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Syka
2010-02-01, 03:46 PM
So I have only once bought my own computer, which was my desktop about 2 years ago. My criteria was "can surf the internet, play music, and run word processing, powepoint, etc. and is NOT a Dell or Gateway". Basically, I was going "low-end", and everything (including monitor and printer) was maybe 800$. It's not horrible- I can run WAR with a a bit of lag on moderate settings, and I do love it.

But essentially, I know jacksquat about computer shopping.

So, Playground, I need your help! I am looking around to see if I can't find a decent laptop. My poor, ancient (ie, 5-year-old) Dell is, well, not doing so hot. He hasn't been for the last 3 or so years. My mom could still use him, but he isn't really fit for my needs any more.

My criteria:
Lightweight (preferably...Stan, my Dell, is a monster of a laptop)
Long battery life (Stan's was originally 3 hours...now it's about 1.5 hours)
Relatively cheap, under 500$ if possible
Preferably about a 14 or so inch screen; I'll need to check out how the screens are IRL but 17 inches is waaaay too big...I think 15 is the max (pretty sure that's what Stan is)
Able to connect to a good WiFi connection (ie, isn't slow)

Basically, I need something I can tote around to school and I could tote around a city when I move. Needs to be able to run school and business software (Office and some other, non-media software like Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro).


I've heard HP makes bad laptops, and I don't like Dell (customer service=bad). Working with that...what would you suggest?

I've heard good things about Toshiba's laptops, and the low-end Satellite's seem fairly cheap. I'm considering a netbook, since they're cheap and tiny, but I've heard they aren't that powerful and their reliability is spotty.

Force
2010-02-01, 04:05 PM
Toshiba makes decent stuff, but at that price... I'd read the sale flyers of whatever stores are around you, maybe check prices online, but your options are fairly limited. Try to get something with at least a 2.0 gigahertz dual-core processor, 4 gigs of ram, and a 250GB hard drive; that will easily run Windows 7 and probably will handle whatever games you want to play (within reason). For your budget, this computer might do well: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5571665&CatId=17

SurlySeraph
2010-02-01, 04:55 PM
Lenovo makes pretty good laptops, with great battery life (mine can last 5 hours). They're mostly more expensive than you want, but how does this one (http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/webca/LenovoPortal/en_CA/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=4520DCE8D45D4FADA4271BFDA7BD06EF) look to you?

Flickerdart
2010-02-01, 05:22 PM
Good news, Gateway doesn't exist anymore as a separate legal entity. So no need to fear that.
The thing to remember is not the screen size but maximum screen resolution. 12" laptops are perfectly serviceable if they have a good display resolution (1280x800 is standard, I think, 1400x1050 on the old SXGA+ 14" monitors is probably the best you can find but it's not widescreen).
The thing with weight is that ultraportables tend to be 12" or smaller. However, on a 14", you can probably get a removable DVD drive, meaning you can replace it with a modular battery (more life!) or a plastic insert (less weight!).
Watch out for dedicated graphics, they sap more battery power and tend to be heavier. Don't worry about processing power, as most processors idle at about the same frequency (with ULV processors obviously consuming less power, at a cost of speed) so a higher frequency doesn't mean less battery.

purple gelatinous cube o' Doom
2010-02-01, 06:28 PM
My experience with HP laptops themselves (the actual machine) was great. They're consistently one of the top laptops available and are always one of the best, if not the best according to Consumer Reports. But they're customer service, and attitude towards customers is absolutely awful, and as such I will likely never get another one. I would stay away from Toshiba. I have multiple friends from college who had one while they were there, and they always seemed to be broken more than working. Apparently their customer service is great, but they computers suck. It sounds like you could probably get away with getting a netbook (but only if you really don't care if you have a disc drive of any kind mind you), so I'd investigate that route before looking at full fledged laptops.

Frojoe21
2010-02-01, 07:29 PM
Lenovo makes pretty good laptops, with great battery life (mine can last 5 hours). They're mostly more expensive than you want, but how does this one (http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/webca/LenovoPortal/en_CA/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=4520DCE8D45D4FADA4271BFDA7BD06EF) look to you?

I'd personally caution against the Lenovo budget laptops. I'm currently suffering through one right now, and their customer support has been less then helpful. They've wasted about a month of my time before deciding they want to send a technician over to my house, which they haven't got back to me about and which will waste more of my time.

Acer and Asus make some good cheap ones though.

PallElendro
2010-02-01, 07:31 PM
I prefer the MacBook Pro Snow Leopard, it's he coolest laptop I've seen from the Windows 7 and HP Laptops, and confer all the apps from the regular Macintosh from Apple, just higher priced and smaller to fit mobil eneeds.

Lupy
2010-02-01, 08:34 PM
I'll second HP making quality machines but having crappy customer service. So the trick is to get a machine that won't break.

Let's cover the basics:

2+ ghz cpu
4 gigs of ram
Respectable Brand, Good Customer Service
15" or smaller
Light


Now for some suggestions:
Possibility A (http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5311061&CatId=4938) Heavy, but meets the computing requirements. An Acer.

Possibility B (http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5586715&CatId=4938) Also heavy, also meets the requirements. This one is a Lenovo though, and unlike the poster above, I've never had trouble with any Lenovo.

Possibility C (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834114789) Heavy, meets the requirements. Toshiba.

Possibility D (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834157127) Light, meets the computing requirements, HP. There's some things to consider about it though. It's 13.3", it's recertified, and it costs $640. Newegg is a very reputable site, I would buy a recertified lappy from them, but you should read about their return policy JIC. There's also the money matter, but this looks to fit your needs better than the heavier, cheaper machines above.

More suggestions later.

Force
2010-02-01, 08:41 PM
Something tells me that finding a lightweight machine that has both some muscle and won't break the bank is not likely...

Syka
2010-02-01, 09:31 PM
I'm going to take a look at some of the suggestions later, but Force mostly has it right.

I don't need a lot of muscle. I wouldn't be gaming on it (I usually utilize my boyfriend's desktop for that), nor would I be doing any photo-editing or anything else media heavy that requires quickness. It would essentially by Microsoft Office software and the internet that are the big things to me. And preferably loading a page in a reasonable time frame. Most business applications (that I've used thus far) aren't that processor heavy unless you've got a bajillion other things open.

But lightweight and cheap are top of the list as long as it can run Office and the internet well. A good battery life would be nice, too. I've been checking out some netbooks and they do seem to fit the bill a bit better than a 'true' laptop.

ETA: I'm flexible on the screen size, but 15 is MAX. I realized going significantly smaller (like down to 10'' or so) isn't as much of an issue as I'd thought, seeing as I can use my iPhone just fine. Part of the reason I'm looking into this is that I won't be able to continue using said phone once I get off my dad's plan and a nice, small laptop would be handy.

Flickerdart
2010-02-01, 09:34 PM
Netbooks just don't have the juice to run an OS. Things are just too sluggish. I'd recommend sticking with a conventional laptop, a 12" ultraportable being a great compromise between the two form factors.

Syka
2010-02-01, 09:37 PM
Netbooks just don't have the juice to run an OS. Things are just too sluggish. I'd recommend sticking with a conventional laptop, a 12" ultraportable being a great compromise between the two form factors.

What does the price range on those tend to run?


I'll be honest...once they get tablet computers past the "it's just a bigger iPhone" stage, I'll be all over those. I await the day they become like what they have in Caprica- a piece of paper that you can carry around in your pocket. <3

Don Julio Anejo
2010-02-01, 10:06 PM
What does the price range on those tend to run?

I'll be honest...once they get tablet computers past the "it's just a bigger iPhone" stage, I'll be all over those. I await the day they become like what they have in Caprica- a piece of paper that you can carry around in your pocket. <3
$1000-1200 or more for same specs as a conventional laptop, or 600-700 for a piece of crap that's basically an overpriced netbook you could buy with half the money. The battery life will also usually suck, since the processor is a full size one (e.g. Core Duo instead of Atom) while the battery is smaller and lighter.

Basically, I seriously wouldn't recommend ultraportables. They're only worth it if the difference between a 10" and a 12" screen is significant to you, but for the difference in price, you might as well add a few hundred bucks, use your student discount if you get one and buy a Macbook Pro, which will also give you a bigger screen and better battery life for the same weight.

As for your options, I would paint them like this: choose 2 out of 3 of screen size, weight and price. Screen size + weight = Macbook Pro or something to that extent (usually executive model Sony/Fujitsu). Weight + price = netbook. Screen size + price = conventional laptop. Battery life depends on specific model in question (better on Macs or laptops with Atom), but usually almost all computers (except gamer ones) will give you around 3 hours.

Also, unless you actually want to play games on your laptop (and you said you don't), you can ignore specs. Buy anything you feel like spec-wise, put in 2 gigs of RAM and you're set. In fact, almost anything made in the last 5 years will work just fine as an office machine.

Netbooks just don't have the juice to run an OS. Things are just too sluggish. I'd recommend sticking with a conventional laptop, a 12" ultraportable being a great compromise between the two form factors.
?? :smallconfused: What netbooks are you talking about? Asus 1000HE or 1005HA run Windows 7 perfectly if you change the RAM from 1 to 2 GB. Anything by Asus also overclocks really well, and CPU clocks aren't much of an issue anymore for anything but games and NASA calculations. Unless, of course, you're trying to run Vista on it. But running Vista on anything isn't the smartest idea in the world.

If a computer runs sluggishly and you have enough ram, 90% of the time hardware isn't to blame, but rather having 50 windows open, a bunch of useless installed crap that runs on startup and a running antivirus are.

industrious
2010-02-01, 10:17 PM
My experience with HP laptops themselves (the actual machine) was great. They're consistently one of the top laptops available and are always one of the best, if not the best according to Consumer Reports. But they're customer service, and attitude towards customers is absolutely awful, and as such I will likely never get another one. I would stay away from Toshiba. I have multiple friends from college who had one while they were there, and they always seemed to be broken more than working. Apparently their customer service is great, but they computers suck. It sounds like you could probably get away with getting a netbook (but only if you really don't care if you have a disc drive of any kind mind you), so I'd investigate that route before looking at full fledged laptops.

I'm going to say no to buying an HP. I've had one for 3 years. I've had to wipe the hard drive twice, replace the initial one six months after buying it(thank god for the warranty), and I can't play Bioshock on it (single-player) without it lagging.

Don Julio Anejo
2010-02-01, 10:19 PM
I'm going to say no to buying an HP. I've had one for 3 years. I've had to wipe the hard drive twice, replace the initial one six months after buying it(thank god for the warranty), and I can't play Bioshock on it (single-player) without it lagging.
Huh? Except for the initial hard drive failing, none of these sound like HP's fault. Especially considering Bioshock is bugged like hell. I can't run it without lagging on my friggin' gaming machine despite being able to play Empire: Total War at 2048x1152 on virtually all settings maxed.

Lupy
2010-02-01, 10:49 PM
Huh? Except for the initial hard drive failing, none of these sound like HP's fault. Especially considering Bioshock is bugged like hell. I can't run it without lagging on my friggin' gaming machine despite being able to play Empire: Total War at 2048x1152 on virtually all settings maxed.

You Sir, live like a god.

Don Julio Anejo
2010-02-01, 10:56 PM
You Sir, live like a god.
Nah, just some smart overclocking. My specs aren't that good nowadays: Core Duo E8400, Radeon HD 4870 and 4 gigs of 1066 ram. And the monitor was a boxing day special for $170. I'm just lucky games don't care about how many cores you have, so my 3.6 Ghz on a stock cooler beats 3.2 or so you can get from an i7 920.

The Duke
2010-02-01, 11:00 PM
Suggestion avoid Acer, from what I know, they have an alarming tendency to break. While cheap the amount of repairs they generally need can make that painful.

I can on the other hand vouch for asus making nice laptops, I have one it's a netbook so kinda small and hard to type on but it works brilliantly.

Just my few cents.

Firestar27
2010-02-01, 11:43 PM
My criteria:
Lightweight (preferably...Stan, my Dell, is a monster of a laptop)
Long battery life (Stan's was originally 3 hours...now it's about 1.5 hours)
Relatively cheap, under 500$ if possible
Preferably about a 14 or so inch screen; I'll need to check out how the screens are IRL but 17 inches is waaaay too big...I think 15 is the max (pretty sure that's what Stan is)
Able to connect to a good WiFi connection (ie, isn't slow)

Basically, I need something I can tote around to school and I could tote around a city when I move. Needs to be able to run school and business software (Office and some other, non-media software like Palo Alto's Business Plan Pro).

This sounds like a job for... IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads! :smallbiggrin:
The T60 Type 1951 has served me well for the past four years. I have brought it to school and back, and it has served many useful purposes. It is a very useful laptop. Now, I'd recommend upgrading to a more recent and developed laptop, but the Thinkpad model in general is just great. :smallbiggrin:

I'm not sure if I remember the price though...

Edit: Also, their customer support is in America with English speakers, if that's a consideration for you.

multilis
2010-02-02, 12:04 AM
"This sounds like a job for... IBM/Lenovo Thinkpads!
The T60 Type 1951 has served me well for the past four years...."

One option is to pick up a higher quality used laptop, for example off of ebay. Eg Thinkpad with 15" screen, single core or dual core pentium-m/centrino processor (NOT pentium 4m ->much hotter which makes things break down faster), with windows xp, lots of ram (eg 1 gig or more), and a way to easily flip back to factory settings whenever needed.

I've been getting them for under $300 US when being careful, including shipping. Go up to a much fancier model for under $500 US.

Replacement batteries with long life are often dirt cheap for thinkpads.

Software wise is often better to stick with older/stable software if that is all you need as it will run blazingly fast on modern computer.

***

One other option is *if possible* back up everything on your dell, wipe it back to factory settings and put back only what you need, it may suddenly run several times faster as problem may be with junk, spyware and fragmentation slowing you down.

Felixaar
2010-02-02, 12:59 AM
I have an Acer Aspire One, which I'm quite fond of, but it's a netbook and thus can be slow if you're going to be running anything complex.

Ichneumon
2010-02-02, 01:04 AM
I have a macbook pro 15". It's amazing. I love the laptop, I love the OS.

EDIT: It might not fit under the $500 though.

purple gelatinous cube o' Doom
2010-02-02, 01:06 AM
I'm going to say no to buying an HP. I've had one for 3 years. I've had to wipe the hard drive twice, replace the initial one six months after buying it(thank god for the warranty), and I can't play Bioshock on it (single-player) without it lagging.

What model HP did you have, that does generally make a whole lot of difference. Mine also lasted three years, and had very few problems. I think I only sent it in twice, and the time it went to HP and not COMPUSA (before they went under and before their warranty expired, but not HP's), I had my laptop back to me in less than three full days. Their tech support was usually very good in my experience, it's the rest of the company I have issues with. And three years old for a laptop is approaching ancient. With the new models of video cards, processors and what not, you aren't going to be playing the latest games. But that's just the way of laptops, no matter what brand you go with.

Syka
2010-02-02, 01:06 AM
Multilis, it's not any actual problem with my laptop. I've considered wiping it many times and I will be soon, regardless.

The problem is more that lugging around a computer that's in the 6-7 pound range, plus 1 (usually more) textbooks in the 2-3 pound range (each), and my binder (probably a pound or so) is highly uncomfortable. Especially when I'm trekking it to the bus and across campus. Am I a wimp? Yeah, but I can't always manage having a book or two out of my back pack, such as on days when it rains. Preexisting back problems don't help much.

I also refuse to buy used from a non trusted source (like, I'd buy refurb from Best Buy or something). It's part paranoia, but also part that this is an investment for me and I want to get as much as possible out of my machine. Not being a techy, this means getting a computer which hasn't come pre-used.


So...pretty much netbook is the thing I need. Avoid Acer, Asus is good, and other brands are 50/50. Not worried about tech support, because I always ask for someone in America and regardless of who I'm initially connected to, I end up with someone in America. It's not a prejudice, I just have issues understanding accents sometimes and when I'm pissed at my computer, I have no patience, lol.

Best Buy looks like they have some good deals. Once I make a decision about what/when I want one I'll check out the 'feels'.


As for HP, all three of us (me, my mom, and my sister) have HP machines for our desktops and couldn't be happier with them. I'm the only one who has ever had an issue, and that was solved by having the Geek Squad reseat the RAM. I've just heard icky things about their laptops.

ETA: Also, I would LOVE a Macbook. It'd be great, and Oz would love having access to some of the film editing software. My wallet, however, would never look me in the eye again after the violation that is Apple Prices.

KuReshtin
2010-02-02, 04:33 AM
The Thinkpad range of the lenovo laptops are generally very good machines.
They tend to all come with a battery life of between 4-6 hours on a standard battery if you set it up properly, or between 6-8 hours if you buy the extended battery for it.
There are a bunch of different models, from the company laptop T-series, which basically has all the gadgets, with designated graphics cards (nowadays with switchable graphics to save power when running on battery*), to the ultraportable X-series, to the 'end user' SL-series that may not be as sophisticated and sturdy as the T-series, but still a very passable and usable machine.

As has been mentioned, they are a bit more expensive than other laptops, but usually they are of a good quality and the support is usually very good. Although I can't speak for what the support is like in the US, lenovo usually have their own designated service centers for repairs of the machines, unless the customer has purchased an onsite warranty, at which point there will be an IBM engineer arriving at your door to fix your laptop.

Unfortunately, lenovo decided to split up the support lines, so I don't have any experience with the IdeaPad Netbooks or the G-series laptops.

*Switchable graphics means that the machine has two separate graphics cards installed**, and an easy way to switch between the two depending on what you use the machine for, and if it's connected to a power source or not.

** No, having a dedicated graphics card installed in your laptop does NOT add to the weight of the machine as it's just another chip soldered onto the system board, however they do sap more battery.

Archonic Energy
2010-02-02, 05:53 AM
one of these (http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/notebooks/laptop-alienware-m17x/pd.aspx?refid=laptop-alienware-m17x&s=dhs&cs=19&~ck=mn)!
:smallbiggrin:

can you please place the following in order of preference:

Price.
Processing power.
Graphical capibilites
Screen size.
Weight.
Looks.
Hard Disk size

KuReshtin
2010-02-02, 06:13 AM
one of these (http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/notebooks/laptop-alienware-m17x/pd.aspx?refid=laptop-alienware-m17x&s=dhs&cs=19&~ck=mn)!
:smallbiggrin:


I'm pretty sure she said she wanted to be able to lug it around town and school, and I'm pretty sure that means without the need of a forklift.:smalltongue:

Syka
2010-02-02, 12:02 PM
one of these (http://www.dell.com/us/en/home/notebooks/laptop-alienware-m17x/pd.aspx?refid=laptop-alienware-m17x&s=dhs&cs=19&~ck=mn)!
:smallbiggrin:

can you please place the following in order of preference:

Price.
Processing power.
Graphical capibilites
Screen size.
Weight.
Looks.
Hard Disk size

I've heard thos are awesome for gaming, but also a tad pricey and not really what I'm looking for. Pretty though.

Weight
Price
Battery Life (Throwing htis one in)
Looks (Preferably not like something from over half a decade ago...my Dell looked outdated from the first day I had it, people regularly guess it's age to be 2+ years older than it is)
Processing Power (I guess?)
Graphical capabilities (Not so worried about watching movies on it...although streaming would be nice, it's not something I do often enough)
Screensize (I realized I can use my iPhone just fine, so my crappy eyes can handle a smaller screen, lol)
Hard Disk Size (I'm computer illiterate, but if this refers to the hard drive, I have PLENTY of space from the 320G External Harddrive I got last Christmas)

The last four I'm not entirely sure on, except screen size. I mean, I shouldn't be doing much power intensive stuff. Websurfing will probably be the main thing I do on it, and I don't do much, if any, streaming. Hell, there doesn't even need to be an optical drive. So much of our software for school comes with the "Download Now!" option.

Don Julio Anejo
2010-02-02, 12:23 PM
IMO your requirements are virtually the same as mine were when I bought my netbook last semester (the only difference was I put battery life first and didn't really care about everything below looks). I went with this (http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/asus-eee-pc-1000he/4505-3121_7-33522069.html#cnetReview). Something similar like the 1005HA or some of the Acer Apire One's would work as well. Anything else (except the Macbooks) will only give you the average of 3, maybe 4 hours battery life.

Force
2010-02-02, 12:30 PM
Sounds like you're a netbook consumer. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5642147&Sku=T70-10100 might be what you're looking for-- cheap, decent quality, has about the same specs as everything else on the market for under $500. Only downside is that it's preloaded with Windows XP vs. Windows 7, but that might actually be a plus-- unless you anticipate running stuff that *must* run on Vista or 7 (not likely; all the computers at my Uni run Windows XP and will for years) Windows XP will probably run faster than Vista or 7. If you *must* upgrade you could probably do so for about $50, depending on what deals your university has cut with Microsoft.

Syka
2010-02-02, 01:30 PM
So netbook it is, haha.


Is there anyway to see if it comes with Office pre-installed? I'm not concerned with the OS (I currently use XP on my laptop and Vista on my desktop), but I'd really like to have Office for once. Neither of them came with it, despite my sisters Dell laptop AND her HP desktop coming with them. :smallconfused:

Don't get me wrong, love OpenOffice, but when you need certain Excel programs that are difficult to get in Calc, MSOffice comes in handy...

Force
2010-02-02, 02:09 PM
Very unlikely that you're going to get a cheap notebook with Office pre-installed. At best you'd get a trial version usable for 30-60 days, or maybe Works. Depending on what deal your university has cut with Western, you can get basic Office for as little as $90 (what my university has it for). Unfortunately, you missed the super-great deal that Microsoft late last year.

purple gelatinous cube o' Doom
2010-02-02, 02:41 PM
If you're going with a netbook, the best place to look for office would be here (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx). Since you won't have a disc drive of any kind, you'll have to get a version you can download.

skywalker
2010-02-02, 03:00 PM
Student discount on office = awesome idea!

I doubt anyone new will read this far since the problem has apparently been solved, but I'd like to throw my support behind Lenovo. I have no experience with the ideaPad (the lower budget model), but I know the Thinkpad is built like a tank and will run for years (IE, planned obsolescence isn't going to bite you like it does with some brands). My dad has a Thinkpad so old it still has the IBM logo on it (Lenovo bought Thinkpad in 2005). I don't think he's planning on replacing it for another few years. It's an awesome laptop.

Of course, I would say a Mac if you hadn't priced it out already.

KuReshtin
2010-02-02, 05:01 PM
Student discount on office = awesome idea!

I doubt anyone new will read this far since the problem has apparently been solved, but I'd like to throw my support behind Lenovo. I have no experience with the ideaPad (the lower budget model), but I know the Thinkpad is built like a tank and will run for years (IE, planned obsolescence isn't going to bite you like it does with some brands). My dad has a Thinkpad so old it still has the IBM logo on it (Lenovo bought Thinkpad in 2005). I don't think he's planning on replacing it for another few years. It's an awesome laptop.

Of course, I would say a Mac if you hadn't priced it out already.

Sounds like your dad has a T42. And yes, they were built like tanks. With the titanium LCD cover and stuff.

Firestar27
2010-02-02, 09:23 PM
Student discount on office = awesome idea!

I doubt anyone new will read this far since the problem has apparently been solved, but I'd like to throw my support behind Lenovo. I have no experience with the ideaPad (the lower budget model), but I know the Thinkpad is built like a tank and will run for years (IE, planned obsolescence isn't going to bite you like it does with some brands). My dad has a Thinkpad so old it still has the IBM logo on it (Lenovo bought Thinkpad in 2005). I don't think he's planning on replacing it for another few years. It's an awesome laptop.

Of course, I would say a Mac if you hadn't priced it out already.

But I got my laptop in 2006 and it still had the IBM logo on it...
(And it still works just fine. :smallbiggrin:)

RS14
2010-02-02, 11:50 PM
Student discount on office = awesome idea!

I doubt anyone new will read this far since the problem has apparently been solved, but I'd like to throw my support behind Lenovo. I have no experience with the ideaPad (the lower budget model), but I know the Thinkpad is built like a tank and will run for years (IE, planned obsolescence isn't going to bite you like it does with some brands). My dad has a Thinkpad so old it still has the IBM logo on it (Lenovo bought Thinkpad in 2005). I don't think he's planning on replacing it for another few years. It's an awesome laptop.

Of course, I would say a Mac if you hadn't priced it out already.

I've got at least two old IBM Thinkpads sitting around--an R31, maybe, and something older. Never any mechanical defects with either. I'm also typing this on a borrowed four year old IBM T60.

My current Lenovo Thinkpad R61 suffered a dead fan after ~1.5 years, which is unfortunate. Nevertheless, it's one data point. I'll stick with them, barring major problems, as I like many of the small details.

skywalker
2010-02-03, 12:41 AM
Sounds like your dad has a T42. And yes, they were built like tanks. With the titanium LCD cover and stuff.

It's actually a T60, like RS14's. But yes. Is that really titanium?


But I got my laptop in 2006 and it still had the IBM logo on it...
(And it still works just fine. :smallbiggrin:)

Yeah, I know. And I realize how misleading that seems now. His was purchased in '06. But my point was, the laptop has got to be from around that timeframe. I remember remarking to our tech-guru "Hey, the only brand on this thing is IBM!"


I've got at least two old IBM Thinkpads sitting around--an R31, maybe, and something older. Never any mechanical defects with either. I'm also typing this on a borrowed four year old IBM T60.

My current Lenovo Thinkpad R61 suffered a dead fan after ~1.5 years, which is unfortunate. Nevertheless, it's one data point. I'll stick with them, barring major problems, as I like many of the small details.

Not just built like a tank, but like T-34 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-34). Dad's had a fan problem once. They wanted him to buy a new one, but he just banged it lightly on his desk a couple times and the fan was good as new.

KuReshtin
2010-02-03, 03:31 AM
It's actually a T60, like RS14's. But yes. Is that really titanium?



Yes, it's really a titanium coating on the back of the LCD cover to give it extra stability and protection. most T-series Thinkpads come with that.

There are still some lenovo Thinkpads that are shipped with the IBM logo on them, however, mostly that are for machines that are shipped as part of a maintenance agreement that was sorted before the sale of the Thinkpad brand from IBM to lenovo in May 2005.

I believe that the last model that comes shipped with the IBM logo are the t61's, though. The T400, T500 and later models have the lenovo brand name, and a ThinkPad logo on them.

Archonic Energy
2010-02-03, 07:01 AM
So netbook it is, haha.


Is there anyway to see if it comes with Office pre-installed? I'm not concerned with the OS (I currently use XP on my laptop and Vista on my desktop), but I'd really like to have Office for once. Neither of them came with it, despite my sisters Dell laptop AND her HP desktop coming with them. :smallconfused:

Don't get me wrong, love OpenOffice, but when you need certain Excel programs that are difficult to get in Calc, MSOffice comes in handy...

mini 10 $428 with MS office. (http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dndoez8&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=laptop-inspiron-10)
:smallsmile:
(take it in red)
oh and pick youself up a external USB powered lightweight DVD drive.
it's helpful but not strictly neccecary

KuReshtin
2010-02-03, 07:38 AM
oh and pick youself up a external USB powered lightweight DVD drive.
it's helpful but not strictly neccecary

QFT. not absolutely necessary, but VERY handy to have.

Syka
2010-02-03, 11:38 AM
mini 10 $428 with MS office. (http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dndoez8&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=laptop-inspiron-10)
:smallsmile:
(take it in red)
oh and pick youself up a external USB powered lightweight DVD drive.
it's helpful but not strictly neccecary

Aside from the fact it's a Dell (nice pricetag, though), it does not include Word. Word's my biggest issue, seeing as WordPerfect is...ugh. Would Works include Excel and such, though?

KuReshtin
2010-02-03, 11:46 AM
Aside from the fact it's a Dell (nice pricetag, though), it does not include Word. Word's my biggest issue, seeing as WordPerfect is...ugh. Would Works include Excel and such, though?

The "Does not include Word" is only if you don't choose the Office option.
If you choose the 'Office Home and Student' for $99, that will include Word as that is a very integral part of the Office Suite.

Works does have a spreadsheet part as well as a word processing part as well, but it's not to the standard of the Office Suite.

Tarnag40k
2010-02-03, 11:25 PM
Aside from the fact it's a Dell (nice pricetag, though), it does not include Word. Word's my biggest issue, seeing as WordPerfect is...ugh. Would Works include Excel and such, though?

DO NOT GET A NET BOOK.

I have both a dell mini10 and a Dell XPS studio. I use the mini for fuel trims on my cars piggyback tuner, that's about all that it's good for, most windows take up too many pixels for the limited resolution, and browsing the web is a PITA.

I'd suggest an inspiron 14. My cousin has it for college and she paid $400 at best buy for it. It does everything she needs. As far as office goes, microsoft is having a beta test on office 2010, I'll see if I can pull up a link for it. IIRC you can keep the beta after the test is over. I've been playing with it a bit, works fine for me!:cool:

Tarnag40k
2010-02-03, 11:26 PM
office 2010 beta:
http://us20.office2010beta.microsoft.com/default.aspx?culture=en-US

Hope this helps!

Syka
2010-02-03, 11:37 PM
Thanks for the Office tip! Woo...yay beta's! I'm going to check that out for my Dell maybe.


Also...I'm really hesitant about Dells. Neither me nor my sister nor my mom have had luck with Dells, and while my Inspiron 2200 isn't horrible, the issues I have had with the crappy customer support makes me want to avoid them to the best of my ability.

Also, I will be stopping by some stores, check out the resolutions and feels and stuff like that. I really need something lightweight, which is why netbooks are attractive to me.

RS14
2010-02-03, 11:41 PM
Aside from the fact it's a Dell (nice pricetag, though), it does not include Word. Word's my biggest issue, seeing as WordPerfect is...ugh. Would Works include Excel and such, though?

Are you familiar with Open Office? Is it unsuited for what you need?

Tarnag40k
2010-02-03, 11:44 PM
Thanks for the Office tip! Woo...yay beta's! I'm going to check that out for my Dell maybe.


Also...I'm really hesitant about Dells. Neither me nor my sister nor my mom have had luck with Dells, and while my Inspiron 2200 isn't horrible, the issues I have had with the crappy customer support makes me want to avoid them to the best of my ability.

Also, I will be stopping by some stores, check out the resolutions and feels and stuff like that. I really need something lightweight, which is why netbooks are attractive to me.

The problems about testing them at stores is they know how to make it look better then the product really is. so play around with it AS MUCH as you possibly can. If you can get internet access on it you'll see what I mean about crappy res. 800x480 max? YUCK! but then again I am spoiled with my my XPS and it's "docking" setup:
http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs193.snc1/6493_1085211542200_1583734317_30195715_3600838_n.j pg
The 2 speakers are now replaced with a 5.1 logitec and now has win7.

I don't know about you but I've always had good customer service with them when it came to issues (the XPS originally came with a Toshiba hard drive, which toasted twice, then later upgrade me to a 7200rpm 500GB sea gate for free) never had to send it in, always had a tech come to my house and repair it without paying a single penny. The longest I went without my comp was 3 days because the sea gate was being shipping to their tech.

As far as Toshiba a thread was on my car forum about them and how everything has to be shipped out.

Syka
2010-02-03, 11:54 PM
Are you familiar with Open Office? Is it unsuited for what you need?

I've found the formatting with OO text documents can be off from what MSO has. This is an issue when I'm emailing professors documents, so I have to transfer it to my desk top, make sure it's still OK, and then email it.

And Excel is apparently a good bit of some of my classes. While OO Calc ain't a bad substitute (I was able to get most of it), there are some Add Ons for Excel that I couldn't get to work with my OO Calc (I found an OO equivalent for Calc, but it wouldn't work).


Basically...I can deal with it if I need to, but if I can get my computer to come with it, then I will be very happy (I still don't know why my Dell doesn't have it but my sisters did...)



Tarnag, I plan on playing around as much as possible- meaning seeing how Office stuff looks if they have it available to see and definitely surfing the web a little bit. I'm pretty sure BestBuy has their computers hooked up to the internet. If not, they probably can if it means a sale. :smallwink:

Keep in mind- I generally don't need much in the way of graphics. It's rare for me to stream stuff on my laptop, my desktop is what I use that for. The websites I go to can be summed up simply: Facebook, Myspace, GiantITP, QC, xkcd, my schools site/course sites, and email. I'm able to check all of these on my iPhone without much issue, so I don't know how much the smaller screen of a netbook would make them.


As for the Dell...did you have the hardware/software warranty? I had the hardware...but when I called apparently my problem was 'software' so "We can't do anything...but you can buy software coverage for 100$ (or whatever it was) and we'll try to fix it!" *call up HP* "Yeah we can help you" (regardless of the fact my computer wasn't even they're brand...which I'd told them). Seeing as it took about 5 minutes to fix...

Don Julio Anejo
2010-02-03, 11:56 PM
If you can get internet access on it you'll see what I mean about crappy res. 800x480 max? YUCK!
Most netbooks have 1024x600 standart. While the height seems too short sometimes, it doesn't limit you in any way.

Also, I googled Inspiron 14... 5 pounds --> ugh. Trust me, it's too heavy to carry around school all day unless you take absolutely nothing else with you.

Are you familiar with Open Office? Is it unsuited for what you need?
Excel (well, Calc) on OpenOffice sucks, badly. It barely does anything beyond basic autosums and autoSD's. It's only comparable to Excel if all you want to do on it is basic bookkeeping. And is certainly not sufficient for an MBA if my dad's schoolwork from 10 years ago is any indication.

Also, just saw this laptop (http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=45504&vpn=UL30A-A2&manufacture=ASUS). I know it's out of your price range and in Canadian money, but something like this is a very good alternative to a netbook, seeing as it has a full size screen, possibly an 8 cell battery (meaning 8-12 hours on it)... and the best part - 1.5 kg = 3.2ish pounds.

Tarnag40k
2010-02-03, 11:59 PM
Also, I googled Inspiron 14... 5 pounds --> ugh.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? maybe it's cause I work in shipping yards all day and such but I don't consider something heavy to carry all day unless it's 20+lbs.

Syka
2010-02-04, 12:06 AM
ARE YOU SERIOUS? maybe it's cause I work in shipping yards all day and such but I don't consider something heavy to carry all day unless it's 20+lbs.

Aside from the fact I'm not in the best of shape, I already have a bad back. Nothing that really effects day-to-day life yet, but I have arthritis in my upper back (have since I was 18...lucky me) so I try and keep the load I carry down. After talking with the doctor, they agreed that heavy backpack loads, aside from being a potential cause, can aggravate it. Last thing I want is to be 25 with my back aching from arthritis.

Plus, add in 1 (or, frequently more) 3+ pound textbooks, and a notebook that's easily 2 pounds and it's easy for me to get up to 10+ pounds, more since my Dell's probably around 6-7 pounds. When carrying that around campus all day...not fun. Like, tomorrow I really need all my textbooks since I'll be doing work on campus all day. But I also need my laptop. I'll need to carry at least 2 of those books out of my backpack, plus a jacket and an umbrella. Not. Fun.


ETA: Yeah, that Asus is waaaay out of my price range. My mom says we have plenty of money if I really need it, but I want to keep the price as low as humanly possible.

Don Julio Anejo
2010-02-04, 12:06 AM
ARE YOU SERIOUS? maybe it's cause I work in shipping yards all day and such but I don't consider something heavy to carry all day unless it's 20+lbs.
Add a few textbooks (my organic chem text is 4.5 pounds... :smallfurious:@%$#@!!), lunch + waterbottle and a binder and you're quite up there around 20 pounds. So for a poor student, any 1-2 pounds you shave off is well worth the trade off.

PS: there you go (http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=asus+ul30&x=0&y=0), 750 on Newegg for the cheapest laptop in this series. 12 hour battery life, lol. Still 2/3 the price of a Macbook Pro though.

Syka
2010-02-04, 12:13 AM
Looky what I found, an IdeaPad for 350$ at Radioshack!

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3977272

Man...I picked up a little Asus 10'' netbook there today, to feel it, and could've died of envy. It makes my Dell look like even more of a beast with how light it was.

ETA: Not the best battery, though...

Syka
2010-02-11, 12:03 PM
So...I think Stan (my Dell) is on his last legs. :smallfrown: I don't know if it's just him needing another long rest or what, but he's been...doing weird stuff the last 3 days or so. He won't come out of Stand By (it'll just sit on the blue screen saying "Shutting Down" or whatever it says), sometimes when I put him in Stand By, I'll boot him back up and it has totally restarted. Then today, he said there was an error with explorer.exe and wouldn't boot past just showing me my background (after I'd logged in with my password).

So the thought of a new laptop is much closer on the horizon than planned.


Looking around Best Buy's website I came across these two laptops. They aren't netbooks, but still fairly light. Which one is the better?

(I know one is a Dell and I dislike Dells CS, but if it's a good computer, it's a good computer.)

Lenovo (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Lenovo+-+Laptop+with+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B2+D uo+Processor+-+Black/9717878.p?id=1218158731962&skuId=9717878)

Or

Dell (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dell+-+Inspiron+Laptop+with+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23 153%3B2+Duo+Processor+-+Cherry+Red/9539243.p?id=1218120536811&skuId=9539243)

?


Not a final decision by anymeans, but it'll give me an idea of what to look for. (Also, if I pick it up at the store and find it's too heavy, they'll be 'disqualified'.)


ETA: For reference, after looking up Stan's model, I have confirmed he weighs 6lbs.

KuReshtin
2010-02-11, 01:25 PM
I'll try to get a bit of information from the guys at the IdeaPad support tomorrow to see if they've had any major issues with the U450-series.

That BestBuy price is very good, though. If the comparison I've found on the Lenovo homepage is correct, the original price on that model is $799 directly from Lenovo, and that's with over $100 off already.

Emlyn
2010-02-11, 01:28 PM
If that's what your looking for I'd recommend something like this (www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834114789)
Cheaper by over $200 and similar specs. Of course it is a 15.6" screen which is a little over what you wanted.

Alternativly there is this (www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834157110) which has a 14" screen.

If you are looking at a netbook, this (www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220676) looks like a pretty good one. 11 hr claimed battery life and 2.8 lbs.

As far as getting the best price newegg (newegg.com) or tigerdirect (tigerdirect.com) usually are cheaper then what you'll find in store so if you do find a model you like check them first to see if they have it cheaper.

Don Julio Anejo
2010-02-11, 02:20 PM
@ Syka: both seem pretty good for what you want if you can live with 4.6 pounds. Probably better than a netbook too. Kinda expensive (on par with the Asus ultralight I sent you a link to), but also similar screen/battery life/etc.

@ Emlyn: the first two laptops in your post are quite heavy. The first one is 6 pounds, the second one 5.4. The netbook is not worth it since it has Windows 7 starter (think 90% of all features you need from Windows completely removed), so you'd need to install XP or a higher-end 7, which, aside from extra money, is also a pain in the ass. Although it does come with the new Atom.

teleute
2010-02-11, 04:42 PM
I've been the proud owner of an Asus Eee PC 1000HA for a little over a year now, and to be honest, I use it for just about everything, including running Photoshop CS3 when I'm away from home. It's got sort-of a built in overclock mode (standard processor speed is 1.6 GHz; you can boost it up to 1.8 for more power or underclock it to 1.4 for less power consumption, all with the push of a button). The keyboard on mine is a little awkward due to the placement of the right shift key (but I think they've fixed it on the newer models), but other than that it's perfectly comfortable for me to type on. I haven't had any issue with web browsing whatsoever (Firefox has tons of add-ons and themes that'll help you maximize page space), and I can run most applications perfectly fine. The only real change I made to it was upgrading the RAM from 1 Gb to 2 (which I highly recommend with any netbook, should you choose to go that route).

They don't come with Office pre-installed, but as has been previously stated, there are discounts available on the suite (and you should check to see if your school offers the programs remotely through the college website; mine does, and I only go to a community college). The Eee PCs might still be shipping with XP, but Asus was offering a free upgrade to 7 a while back, so that's something else to look into.