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Laptop recommendations

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zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
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12,450
My Dell Inspiron kicked the bucket after 3.5-4 years, and it''s time to invest in another computer. I was wondering if you could recommend a good replacement. I''m also interested in brands/models to stay away from. I''m considering a Sony Vaio but I''m open to others (except the Macbook -- it''s too pricey). My husband has a desktop computer that we are always fighting over now, and he''s interested in getting a laptop also. We don''t travel too often, so the laptop would mainly be used at home. Here''s what we''re looking for:

Zoe:

* basic Internet.e-mail, word processing capabilities (I''m a teacher, so I tend to do research/planning and then e-mail myself links of things to print at school.)
* considering 14-15" screen size
* fast processor (320?)
* ability to store pictures from vacations (not sure of how many GB of memory I should look for -- 3 or 4??)
* quiet computer (fan)
* relatively light in weight (5-6 lbs, preferably)
* good keyboard, easy to use
* would love to stay below $1000, knowing that we''ll need to add Microsoft Office and that''s an additional fee
* good customer service

Zoe''s husband:

* Internet, e-mail, word processing, and Microsoft Access guru (he''s the database guy)
* would love Blu-ray
* fast processor (320?)
* wide screen (he''s looking at 15", possibly 16" screen size)
* good for watching streaming videos/tv shows on Hulu, fancast, etc.
* ability to store picture from vacations, etc. (He''s considering 4GB, I think)
* definitely a PC, not a Mac
* would consider something up to $1500 I think (He''s easily swayed by bells and whistles but I''m encouraging him to go lower on price. It seems ridiculous to spend so much on something that will pretty much be considered obsolete in about 4 years'' time.)
* good customer service

If there are other things we should consider, please let me know. This is what I could think of off the top of my head. Thanks so much!!
 

Tuckins1

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
8,614
I don''t know that much about computers (my hubby is a computer tech and he takes care of all of that).... I have a sony vaio and I love it!!!!! It''s the 15" screen... And it''s pink.


I am also a teacher and I use my laptop all day long at work. It''s very portable and very quick!!!
Good luck with your search!
 

CDNinNYC

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
2,216
I know you said no to the Macbook, but the white 13-inch MacBook is $999. Microsoft office for the Mac is $149.

We just got the new macbook two weeks ago and love it!!!
 

lovegem

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
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417
I have used three Dell laptops, they always seem to got some problems. I had a P4 laptop (top of the line back 6 or 7 yrs ago, cost me $3000). The fan died after 3 years. Then I got a Dell Celeron laptop (it was on sale, $600, 4 years ago). The battery completely died a little over a year. We didn''t even use the battery much. Then I got a Core 2 Du Dell laptop at the same time I also got a Acer AMD Dual core laptop. They were both $700 on sale again. That was 3 years ago. I prefer the Acer laptop. It is more sturdy. The Dell''s laptop seems too much like plastic. If I were to connect my 2 laptops to the internet, my Acer always download things faster than the Dell. The Acer is hotter than the Dell, because it is an AMD, but it is quite.

Don''t know much about their service, luckily haven''t got any problem with the Acer laptop. But I hate the Dell customer service.

Overall, I like the Acer more than Dell. If I were to get another affordable laptop again, I would choose Acer. All my laptops were 14". I take my Acer to work a lot and I always use my school bag. Never use the laptop bag myself. It is still holding up very well. Impressed totally.
 

chiquitapet

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
3,185
Great thread!! I was just told yesterday I have to go country relieving for 5 weeks, to places where many of the hospitals/practices don''t have a computer. So my search for a laptop starts today! (Sorry for the thread jacking.) I was originally thinking of Dell too, but I have been quite disappointed with their printers lately that I told myself never Dell again. I`m thinking of getting the Sony Vaio. Tuckins, do you know what kind it is that you have? Is it the business solution or home laptop??
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
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14,167
Date: 3/5/2009 7:32:01 PM
Author: CDNinNYC
I know you said no to the Macbook, but the white 13-inch MacBook is $999. Microsoft office for the Mac is $149.


We just got the new macbook two weeks ago and love it!!!
Not to add fuel to the Macbook fire but Zoe, as a teacher you can get it for $950 I believe. And Microsoft office for educators is like $80 IIRC...
 

missjaxon

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 11, 2008
Messages
591
I have to also recommend the MacBook. I finally got one and would NEVER EVER go back to a PC. I think it is totally worth the value. Good luck with your search!
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
dell is bleh in everything but the business line.
HP business line is good.
sony is so-so.. Acer has some good ones and some bad ones.
The thinkpad t400 line is great

best bet is to shop the business lines not the consumer lines.
They arent as flashy but they are better built.
 

pinkstars

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 28, 2007
Messages
532
I really don''t know much about computers, but BF does and when I was looking to buy one for my sister he advised me in what to look for.

I got a Gateway 5 years ago and it''s what I''m still using now. So I bought my sister a Gateway with a dual core processor either 3 or 4 gb of memory. So what she has is waaay better than mine from 5 years ago, but I really wanted to get something that I didn''t have to worry about dying or breaking before she''s done using it.

BF has a MSI Wind(one of those netbooks)but he also has an Asus Eee. I don''t care for the tiny ones but they''re good too. I would personally stay away from Dell.

Hope you find something you love!
 

Feralpenchant

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
427
I have had great experience with HP. I myself have an Alienware, because I''m a gamer


But I have bought 3 HPs over the years, most recently last August as gifts, and they all love them! My mom has one too and she loves hers as well.

I don''t like Vista, which is why I''m dreading getting a new laptop.. I got mine right at the time when you could choose what operating system you wanted, now you get Vista no matter what
I guess I could always strip it and reinstall XP..

ANYWAY! I don''t have much experience with Macs as the games I play are not compatible with them, but a lot of my college friends have Macbooks, and they have no complaints!
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
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13,322
I have a Sony VAIO and run KDE/Ubuntu.

Great construction.

Dells just look plastic (like they're going to break.)
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
13,322
Why would you use MS Office when there is OpenOffice ?!?
 

Hera

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2007
Messages
2,401
Defintely check into Lenovo(formerly IBM Thinkpads). They have a great keyboard, superior customer service, and are usually highly rated. A friend, who works on Toshiba's and HP's suggested them to me as they are highly reliable and powerful. They have them in your price range also. Only thing is they are not so fashionable with all of the pretty lights etc.
 

gwendolyn

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
6,770
Date: 3/5/2009 9:35:38 PM
Author: neatfreak
Date: 3/5/2009 7:32:01 PM

Author: CDNinNYC

I know you said no to the Macbook, but the white 13-inch MacBook is $999. Microsoft office for the Mac is $149.



We just got the new macbook two weeks ago and love it!!!

Not to add fuel to the Macbook fire but Zoe, as a teacher you can get it for $950 I believe. And Microsoft office for educators is like $80 IIRC...
Aye, that sounds about right. Hooray for Mac teacher discounts!


I have a Sony Vaio for work and it's pretty meh. It works, but it's heavy, glitchy, and the mouse buttons and touchpad barely work and it's only a couple of years old (like 2 and change). My Mac PowerBook (personal computer) is almost 5 years old and doesn't have any of those issues.
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
6,893
I had a Sony Vaio and really didn''t like it. It was just a mess after a year and took forever to just start up.

I have to push the Macbook too - I have the 13" white one and LOVE it. BF has a HP and his is dying after a little over a year. My Macbook has been reliable, easy to use and very sturdy (plus Apple stores everywhere in case something does go wrong). I also had a Powerbook before this and loved that as well (loved the Powerbook keyboard more than the Macbook but both are fine).
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
Thanks so much for your replies and recommendations!

Tuckins -- so you use your personal laptop at school and at home? I''m considering doing that occasionally. I''m glad you like the Vaio!

Swl and CDN -- my sister has a 13" Macbook and I used it while we were on vacation when my laptop died. I liked it, and I''ve used Macs before (I used to have an iMac). I thought the screen size was a tad small, but it might just be because I was used to my 15" computer. I thought going to a 14" would be a good compromise. How compatible are Macbooks with PCs? That''s one hesitation I have. My husband is strictly a PC guy, and I think I''d want the two computers to be compatible wth each other. Plus, the computers we have at school are all PCs.

Lovegem -- the girl at Best Buy who was helping me said that she prefers Intel processors to AMD processors but I can''t remember why. You know, it''s funny you mentioned the battery life of your Dells. I don''t unplug mine very often but when I did unplug it and use it in a different room, I noticed that the battery didn''t last long at all. It wasn''t a huge deal to me but it was a bit annoying I suppose. I did notice, too, that my Dell Insprion would get really hot while in use. We don''t have a docking station, and I''m not sure it''s the brightest idea to keep laptops on a table or a rug when not in use. Maybe I''ll have to look into a docking station for this one. Then, if it does get hot, at least it''s stored properly. I''m glad to hear that you like your Acer. I''m not too familiar with the brand. I''ve seen them in stores but I haven''t considered them before because it wasn''t a "hot" brand. I think I''ll research Acer now. Thanks!

Chiquitapet -- I''d love to hear more about your work. Good luck with your computer search!

Neatfreak -- hmmm, the Macbook''s looking better I suppose, and I had completely forgotten the discount. Thanks for the reminder! I do wonder about the compatibility with a PC though.

Thanks Penna nd Missjaxon, for your recommendations!

Thanks Storm -- so you don''t think that a business computer would be too much computer for what I need?

Thanks for the recommendations Pinkstars. I think I''ve seen Asus laptops but I haven''t researched them.

Feral -- welcome to PS! Thanks for the Gateway rec.

Julie -- I''m glad to hear you like the Vaio. What''s Open Office? I''ve never heard of it.

Hera -- You know, I had done a little research on Lenovos and they seemed to get great reviews.

Hi Gwen and BEG! Another vote for the Macbook -- good to know.


Wow, my reply was really long -- sorry about that. So it looks like I have a lot of thinking to do. It seems the consensus is to forget about Dell. I liked mine but I''m not loyal to the brand. Macs are very good, I know that, so I''ll keep that in mind.
 

CNOS128

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
2,700
Just wanted to chime in and tell you how much I love my MacBook! I used to be a PC person, and then when I was a teacher we were all given iBooks, and I was converted. Next computer I bought (when I left teaching and no longer had that sweet iBook) was my MacBook.
 

neatfreak

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2007
Messages
14,167
Zoe- What exactly do you mean by compatibility? What do you want to be compatible? I have a mac for my personal computer and a PC at work and I switch files, etc. between them all the time without problems.

But if you tell me what you are wondering about compatibility wise I can ask my DH-he''s knows a lot about computer compatibility.
 

strmrdr

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 1, 2003
Messages
23,295
A business laptop I think would be perfect for your needs and not to much.
Your basically doing business tasks.
You could easily get a business grade laptop for your budget.
 

Inanna

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Messages
565
I'm a Mac girl, so I wouldn't have anything else. I've never had any trouble switching files with PC users. Also, there are programs you can buy (for around $80) which will allow you to run both MS Windows and the Mac OS on your computer - VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop are two of them.

FI has a Lenovo, and I have to say I'm very impressed with it. If I were to buy a PC laptop, it would be Lenovo. One thing I have noticed is that while my Macbook's battery easily lasts for 4-5 hours, FI's Lenovo battery lasts for 2 hours maximum.
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
5,184
I have an HP and I love it.

Moderately light weight...very user friendly...great widescreen...
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
6,893
Actually I have heard GREAT things about the Lenovo. It's basically been the preferred laptop among the law students here who aren't Mac fanatics like me
Not the prettiest laptop, but it's just supposed to be really awesome (I love the keyboard - weird thing to focus on, but there it is).

As far as Mac goes, BF has an HP and I have a Mac and we have no problem sharing files, etc. A couple computer games he has won't work on mine, lol. Also I have to have him convert .docx files for me to .doc but I think that's more a product of the version of Word I have.

ETA: My battery lasts WAY longer than his, and my computer is older.
 

CrookedRock

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 8, 2007
Messages
1,738
We have a Lenovo and hate it!!! Big time. Constantly freezes. If there are more than 3 windows open it shuts down. It''s terrible. I knew it when we got it and begged my FI to return it, and he said he would just deal with it. That was an expensive mistake bc these things aren''t cheap!
I''m looking at a Vaio... Does anyone have anything bad to say about them?
 

CDNinNYC

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
2,216
Date: 3/6/2009 8:39:58 AM
Author: Inanna
I''m a Mac girl, so I wouldn''t have anything else. I''ve never had any trouble switching files with PC users. Also, there are programs you can buy (for around $80) which will allow you to run both MS Windows and the Mac OS on your computer - VMware Fusion and Parallels Desktop are two of them.
Ditto Inanna on the software. We were looking into this but realized when FI logs into work from the macbook, it looks just like a pc, so we didn''t need it. We are constantly transferring files/photos back and forth with no problems. (I actually used our Ipod to transfer files/photos from our old HP laptop to the new macbook.)
 

pocahontas

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
1,348
I also have a Sony VAIO and I LOVE it! My dad has one too and he loves his as well. They're sleek, sturdy and fast. I got mine in Dec 2005 and use it ALL the time for school and personal surfing. My dad uses his for business. I can't say enough awesome things about the VAIOS!

ETA: Obviously I'm not Julie, but I thought I'd answer your question about Open Office. It's a software package that resembles MS Office, but it's completely free and can be downloaded from the internet. I've used it and aside from its appearance, it's pretty much the same as MS Office. You'd just have to get used to the subtle differences. Check it out here http://www.openoffice.org/
 

MsP

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
663
I don''t think it''s fair to bunch all of the notebooks created by one brand together... like ''Dells are bad'' or ''Sonys are great'' is just a simplistic view and I don''t think accurate at all.

I currently have three laptops on my desk... a Dell, a Lenovo, and a Sony. All are less than a year old. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Sony clogs their system down with lots of ridiculous software. First thing you have to do is reformat. Their lower end systems tend to be overpriced for what you get. I have a $3000+ Sony that runs beautifully and I''ve had no complaints. I think the build quality on their high end machines is FAR FAR greater than they low end ones. For the price range you''re in, I would skip the Vaio. I also have a Lenovo... an X200. Nice computer. Higher model than what you want. I must say that I had higher expectations for the Lenovo and I was a bit disappointed in the build quality. It''s nice... but I thought it''d be nicer. The Dell... is just a Dell. I can''t love it because it''s not nearly as stealthly as the Sony or Lenovo but it''s got more power which I sometimes need.

I would advise you to look on cnet.com or some other review site.
 

omieluv

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 28, 2007
Messages
2,146
I was issued a Dell Latitude D620 notebook via work and it has been a solid performer. I have had it since 2007 and still running smooth (knock on wood). It has an Intel Core2Duo processor with Windows XP. I am sure there are better processors out now though.

As for picture storage, just get an external drive. Pocketec makes a great one and has huge capacity...they run $100 - $300 (depending on your needs) or so and then you do not have to worry about your pictures if your laptop crashes. They are slim and can be hooked up via USB...very convenient. I have one, it is a 40 gig, which has been great. They do not make that one anymore, but for the price I paid a couple of years ago, you can get many more gig's.

They are having a bit of a sale it seems...
http://www.pocketec.net/
 
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