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Thread: Laptop suggestions?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Laptop suggestions?

    I have a tablet PC and I am finding that since my business has shifted more to the Home Inspection side and since I am doing a lot of witting in the field, a laptop with a keyboard would be a better choice for me. Plus my wife would love using it at home on the front porch.

    Last one I had was a Dell. It is a dinosaur now but it was a workhorse! Wouldn't die. I don't need anything powerful since it it is just word processing and internet browsing that it will be used for. I am not opposed to used or surplus either. Just looking for something reliable. I have not kept up with what is out there the past 3 years so I am out of touch. Thought maybe someone here has some insights.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  2. #2
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    I prefer Mac. They cost more, but are well made, and I love the OS. If you go to the Apple Webstore, they have a refurbished section there, where you can buy one at a discount.
    There, let's get that out of the way first...

    If you want really small, the HP Mini is one of the better rated netbooks out there -- it has a kbd that is 97% of full size. Lots of other netbooks suffer from extremely tiny keyboards which are not reported to be easy to type on.


    Yesterday I came across this review/article that was looking at higher-end laptops, and comparing them to the equivalent mac laptop. I know you aren't interested in a higher end laptop. But what was interesting in this article was how the guy very rigorously went through a LARGE list of features and compared laptops from 4 different brands (HP, Dell, Lenovo, Sony). I think methodology like that would be equally good to use when comparing lower end laptops as well.

    Don't just compare prices: compare RAM, compare CPU cache sizes, Compare HD speeds, compare warranties (and how good companies are at honoring their warranties!) and so on.

    Have fun!
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
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  3. #3
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    I'm no expert, but I can tell you I really like my Toshiba. Very reasonable price and 14 months now without a single proble. One additional bit of advice; I purchased mine at Best Buy. For $29 they go in and clean out all the crap that comes factory loaded including all the registry items. This means no "free" trial software, AOL, McCafee, Norton, etc. It reduces start up time by about 50%, frees up disk space, and just makes me happy that I don't have to have all that garbage on my hard drive.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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  4. #4
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    My current field laptop is a Dell 620 (and yes the Inspirons are built like a truck). It runs Windows XP Pro (I'm hoping to skip the whole Vista fiasco entirely and wait for the next guess from MS). At work I have Mac, Linux, Solaris and Windows machines. If you are already familiar with various operating systems I would look at Mac or XP for the use you describe.

    Folks that live and breath Mac can really make them sing and the hardware is very, very good. If you are a "Windows guy", the shift to Mac can be a bit startling but worth the learning curve.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
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    Take a look at the Netbooks Jeff. Many of the same features, but a lot smaller and lighter.



  6. #6
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    Hi Jeff,

    As far as reliability goes, most consumer grade laptops are about the same, regardless of the brand name since only about 2 or 3 Taiwan companies actually make the parts. Like you I've had good luck with Dells though their current 600 series isn't as solid as their previous ones. Lenovo (formerly IBM) is making a decent laptop these days as well.

    The netbook type system is good if you want really good portability and won't be loading CAD type programs. Be careful what you look at though as not all Netbooks run Windows. Most run a Linux variant even though the look and feel is similar to Windows for browsing, etc.

    My personal laptop is an HP though I wouldn't recommend it for road work. It has a 17" screen and an HDTV tuner. I really got it to be a mobile entertainment center but it's rugged, fairly zippy, and relatively inexpensive for being brand new.

    In watching Craigslist I've seen lots of slightly older Dell 600 series laptops listed for a decent price.

  7. #7
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    i recently bought a Dell of of their website - factory reconditioned. It comes with a new warranty. It's been great - absolutely no issues with it (wish i could say the same for the Vista software - but we seem to have those ironed out for the time being). On Dell's site you can link to their sales, where they have a reconditioned / scratch and ding section. Usually a few hundred machines to choose from. I scanned through until i found one with the features i wanted and rang it up. I had it within a few days and saved a few hundred bucks over the same computer "new".
    I'd recommend that route again.
    paulh

  8. #8
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    Thanks, good ideas there. As I said I have no problem buying a used one. Just have to trust the source I am buying from. A buddy bought one that was an IRS leased computer. Had no hard drive in it. I think he picked it up for $250 and then put in a drive. I haven't found one of those deals though.

    Good tip Rennie, but the first thing I do with any computer is reformat and install my OS on there. I refuse to put up with someone elses garbage on MY computer! Besides I have a specific way I like mine set up, so I always reformat and partition the drive first thing.

    Which brings up a good point I had forgotten. I have a copy of XP Pro from Dell that will only install on a Dell. Plus my old trusty W2K but it's finally getting to the point that it will not run some new software as much as I hate it. So if I buy used need to look for a Dell.

    Not really interested in swapping to an Apple. I know they are good machines but I don't want the headaches of going from one to the other and the software issues that are bound to come up.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  9. #9
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    Someone already mentioned it, but the new Netbooks are light, last for quite a few more hours than a laptop battery wise, run XP, and are around $300. Worth looking at if you can stand the smaller keyboard and screen.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  10. #10
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    Just looked on the Dell site and was quite surprised at all the Refurb and Off lease models. Prices look good too. For what this will used for I don't see much reason to buy full price new one.

    If I sell my Tablet I should only spend $200-$300 out of my pocket. Kind of a no brainer here.

    Typically I am at a house 3 hours. I will spend 30 minutes at one most on the computer typing so batter life isn't a big deal. I use it for GPS in the truck but I have an inverter so no issue there. So the refurbs or Off Lease are looking like a good choice.

    As for keyboard, got to have a big one. I have the optional keyboard for the tablet and I hate it. To small and bad key layout. Screen size doesn't matter. Lighter it better and smaller screen is fine. This will not be my main computer. Once I get back I will sync it with my desktop and edit on here.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

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