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Laptop recommendation?

Joined
27 October 2004
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CA
I don't want to waste money, but I do need a laptop quite badly I guess. I am still using an old Sony Vaio laptop that I bought from Japan in year 2001.

I need something light, thin, long lasting battery power, reasonable sized keyboard, reliable, tough, and under $2k. Basicly an all arounder like NSX.

Taking 20 units from 9am~10pm while running business in between at the sametime. My hands starts to felt numb and shaking from taking notes by pen, it is almost not physically possible to keep up, not to mention my handwriting is not pretty. Sometimes it is also nice to have lecture notes and slides in front of me, so I can actually focus on the lecture.

It seems like everyone use mac book or something made by Apple on campus, I never owned a mac before, so I am not sure if mac is for me. I do like the Mac book air for its size, weight, and look. What about the Sony Vaio TZ series?
 
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I own the Acer Ferrari 1000, battery life kinda sucks but it suits my needs in every other way absolutely perfectly.

From mac book owners, even new ones, they LOVE those things and the batteries last a REALLY long time. I've heard bad things about the air already, mainly the lack of being able to upgrade anything. Other than that, it looks absolutely awesome. New converts say it's so simple to use, and easy to learn but I don't want to take the time to learn.

How about a Fujitsu Lifebook? Reasonable battery life, very light and compact while still having a built in dvd drive. Oh and no complaints that I've ever heard about these either.

http://store.shopfujitsu.com/fpc/Ecommerce/productoverview.do?type=NB&pgid=Notebooks

3.5lbs 11hr battery life option! Tablet capable.
http://store.shopfujitsu.com/fpc/Ecommerce/buildseriesbean.do?series=T2010



Where you looking at simply thin and light? Or wanting to venture into the realm of the super portables? Screen size you'd like to stick with? I find it hard to use anything smaller than the 12" of my Acer. Gets too hard to see notes sometimes. Tablet maybe?

If I had to do it all over again, (just bought my carbon fiber acer ferrari 2.8 lbs maybe 5 months ago) I'd definitely buy a fujitsu lifebook. They come in magnesium casing :) I'll never buy another laptop over 3.5lbs ever again.
 
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I own the Acer Ferrari 1000, battery life kinda sucks but it suits my needs in every other way absolutely perfectly.

I recently purchased the same unit (acer ferrari 1005wtmi), and have the same view of it; a great computer, but 2.5 hours and you need a plug.

I miss the vaio I used to have, the battery would last 6+ hours even after a year of use, and it was very compact/lightweight, carbon fiber case, etc.

I had the VGN-TX670P (11" widescreen), and sold it on ebay in August of last year for ~$1200; I changed to a libretto U105, which was too small for comfortable typing, but is a very capable laptop with battery life of 8 hours.

I believe you have seen the vaio and the libretto, going by your list of needs, the TX670P, or whatever replaced it, sounds perfect.
 
From a MacBook user, I recommend the MacBook. MacBook Pro if you need the extra hp/storage/video card. If you still need XP/Vista, you can run it with either notebook, have the best of both worlds.
 
I have been using a Flybook for several years now and have been very happy with it. It's small enough to take with you everywhere (yes, even on family visits...). And it already has your UMTS build in.
The keyboard is good enough for me and types very well.
Only think I changed is that I put a 160Gb harddrive in it.

The US-site is here: http://www.flybook.com/
 
you dont need a a new laptop, you just need a camera to copy the notes off the board.
it's quicker to take photos and give yourself the rest of the time to listen to the lecture and focus. its easier to review the notes later because its exactly what it is shown on the board.

try not to separate yourself from the real world by getting sucked into electronics.

the mac air is nice and light but is pretty weak for the money.

really want to blow a wad?
i'd get this, although sony laptops are just about name these days.
108861517_tp.jpg

pretty small and handy, easy on the spine, wont break your back. weak as heck tho. sony's havent much improved since 00.
my 12" Vaio R505 has been holding up for the past 8 years and is just as fast.

all around and best bang for the buck.
i'd get an HP 14" Verve, or similar from best buy or circuit city.
*dual core with 4GB max, 250gb hd
all under a grand and still looks good - some starting at ~700
it should be able to do just about anything and everything.
this will pretty much last you for the next 10 years i think.

the only thing im holding out on is one with HDMI
 
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I saw that the Lenovo laptops give you the choice of different battery types. The 8 cell(12.1 inch) 9 cell(14.1) battery is supposed to last 6½ hours on certain settings and can be configured to last longer. You can configure your laptop to your specification and price on their site. I don't have any experience with these though. Worth checking out maybe?
 
My buddy is an IT guy for a larger corporation. He swears by the mid to higher end Lenovo laptops. Don't have a particular model # for you though but he mentioned the $800 plus models. He also liked Dell and their support.

Jeff
 
I need something light, thin, long lasting battery power, reasonable sized keyboard, reliable, tough, and under $2k. Basicly an all arounder like NSX.

The Macbook Pro's case is aluminum, just like our cars. :biggrin: If you use your student discount, you can get the 15-inch $1999 one for $1799.

Here's the NSX Prime for laptops:

www.notebookreview.com. The site has an extensive review section as well as a forum for each brand of laptop from Acer and Apples to Sony Vaios.

Good luck with the laptop search and whichever one you find, slap a GT-One 5.1 or GruppeM exhaust on it and take videos. :tongue:
 
My favorites are the Dell Latitude D630, or the Lenovo T61 series.
 
If I had to do it all over again, (just bought my carbon fiber acer ferrari 2.8 lbs maybe 5 months ago) I'd definitely buy a fujitsu lifebook. They come in magnesium casing :) I'll never buy another laptop over 3.5lbs ever again.


And you've got to like the Fujitsu S2000 numbering for that line of laptops if you are a Honda fan.:biggrin:

I've got both a Fujitsu S2000 and an Acer Ferrari. The battery life on the Ferrari laptop is like the gas mileage on an Enzo. :tongue:
 
i use a HP DV1000 cause of the keyboard.....i CAN NOT type (as you all have seen) and i can fly with that thing. smal screen so it works on an airplane, good battery life @ about 2-3 hours. but they have a larger battery that seems to last for days.....small light and fast...and kind of cheaper too.
 
The Macbook Pro's case is aluminum, just like our cars. :biggrin: If you use your student discount, you can get the 15-inch $1999 one for $1799.

If you're near a military base, and know someone in the service/DoD, you can even get the 15 inch MacBook Pro for $1699, out the door. That's how low I've seen it at my local exchange. I went with the the MacBook because it was $996.
 
I just bought a Sony SZ-680 (Carbon Fiber casing) weighs about 4lbs, 13.3" screen, full size keyboard, 2ghz dual core, came with 1gb ram (upgraded to 4 gb - super easy to change), 120gb hard drive (planning to upgrade if needed).

I love it. I also went online and found out how to completely reinstall windows while removing all the bloatware so it runs super smooth now.

I highly recommend this laptop.
 
I really like my Toshiba Sattelite. I paid only 1300 bucks with a 2 year replacement warranty at circuit city and got 2GB memory. It runs Windows Vista Home Premium.

This notebook is great, it runs really cool and can actually sit on your lap. I have read about a lot of dell and HP notebooks that run hot.
 
I ahve a Dell Inspiron 1501 as my "daily laptop". It's very nice, reliable and you could probably get one just like mine for $1100. Mine was free but that amount is about right. I've had it for almost a year and had no issues at all. If you want thinner, Dell makes the XPS which is a little pricier but still under $2K. The MacBooks are very good of course but IDK if you can find a good one for under $2K.

If you do go with Vista make sure you get 2GB of memory cause otherwise you'll run slow.
 
http://www.notebookreview.com/ is a good site

From my own experience:
Dell Latitude series is good & solid (had D530, D630, D830). D830 is probably too big. 3 year warranty is a big plus.
Dell Inspirons are good for the money, but are definitely consumer grade. I wouldn't plan on getting more than a couple years out of them.
New Dell XPSM1530s look nice, but out of the 4-5 that i've inspected personally all but 1 has had fit/finish quality issues
Any Dell you can save some coin by shopping at http://outlet.dell.com. Dell customer service is great.

Lenovo T60/61 are great, but not quite the no brainer the old IBM ones were. Still my pick of the litter due to the hardware (better high end graphics chips, CPUs, PCIe docking station available, 4:3 screen available). Pisses me off to have to pay to upgrade to a 3 year warranty. Lenovo customer service is horrible.

FWIW, I paid $1300 a month or so ago for a T61p with

INTEL CORE2DUO PROC.T9300
MICROSOFT WINXP PROFESSION
4:3 14.1 SXGA+ TFT
NVIDIAQUAT.FX570M 128MBOGL
2GB PC2-5300 667MHZ 1DIMM
TRCKP+TOUCHPAD+FINGERREADER
200GB HDD,7200RPM
DVD-RW
PC CARDSLOT EX CARDSLOT
INTEL 4965AGN WIRELESS
INTEGR.BLUETOOTH PAN
9 CELL LI-ION BATTERY
LENOVO THINKPLUS EXTENDED SERVICE AGREEMENT - 3 YEARS - PICK-UP AND RETURN

In your shoes, I would look for: onboard video & extended battery for better life. 7200rpm drive for speed. 1-2Gb of ram on one chip. 14" screen seems to be my sweet spot for portability/readability. Good warranty. Intel networking a plus. Personally I would avoid Vista.

Just to give you a flavor of what is out there, I was able to find this for $909 from Dell outlet:

Operating System
Genuine Windows XP ProMemory
2 GB DDR2 SDRAM 677MHz (2 DIMMs)Hard Disk Drive
160 GB Free Fall Sensor Hard Drive (7200RPM)Video
Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100Hardware Upgrade
90W Additional AC Adapter
9 Cell Primary Battery
No Floppy DriveCertified Refurbished
Certified RefurbishedBase
Latitude D630 Laptop: Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 (2.40GHz) 4M L2 Cache, 800MHz Dual CoreMedia Bay
8X DVD +/- RW w/dbl layer write capabilityNetwork Interface Card
3945 802.11a/g Wireless Mini CardLaptop Screen
14.1 inch WXGA Laptop Screen
 
My buddy is an IT guy for a larger corporation. He swears by the mid to higher end Lenovo laptops. Don't have a particular model # for you though but he mentioned the $800 plus models. He also liked Dell and their support.

Jeff


I'm typing from a 7 month old top of the line Lenovo. T60 widescreen w/ Vista Business and every normal upgrade you might willingly get raped for. And it sucks. Flimsy. Vista blows. Weird little popups and stuff. I'm not really that picky, so I should be an ideal consumer "I'll pay extra for a top of the line model, just make sure it doesn't let me down" is my mantra. Oh well.

As someone wrote a while ago, in the Vista Sucks thread -- Lenovo does not equal IBM Thinkpad. Too bad. Thinkpads used to kick ass.
 
I also like Dell, I bought all the developers Inspiron 9300s, far too big for your needs, I just bought 3 Latitude D630s with the 9cell battery option for the sales guys last week (about $1000 shipped). As a Dell reseller (not really, I just registered to get the coupons) I also always get Dell coupons (though it's been dry for laptops lately) and have been known to share them with forum members.

FWIW, I was a little scared at going with the Inspiron because of the whole consumer vs business grade thing, but we've had them 2.5 years and all the developers bring them home and back to work 5 days a week. I've had absolutely zero issues with them.
 
Thanks for the recommendations. Idealy 3lbs or less + no compromising keyboard, + 12~14 inch screen is ideal for me, but I will settle for somthing up to 5lbs.

I checked out a few laptops today at the campus bookstore and Best Buy, they all have advantages and disadvantages.

Contenders:
Lenovo ThinkPad T61-Equivalent to Macbook in price and weight. This might be the all arounder I am looking for.
Macbook- $999, pretty affordable, but a bit on heavy side at 5lbs.
Macbook air- I like the weight, design, screeen, and keyboard on this the best. It is a shame that it is less powerful and overpriced compare to Macbook and Thinkpad T61 that cost nearly 40% less.
Fujitsu LifeBook P8010-As light as Macbook air, but it also had disadvantages.
Sony SZ series 4lbs, A bit on expensive side.

Out:
Sony VGN-TZ2000-ultra light, but quite a bit less powerful than other choices.
Sony SZ premium with carbon fiber shell- Probably my #1 choice, but too expensive.
Sony Vaio TZ series- Got everything I need and more but at $3500~$3600. That is way too much.

you dont need a a new laptop, you just need a camera to copy the notes off the board.
it's quicker to take photos and give yourself the rest of the time to listen to the lecture and focus. its easier to review the notes later because its exactly what it is shown on the board.

try not to separate yourself from the real world by getting sucked into electronics.
Lol, didn't you learned camera method from me last year:smile:. It is better than nothing, but it doesn't work as well as it sounds. I learned it the hard way + I am on campus 10+ hours a day now. I want to get things done, study on the go, get on line once a while, and not always have to rely on computer lab or library for doing assignments.

From past experience using camera method for taking notes:
-Note taking skill is what separates C student and A student. I noticed some students not only take down notes, but they also continuously make changes and adding additional key points not from the board. Their notes are seriously organaized and easy to navigate. Slacking off will not get me by any more.

-Disrespectful- To professor and other students in class

-Display lack of discipline

-Not practical- Some professors write and erase continuously, also some slides are scroll type. The # of pics increase dramaticly and the likelihood of actually reviewing the notes also decrease dramaticly because it ends up becoming completely unorganized with pics piling up from 5 difference classes and notes from day before.
 
I take pics when I can't keep up :) I spend lots of times making my notes as neat as possible and I use lots of highlighters and draw lots of arrows when needed.

Oh yeah, the Lenovo is definitely a very nice laptop. When shopping, the Lenovo came second to my acer ferrari. The carbon fiber won me over, lol, yeah it was a stupid idea.

The macbook though heavy has LOTS of nice features that I now wish I had when compared to mine.
1. that wonderful magnetic power cord. When someone accidently stumbles or kicks the power cord, it just falls off since it's held on by magnets. This way your laptop doesn't go flying if someone kicks the cord.
2. battery life has been about 8+ hrs so far on the macbook
3. the exterior is extremely simple in every way and shape. It's a perfectly even shaped all the way around. No weird wedge shape or anything. Just basic and simple.
4. the power cord is small and simple also. Comes with two ways to use it, the basic like our PCs with the converter between the wall plug and laptop, using two different types of wires. Or, the convert just hangs on the wall, and a nice slim cord reaches out to the laptop. Makes it neat, quick and simple to stow away the cord. I hate my power cord, wish it was as simple as the mac, or retractable.
5. No cd tray, it just sucks it in and spits it out. Less to worry about snagging on things or breaking off.
6. No worries about viruses (so I hear)

I think thats really it. This is based off my close friend's who bought his macbook right after I bought my acer. He's a new convert. There are several cons too though obviously like having to learn how to use the OS, having to find special software, sometimes having to pay more, and sometimes software compatibility issues.

If you have time to learn how to use a mac, I'd suggest getting one. If you just want one and hit the ground running with both feet immediately, stick with a PC.

Of those, I'd go 1) Fujitsu 2)Lenovo 3)Macbook

That's because I don't want to have to fool around with the thing to get it to do what I want it to, nor do I have the time to learn the software.

Oh one more thing.........
Power. Unless you're going to do heavy video editing or graphics, you won't need much. I bought mine with way too much power than needed to just type down my notes in MS word and a few other MS office programs. So we're always wanting the most powerful and fastest, but really ask yourself if you absolutely need that in your laptop. What are your needs?
 
What he said ^. That's the reason I went with the MacBook instead of the MacBook Pro, didn't need the extra power for my uses. Need software? There's alot of free open source stuff out there for macs. If not , hit me up if there's something in particular that you need. As for learning to use a new OS, it's not hard at all, maybe even simpler than you think.
 
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