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Laptop Shopping Any suggestions for buying a laptop?

10 replies to this topic

#1 SadElated


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Posted 12 June 2005 - 11:20 PM


I'm be going to school in a year or so, and I've been looking for a laptop, I'm not really desperatly in need for one, but I do need one that's relatively cheap so that if it gets broken while transfering back and forth from school with me, I can be mad, but not furious. It's a lot easier to take notes with a laptop, and it also saves a lot of time and money so you don't have to buy a whole new computer for at school. And of course it makes it easy if you get residence and use the internet hook-up with it and just kinda go from there.

Does anyone have any suggestions or preferences for laptops? A good make? Any good hardware hookups or adapters that could help me after buying a laptop? It'd be really helpful and not only myself but my folks would be thanking you.

Any help is appreciated,


#2 Military Knowledge

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 02:11 PM

It really depends on what sought of features you want with your computer. If you want a word document program and thats about it then it's going to be cheaper than a modern 'super laptop'. The things you most probably want is accessible internet connection (although you may have to rig that up yourself), the basic set of programs and most importantly: A Guarentee Most guarentee's will last for a couple of years. Make sure you get something with a decent guarentee. Image if you had had it stolen without a guarentee? Some laptop's may be cheap, but if your still talking a couple of hundred pounds. I've gathered some sites for you. If you have any other questions then you can e-mail me or post a thread and I'll try and help you out.

Buying from UK/Europe:
Dell Computers

Buying from USA
Discount P.C's

Hope this helps,
Sean Webber.

#3 SadElated


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Posted 13 June 2005 - 04:44 PM

Thanks a lot Sean!

Yeah, I would like a LapTop with pretty well all the basic necessities, some good document programs, a good sound card(because music is a must) and probably an easilly accessibly internet port.

I'll probably buy from the U.S. since prices for LapTops are much cheaper there then here, in Canada. Something that I would pay for about $1299 here, goes for about $799 in the U.S. Even with the exchange rate that's still a hefty increase.

Thanks for the help. Any suggestions are helpful. Does anyone have a laptop currently and want to recommend it?

#4 chiiyo


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Posted 14 June 2005 - 02:50 AM

Uh. I have the Powerbook. I recommend the iBook.


Not really. Since the Intel ones are coming out in 2007. I can't really deep down say I recommend the iBook at this point of time. But have you considered the Apple line of portables? They're really droolicious.

Anyway, laptop-shopping. Ah. To really shop for a laptop you must know what you want. If music is a must, then check out brands that have good speakers and good sound cards. When I was still shopping for a laptop (a year or two back) and I was still considering Wintel laptops, several brands were good for their sound output. I think they were Fujitsu and Sony.

You might also want to consider the size of the screen, and the size of the laptop itself. The connectivity options are also important. Do you want to lug around a laptop all day? If so, you better get a good laptop bag, and make sure whatever laptop you're getting is light enough for your tastes. Most of the Wintel laptops are pretty light, especially if their shell is plastic instead of metal (like mine... ), but because they are plastic covered, do invest in a good laptop bag or hard shell for protection. Size of screen is really up to personal preference, I settled for a 12 incher, I'm used to 1024x768 resolution and don't need a big screen for what I do, but some people might be switching over to a laptop from like 19 incher LCDs, and might find the screen too cramped out. My suggestion would be to drop by any hardware store nearby and play with various models of laptops, to just basically get a feel of what screen size is most comfortable, and try to carry some of them, to basically get a feel of what size is comfortable (remember, too big won't fit into your bag!) and what is a good weight that you can lug around the whole day.

Connectivity. Would you be using a lot of the ports on the road? Would you like to watch DVDs on the road? Then make sure you don't get one of those laptops with a dock. If you don't use anything from the laptop except the keyboard and the trackpad then get one with a dock. Personally I like an all-in-one, that means all the ports and drives and what-nots are on the laptop itself, no dock, but I know people who are not so demanding of their laptop, and they use the dock concept pretty well, and end up with a less bulky and lighter laptop to lug around. Make sure if you have a lot of USB devices that you have enough USB ports on that laptop. USB 2.0 ports. Some devices can run off a USB hub (and USB 2.0 hubs are not that cheap) but some might not, due to power consumption reasons. You might have devices that make use of Firewire. What type of ports does the laptop have to connect to projectors and monitor if you need to present from your laptop at school? VGA? S-video would rock if you want to watch stuff on TV off your laptop. Input and output sound ports are a must if you love music. Let's not forget to check whether the laptop comes with good enough ethernet and modem cards, you never know where you would travel when you'd need those. A wireless ethernet card would also be a great addition, something like airport on the mac. To fully utilise any internet connection anywhere (seeing how a laptop can travel), you should make sure your laptop has most of the available means to connect to any internet connection, be it wireless, cable, ethernet or modem.

You might also want to find out how long the battery lasts on the laptop. Most people forget this point. It's actually a very important point because sometimes you really just can't find a power point. This is important especially if your school does not provide power points for each student, and you need your laptop to take notes (mine does though, every student in a classroom has at least one powerpoint to themselves). Somewhere between 3 hours to 5 hours should be good enough. Check whether the power supply is bulky. Or the price of another battery.

Sorry about the disjointed points. Hope this helps.

#5 edskii


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Posted 14 June 2005 - 03:34 PM

http://www.overclockers.co.uk give fantastic offers on just about everything to do with hardware and certain software. There are many very affordable laptops there that are very well built with the top components. They certainly know what they are doing over there, so I highly reccommend them!

It depends a lot on what kind of things you will be doing at school. I would get plently of ram, that would be a main factor for me. Just get a standard/average intergrated graphics card (thats if your not going to be gaming on it) - afterall, it is a laptop! Try keeping the components you dont really need to a minimum cost. This should help a lot!

Hope you find a laptop that suits your needs.


#6 timkroesbergen


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Posted 14 June 2005 - 03:38 PM

I could write a story about very low budget laptops. But I want to give you my opinion about Acer. I am using Acer TravelMate laptops for six years now (also for school), and it is a great experience!

At first, Acer gives you very good quality for a low price. At this moment I have a Acer TravelMate 4502LCi, that with a 1.6GHz Celeron Mobile (with B/G wireless!), 512MB memory, and a 40GB harddisk, and . The only con is that my laptop has an onboard Intel Graphic chip. I bought this laptop for € 900, but for € 800 you have also a good laptop.

A very good feature on all the Acer laptops is the recovery option. When you want to re-install Windows, you just put in one of the Recovery-cds and within 20 minutes (!) Windows is reinstalled!

The last point is the warranty, which is also very good and easy to expand.

All the other scholars at my school who own a laptop own an Acer.

#7 IWroteCode


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Posted 27 August 2005 - 03:25 AM

Well, this is probably overkill for what you'd be using it for but I would recommend the HP Pavilion zv6000 (customized). Right now you can save alot of money from HP and the specs on the laptop are truely phenomenal. It is designed as a desktop replacement though so it will be on the heavy side. Also, the case seemed to be a bit on the cheap side - a tad "plastique". But nonetheless, I still recommend it for the price. I had one almost customized to the max for about $1200. That price also included a free printer! Good luck with the search.

#8 Sarah81


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Posted 27 August 2005 - 03:54 AM

I definitely recommend the notebook. It's a little more expensive than a desktop, but the benefits are worth it. This is especially true if your university of choice offers wireless access. Odds are that you'll be paying for service (through tuition/fees charges) whether or not you use it (this applies to "hard" connections too), so you might as well take advantage of it.

I just bought this notebook last week and can't begin to tell you how much easier it is to have around than the desktop I used the first year I was here.

However, there are a few things that you might want to do. It'll take a little research, but if you can save some money on it your parents will be ever so grateful - and more willing, I'm sure, to invest in some extra stuff for the notebook.

1. Check for mail-in rebates and actually use them. It can take six weeks to get 30 to 50 bucks back, but it's money that you can use for software (or your parents can use).

2. Upgrade the battery if you plan on taking said notebook to classes. I'm running a 4-cell, which is what came with this notebook (Compaq M2105). Love the computer, but I'm stuck at my desk more often than not because the battery starts to *really* drain after about an hour of use.

3. Visit your school's computer store. Some universities will sell you complete systems cheaper than you can get them anywhere else. Others will give you awesome deals on software. For example: I got MS Office (legally) for 20 bucks total. And an upgraded XP (to Pro) for 5 bucks. You won't know what sort of deals you can get if you don't ask, so it doesn't hurt to drop in and take a look around.

4. Make use of your student discount, even if it means that you can't buy your notebook before you leave for school. You can save a good chunk of money this way.

Let's see ... I think that covers the very basics. I'd also suggest using a flash drive for data backup and adding a plug-in keyboard for when you're at your desk. Then again, maybe that's just me; I tend to go through 'boards fast (I'm a writer).

Good luck with the shopping - and let us know what you end up with so that we can drool and envy *grins*

P.S. Don't forget insurance coverage. You wouldn't believe some of the crazy stuff that happens to notebooks.

#9 Sarah81


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Posted 27 August 2005 - 03:57 AM

Well, this is probably overkill for what you'd be using it for but I would recommend the HP Pavilion zv6000 (customized).  Right now you can save alot of money from HP and the specs on the laptop are truely phenomenal.  It is designed as a desktop replacement though so it will be on the heavy side.  Also, the case seemed to be a bit on the cheap side - a tad "plastique".  But nonetheless, I still recommend it for the price.  I had one almost customized to the max for about $1200.  That price also included a free printer!  Good luck with the search.


Mine's sort of on the heavy side too (Compaq M2105), but I'm willing to lug it around if need be. If nothing else, I'll have super-strong back muscles by the end of this semester *smirk*

#10 Jguy101


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Posted 29 September 2005 - 01:36 AM

Well, PC Club, where I got my PC, has laptops starting at $799....very nice. B)

#11 MajesticTreeFrog


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Posted 29 September 2005 - 07:07 AM

There are lots of sites that review laptops, and even sort them by price. My only question for you is: do you care to be runnig MS Windows?

If you don't care, buy a mac. Seriously. It will be a lot less hassle over time. They get VERY good battery life, are VERY dependable, both in terms of hardware and software, their version of Office is actually better than the windows version, and can open all those files, etc. The only issue is whether or not your major will require you to run MS only software. Given that the mac can run a lot of unix/linux software, and my recent stent in college, this issue is unlikely.

Seriously, after using a PC for years, and then getting a mac laptop, I will never go back to doing work on my PC. The difference and ease of GETTING STUFF DONE is like the difference between night and day.

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