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Old 2008-07-11, 19:18   Link #1
Claies
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Laptop Selection

So this problem is slightly different: I'm choosing a university-use (papers, movies, internet) laptop for a friend who has relatively low computer experience (therefore preferably have MS Office, which eats $140). The total budget is $800, preferably lower.

I was about to customize a Thinkpad R61 since www.lenovo.com is sporting a beautiful 25% off right now, but I'd like to see what ideas you have, if you'd please enlighten me.
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Old 2008-07-11, 22:59   Link #2
Potatochobit
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R61e looks to be a celeron processor. I would get the next model up, but that might put you over budget. its not that big a deal though, I would just prefer to have a regular dual core processor myself.

but if he's just going to use microsoft word and watch a few videos it will be just fine.

it says pointing device N/A, what does that mean? he might require a touch pad, although I have a little usb wireless mouse I keep in my laptop bag nowadays.

have you looked at Acer yet? they offer bargain priced laptops.
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Old 2008-07-11, 23:11   Link #3
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Acer and HP would be your best bet for low budget. That way, your friend could also buy some necessary and/or helpful accessories such as a bag/backpack and mouse.

Also, since you said your friend has low computer experience, it would be a good idea to select a laptop with durable casing. I hate to say it, but I've noticed that most people who don't know much about portable devices tend to view them as "built to take beatings naturally," which we know isn't the case. Unfortunately, that means sacrificing the slimness of the laptop.
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Old 2008-07-11, 23:52   Link #4
SeijiSensei
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How about an ASUS Eee PC?

I'd pick a Linux one and just add OpenOffice if it's not there already, but you can pay a bit more and get one with XP if that matters. Since you say your friend has only limited computing experience, I'd say why bother with Windows? Oh, and why bother with MS Office for that matter? OpenOffice runs on Windows (as well as Linux and Mac OSX) and is totally free.

This is the device that spawned the recent "Linux for Housewives, XP for Geeks" discussion at Slashdot.

Last edited by SeijiSensei; 2008-07-12 at 00:17.
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Old 2008-07-12, 00:31   Link #5
Claies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
How about an ASUS Eee PC?

I'd pick a Linux one and just add OpenOffice if it's not there already, but you can pay a bit more and get one with XP if that matters. Since you say your friend has only limited computing experience, I'd say why bother with Windows? Oh, and why bother with MS Office for that matter? OpenOffice runs on Windows (as well as Linux and Mac OSX) and is totally free.

This is the device that spawned the recent "Linux for Housewives, XP for Geeks" discussion at Slashdot.
See...that's the problem. My friend is very reluctant about Linux (doesn't even know what it is) and such encounters. I would gladly provide a walkthrough, but I'm guarding against the possibility of it not going over well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom-Takaya
Acer and HP would be your best bet for low budget. That way, your friend could also buy some necessary and/or helpful accessories such as a bag/backpack and mouse.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potatochobit
have you looked at Acer yet? they offer bargain priced laptops.
Haven't looked at Acer yet. HP does have some great deals, I have this one on the list.

HP Pavilion dv6833us - 15.1" 1280x800, Intel C2D T5550 1.83GHz, 250GB HDD, 3GB DDR2 unspecified speed, webcam. For $700, a very good one.

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/HP-Pa...oductDetail.do
Code:
http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/HP-Pavilion-dv6833us-15-4-Widescreen-Entertainment-Laptop-DV6833US/sem/rpsm/oid/207703/catOid/-12963/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom-Takaya
Also, since you said your friend has low computer experience, it would be a good idea to select a laptop with durable casing. I hate to say it, but I've noticed that most people who don't know much about portable devices tend to view them as "built to take beatings naturally," which we know isn't the case. Unfortunately, that means sacrificing the slimness of the laptop.
Oh yeah, that's why I was looking at Thinkpads to begin with. Sadly, you only get what you pay for.
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Old 2008-07-12, 06:56   Link #6
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If it's Acer, I'd definitely suggest Acer Aspire 4520. Well, that's the case in my country anyway...

The U.S. version is seems to be this Acer Aspire AS5520-5908. Moreover, it's even better at cheaper price!

Pros :
> AMD dual core mobile processor
(AMDFreakMode:On) means it fast, cool, and cheap (AMDFreakMode:Off)
> Preloaded with Vista Home Premium
Shouldn't be a problem for a non computer freaks.
> Cheap
Yes, from my eyes it's VERY cheap!
> Battery Life
From my experience, if you install this AMD CPU Driver and AMD CPU utilities and set the power scheme to portable/laptop battery can last up to 4-5 hours. (With Acer Aspire 4520)

Cons :
> nVidia GeForce 7000M
Definitely not for gaming! But watching any video should be OK!
> 15.4" WXGA
It's huge. But it's all about preference. I'd prefer smaller laptops...
> 6.1 lbs
It's heavy!.
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Old 2008-07-14, 05:40   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claies View Post
HP Pavilion dv6833us - 15.1" 1280x800, Intel C2D T5550 1.83GHz, 250GB HDD, 3GB DDR2 unspecified speed, webcam. For $700, a very good one.

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/HP-Pa...oductDetail.do
That might be a good choice. 3GB is a real good idea since it's Vista. (I'm not fond of Vista's current state.) I've learned that you'll need at least 2GB for Vista Premium to run properly without stumbling when you start to run multiple programs. Unfortunately, again, the durability of that laptop that you chose will be questionable. I've had to order a replacement LCD module for HP laptops with that type of case many times because the users accidentally applied too much pressure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Furuno View Post
If it's Acer, I'd definitely suggest Acer Aspire 4520. Well, that's the case in my country anyway...

The U.S. version is seems to be this Acer Aspire AS5520-5908. Moreover, it's even better at cheaper price!

Pros :
> AMD dual core mobile processor
(AMDFreakMode:On) means it fast, cool, and cheap (AMDFreakMode:Off)
> Preloaded with Vista Home Premium
Shouldn't be a problem for a non computer freaks.
> Cheap
Yes, from my eyes it's VERY cheap!
> Battery Life
From my experience, if you install this AMD CPU Driver and AMD CPU utilities and set the power scheme to portable/laptop battery can last up to 4-5 hours. (With Acer Aspire 4520)

Cons :
> nVidia GeForce 7000M
Definitely not for gaming! But watching any video should be OK!
> 15.4" WXGA
It's huge. But it's all about preference. I'd prefer smaller laptops...
> 6.1 lbs
It's heavy!.
The stats on the link is quite...borderline low. Well, it's at minimum for one that's running Vista Premium. It will require a RAM upgrade at the very least.
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Old 2008-07-15, 00:48   Link #8
Zero Shinohara
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Kay, let's see.

The Acer AS5520-5908 only has 1 gig of memory. Certainly not enough for Vista.

Claies's HP isn't far behind this Acer, which has had it's share of good reviews. 100 bucks off of it, too. 3 gigs of ram, good C2D processor and 250 GB HD. 5400 RPM of course, but can't ask for much more.
However, the HP has 802.11 N, which the Acer doesn't. At the same price, I'd go with the HP.
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Old 2008-07-15, 17:05   Link #9
Claies
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I'm not sure what my friend ended up choosing, but I added in recommendations for Sony Vaio's. She's placing far more emphasis on price, and I find the frailty in HP laptops hard to ignore.

Why do Thinkpads have to be so damn expensive? x_x
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Old 2008-07-15, 19:20   Link #10
cyberbeing
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You might want to take a look on craigslist.org for your area and see if anybody is selling a good quality used laptop on the cheap because every once in awhile a really good deal will pop up. If you don't mind buying something refurbished, UBid has many auctions for laptops ending daily most of which are within the price range you want.
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Old 2008-07-16, 00:56   Link #11
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So your friend already chose what to buy?

Sonys are not worth buying. What you're paying for is the name. I've seen enough break as easily as others. If money wasn't so much an issue, I would have suggested certain Toshibas since they've been the most durable. The only con to that is that it's thicker than the other laptops.
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Old 2008-07-16, 04:39   Link #12
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What's wrong with dell (for laptops anyway)? Sure in my experience they're not the tanks thinkpads are but in terms of warranty and service - I think no-one even comes close. Even if it is a call centre in the middle of nowhere, but the actual warranty/service repair is top notch. I'm actually extremely surprised that you guys pay $150 for academic - as a part time student I pay half that here. I also advise you to go to a bricks and mortar store with some printouts of online prices. Paying cash usually nets you a 10% discount (credit cards usually have a 5-10% transaction fee that the retailer has to pay) , and most retail electronics stores will do price matching. ie haggle. Anecdotal but personally I still swear by Asus. My a3 has been in some tough environmental conditions - oil rigs, underground mines, about 60 domestic flights and its still going (now doing duty as a torrentbox).

And honestly my experience with the EEE is disappointing, it just feels cheap (spacebar was particularly unresponsive and quite a common fualt apparently) and it's really too expensive for what it is, screen res is too low and very very little horsepower. THe O/s is great - it's about as dumbed down as you could get. nearly no learning curve and consider my experience with Linux as I've said previously is extremely basic. And lets face it its a laptop-it's not like you'll be adding hardware very easily. You're not buying this to play games nor run photoshop etc etc. Just basic office duties.

I'd suggest Centrino processor based laptop as an alternative in the same price range (<$500)as the cheap EEE, as it offers good battery life and enough horsepower for 720p decode.
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Old 2008-07-16, 18:55   Link #13
Claies
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Friend's now deciding between this Sony Vaio:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1211587728587

This Toshiba Satellite:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....d=120381572360

and this HP Pavilion:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....#productdetail

Honestly, I'd go with Toshiba. They all have their faults (Vaio and Pavilion not known to be durable, Satellite power-sucking), but the Satellite is more acceptable.

I'll take a quick look on Dell...if there's a good cheap Inspiron anywhere I'll talk.

I won't consider more choices unless they're strictly (specs and testimony) better than the three above and they cost less than $700.
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Old 2008-07-18, 04:39   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claies View Post
Friend's now deciding between this Sony Vaio:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1211587728587

This Toshiba Satellite:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....d=120381572360

and this HP Pavilion:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....#productdetail

Honestly, I'd go with Toshiba. They all have their faults (Vaio and Pavilion not known to be durable, Satellite power-sucking), but the Satellite is more acceptable.

I'll take a quick look on Dell...if there's a good cheap Inspiron anywhere I'll talk.

I won't consider more choices unless they're strictly (specs and testimony) better than the three above and they cost less than $700.
Sony bombed... It's Pentium, not Celeron. Look for Celeron at least...

Unfortunately, Best Buy's site link says that the Toshiba no longer exists...? I'd comment on this, but I can't really see the specs...
I would say this one would be your best bet: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1212192350379
The design of the hinges are more durable than the common laptop hinges. It's actually reminiscent of the Apple laptop hinges design. It's even got more hard drive space than the HP at the same cost as regular pricing.

Also, another option that seems to beat all of these laptops would be this: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1212192350309
It's sale price at the borderline of the budget, though.

As for the HP, I think I've already commented about it a few posts back. Only difference is you found it in Best Buy instead of NewEgg.com this time.

Hopefully your friend sticks to what you describe he'll be using it for. He may wish to avoid playing the graphics-intensive games. The video cards for them are rather average.
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Old 2008-07-18, 10:04   Link #15
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claies View Post
I'll take a quick look on Dell...if there's a good cheap Inspiron anywhere I'll talk.
Here's today's (7/18/08) special offer from my daily Dell email offerings:
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellsto...134&lid=781670

Inspiron 1525, 2GB, 160 HD
Celeron upgradable to Core2Duo
$499
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Old 2008-07-18, 16:32   Link #16
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DONT forget, windows vista no likey less than 2GB ram. I would not consider upgrading to 3gb an 'optional' choice.
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Old 2008-07-19, 05:48   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero Shinohara View Post
Kay, let's see.

The Acer AS5520-5908 only has 1 gig of memory. Certainly not enough for Vista.

Claies's HP isn't far behind this Acer, which has had it's share of good reviews. 100 bucks off of it, too. 3 gigs of ram, good C2D processor and 250 GB HD. 5400 RPM of course, but can't ask for much more.
However, the HP has 802.11 N, which the Acer doesn't. At the same price, I'd go with the HP.
Sorry, my bad... I don't know much about laptop models in other country...

Well, now let's see (the Toshiba link is dead )... I'll grab that HP. Cost a little bit more but slightly better. Really, AMD Turion is great.... And HP customer service is great in my country.

Note : I don't like that site, hard to point up the specs... But maybe great for non tech savvy people...
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