Laptop recommendations

jeff peterson

Supporting Actor
Joined
Nov 29, 1998
Messages
675
Looking for a high school student entering college this fall. We'll probably wait until July or so to get the latest features.

Any recommendations with around a $1500 budget?

Thanks,

Jeff
 

DonRoeber

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 11, 2001
Messages
1,849
First, see what the school recommends. Most universities have a computer store, which will then support the system that you bought. I'm sure they'll have something within your price range.

And check out an iBook. They're great little computers, and are right in your price range.
 

Michael*K

Screenwriter
Joined
May 24, 2001
Messages
1,806
I agree with Don. Check out the iBook. A friend's daughter brought one to college this year and she couldn't be happier with it. Base price at the low end will be about $1200. By July, the price will either drop or the machine will have added features.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Messages
1,528
Dell Inspiron 8200... I think it starts at about $1500.

It has only one drawback to me and that is sheer physical size and weight. It's pretty heavy for a laptop. That comes from having every bell and whistle you can imagine in one laptop squeezed in there. Easily serves as a desktop computer replacement.

Pentium 4 CPU, very high resolution screen (1400x1050 or 1600x1200), a Nvidia GeForce2Go graphics chipset (making it easily fast enough to handle just about any game out there), firewire, dual usb... even has s-video out so you can use it as a HTPC/DVD player.

I have one of its older siblings, Inspiron 8000, and couldn't be happier.

Depends a lot on what is important to the prospective owner though - performance, games, lots of screen real estate for multiple windows... or a light machine that is ultra portable for a user who won't be doing more than your basic word processing, web surfing and mail. If the latter, this probably isn't the right choice.
 

AllanN

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
950
I agree Dell either 4100 for budget or 8100 if you want large screen, better video, etc.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,900
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
A few observations and thoughts about laptops. For a given price, you can choose two of these three aspects:
- Speed. power, screen size, etc
- Battery life
- Physical size, weight
In this particular case, it might make sense to wait until mid-semester, and child has fallen into his/her work habits.
If your child prefers working in the library, then a smaller size (easier to carry) could be a priority.
If he works mostly in the dorm room, then size is less important and go for power or larger screen.
If he is going to school in Hawaii and will be "working" outside alot
then maximize battery life.
 

Kelley_B

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2001
Messages
2,324
Another vote for the iBook. It was designed with students in mind. Its light, looks cool, plenty enough speed, and is very easy to use.
 

MikeAlletto

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2000
Messages
2,369
The only thing wrong with an iBook is that it runs MacOS X when just about the rest of the world (and probably the schoool) will be running some flavor of windows. MacOS X is not a bad thing, but I had nothing but macs in college and it ended up being more of a hassle than anything else. Not being able to participate in lan games with other windows folks, not being able to run the software the labs had at home, professors whining at me because I had a mac. I had enough things to worry about without getting ragged on because of my computer choice.

As far as purchasing, whatever you buy wait till the kid gets to school and buy from the education store. Edu prices are usually really good. Unfortunately the computer you buy for college should be like the computer everyone else has. After they get out of school then they can buy whatever they want, but having a computer that runs the same OS as everyone else in school will make life a whole lot easier for 4 (or more) years.
 

Joseph S

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 23, 1999
Messages
2,862
Not being able to participate in lan games with other windows folks, not being able to run the software the labs had at home, professors whining at me because I had a mac. I had enough things to worry about without getting ragged on because of my computer choice.

My experience was a little different. Almost all the software needed was either cross platform(Director/Photoshop/Premiere/Word/PowerPoint), had an equivalent(programming stuff), or was java or html based. Almost all the scientific software for Chem and Physics were mac only. The stuff they get you on are stupid little programs like those for prepping for national exams and for prof school applications. I actually did my entire Med School app in Virtual PC. (Note: I would not recommend Virtual PC in OS X to anyone. The current OS X edition is dog slow on any computer.) Lately, the major games are released within a month of the PC counterpart or sooner others will take 10 months though.

The major benefit: I didn't lose my HD to a virus. There were two occasions when a boatload of users lost term papers and the like in April/Dec becoming "BETA TESTERS" for a brand new virus.

I would take a wait and see approach. If the school labs are 100% PC then the decision is made unless you go into a major requiring only written reports. If they're 60%-40%, either system should be fine. My school sent us a brochure every summer with the Computer systems on sale through the university. If you want to give it as a HS graduation gift, you're probably better off just giving an IOU.
 

Kimmo Jaskari

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 27, 2000
Messages
1,528
You have to be downright negligent these days to fall prey to the normal run of viruses on a PC. Negligent in this case means "have no automatically updating antivirus software" coupled with "running a Microsoft created email program". You also need to compound your folly by cheerfully opening mail attachments sent to you.
You also need to be stupid enough not to have off-laptop backups of your term papers.
Anyone too dumb to do the above deserves what they get, IMHO; you'd think someone smart enough to go to college would be smart enough to take backups. But maybe I'm cynical.

Oh, and about battery life; with fresh dual batteries in my Inspiron 8000 I can go 3-4 hours or so on one charge, but it's not the most energy efficient laptop out there.
I'm sure that by the above you can also tell I'm pro Intel PC over Mac - but I'm biased by being a hobbyist as well, which means game playing is at least somewhat important to me. The Macs out there do get games, but usually later and nowhere near all of them.
 

Joseph S

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 23, 1999
Messages
2,862
You have to be downright negligent these days to fall prey to the normal run of viruses on a PC. Negligent in this case means "have no automatically updating antivirus software" coupled with "running a Microsoft created email program". You also need to compound your folly by cheerfully opening mail attachments sent to you.

The situation was different then, but several issues still remain. Back then: Virii would hit the Universities, make big news, and if you were lucky a patch was released later that night or the following day. There was nothing to detect that the files were infected and they came from a reliable source. However, they were infected on the professor's or another student's machine that also had no means of knowing a virus was infecting his files.

There is also the issue of group work in which I was sharing up to 2GB of files for multimedia class across the University network. These files are being edited and rebuilt at countless workstations and personal computers and put back up for the group to use. The same goes for general documents. You are required to open the attachments or network drive items just to do your work, quizzes, etc. It's not the dancing elves that get you, it's the class assignment infected with an undetectable virus. This issue will always remain a possibility as programmers will inevitably find the next loophole combining of OS and virus scan insecurity.
 

AllanN

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
950
I agree with the fact that Mac OS might be a hassle if everyone else runs windows. Depending on what size screen you get you can easily get 6+ Hours out of two batteries. I friend of mine once got 9 hours of MP3 Playback with the screen closed on his Dell 7200 with two batteries.

But the real reason I choose Dell, asside from the fact that I like the configurations you cam get. e.g. Killer ATI graphis with Dual monitor support S-Video out S/PDIF out, large screens, good battery life, more time invested in makeing a product that work well rather than invest a bunch of time and money to make it look cute is there warrenty.

We have allot of Dells at work and if a part is needs replaced a service technition is there withen 24 hours to replace it. This is with the standard 3yr on site warrenty. I and my co-workers and friends who have Dells have had very good luck with there sales and support staff. Unlike gateway that has trained monkies that get paid $7 an hour that are outsorced to another company.

Dell also give's you way more documentation about your system. There support site is top noch. I noticed on my dell laptop that when the warrenty expired that a new section of there support site opened up. It had detialed step by step instructions and exploded drawings of how to repalace EVERY single component in the system. From the backup battery to the LCD screen.

Needless to say I like Dell allot.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
345,217
Messages
4,734,716
Members
141,414
Latest member
attlasrex