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Shopping for a new laptop

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
So I am in the market for a new laptop. I currently have a 1st Gen white MacBook but I'm looking to sync up my stationary and portable computing lives. So yes, I'm looking for a pc. My main requirements are a 14" screen and long battery life, as well as something lightweight. I will be using it mostly for writing and net browsing, as well as IM communication. Yes, I know a netbook would be sufficient but those tiny screens and cramped keyboards drive me nuts.

I've currently got my eye on this one HP - Pavilion Laptop with Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T6400 - Bronze/Chrome - dv5-1235dx if anyone has any feedback on it.

Large storage is not important to me and I will most likely not be doing anything that requires a whole lot of memory or processing power. I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on their own laptops, especially things like how the keyboard is for extensive typing.
post #2 of 52
Thinkpad ftw
post #3 of 52
yeah the x series is pretty slick
post #4 of 52
I wouldn't get an HP if it has their slick touch pad. If you ever use your notebook without a mouse, it will drive you nuts: your finger sticks to it.
Thinkpads are great. I would get something like this: SL400 (well actually, I would spend a bit more to be able to pick a matte screen, but thats me).
post #5 of 52
I recommend you look into the Lenovo X400.
Built to last and with competitive specs.
post #6 of 52
The Lenovo Thinkpad T400 sounds like a perfect match. Thinkpad keyboards are widely known as the best in the industry. The battery life on the T400 is very good and it's built like a (lightweight) tank.

I currently have a W500 and it somehow manages to beat my older IBM/Lenovo transition era Z60t. I'm VERY happy with it. Lenovo is the only way to go if you're looking for the same quality as your Macbook in a PC.
post #7 of 52
Some great notebook reviews:

Laptop Reviews Directory

I've read the dv5(t) only gets around 3.5 hours at minimal use/settings, which really isn't much.
post #8 of 52
for web browsing, typing, a big 17". you'll get a full-size keyboard and number pad. get whatever you find is the cheapest one. sometimes stores are doing special offers that are worth going for instead of buying online.
post #9 of 52
Why don't you just buy a bigger harddrive and use bootcamp?
post #10 of 52
I just ordered an x200 from Lenovo direct. There's a 15% off sale going on through midnight tomorrow, I believe.
post #11 of 52
You might want to wait and see what Apple turns up in about a month. There are rumors of a tablet as well as a low cost Mac and MacBook.
post #12 of 52
i would go with a thinkpad x200. they're very light, sturdy, and have great battery life. The screen on them will also be superior to your macbook screen.
post #13 of 52
^ But he clearly stated that he require a 14" screen. Hence the x200 is out...
post #14 of 52
I hate Lenovo with a passion. Their management and CS are horrible. We had 120+ T61s ordered through them and when they all had problems, we were given the run around for 6 or 7 months and after that they just gave us the cold shoulder. Granted it was a software/hardware incompatibility, the way it was handled was wrong and a lot of my classmates feel robbed by them. They have since fired their CEO so maybe things have changed.

If money is an issue and you can handle these problems, then I'd say go with them b/c they have cheap computers. We were starting med school so the time that we lost with these computers were extremely aggravating. I'm sure other companies (sony, HP, dell) have their problems also, but I honestly don't think you could get shafted any worse than we were with Lenovo.
post #15 of 52
I'm a fairly experienced computer tech worker. While that does mean that I do know a good bit about PCs, it also means that I always see people's computers at their worst in terms of hardware failures. Keep that in mind when reading this post.

Toshibas generally have electrical gremlins, particularly the newer models. My own Satellite R20 has C controller issues that occur every time other than when I'm trying to send it in for warranty repairs, and I've seen numerous occasions when the LCD displays simply stop working until after a hard reboot. I can fix broken parts if they're removable, but you can't just go out and get a new laptop motherboard of eBay or Newegg. They're not horribly unreliable, but my next purchase will not be a Toshiba.

HPs come with bad hard drives from the factory. iirc they're either Fujitsu or Seagate. Either way, they develop massive seek problems that rob performance and lead to a slow, painful death. Not a fan of their operating system install either because it comes with a lot of junkware, but if you can format and build your own it's not a problem. Quality components other than the hard drives and junkware. Definitely worth consideration if you can replace the hard drive with something else.

Compaq is an HP brand, but they're junk. HP dumps all of their poor quality parts into Compaq and sells them for cheap. It's a good deal in terms of PR, since they can sell cheap laptops and maintain a brand name associated with quality, but that doesn't mean I'd buy one. Expect major hardware failures. Do not buy.

Avoid Sony Vaios unless you like unusable operating system configurations and poor build quality. "Frustrating" describes everything about them, be it service or everyday use. They look good sitting on your desk, but are functionally only good as lap heaters. When Sony does something well they do it really well, and when they mess up they mess it up really badly. Their PCs have always fit into the latter category.

Consumer-grade Dells are outright junk, but their business models are really good. Helped a friend pick out a Vostro for his daughter this Christmas and, while I wasn't too crazy about the touchpad, it was a top-notch laptop with great quality components and a good case. Like any laptop, touchpad quality and keyboard responsiveness get better with the higher trim models. You can get a very well-optioned Vostro (for everyday use) for under a grand, and that includes some cool stuff like an Nvidia graphics chipset and a decent N wifi card. I was disappointed at not being able to select an Atheros or similar high-end wifi card, but if you really want something like that you will probably buy your own anyway.

Little experience with Lenovo IBMs. I've heard the Thinkpad's build quality has improved a lot since the Chinese took over IBM, but I don't know anything about their customer service. Can't say I've ever had a problem working on them, other than the old IBM cases that were not standards compliant (not that any big-box manufacturer case is ever standards compliant).

Regarding the HP that OP picked out, it's not bad for the price. Not crazy about the 800mhz RAM; I'd get 1066mhz if you can find it. The 5400rpm hard drive is a bit on the slow side, and you might find yourself kicking it if you have slow RAM too due to it causing more persistent lag issues. That particular model doesn't appear to have any savings over the model you can get at the HP website either. I'd definitely spring for the ATi Radeon Mobility graphics chipset HP offers and a wireless N card; the Radeon will give you a lot better performance in Vista and Windows 7, since they're both graphics intensive operating systems and you don't want junk Intel chipsets bottlenecking your speed. It's not something like RAM or the hard drive that you can easily replace, so it has to be right the first time.

I also recommend against buying from Best Buy if you can help it. They're the Autozone of electronics in that they make their money selling junk to people who don't know any better. Not saying you don't know better, but a lot of people use them for sales advice and get bad service as a result. As I noted previously, they offer an inferior product at no savings over buying straight from the factory, and God only knows what they'll do to your operating system in addition to whatever the OEM does with it.
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