View Full Version : Recommend a good, reliable laptop...

02-13-2009, 08:39 PM
Ok, so I'm working a lot of overtime now and with the extra money I've decided that it's time to buy a new computer. My current laptop is only 2 years old, but it's a cheap Walmart laptop that I thought (at the time of buying it) wasn't going to become my primary computer because I had a desktop at the time (ain't divorce grand? lol). So it's getting slow and unreliable. It's not totally ridiculous yet, but it's performance has dropped off considerably in the past few months and even after a complete wipe of the hard drive it still hasn't improved much, so I'm realizing that it's the specs that are getting outdated and it's just time to upgrade, especially now that I have some extra money to spend.

I want to get a really good laptop. I'm going to go bonkers and shoot for a bit of overkill so that it'll last me longer than 2 years. No, I don't want a desktop and will never go back to a desktop again simply because I love the convenience of a laptop. So it's going to be my primary computer.

Things that I HAVE to have:

3 to 4 gigs of RAM (overkill for now, but in 2 years it won't be)
Intel processor (at least 2 ghtz processor)
250 to 320 Gig hard drive
DVD capability
Wireless connection
Decent battery life (and capability to hook it up to electric outlet)

Wish list (things that I don't REALLY need but would like to have):

Windows XP downgrade (more liek upgrade amirite?)
Bluetooth capability
Built in microphone
DVD/CD burner
Multiple USB ports

That's all I can think of for now. Cost isn't a MAJOR issue, but I'd like to find it for under $1000. I'm probably wishful thinking with this, but ideal range would be about $700-$800. But given what I want above, I'm sure that'll be kind of tough.

My ideal brands (in order of what I'd like):

1. Dell
2. Sony
3. HP

So, give me your input. What do you guys have and what have you been really satisfied with?

Clair Dickson
02-13-2009, 09:15 PM
Not to be contrary (well, maybe ;-) but outdated specs shouldn't slow the overall ability of the computer. It could be you're starting to see hardware failure-- a glitchy USB or a bad harddrive sector that it keeps trying to read are things that could cause a slow down, but usually, in my experience, it's a software issue. Something is using up your processor speed. (Task Manager can help you figure it out.) Often times it's spy/mal ware. Or if you have a virus scanner like Symantec, some of those will max the virus scanner, rather randomly too.

But I do also understand the desire to buy a nice new machine that's all shiny and ready for action.

Good is really subjective. Most of the specs you listed are, far as I know, standard. Except decent battery life. I've never found a laptop with what I would call decent battery life. Mine gets maybe an hour if I'm using the USB, 1/2 hr if I'm using the wifi (or forget to turn it off while on battery.) I have a Toshiba Sattellite. Nice computer. I like the wide keyboard and the rectangle screen. But it's kind of big. I'll see how it compares with the IBM Thinkpad my newest job just sent me.

Get something durable. I'd recommend going to Best Buy (etc) and playing with their displays to compare the keyboards and mouse/touchpad/etcs. I hate typing on my laptop keyboard. It feels to flimsy (and it doesn't register the space bar if hit with the right-hand thumb, unless his JUST RIGHT. Grr.) If you growl at the Best Buy people they usually go away.

That's all I have for recommendation. I'm sure others will come along with more specific suggestions. Sorry if you don't find any of this helpful. =/

Ol' Fashioned Girl
02-13-2009, 09:19 PM
I've got a Tosiba Satellite, too. Been very happy with it.

02-13-2009, 09:56 PM
It does not look like you need powerful graphics. If so, I recommend a DELL Inspiron. They'd good and DELL has an online offer. (http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dndopm1&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=features~laptops_great_deals)

The price is $874 but they're giving $205 so it'll cost you $579 with the following specs:

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T6400 (2.0GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache)

Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic Edition SP1

Jet Black
Microsoft Works

1Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis

Glossy, widescreen 15.4 inch display (1280x800)

3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 (2 Dimms)

Size: 320GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)

Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100

CD / DVD Writer (DVD+/-RW Drive)

Dell Wireless 1395 802.11g Mini-Card

No Webcam Option

6 cell battery

High Definition Audio 2.0

Hope it helps. :)

ETA: Do NOT buy this for gaming/video editing. It has integrated graphics and will disappoint you in heavy graphics work.

02-13-2009, 09:56 PM
I have two HPs I'm happy with.

Storm Dream
02-13-2009, 10:59 PM
I've had two HP laptops that I like very much.

You can "downgrade" to XP, but you have to pick up all the various drivers (by now, I'm sure there are "download packages" -- legalities may vary, though...)

Haven't had a problem with Vista on this laptop, though. Maybe I got it after they ironed out most of the bugs.

Most modern laptops should come with all your requirements. The only exception I can think of is that they're still a little behind on the hard drive size -- you'll pay substantially more for a lappy with 250+ gigs than a 160 gig one, even if all other specs are identical.

02-13-2009, 11:07 PM
I would second the Toshiba Satelitte recommendation. Toshibas are a slightly heavy and boxy machine but they are very reliable and very hardy. I have had several and stopped using them only due to them becoming obsolete, all of them are still fully functional. I have also found that the basic satelitte is noticeably cheaper than other laptops with the same specs and it is up to date with all the slots, mic and wifi etc, and 4 USB ports.

My experience with Dell has been mostly negative, but HPs can also be very good.

02-13-2009, 11:13 PM
Ha ha, the cheap laptop I have right now is actually a Toshiba.

I have to say that it's been a decent enough computer (and it is pretty user friendly and up to date with the USB ports and what not).

But mine has always been a little slow.

02-13-2009, 11:21 PM
I would suggest you might have malware or something like that. A Toshiba Sat. should be pretty zippy and they are easier to keep that way than most. I would suggest having it fully serviced, which may be pricey but if the machine is less than three years old and a Sat. it is probably fully up to spec and should work as well as what is on the market now.

02-13-2009, 11:30 PM
if Dell tops your list, head over to the website and build one. Compare with Staples price, as well. I have a Dell desktop that's been reliable since 2003, although it is slow compared to my laptop (ThinkPad). And yes, it was an upgrade to get XP over Vista. :)

02-13-2009, 11:33 PM
My last Dell desktop almost caught fire (scorched carpet) when I left it plugged in but turned off overnight. Their response: we advise you not to leave your computer plugged in.

Clair Dickson
02-13-2009, 11:56 PM
My last Dell desktop almost caught fire (scorched carpet) when I left it plugged in but turned off overnight. Their response: we advise you not to leave your computer plugged in.

Maybe it had one of those recalled batteries... Dell had a battery recall. Other companies have too. My Toshiba would get dreadfully hot. I bought a cooling pad to help with that. Then opened 'er up and blew all the dust out. Then found out that my battery is on the recall list. Cool. Still haven't replaced it... but without the dust inside it no longer gets hot enough to trip the safety and reboot.

(NOTE: It's important to clean the dust out of computers every so often. Computers don't like dust. Open your case and blow with compressed air or even take a small paint brush. My desktop machine had dust elephants.)

02-14-2009, 03:28 AM
I wouldn't recommend Dell. I know A LOT of people who've had serious issues with their laptops. # had to replace theirs 3 times before the warranty ran out. Check google for Dell problems and be prepared.

I have a Toshiba and it's great. Good price and excellent features. The only thing it doesn't have is bluetooth which I didn't think I'd need but now wish I had so I could use wireless speakers.

Check online for some prices. The specs you listed are pretty standard. And you're gonna need at least 3G ram if you're sporting Vista. Just letting you know.

Try Pricegrabber (http://www.pricegrabber.com/)or even Best Buy (http://bestbuy.com).

02-14-2009, 04:23 AM
I like my Dell. I have a refurb laptop that I bought from the outlet. So far it has served me well. Refurb laptops usually allow you to get some better specs at a cheaper price.