Buying a new laptop... recommendations?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bwilder10h, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. I'm looking for something that I can do some web browsing, photo storage when I'm traveling and basic editing here and there.

    I used to be the exclusive IBM thinkpad tech at GE in this area years ago and they are excellent machines buy pricey. Haven't had such good luck with Dell or Toshiba and wanted to see what folks have had good luck with.

    Would love to go with a Macbook pro but can't spend 2 grand right now plus all the extra software I dont have. :rolleyes:

    Trying to stay well under 1k :wink:
  2. Takeda


    Jun 9, 2006
    Durham, NC
    I would go with the IBM (Lenovo) T series......
  3. adrianaitken

    adrianaitken Guest

    Thinkpad X series. Had a X20,moved upto X30 and now use a X60. People say 'oh,it's only got a 12" screen' but to me the most important thing about a laptop is weight and the X60 is less than 1.5 Kgs and the extended battery means 5 hours+ real use without mains. The only disadvantage is that the X60 dropped the CF card slot for a SD card slot.
  4. Dell... Inspiron, the Inspiron 1501 is well under $1000
  5. Pete


    Jun 10, 2006
    Denver, CO
    You can usually get some good deals on refurbished IBMs. If you are used to an IBM, you will not be happy with the others. Yes I would trust a refurbished IBM over many new laptops. I bought an X32 last year from Pacific Geek and have been extremely happy with it. I agree with Adrian about the 12" screen, it is actually bigger in height and has bigger text than a 15" widescreen.
  6. I'd decide on a budget and then see what combination of processor/memory/HD size/LCD size will fit. Sounds like a 15.4" system might be good for you just now. The 17" systems are getting cheaper too.

    I think there are a number of good deals out there. I prefer Toshiba and Acer, the single exception over the years being a Thinkpad R60 several years ago.
  7. I manage multiple computers and problems for the company I work for. Dells have become very solid. I would go with a Latitude though. go to and look for deals. They have a better chasis than the plastic inspiron. I have had my latitude for over a year now and it has by far been the best computer I have ever owned(And I have owned a lot) for the money
  8. I have a 4 year old Sager I use to run cameras. It has not been without problems, but nothing terminal at all (I've got a loose USB connector for the card reader and a few cracks forming in the case). I'm pretty happy with it considering the abuse it gets.

    I also have a newer 12" Toshiba M6 I got for traveling. I got it new in the box from a big-box store clearance auction for a pretty good price. The screen calibrated pretty well, and it's been pretty good to carry around in my Lowepro bag.
  9. Yeah, clean it before it gets THIS dirty and blocks the fan!



    No C&C needed on the photos; they were for reference not art. ;)

    That's my "war" laptop; two years and still going strong! Getting a little long in the tooth, a bit ugly (I wore out the rubber over the left track-pad button!) but it runs just fine.... again. now. :cool:

    Compaq V2405US, in case you care. It was never the speediest ship in the harbor, but I knew that going in.
  10. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Brian :


    No question in my mind, as I just today ordered a T60 fully kitted out for my road warrior life (unfortunately, Lenovo's going the route of the other notebook companies and making all of the latest models widescreen only, which I personally don't want, so I didn't get a T61p).

    I've had five Thinkpads over the last fourteen years, and each one has been a treat. With the exception of the first one, which I had to leave with the company I worked for at the time, each one is still running well, having been "downstreamed" to deserving folks, and each one has served me with honour and distinction.

    Pound-for-pound, Thinkpads have been the best laptops I've worked with (and I was forced through other brands, so this isn't a case of talking out of my... hat). They're pretty rugged, well engineered, and they simply just work well. I've had Thinkpads all over the world on projects, and I've had little to worry about. Notebooks are a tool for me. As an engineer, I value good tools highly, care for them well, and continue with them through their lifecycle. The Thinkpad line has been the primary computer tool for my work for a long time, and is the tool of choice now in my company.

    The X-series are also good, but I do benefit from the Ultrabay Slim in the T-series with either a DVD+/-RW or a spare HD. I'm willing to take the extra weight for the added internal capabilities. Your needs may vary.

    If you're concerned about photoediting, well, my T42's been the primary such device for my work for a long time (3 years this Saturday, which is why I'm getting the "next generation" lined up).

    Lenovo's running several offers now in your price range (although the X-series tablets are more). Some online vendors have T-series models that they're closing out - they may not be the latest fastest of the line, but they're still Thinkpads.

    YMMV, as they say. :wink:

    John P.
  11. Blue

    Blue Guest

    I have a 755cx running on Win3.1 that still work (at least 12 years old :eek:!). I also have a 4y-old T21 that still work flawlessly. If you're used to Thinkpad, it's very hard to move to another brand, everything on it feel just right. You have to go to Fry's and just play with all of them laptops and decide, good luck. Ps: I love the Macbook Pro but it does not have Ibm "Track stick" mouse.
  12. rsmithgi

    rsmithgi Guest

    Have you considered a MacBook? Refurbs can be had for good prices from Apple. Does $999 qualify for well under 1k? I also like the Dell Latitude line but they will not be under 1k. A dell D630 configured similar to the MacBook below is currently 999 from Dell.

    I switched to the Mac after 20 years on DOS/Windows machines. I'll never go back.

    Refurbished MacBook 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - White
    13.3-inch glossy widescreen display
    1GB memory
    80GB hard drive
    Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    Built-in iSight camera
    Learn More
    • Save 10% off the original price
    Original price: $1,099.00
    Your price: $999.00

    Estimated Ship:
    1-3 business days
    Free Shipping
  13. We have a computer store here that will build a laptop or PC to your specs. They will do free maintenance on the computer for the life of the computer. The only thing you have to pay for is if you need parts once the parts warranty has expired. All labor is free. They will clean off viruses, etc. for free.

    I'd look for something like that.
  14. One advantage to buying a MacBook (or any Apple machine) is that you will not have a lot of costs associated with virus scan programs, adware scan programs, trojan horse scan programs....and you also don't have the software bloat/RAM-intensive features which come along as a hidden payload with these programs. Actually, it has been my experience that Macs (both PPC and intel-based) are much more efficient than Windows at utilizing RAM -- and for me, that's important.

    Back in October of 2005 I didn't know diddly about the Mac. It was a whole 'nuther world to me. I'd cut my (computing) teeth on DOS and Windows. I took the leap of faith into the Mac world when I'd had enough of various problems I was experiencing with my Windows XP Pro machine. Brought the new PPC iMac home, still assuring myself that I could always return it..... Never expected to fall in love with the thing! A few weeks later I bought a Powerbook because by this time I knew that if I didn't want to mess with Windows at home I sure as heck would not want to fool with it on the road....

    Intel-based machines came along. I eventually succumbed to temptation. Again, was amply rewarded. Will I ever go back to a Windows-based computer? NO.

    Seriously, check out the MacBook if you're not ready to buy a MacBook Pro....
  15. SeanBalsiger

    SeanBalsiger Guest

    If you need to save up a little longer and get a MacBook. You don't need the Pro for what you're doing and it is worth the extra money to buy a Mac. Also if you know a college student you can save $100 off the computer and get a free iPod Nano by mail-in rebate. You can also get a $100 printer for free by mail-in rebate. You made a comment about needing extra software but the Mac comes with plenty. The only thing you may need is a word processor and college students get iWork for $40 from the Apple website.
  16. haze2


    Mar 18, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've been banging around the world with the same HP laptop for the last three years and it's been bullet proof. I just bought 2 more last week for my daughter Kelley and me. I bought them refurbished at Fry's, which I've done several time before. When Fry's gets these refurbished units in, it's a really good deal. Here is how it works. The computers have to go through many quality control checks when they are made. If a unit fails a test it is sent to the HP repair department. They test the unit to determine the faulty componet, then replace the component and run another complete quality control check. At this point they have to call the unit "refurbished" even though it is brand new. I've bought several refurbished desktop & laptop units and I think it's the best deal going. Sometimes the savings are huge. The core duo unit I bought my daughter was $799 and the 17 inch core duo unit I bought myself was just over a thousand. The refurbished units only have a 90 day warrenty, but I always buy the Fry's extended warrenty and still end up saving a ton. With four kids these units have been a real life saver (or should I say money saver). The only time we ever had a problem, the unit was in warreny and HP paid for all the shipping and had it back to me in 4 days. I was really impressed with the customer support. BTW, the unit I've been carrying for the last few years is carried in a camera/computer backpack and it has been abused in every way you can imagine. I'm very pleased with HP and the refurb's and will continue to purchase this way in the future.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2007
  17. Takeda


    Jun 9, 2006
    Durham, NC
    Not quite true! Repair is part of the normal assembly & test process at card, and box level, and "repaired" units are sold as new!

    Refurbished is when a unit has been sold, but has failed under warranty, and the unit was replaced. The failed unit will be repaired, and will be sold as refurbished.
  18. Larlec


    Jun 18, 2007
    northern Colorado
    I'm looking to upgrade my 4 year old Dell as well. It's running fairly well but is at its limits in terms of RAM and HD space. From what I'm seeing HP has some really good deals now and the "back to school" sales seem to always offer some pretty good deals that can be souped up with additional RAM. HP is even offering some tablets with 2 GB RAM for pretty good prices.

    What's with Apple only offering a 90 day free support program? Seems kind of short to me.

    Anyway, I think it's a buyer's market right now so shop around a bit and let us know what, and where, you found.
  19. Apple provides a 1 year warranty, but they offer phone support for only 90 days. You can extend the phone support and equipment warranty by buying the Applecare Warranty extension taking everything out to 3 years from date of original purchase. Limiting the phone support is leverage that Apple uses to sell their AppleCare, especially for newer customers who may need more help than seasoned veterans.


  20. haze2


    Mar 18, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    This is how it was explained to me by the tech support people so I passed it on. Nevertheless, it is a great value and I've been more than pleased. Every unit I've purchased has been flawless in appearence and operation.