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Looking for new laptop - What do you recommend?


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#1 of 46 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted July 18 2003 - 10:29 AM

I'm looking for a laptop. The software is not important at all. The highest price I would buy it for is $1200.

I've been looking at dells since very often some good deals have been posted in gotapex.com.

It will be used for software development, word processing (including LaTex).
Also for watching dvds, playing games and music on the road.
Not a must but maybe it shoud run Linux too (altough I don't think that'll be a problem, I always find a solution for that)

What do you guys recommend?
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#2 of 46 OFFLINE   Gabriel_Lam

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Posted July 19 2003 - 03:24 PM

Do you prefer thin & light type laptops, or is a fullsized one ok? Preferences in screen size? Keyboard feel high on the list? Bells & whistles more important or quality if you had to choose?
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#3 of 46 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted July 20 2003 - 06:24 AM

A fullsized one is ok, as long as they're not as heavy as the alienware. Screen should be at least 15.0 inches.
For the keyboard, as long as it doesn't feel flimsy it'll be ok. I would prefer quality than bells and whistles. I already have a wireless pcmcia 802.11b card, but I would like the laptop to have wired ethernet.
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#4 of 46 OFFLINE   John Thomas

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Posted July 20 2003 - 05:47 PM

I tried to do business with Dell but they wouldn't give me the time of day. I'm seriously considering Gateway. I've been reading that their laptops are quite good.

#5 of 46 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted July 20 2003 - 06:20 PM

Toshibas come highly recommened. Check out what models are available here:

http://www.csd.toshi......le Computers

#6 of 46 OFFLINE   MikeAlletto

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Posted July 21 2003 - 05:05 AM

Quote:
I tried to do business with Dell but they wouldn't give me the time of day.

You can do everything on their website...what more service would you want when buying a computer?

My sister has a sony vaio laptop and she really likes it, but I wouldn't buy anything but a dell laptop.
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#7 of 46 OFFLINE   Todd L.

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Posted July 21 2003 - 07:24 AM

I have to agree with Mike. I would not buy anything but Dell. I have a Dell laptop which is work related, and a Compaq which I was foolish enough to purchase myself. I have had to have the Mobo replaced already on the Compaq and have had to replace the hard drive as well. No problems on the Dell and I use my laptops very hard. They are on at least 16 hours a day, 7 days a week.

#8 of 46 OFFLINE   Jason Merrick

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Posted July 21 2003 - 08:04 AM

...and I have to agree with Todd and Mike.... nothing but a Dell for me either! I have had mine for almost 2 years and love it. I dropped it off my shoulders once (in a backpack) and it cracked the case slightly where the body meets the screen, but that was the only result of the drop. The computer has worked flawlessly the whole time I've had it.

A nice perk for DVD watching too, I think all Dell's are now widescreen.

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#9 of 46 OFFLINE   Thomas Newton

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Posted July 21 2003 - 09:43 AM

12.1" iBook with Combo drive. $99 over your price limit, a bit more once you drop in some third-party RAM ... but the package is hard to beat.

#10 of 46 OFFLINE   Masood Ali

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Posted July 21 2003 - 11:39 AM

I ordered a Compaq X1000 for $1080 after $100 MIR.

1.3GHz Centrino
128MB RAM (ordered 256MB off Crucial because it was cheaper)
40GB HD
15.4" WSXGA LCD
DVD/CD-RW
32MB Radeon 9200
Modem/Ethernet/802.11B built-in

I was looking for a widescreen notebook and this fit the bill. The Dell 8500 was nice, but if you think they are problem-free, check Dell's forums.

#11 of 46 OFFLINE   Gabriel_Lam

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Posted July 21 2003 - 01:05 PM

I just ordered a Dell 8500 laptop. Good mix of quality and performance. If you want the absolute best quality, my personal preference is for ThinkPads (probably the A series for full sized models).
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#12 of 46 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted July 21 2003 - 03:45 PM

I strongly prefer the IBM T series. I have a T23 but will be upgrading to a T40. The Dells are good too but the keyboard is better on the IBM.

I would strongly avoid Compaq and Gateway. They totally suck as I had a Compaq (recently some of the worst consumer service scores in the recent PC Magazine to boot) and my wife had a Gateway.

They were both just big drink coasters. No reliability whatsoever.

The IBM's offer several advantages: great warranty, best screen in the business, hard drive protected by air bubble (I travel a lot), modern design, great security, top-notch customer service.

Sorry but I am fairly passionate about IBMs, I am on it a lot....Posted Image
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#13 of 46 OFFLINE   Jason Merrick

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Posted July 21 2003 - 04:02 PM

Masood,

You can check any manufacturer's forums and all you will usually find is problems... whether computer maker, or otherwise. People who buy a product and experience no problems don't bother logging onto the tech support site to report in "doing fine!"... they logon when they are having problems... hence that is what you will find when you go there.


#14 of 46 OFFLINE   MikeAlletto

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Posted July 22 2003 - 03:40 AM

Quote:
personal preference is for ThinkPads

Aren't the good thinkpads still pretty expensive? I haven't checked in awhile thats why I'm asking.
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#15 of 46 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted July 22 2003 - 05:29 AM

So far recommendations are as follows:

Dell - 4
iBook -1
Compaq -1
IBM - 2
Sony - 1

I'm really inclined for a Dell 8500, given the good deals you can get, but for all the laptops the hardrives are only 4200 RPM. So Gabriel - How slow is it? You say it's a good mix of quality and performance so I guess it musn't be that slow.

I'm also looked at the IBM thinkpads and the Sony VAIOS, but they are simply too expensive! but nice...

As far as the iBook, I have many applications that only run on Windows wich are significant for the work I plan to do on this thing... so I probably wouldn't buy an Apple.

Keep the suggestions coming!
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#16 of 46 OFFLINE   Masood Ali

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Posted July 22 2003 - 06:12 AM

More X1000 reviews:

Laptop Magazine

TechTV

SharpMatrix

I'm not saying IBMs and Dells are better or worse; issues arise with nearly all of them. The issues for the X1000 so far seem to be driver conflicts that have been easily resolved. Concerning laptop build-quality, I was actually happy to hear that HP/Compaq outsourced production of the X1000/NX7000 to a third party in Asia.

#17 of 46 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted July 22 2003 - 07:25 AM

Quote:
Aren't the good thinkpads still pretty expensive?


Not really, they have become very competitive with Dell...

Here are some prices:

T40 $1,599 (XP pro, 30GB drive, 1.3G Centrino)
X31 $1,549
G40 $949

Perhaps more helpful are the just released Service & Reliability ratings from PC Magazine (August 5th issue, page 87):

Overall: Apple, IBM, Toshiba

(green ratings for first "A" category, worst rated: Compaq)

Home: Apple, IBM, Toshiba

Work: Apple, IBM

So according to PC Magazine, Apple and IBM seem the way to go or maybe Toshiba as well but I was not happy with their last lineup.

I think the Apple's look beautiful as well but I have to do my work in a Windows environment. The new Apple OS is breathtakingly clean.

Now don't get me wrong Dell makes a great laptop as well and was in the second "B+" category for all three categories.

This survey does seem to suggest avoiding Compaq at all cost. It received the lowest score "E" in every category. I had a Compaq Armada for two years as a consultant and it was a nightmare - the hard drive failed twice and the screen was barley legible after 6 months. And this was a top-line product I received new and I babyed it.

I hope this helps...
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#18 of 46 OFFLINE   Gabriel_Lam

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Posted July 22 2003 - 01:21 PM

Personally, I'd consider the 8500 deal that's available today (and today only). $1349 including a DVD burner for that 2.2Ghz one with a 15.4" WXGA TFT and 384MB DDR SDRAM. Another $100 buys you a 2.4Ghz processor and WSXGA+.

I've personally played with or owned practically everything. Apple, IBM, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Dell, and more.

I've found IBM's chassis and keyboards to be superior to everything else. I loved my T series. Worth the money? Only you can say. You give up quite a bit of goodies dollar for dollar.

Apple has to be evaluated on its own, since there's a different OS. Overall good, but I'm more comfortable with PC's, and the applications I run are much better on PC. Different strokes...

HP: I think their corporate laptops are much better than consumer. YMMV. Great keyboards, second only to IBM.

Compaq: I've owned the most compaq laptops, easily over 10. I've had great experiences with their newer Armada and EVO corporate line. Good build quality (they use standard hard drives, just like everyone else. Hitachi, IBM, Fujitsu). Any problems and they overnight you a box with a prepaid overnight return label. Fix in 1 day and overnight back to you. Awesome service. Consumer line is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Horrible horrible service. I've taken apart many Armadas, EVO's, and a few Prosignia's, and Presario laptops. Overall, reasonable good design, with the nod again going to the enterprise business lines.

Toshiba: lots of goodies for the price, but bulky and mediocre quality, IMHO. Have owned Tecra's, Portege's, Satellite's, and Satellite Pro's. Satellites are the best bang for your money in the Toshiba lineup, but heavy, thick, and again mediocre build quality/materials.

Fujitsu: Too expensive for what you get. I absolutely love their new P5000D series, but not what you're looking for.

Dell: Again, have owned a lot of them. Good mix of quality, bells&whistles, and price.

Sony: Overpriced and heavy. Build quality is not the best. Have owned their all in one, their thin and light, and their ultraportables.

One thing to remember, practically ALL laptops are sourced from only 2-3 different factories. A few companies do build their own (ie. IBM).


EDIT: Doorbell just rang. Airborne just delivered a shiny new 8500. Posted Image Go figure. I think I should have waited for today's deal though, definitely a better deal than I got.
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#19 of 46 OFFLINE   AlbertA

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Posted July 22 2003 - 01:54 PM

Hey Gabriel - how much did you pay? And what kind of features does it have? Can you post a mini-review if you can? I would appreciate it. It's good to hear your take on all the brands.
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” --Claude Debussy

#20 of 46 OFFLINE   MikeAlletto

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Posted July 22 2003 - 02:01 PM

The only thing I DON'T like about the new laptop models is the widescreen monitors. I have used them on friends laptops and I just don't like them. They are too strange.
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