Laptop advice wanted

I’m shipping out for my new job overseas in about six weeks, and while I’ve finished most of my necessary shopping I still haven’t purchased the most important item of all – a laptop.

I don’t need anything fancy, especially since I will probably want to get a new desktop system when I return to the US in a year or two. I’ll mostly be using this computer for Internet access, word processing, and game playing, but almost all the games I’m interested in are old favorites that I’ve played for years so I’m not worried about having the latest in speed/graphics capabilities. I don’t need a huge hard drive. I would like a CD/DVD player, and preferably a CD burner. Since my budget is limited, I don’t want to spend more than about $1000.

What is very important to me is reliability. Since I’ll be overseas, getting repairs may not be easy. Oh yes, I’m strictly a PC woman – no Macs.

I’ve already hit several of the local computer stores and have been looking around online, but since I’ve never purchased a laptop before I’m feeling a little lost. Can anyone give me advice or suggestions for finding good deals on reliable, mid-range laptops?

Why not get two identical refurbished machines and keep one as a spare. You could get a USB CD Burner and move it between the two. Make sure you can get a charger that works in the country you’ll be living in.

You can pick up nice Toshibas and Compaqs (ie 2.0 Ghz Celeron or 1.6 Athlon /15 inch screen/30-40 gig drive/256meg ram etc etc) for about $ 800 with rebates. Virtually all modern notebook PS’s are international voltage compatible. The only thing to consider is what AC plug or telephone adapters you might need in the country you are going to. The Compaq 2170 at Circuit City with rebates can be had for about 750-800 dollars after rebates. IMO it’s about the best deal out there and is a fairly reliable machine.

ONLY buy it if you can get the $250-$300 in combined rebates. CC runs these deals about once a month or so.

Whereabouts are you going overseas? Dell and Toshiba both offer decent International warranties (check this when you buy as it might be an add on).

I work in IT in the UK, and Dell have fixed our user’s UK laptops all over Europe, the US, Canada and Aus.

I swear, I thought you were asking for “lap dance” advice. Sheesh!

astro, I don’t know how would they get a rebate sent to him overseas? deal forum all have specials that change daily. e.g.
Inspiron 1100 Notebook Celeron 2Ghz 128MB/20GB, Free CDRW/DVD, 14.1" Screen, XP Home $799 - $100 rebate = $699 shipped free

I have a Dell that I paid about $1000 for, including shipping. I have never had any problems with it, and I have had it for a year and a half. It has never even frozen on me.

Dell runs a lot of good deals, despite their incredibly annoying ad campaigns. We have a desktop from them which we love and have just ordered a laptop when they were running their free shipping/free drive upgrade (from CD-ROM to CD-R/DVD)/$100 mail-in rebate (essentially the one handy details but we upgraded the memory a little bit(just to 256), purchased the works suite, and the accident protection…with our final before rebate price being $927. Detailed gobbleygook below, just in case you find it a useful reference. The promotion we purchased under ended, but Dell has essentially the same deals going all the time, they just call them something different. Plus, with Dell you’re not paying local sales tax. Then again, you might like supporting your local community through sales tax, I dunno, but we liked saving the 7.75%.
Happy hunting!
Intel® Celeron® Processor,2.0GHz,14.1 XGA Qty: 1 Unit Price: 927.00

Floppy Drive and Additional Storage Devices No Floppy Drive

[free intro stuff]Multi-Media Players RealOne™ Player, with 14 day SuperPass trial
Security Software Dell SecurityCenter by McAfee, 90-day introductory offer
Digital Music Dell Jukebox powered by MUSICMATCH [/free intro stuff–the musicmatch program sucks and tries to take over your computer, just delete it and use WinMediaPlayer IMHO, although watch your settings in the install wizard and make sure you don’t have it set up to send all your listening habit info etc. to Windows; it’s default set NOT TO, but double-check, unless you like giving “the man” free marketing info.]

Limited Warranty, Services and Support Options 1 Year Limited Warranty plus 1 Year Mail-In Service

Productivity Software Microsoft® Works Suite 2003 with Money 2003

Operating System Microsoft® Windows® XP Home

Memory 256MB Shared DDR,266Mhz,2 Dimms,PC2100 SDRAM

CompleteCare Accidental Damage Service Add CompleteCare Accidental Damage Protection to 1Yr Lim Warranty

Primary Battery 65WHr Lithium Ion Primary Battery

Hard Drives 20GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive

Network Adapters Integrated Network Card

Fixed CD/DVD Drives FREE 24X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive Upgrade! (from CD-ROM)

Digital Photography Dell Picture Studio, Image Expert® Standard

Modem Internal 56K Modem

Mail-In Rebate Offer SAVE $100 with mail-in rebate! System price shown before rebate

Dial-Up Internet Access 6 Months America Online Internet Access Included

Sub-Total $927.00

Shipping $49.00

Shipping Discount -$49.00

Estimated Tax $0.00

Total Price $927.00

Interestingly I had occasion to confirm this the other day. Circuit City and Compaq will mail rebates overseas to anywhere the USPS delivers.

I just bought This one from Circuit City a few months ago, and I love it. After rebates, it came in just under $1000. I always try and go with a middle of the road type system. Not the most expensive, not the least expensive, but someplace in the middle. Also, if you have time, shop around at CC and Best Buy, and look at thier display models, sometimes you can get one of them for $100 to $200 off regulare price. Good Luck.

Stay away from Toshiba if you can. I bought one of their laptops brand new from them in April, and it stopped working in May. I sent it to them for repair in early June and they finally sent me a new computer in early August since they lost my original one. The customer service is terrible and they repeatedly lied to me about what happend to my laptop and even tried to tell me that I never sent it to them. The next time I purchase a computer it will be a Dell.