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matdonna
10-26-2008, 12:32 AM
I'm thinking of getting a laptop. There is too much to distract me from writing my long fiction on my main computer. So I'm thinking of a non-internet laptop that basically doesn't need loads of power-- just for producing manuscripts in Word that can get shifted over to the other computer via disc. I also need a good sized screen for my lousy eyes. Battery life and weight aren't that big an issue, as the idea is to use it elsewhere in the house, though it would be nice to bring it on trips if I had to.

Does anyone else do something like this? Are you happy with your choice of laptop? Are there ergonomic issues using it that are unlike your main computer?

When I did some searching, it looked like one of the TOshiba sattelites might suit my needs.

All suggestions, cautions and comments gratefully received.

redpbass
10-26-2008, 01:42 AM
I've got a Dell Inspiron I use for writing. It's got a decent sized screen and I've had almost nothing but good things to say about it.

I do have two complaints though...
1) Short battery life. Seems like it only lasts a few hours when unplugged.
2) The touchpad style mouse gets in my way when I'm typing, and sometimes I'll bump one of the mouse buttons accidentally and end up typing in the wrong place.

Also, it's freakin heavy...not too heavy to move around though. I often carry it in a backpack when I'm out somewhere taking pictures or writing in a library or something.

Clair Dickson
10-26-2008, 02:20 AM
I've never heard of a laptop with a good battery life. =( I could be wrong, but that seems to be a fundamental flaw with them.

I have a Toshiba Satellite. A couple years old. It gets awful hot, so I bought a cooling pad. (I may be able to clean out the guts/fans/etc. but that's not a territory I venture in at this point. The cooling pad works.)

I don't have any trouble with the touchpad, but the space bar on mine is not ambidextrous. If I hit with the left thumb, it usually misses the space. But if I use the right thumb, it catches it. So, I have to remember to hit harder with the left to make it register. I don't know if that's a Toshiba Satellite thing or just MY laptop thing.

But it does the job. The one I have has USB ports on both the back and the side, so depending on how I'm sitting, I have choices on where to stick the ever-present USB Flash drive.

Hope this is helpful.

Snowstorm
10-26-2008, 02:49 AM
I have a Mac, super reliable and the battery lasts for hours. But they can be spendy, and a lot of software just won't work with it. Before this I had a Dell Inspiron, but in a few years I couldn't trust it to not hose up. There are reliable and inexpensive laptops out there. A friend got a used ? (Rats, I can't find the make on the Internet--it's the one with the black and white "cow" cover) and she loves it. Perhaps an idea for you is a used and/or refurbished laptop. If the battery is older, a new battery might solve the problem for you so you get an inexpensive computer and a reliable battery.

Del
10-26-2008, 02:54 AM
If you are buying used then HP, Dell, Toshiba are all pretty good. If you buy new you want to go with a good warranty. Watch the LIMITED WARRANTY clauses...you don't want to get stuck with labor after 3 months.

Sony warranty is for the birds...or at least was. Policies change.

Batteries are getting better...or power consumption is. But if you order your computer you might talk them into an extra battery to make the sale. I got some freebies with my HP but I bought the extra battery. It's good to have though.

If I were to recommend something based on quality and price I think it would have to be Toshiba but I honestly don't know much about their warranty.

The extended HP warranty is awesome. But you pay for it. My son's nearly 3 year old HP laptop started having all sorts of troubles. They replaced the motherboard, DVD, battery, LCD and accompanying hardware, Hard drive, etc...basicly it was a new computer...then the LCD screen got lines again. They are sending a brand new computer...current, not his old model.

In any case, if you only want to write you can get the cheapest one you find (but go for quality) because word processors aren't very demanding.

RainyDayNinja
10-26-2008, 03:16 AM
If you can find it, I'd suggest something that comes with some kind of Linux operating system. You can save money by using free office-suite software, and you won't be tempted to install games on it!

Righting
10-26-2008, 07:12 AM
Have a Acer Aspire, and Dell both are good!

Barb D
10-26-2008, 08:04 AM
Dude, I AM a Dell - but I buy Macs. I adore my MacBook for word processing and internet. Pages (the Mac word processor) is much more intuitive than Word, and documents can be saved in Word format if you need to send them somewhere. My MacBook is far faster than any PC laptop I've ever used (and I've used a lot, including Toshibas and Dells). Plus, support is a close as your closest Apple store. In English, no less.

truelyana
10-26-2008, 04:07 PM
I am quite happy with my choice in laptop, also a Toshiba. (equium u300 151) It is small and light and I carry it all around the house, to meet my own writing needs. What I love about it, is that it didn't come attached with lots of software like my dads HP. It hasn't got the weight down time of a heavy stuffed laptop and battery life is fine to start off. Though I always have mine plugged in.

Del
10-26-2008, 06:22 PM
If you can find it, I'd suggest something that comes with some kind of Linux operating system. You can save money by using free office-suite software, and you won't be tempted to install games on it!

Linux is great for the experienced. But stick with what you know. You don't want your writing interrupted by not knowing the operating system.

Open Office is great. It is free and is WORD compatible. I use Word on one computer and Open Office on another. I've had no problem swapping files. It is available for XP and Vista.

maestrowork
10-26-2008, 07:39 PM
I love my MacBook Pro, and by far it's been the most reliable, long-lasting laptop I've owned (and I've owned about 8 so far -- all Windows/PC before the MBP).

Shuriken
10-26-2008, 07:50 PM
MacBook, iBook or Powerbook only!! No crashes and loss of all your recent pages!

Del
10-26-2008, 07:53 PM
MacBook, iBook or Powerbook only!! No crashes and loss of all your recent pages!

And only one mouse button so you can't get confused. :D

maestrowork
10-26-2008, 07:57 PM
And only one mouse button so you can't get confused. :D

Who uses a mouse? ;)

heyjude
10-26-2008, 09:35 PM
My Acer was serviced two times in the first six months, both hardware stuff. :( Hubby's Dells hold up well even under intense use.

geardrops
10-26-2008, 09:40 PM
I'm thinking of getting a laptop. There is too much to distract me from writing my long fiction on my main computer. So I'm thinking of a non-internet laptop that basically doesn't need loads of power-- just for producing manuscripts in Word that can get shifted over to the other computer via disc. I also need a good sized screen for my lousy eyes. Battery life and weight aren't that big an issue, as the idea is to use it elsewhere in the house, though it would be nice to bring it on trips if I had to.

...

All suggestions, cautions and comments gratefully received.

You want a machine you can take with you to type things on that features a good battery life?

Sounds like AlphaSmart Neo. I've never used one so I can't speak for it, but I've seen plenty of threads about it.

PS - Don't get a Toshiba. Heating issues out the wazoo.

Del
10-26-2008, 09:44 PM
PS - Don't get a Toshiba. Heating issues out the wazoo.

Same with my HP. It sucks up dust like a vacuum. So I vacuum it out. Problem solved. :)

Darzian
10-26-2008, 09:51 PM
This (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=119162) thread is also relevant to some extent.

WittyandorIronic
10-26-2008, 11:00 PM
Just wanted to add -
I have an HP laptop. I bought it in May/June of 2007, and it completely died on me July 2008 - about 3 weeks after the warranty expired. I contacted HP and they had me send it in and replaced the faulty motherboard (I think....something like that) and sent it back, all free of charge. They were really good about it.

JustJess
10-26-2008, 11:35 PM
I have/had a HP-nothing but problems. Overheats, spontaneously shuts down, won't restart, freezes and battery started out lasting about 2hrs but for the last month it was down to 20min. It's less than 2yrs old. Had some diagnostic test done and we need to replace the hardrive for $200-with no guarantees that it won't happen again. Not worth it.

Del
10-26-2008, 11:57 PM
I have/had a HP-nothing but problems. Overheats, spontaneously shuts down, won't restart, freezes and battery started out lasting about 2hrs but for the last month it was down to 20min. It's less than 2yrs old. Had some diagnostic test done and we need to replace the hardrive for $200-with no guarantees that it won't happen again. Not worth it.

Dust. Or cat fur (that was our problem). The spontaneous shutdown is to protect the processor in the event of overheating. If you had cleaned it then you would have been fine. You needed to take a vacuum to the air intakes and suck the dust out. The continuous overheating is what killed the hard drive and the battery too. But as a rule a battery is only good for about 18 months before it starts degrading.

HP isn't a bad brand. Any computer will be damaged from overheating. Keeping it clean is the biggest prevention measure. A laptop is much more prone to heat damage because they are constructed so tightly. There isn't nearly as much convection cooling as is in a desktop. A little dust can really mess it up. I know this advice is a little late but maybe it will help with your next computer.

For ALL of you. Overheating is ALWAYS due to obstructed cooling vents. um..unless you overclock the processor and push it past its physical limits like my kid did with his last desktop. :)

JustJess
10-27-2008, 04:35 AM
Thanks Delarege-I never thought to vacuum it, wouldn't know where to put the vacuum! I know that when we started trying to diagnose the problem, it came up that we had an outdated Bios which was linked to overheating. Also there had been a recall on my model for start up problems (lights lit but no screen). Live and learn, next time I'll be better with maintenance.

geardrops
10-27-2008, 05:36 AM
For ALL of you. Overheating is ALWAYS due to obstructed cooling vents. um..unless you overclock the processor and push it past its physical limits like my kid did with his last desktop. :)

Certain companies (Toshiba) are worse about heating issues than others (Sony, Averatec, Acer).

I list those machines because I've had experience with them all :) I just want to make that known. Myself and several others whom I've known have all had heat problems with Toshiba, within months of purchase. Same use, new machine, and the heating problems seem to be nil. I really don't think it's me.

Del
10-27-2008, 10:32 AM
Thanks Delarege-I never thought to vacuum it, wouldn't know where to put the vacuum! I know that when we started trying to diagnose the problem, it came up that we had an outdated Bios which was linked to overheating. Also there had been a recall on my model for start up problems (lights lit but no screen). Live and learn, next time I'll be better with maintenance.

They tried the bios thing on me too. Problem still existed.

Vacuum out wherever air goes in...reverse the flow...with the computer turned OFF of course. I use a 5.5 horsepower shop vac...but that might be a bit strong for some lighter laptops. My HP is a desktop in a laptop case and built like a truck.

Also, HP at least, has intakes on the bottom of the unit. If you set it down and the fan sound changes, set it somewhere else. A flat surface is always best. Couch cushions block airflow.

Darzian
10-27-2008, 12:36 PM
I wouldn't blame a brand for one faulty computer. I've had 3 faulty Kingston RAMs in my life, but continue to buy Kingston. Why? It's a good brand- I just got unlucky.

Of course all were under warranty.

I've not heard of HPs overheating before, so dust/clogged air vents may be the prob. I've never even considered using a vacuum cleaner! Marvelous idea. I should try it some day.

Toshibas seem to have the most overheating issues. There was an amusing incident once, where a DELL lappy exploded (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1526424/Exploding-laptops-prompt-Dell-battery-recall.html) during a business meeting. Don't judge all DELLs on that!

Lady Cat
10-27-2008, 11:30 PM
If you're looking to avoid the distractions of the internet, you want a NEO by Alphasmart.

http://www.alphasmart.com/products/neo_IN.html

I've got both a desktop and a lap top and they're both just riddled with distractions: e-mail, games, AW, LOLcatz . . .

The NEO is both affordable and distraction free.

Phaeal
10-28-2008, 02:26 AM
Has anyone used a Dell mini-laptop? The ones with the 8 inch screen? I'm wondering if the screen is too hard on the eyes or the keyboard smaller than standard.

matdonna
10-28-2008, 03:47 AM
thanks everyone for the replies....it was good to hear about the overheating issues, that hadn't come up in my research before. The Neo looks like a grand idea but won't do for me, my lousy eyes need a decent sized screen. I will keep pondering.....

Del
10-28-2008, 05:09 AM
Has anyone used a Dell mini-laptop? The ones with the 8 inch screen? I'm wondering if the screen is too hard on the eyes or the keyboard smaller than standard.


They are so cool...but my eyes would suffer. What's the good of portability if you can only see three words on screen at a time. :)