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Shopping for a new laptop - Page 2

post #16 of 52
So you would pick a business Dell ?
post #17 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vayate View Post
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.
I think you just ruled out almost every major manufacturer. o.o I'm definitely not skilled or knowledgeable enough to build one, that's for sure. Though you made some good points in there. The thing about Compaq is definitely true, from what I have seen. And every HP I've ever bought has had so many add-ons, even some I could find no way to remove. ><

But you seem ok with Lenovo, and they do seem to be popular here. So long as they have a regular track pad and none of this glossy or straight rubbery ***** I keep running into. Seriously, what is going on with that!? Only complaint with Lenovo is that their site has rather small pics of the computers. No 360 views or anything that I could see.
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by wonderwall View Post
I think you just ruled out almost every major manufacturer. o.o I'm definitely not skilled or knowledgeable enough to build one, that's for sure. Though you made some good points in there. The thing about Compaq is definitely true, from what I have seen. And every HP I've ever bought has had so many add-ons, even some I could find no way to remove. ><

But you seem ok with Lenovo, and they do seem to be popular here. So long as they have a regular track pad and none of this glossy or straight rubbery ***** I keep running into. Seriously, what is going on with that!? Only complaint with Lenovo is that their site has rather small pics of the computers. No 360 views or anything that I could see.
Like I said, I see them at their worst and with everything that could ever possibly go wrong with them.The tl;dr version: HP or Dell business models are recommended. Check out the Dell business lineup.

EDIT: Avoid Gateway too. They're in an odd business position right now and you may not receive warranty support form them in the near future. Also junk hard drives and general poor build quality.
post #19 of 52
I like HP Elitebooks but damn are they expensive. (Yeah I know, you pay for the relative quality) They do have a 14": HP Compaq EliteBook 6930p User Review
post #20 of 52
Thread Starter 
The Dell Vostro 1520 is looking to be the one. With the configuration I want, I can have it for under $600. The Thinkpad T400 is beautiful as well, so simple and efficient, but the price is much steeper. :x
post #21 of 52
You might be able to catch a T400 on sale- I snagged my W500 for 45% off with a stackable coupon.
post #22 of 52
What about Asus ?
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio-Omega View Post
What about Asus ?
Haven't had much experience with ASUS other than a motherboard warranty repair. Their RMA department is pretty good. Other than that, I can't tell you much about them; not enough people buy them for me to repair them regularly.

Didn't see your previous post up there. To answer your question, yes, my next purchase will be a Dell business model.
post #24 of 52
Go with the Dell man. The way technology grows it's better to get something that works for you NOW, for cheap (relatively). That way if it does break, it won't be as frustrating versus buying something more pricey and it breaking (yes, even $2k laptops break). Nothing technology-wise is "future-proof."
post #25 of 52
I would go for Asus if I could get one cheap. Thanks.
post #26 of 52
+1 for Asus, I have one. Running strong for 3 years now, excellent build quality.
post #27 of 52
I have an ASUS netbook and have had some exposure to a friend's ASUS N50Vn-A1B. I can attest to the solid build quality of both as well as to the prompt and professional customer service. The N50 series is my pick for a full-size laptop as well (especially when newegg has those $100 rebates :P).
post #28 of 52
I work as a computer technician at school as a work study job, and have been building computers for years. I personally own an HP laptop and it is great, I would wait for the 15% off coupon that they regularly have (check slickdeals.net). Otherwise, I echo the recommendation for Dell business laptops, the Latitudes and Vostros are solid. Definitely avoid the XPS unless you get the new Studio XPS (my hall mate has an XPS that is made of 90% refurbished parts because it has broken down that many times!). I dislike the ergonomics of Toshiba, Compaq, and Gateway so I wouldn't bother. Asus seems to be solid, I don't have to fix too many of those (though they are admittedly less popular on campus), and they are good value. Lenovo's are extremely common on campus, physically they are solid, I just hate the security software pre-installed, sometimes they do not respond well to certain programs you might want to install. In terms of battery life ... hmmm have you looked into the Acer Timeline that is supposed to come out this summer? Supposedly legendary battery life at a reasonable price (I think I heard $900ish). Hope this helps.

Acer Timeline: http://www.acer.com/timeline/home.html
post #29 of 52
I've had very negative experiences with a K6-II Toshiba and a "business class" HP Omnibook 6100. Both are obviously very old laptops though so both companies might have changed their quality- but my Chem professor had nothing but problems with his brand new Toshiba.
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCC View Post
my Chem professor had nothing but problems with his brand new Toshiba
Indeed. I work in tech support at a major university campus, and if I had to pick one brand to stay away from (in the current state of things) it would be Toshiba. Even though we use about a 60/20/20 split of Dell/Toshiba/Sony laptops, about 80% of service requests come from the faculty using Toshiba machines. QC is seriously lacking in the new toshibas (most of ours are the Satellite a1xx and a3xx models). Stay away.
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