron 6400 from dell for about two years now. Have had a hard drive crash and also the CD/DVD player has given up the ghost. I like Dell but not sure about their laptops. Mind you this one has a lot of mileage on it.
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Re: A good laptop?

#7 Post by 200hr Wonder » Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:14 am

Here are a few laptop tips to help your machines last longer...

Any bumping and jaring of a laptop is hard on optical and hard drives. The lasers get knocked out of alignment on the optical drives and the heads crash on hard drives. So try not to move a running machine.

Never ever put a running (even standing by) machine in the bag, it gets too hot.

Do not use it on your lap as it can not breath. If you must take not of where the vents are and make sure they are not blocked. Thermal is a killer of laptops

Under no circumstances jar the laptop. Absolute killer even when it is off for the above mentioned drives

The LCD screens can take very little pressure to there face so never place anything on top of the laptop and if it is in a bag that has two sides always laptop up!

You can get some nifty little padded pouches that should just fit your laptop and then they are good to go into just about any bag highly recommended.
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J Roc
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Re: A good laptop?

#8 Post by J Roc » Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:45 am

Thanks everyone!

Now I almost have it narrowed down and I'm kinda leaning towards a macbook. But like most people, I'm still rather picky and want to find the best deal.

So I noticed Apple has deals on "refurbished" macbooks. Has anyone ever purchased a refurbished apple product? And what did you think?

Thanks again guys, you've all been a huge help!
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Re: A good laptop?

#9 Post by sissyphus » Mon May 05, 2008 1:42 pm

i bought a french ibook g4 in alberta for 700 bucks. Won't go back to a pc. ended up buying an imac. If you're looking for a cheap laptop and don't mind used. I know a guy who has a dell, still has 6 months on the warranty, he's switching to a macbook pro. looking to get rid of his old one. pm me if you're interested.
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Re: A good laptop?

#10 Post by AcelinePanetier » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:24 am

Select the appropriate size for your needs. Look for smaller, 13-inch or 14-inch laptops if you plan to carry yours around often. Many business-class laptops, such as Dell Latitudes and Lenovo ThinkPads, come in this size range. Take weight into consideration as well. Purchase a laptop with a larger screen up to 17 inches in size if you want a desktop replacement or you need lots of screen space for graphics applications
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Re: A good laptop?

#11 Post by cap41 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:30 pm

I agree with an above poster. The Macbook is superior in every way. I disagree where they say stay away from refurb. I have bought 2 iMacs, 2 Macbooks, ATV, and Ipad from their refurb site. I have never had an issue. 1 year warranty included. I don't know if you have ever dealt with APPLE. Everything about them is top notch from products, to service. Although I have drank the Apple koolaid!!!!

btw X-plane the OSX flight sim is amazing.
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