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Laptop Brands

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#26 Jaxdialation

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 07:59 PM

Wouldn't you find the same *BLEEP* in any manufacturer-specific forum?

#27 Michael A. Earl

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 10:14 PM

Wouldn't you find the same *BLEEP* in any manufacturer-specific forum?


Yes, BLEEP happens everywhere. Different people use different laptops in different ways. Unless you know exactly how each person treats the laptop, you don't really know how yours would hold up under your own conditions.

For example, I own two newer HP Pavilions: one a tower, the other a laptop. Some here might say that I am asking for it, but these two machines have been working very well for the past two years. I even have Vista on both! Wow, I am REALLY asking for it! However, no problems (knock on plastic).

I have another (older) laptop: a Compaq Presario 2100 running XP. It has been working marvelously for nearly 6 years (talk about a dinosaur).

I have yet another (even older) tower: an HP Pavilion from 1998 that has been updated from Windows 98 to Windows ME (yuck) and quickly updated again from Windows ME to XP. It still works! It is 11 years old! The power supply, motherboard, etc are all still functioning very well (well, as well as it can for the single Pentium II processor it has).

Apparently, I got the "good" HPs all around. Of course, I don't try to push them to the limit with gaming or anything. However, I do perform regular maintenance on them in the form of cleaning them out (especially the towers), vacuuming out dust that could choke the fans and heat sinks, etc.

The only problem I had with my Presario is the original hard drive died only two years after purchase. Since I had the extended warranty, I got a new one right away.

Always get the extended warranty for a laptop. Everything "nailed down" such as a TV, can go without it (unless you have kids). Everyone who has kids should automatically get the extended warranty anyway. :jump:

#28 rmollise

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:16 AM

Another option that is free is Open Office (openoffice.org).


True...but most folks just want MS Office, not something almost the same. For better or worse, it's the standard, what everybody uses at work, yadda-yadda-yadda. I've gotta say, I've written three books with Word and would never change.

#29 psonice

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:30 AM

Yeah, I must say I'd choose office over open office, and I'm fairly anti-microsoft. Open office is great for free, and probably good enough for basic use, but I wouldn't want it for any serious usage.

I have seem laptops that come with office pre-installed (or works at least). Of course it's built into the price, but it usually works out cheaper if you'd have to buy it anyway.

A trial version of office is worth about -$20 I reckon, because it's causing you time and hassle removing it. If I was buying a laptop now, I'd work out roughly what the laptop is worth, then subtract money for each trial version / crapware product installed on it to get a final value for it, then compare that with the actual cost. I'd take off around $200 if norton is installed too, as that's pretty much guaranteeing it needs a complete reinstall ;)

#30 rboe

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:41 AM

Laptop warranty article - found the link.

re-linked

#31 rtomw77

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 09:23 AM

A blank page? Are you trying to tell us something? :poke:

Tom

#32 psonice

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 09:36 AM

Ron: A recursing link? Cunning!

#33 rboe

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 09:55 AM

Well that was weird! Thanks for catching that, fixed.

#34 rboe

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 09:56 AM

Here's the link again for those that don't want to go back.

#35 desertstars

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 01:13 PM

Interesting article. It edges me closer to Toshiba or Asus.

The old Gateway laptop I'm using right now was purchased in '02 and has performed perfectly until just recently. Since it never leaves the house, and rarely leaves my desk at home even for a trip to the living room, it had led a quiet life. More than likely that explains its longevity. Long story short, I'm headed into the sort of situation where an upgrade makes more sense than a repair job.

#36 desertstars

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 05:44 PM

This one has caught my eye.

#37 StarWars

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 09:56 PM

This one has caught my eye.



Nice laptop for sure. However the video card Intel GMA 4500MHD is considered to be marginal for 3D gaming. :grin:

Typically Dell laptops (610D) ship with the Intel GMA 4500MHD video tailored more for business and surfing.. While the S6980 doesn't have discrete graphics, meaning it's not really able to play many games, most casual browser-based games will run just fine.

Otherwise I would look for ATI Radeon or Nvidia... :bow:



Good Luck!

#38 psonice

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 06:39 AM

Yeah, if you plan to ever do more than a web browser or office, reasonable 3d performance is a big improvement. Especially as the trend now is to push more processing onto the GPU, the intel chip simply won't handle apps that do this in future.

#39 desertstars

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 10:38 AM

Gaming and other heavy duty graphics applications are not things I'm into. Already have way too many ways to spend my time. So unsuitability for gaming doesn't figure as a "con," so to speak.

Checked with CNET and was surprised to see how much they like it. That bunch has often struck as a bit on the nit-picky side. They seem to like Toshiba (and Asus) very well on general terms.

Nothing settled, yet, and the search goes on...

#40 Pedestal

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 10:15 PM

The only unusual use (from my point of view at least - and aside from a few astronomy applications) would be the necessity of tapping into our high speed internet connection, preferably without stringing a cable.


The answer is a wireless router. We have 4 computers in our household, only one of which is normally connected by cable. Even with older computers a wireless network card or wireless PCMCIA card solves the problem-if you don't have a free USB port.

#41 llanitedave

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 12:07 AM

My wife owns an Acer laptop, and I've been using it for the last few weeks out in the field on a drilling operation. I've learned enough about it to know that I DON'T want one for my own. The main problem is that the integrated case and trackpad suffer a lot of cross-talk. A brush against the case can send the cursor jumping wildly to some place it was never intended to be. Apparently, even pressing keys on the keyboard can communicate pressure commands to the trackpad. I can't get a single paragraph typed without my characters ending up three columns over, or worse.

As for Open Office vs Microsoft Office: There's no competition. I've yet to find anything Microsoft Office can do that Open Office can't do just as well. And there are some things it can do better. I know that there ARE functions that MS_Office can do that OO can't, it's just that in real-world use I've never encountered them. And I've had no problem saving my OO files in the proper MS format, whether .doc, .pps, or .xls. I'm using it at work, in the field, for my billing invoices, my geologic logs, and tracking depth control, and I used it for a major company presentation on drilling techniques last year. It translates flawlessly between the Open Document Formats and the Microsoft ones. I used the Draw feature to design both my telescope and my observatory. I had no issues whatsoever. The Draw program in Open Office is FAR superior to any graphics capability in MS_Office.

It's not just a good program for free. It's a good program, period.

#42 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 06:23 AM


Dell is OK, but the ONLY laptops round here that have been completely problem free have been from Toshiba.


Not quite.
It depends on the model. I have heard of Toshiba's that did'nt last 6 month without repair, actually a bit to my surprise.And yes i was a cheap(er) model...

#43 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 06:27 AM

Beginning to take the search for a new laptop seriously, and the first thing I've run into is that there are (surprise!!!) more brands out there than the high profile (meaning well-advertized) brands. I'm somewhat familiar with HP and Dell (the latter coming highly recommended by some folks here in Tucson), but most of the others... :shrug:

Other than the two I've mentioned, what others do you folks consider to be reliable brands? Any that should just be ignored?

FWIW, this thing would be used for pretty ordinary purposes by our standards - meaning planetarium software, pictures from digital cameras, hooking up a scanner from time to time, internet, writing and editing documents, etc. Nothing especially exotic. It would also need to be a brand that created laptops that are pretty much good to go right out of the box.


I would stick to Dell. We use them at work (Latitudes) not much repair, pretty good machines.
But also their 'soho' models (for home use) seem pretty good AND afordable.

I have my latitude D520 for over 3 years. Works 10 hours a day at least, never had a hardware problem so far.(except for the batterie but that's to be considered normal)

#44 rmollise

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 10:31 AM

It's not just a good program for free. It's a good program, period.


It may very well be. In my case, though, I'm used to Word and don't want anything even slightly different. A fair proportion of my writing is professional in nature and on-deadline, so I just don't have time to fiddle around. During a slack period last spring, I did learn Word 07, and I really don't want to go through that process again anytime soon. :lol:

#45 llanitedave

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 10:55 AM


It's not just a good program for free. It's a good program, period.


It may very well be. In my case, though, I'm used to Word and don't want anything even slightly different. A fair proportion of my writing is professional in nature and on-deadline, so I just don't have time to fiddle around. During a slack period last spring, I did learn Word 07, and I really don't want to go through that process again anytime soon. :lol:


I understand completely, Rod. It's the QWERTY phenomenon. Once we're used to a particular pattern, we don't want to change it. I've played with the idea of learning DVORAK myself, just because I'm a contrary cuss, but when it comes down to it, I really can't justify the time involved.

I'm not saying those who use and like Word should switch, the point is that if you aren't already wedded to a particular piece of software, then there are excellent alternatives out there that ensure you are not locked in to one expensive item.

My night shift cohort and I leave a USB memory stick at the drill site, on which we save our updated files for each other that keep a continuous record of drilling progress (or lack of it, in the last few days). In this case, they are mostly Excel spreadsheets with a couple of text documents thrown in.

I use Open Office on Linux, he uses Microsoft Office on Vista. We pass our updates seamlessly back and forth this way, and there are no problems with the reading or formatting of each others data, formulas, or interfaces, as long as I save my files in .xls and .doc format. Same with my time sheets and expense accounts. I keep them locally on Open Office, and save them to .xls when I submit them. I long ago got over my fear and distrust that something would fail because of some hidden incompatibility. It's just never happened. Different versions of MS_Office are more likely to be incompatible with each other than they are with Open Office. It is as effortless as Windows, at least.

And a lot less expensive.

Now, about that laptop. I'm considering a Dell Vostro 1520, but I haven't committed yet. I'm still trying to do comparisons, and y'all have given me something to think about from Asus and Toshiba. I need something fairly rugged that I can use in field environments.

#46 desertstars

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 11:15 AM



Dell is OK, but the ONLY laptops round here that have been completely problem free have been from Toshiba.


Not quite.
It depends on the model. I have heard of Toshiba's that did'nt last 6 month without repair, actually a bit to my surprise.And yes i was a cheap(er) model...


If you read enough product reviews (and I've certainly read a bunch recently) you will of course run into this with every brand and model. No brand is 100% reliable, and of course, no laptop ever made is entirely immune to life's slings, arrows, and occasional falls from laps in an airport terminal. (From many years working in retail I can assure you that many product "complaints" are actually the result of user carelessness, so I tend to take "bad" reviews with a grain of salt.) I'm leaning into the reliability angle because this is not an expense I can absorb often; whatever I buy has to last for years. Toshiba and Asus are coming out on top so far, though Dell is nipping at their heels. I have a feeling it will be one of the three, in the end.

#47 mclewis1

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 01:29 PM

Dave,

I'm a big proponent of the Vostro line. I bought a 1500 laptop about 2 years ago and have enjoyed every minute since. It was a great value and hasn't missed a beat. It's traveled 10s of thousands of air miles, now has 4GB of ram in it, and gets used everyday. It's even spent whole nights outside managing my mounts.

In addition to the 1500 laptop I have a 400 Desktop and use another Vostro 200 desktop on a regular basis. They don't set the world on fire, just IMHO provide good solid value.


I also really liked and agree with your comments on OpenOffice and folk's preferences for any particular product. I started using Wordperfect on CP/M, moved onto Wordperfect on DOS, Word since it was created for Windows 1 and all the way up to Office 2007, Word on a Mac, OpenOffice 2, StarOffice 5, IBM/Lotus Symphony 1, and now OpenOffice 3. Same evolution from Supercalc to Excel 2007 and probably every variant of every presentation package created for the 1000s of customer presentations I've given. No point here except for the fact that the more things change the more they stay the same ... if you keep an open mind on how to get the job done.

Basically if someone survived the Office 2003 to 2007 migration (ribbons anyone?) I think they could use another product like OpenOffice just fine.

#48 llanitedave

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 11:00 PM

Interesting, Mark. Turns out my night shift relief has the Vostro 1700, and he's been effusive in his praise for it.

I'm taking this as some pretty solid recommendations.

#49 Matthew Ota

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 11:27 AM

I have an HP business laptop, originally a Compaq. I have had it for three years and it keeps on running great. It has lasted longer than any other laptop I have owned.

#50 Ken Kobayashi

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 12:15 PM

I've yet to find anything Microsoft Office can do that Open Office can't do just as well.


Last I checked, there was no open alternative to Microsoft OneNote. That program alone is worth the cost of the Microsoft Office home/student edition - especially for someone with more than one computer. It's a great way to keep information accessible from multiple computers. (A OneNote document can reside on one computer, and kept open from multiple computers even without an active network connection. The document is synchronized next time there is an active network connection.)


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