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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by jeff peterson, Aug 7, 2002.
Shopping for a laptop for a college freshman. Any ideas in the 1500-1600 price range?
There are plenty of good choices in this price range, and that may be one of them. What are you looking for? Is portability a concern (are you taking it to class and/or working in the library or just in your room?)? How about battery life? Are you going to be gaming? Movies? Just let us know.
Actually, it's for a friend's daughter. I think she's interested in portability, battery life, and the occasional DVD movie. Not so much games.
For the past few years, the Satellite series from Toshiba has been well received, being promoted for compactness, battery life and ability to perform...it's one company that I suggest to all my friends that look for laptops, that might not always be remembered.
With that kind of price point, you have a wide range of good choices. You must realize though, no matter what computer is named, someone, somewhere will have had a problem with it.
I personally think that in this situation, an ultraportable plus a media bay is ideal. Most ultraportables now are between 2.5-4 lbs, which makes them convenient to lug to class. The media bay which usually weighs about 2 lbs (with the DVD-Rom or DVD/CD-RW drive) can be left in the dorm room.
Another choice is something like the Fujitsu P2000, which is a tiny 3.5 lb ultraportable that comes with a DVD/CD-RW drive integrated, and a very small 10.6" widescreen SXGA TFT. I've played with one and it's very well built and extremely convenient to carry around. It has enough power for movies and will run upwards of 16 hours with the long life battery! It starts at $1499, and the battery upgrade is $99.
How are these Dell SmartSteps?
Honestly, not great. They're built to be cost saving laptops, eventhough they start about $1500 or so. They're built around desktop P4 processors, which cut into the battery life, and they must use thicker, heavier batteries to compensate. That's why these notebooks are almost 2" thick and over 8 lbs. They use the first gen ATI Radeon mobility video chip, instead of the newer nVidia GF2go or GF4go, or the Radeon mobility 7500. You'd do better configuring an Inspiron 4150. In general, Dell laptops tend to be very feature packed, but not quite as high quality as some of the other 1st tier manufacturers. For instance, the keyboards on Toshiba's Tecra line, and Sony's Vaio feel much better. Dell Inspirons tend to be good for the price and offer many bells and whistles.
How about the Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) version of the 12" Apple iBook? Weighs about five pounds including the CD/DVD drive, has pretty good battery life, Ethernet, an internal wireless networking expansion slot, and a nice bundle of software. Can generate PDF files (via print Preview) of stuff like term papers (nice, although not essential).
The iBook is a reasonably nice choice. The battery life is pretty good (don't believe Apple's claim to 5 hours though. It won't last though 1 sitting of Gladiator), and it's reasonably portable. I'm a bit partial to PC's myself because of the price/performance ratio and availability of programs that I use, but the iBook is pretty popular. If she decides to get an iBook, it might be better purchased through the student store (pretty good prices).