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The great Laptop discussion forum

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The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2008, 12:42
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I am starting to look at laptops for school. It doesn't really look like my program will have any compelling deals. So, I am looking for any feedback/points to ponder about the following systems. I am looking for something lighter as I will be using public transport to get to school. This means my backpack will be "too heavy" no matter how light of a laptop i buy!

Things i look for are:
1) decent battery life ( I could survive a day on campus without needing a recharge. Apparently foster has only "spotty" plugs available in classrooms).
2) lightweight. Prefer < 4 lbs. I wil lgo as high as 4.5. I had laptops as an undergrad/grad student, and this is the threshold.
3) decent processor >= 1.8ghz and AT LEAST 1gb RAM (prefer 2-3gb). I know there are different views on this, but mine is pretty non-negotiable. As a computer engineering grad student I can be stubborn with minimum computer specs
4) 11-13 inch screen. Yup, those are the rules. until they come up with a 3lb 19" laptop =)
5) built in Cd/dvd drive
6) less than ~USD1,700

So far I have seen promising standard contenders from ASUS,Fujitsu, dell
and Tablet contenders from: Fujitsu, HP

I am curious particularly what people think of tablet pcs they own. e.g. do you actually use them as such? I am willing to pay a small premium for table as even if I don't use it as a tablet it will still work as a standard laptop!



Does anyone have strong opinions about these
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2008, 22:10
http://kakaku.com/specsearch/0020/ allows you to search for your specs, and lists the shops which sell them (In Japanese though)

cheapest i found is :-
FMV-BIBLO MG75X FMVMG75X
Core 2 Duo T7250 2GHz
1GB RAM
7.5 Hour runtime
1.75kg. (3.9lb)
14.1 inch screen
approx $1500 USD with current exchange rate

Japanese OS though!
http://kakaku.com/item/00200216011/
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2008, 22:15
http://kakaku.com/item/00200715407/ this is my laptop (1 year old now)
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 19 Mar 2008, 22:36
Geeky as I am, I won't be buying a laptop. Instead, I'll use the one my company's given me for work (Thinkpad T60). Boohoo!

Incidentally, at the Chicago GSB class I attended, 3 of the 8 students taking that class were using tablets and actually using them to take notes in running hand. Not sure how much that data point helps you, though.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2008, 06:27
I had been cruising yodobashi.com and biccamera.com.. forgot about kakaku! actually my current laptop is japanese OS/keyboard. Sadly its battery is pretty weak, as is the processor, ram, and it is heavy. Then again i got it for about Y55,000 a little over a year ago in sofmap - with a bonus of 10,000 points! I just keep sitting here thinking "if only they exported ALL the japanese models" (of laptop) :wink: Particularly the panasonics. They are nearli impossible to find here, which drives up their costs!

Also, good to hear on the tablets. I *think* i would like it for marking up slides as the prof goes over them.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2008, 10:28
This doesn't meet all of your specs, but it is SUPER cheap.

Good luck!

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.as ... 0*&topnav=
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2008, 11:30
yeah, was tempted by the $1100 acer. I had a good experience w/ acer before. I think the worst part is it is a little hefty.

then there is this bad-boy (or should i say bad-girl). Why oh WHY must it be in pink?!?!
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.as ... 70&topnav=
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2008, 22:02
I'm going with the Lenovo X61. Has everything you want except for the built in DVD/CD drive... which I'm fine with (I have a desktop at home)
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2008, 03:44
If you are into macs, try http://www.macmall.com - they have some pretty good deals that should fit your budget for your specs, at least after rebates. I'm on my first mac and am liking it for the most part. However, it does seem slow if I have to run Windows on parallels (I hear it is the same with VMware) and I have 2.2 GHz processor, Core Duo, with 2 GB RAM. I am told I might need to bump up my RAM.

Unfortunately for me, I have to test some stuff on IE so need the parallels quite often for work - also a couple of applications such as changepoint to enter time/expenses require IE.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2008, 11:15
Biggest hell with a mac - shortcut keys on microsoft excel.

Biggest hell with a PC - Vista, Office 2008

I like my mac, but using excel is like sticking needles into my eyes a lot of the time. I might go as far as to create my own shortcuts, it annoys me so much.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2008, 15:25
I've been looking at laptops as well. One thing that I want for my laptop is the ability to use a docking station when I'm back at the apartment. The smaller Dell XPSs don't have the port for this so it rules them out. I like the Lenovo T61 so far, but I'm going to wait a few more months until I actually purchase anything. These things are always getting cheaper with time!
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 21 Mar 2008, 15:36
Good points about purchasing at costco:
-Store selection is weak, but you can buy much more online (you can do build-your-own with dell, hp, etc.)
-online purchases can be returned to any store
-Good/great prices (almost NEVER more than it would cost elsewhere, frequently less)
-90 day returns without any restocking/other nonsense. And it is EASY to return. You will never have an easier time returning an item than at costco.
-They (costco) increase warranty length to 2 years for FREE.
-For service, you contact the costco folks, and if need be they will contact manufacturer. I am told this gets you GREAT service.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2008, 19:55
i'm about to replace my dead laptop with an x61 from lenovo. they've got a super sale going on now, and i've got an employee discount to use on top of it. For about $980, I'm getting a very skinny little machine with more than enough power. huzzah!

I'm a little sad about the lack of internal optical, but I almost never use it anyway - just when loading new programs. I think I'll buy a cheap-ish external one and throw it in the closet, except when installing stuff.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 01:55
Hey AAu, do you know when the sale ends? I want to get the same laptop, but have been waiting to see when I should get one. When did you (and others) get their laptops? Right before school started or a few months before?

The good thing about getting it now is that it's on sale, I have an employee's discount, and I get to familiarize myself with using it (and while I move out of my condo, I'll be out of the house a lot, so a laptop would keep me connected).

The down side is, between April and July, there may be a new model or a price drop or something else.. But is that "what if" worth waiting 3 more months?

I'm also traveling in May and June, so I could bring my laptop to China with me...

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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 06:11
Well, you DEFINITELY want to buy after you know what your school's requirements are. Some actually give you a particular machine, some are pretty specific, some just say X RAM and Y processor.

Also, you want to be sure you're kosher with the laptop allowance. Duke just throws $2500-ish into your COA and you get that amount no matter what or when you buy. Other schools might somehow be more persnickety (though I didn't hear that happening anywhere).

Otherwise, this seems like a good time to buy - there have been sales over the last few weeks. I did some minimal upgrades (doubled the RAM, got Windows XP instead of Vista Basic) and it came in at about $980. I was going to pay $1500 for the same thing last spring (and perhaps another upgrade - like the old version of the optical drive they had). This sale lasts till April 7.

You're right - who knows what else they'd come out with in the next few months. For example, Lenovo is coming out with a new line. The super-skinny one is supposed to be released sometime this month (pending FCC approval of some new technology they have in it) and it's RED! Bright RED! But I don't know anything else about it, and really can't wait. My friend needs back the old Dell loaner she gave me, so I gotta get my order in.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 10:35
cool, thanks for the info Aau! Yeah, I already know Haas' requirements, and will see what Kellogg's is. If they're similar or if both allow the Lenovo X61's, I'll probably get it before April 7th. Would be nice to have a small laptop while I'm in China so I don't have to look for internet cafes everywhere.

That sounds like a great deal! I think I priced mine at $1100 or something, without the sale (just the employee's discount).

The super thin one looks very nice, but I would have to carry an external HD with me (instead of the external Optical drive, which I use much less frequently), and it cost $1000 more! :shock:

Alright, time to browse the Lenovo Website again :P
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 10:37
westsider wrote:
Things i look for are:
1) decent battery life ( I could survive a day on campus without needing a recharge. Apparently foster has only "spotty" plugs available in classrooms).
2) lightweight. Prefer < 4 lbs. I wil lgo as high as 4.5. I had laptops as an undergrad/grad student, and this is the threshold.
3) decent processor >= 1.8ghz and AT LEAST 1gb RAM (prefer 2-3gb). I know there are different views on this, but mine is pretty non-negotiable. As a computer engineering grad student I can be stubborn with minimum computer specs
4) 11-13 inch screen. Yup, those are the rules. until they come up with a 3lb 19" laptop =)
5) built in Cd/dvd drive
6) less than ~USD1,700


the one I just ordered (x61 from lenovo) offers all of these, except the built-in optical, for much less than $1700. A plus is that you can get it with XP. You'd probaby want to buy the extra-big battery - Fuqua is pretty solid on plug-ins, so I'm good with the basic addition. My x61 should be less than 3 lbs. processor is 2ghz. I paid $30 to get 2G RAM instead of 1. 12" screen.

With the current sale and the employee discount I had, I got it for about $1050, which included $63 in tax I had to pay.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 10:39
kryzak wrote:
Alright, time to browse the Lenovo Website again :P


Yikes! Ship date is April 10 - dagnabbit! Bought it anyway, but at this rate, I *MIGHT* have it in time for finals.....grrr....
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 11:11
yikes, that's a long time! good to know since I should order it early if I want to get it before I leave.

Just priced mine, $1288 (includes about $100 of 3 year depot warranty). Is the warranty necessary?

I selected the 2.2 GHz, Fingerprint reader, Bluetooth, 160 GB 7200 rpm hard drive, the intel ABGN wireless card, and 2 GB memory (1 DIMM). Will probably buy sometime in the near future.
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Re: The great Laptop discussion forum [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2008, 11:48
kryzak wrote:
yikes, that's a long time! good to know since I should order it early if I want to get it before I leave.

Just priced mine, $1288 (includes about $100 of 3 year depot warranty). Is the warranty necessary?

I selected the 2.2 GHz, Fingerprint reader, Bluetooth, 160 GB 7200 rpm hard drive, the intel ABGN wireless card, and 2 GB memory (1 DIMM). Will probably buy sometime in the near future.


I think it depends on what you are into. A tough computing day for me means that my calendar, word, excel, powerpoint, firefox and thunderbird are all open. I might throw in a video on you tube or solitaire if i'm really going crazy. My IBM engineer friend felt like the extra processor wasn't really much extra, especially given my usage patterns. Ditto for hard drive. I hesitated with getting the 2g ram 1 dimm or 2. Decided on 2 just because it's unlikely I'll ever upgrade anyway. He did say, though, that if you're working on Vista, you should get 4g ram for sure, more if you can. 2 would be barely ok.

For warranty, he said he'd consider 2 years, but probably not more, and that 5 was ridiculous. Consider how much support you'll get at school. I just didn't want to spend more money, I guess.
Re: The great Laptop discussion forum   [#permalink] 23 Mar 2008, 11:48
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