Laptop shopping... what should I get?

So my poor laptop is now four-and-a-half years old. It’s been very good to me over the years, and I’ve been very happy with it. But it’s now reaching its golden years and it’s time to give it the dignified retirement it deserves.

So I’m looking for a new one. Here’s what I want:

[li]Durability. I want something that will last for a while. I don’t want to replace it in a few years because the hardware is physically breaking.[/li][li]Decent power. I run software like Adobe Audition, which is a resource hog, as well as MS Office, which is just bloatware. (I have to use Office, so no debates about Open Office versus Office Office.) It also needs to be able to multitask fairly well, because I often have live video teleconferences running simultaneously with the aforementioned Office and sometimes multiple browsers.[/li][li]A decent-sized hard drive. I have a 1 TB external hard drive for backups, so I can take stuff off and store it if I want to, but I’d like to have at least 500 GB to play with. The more, the merrier.[/li][li]USB ports. I have a lot of peripherals that run on USB and I don’t want to have to play Musical Ports.[/li][li]A built-in webcam.[/li][li]Price. I have some money to play with, but my last name isn’t Gates or Buffett, if you know what I mean.[/li][/ul]

The other stuff I need is standard with Windows, so it’s a non-issue. (Stuff like accessibility features for the visually-impaired and the like.) The other stuff is a function of improved technology, but battery life is important.

Here’s what I don’t care about:

[li]I don’t need a super-spiffy gaming computer. I run a lot of stuff simultaneously, but I don’t play graphics-intensive games or anything like that, at least not when I’ve got other stuff open.[/li][li]I have other devices for music and movies, and when I play audio or video, I do it through a decent-quality USB headset. For this reason, I don’t need a top-of-the-line audio system or separate headphone and microphone jacks.[/li][li]I don’t want a Mac. No debate is necessary; I just don’t want a Mac. Period, end of discussion, and I will reach through the Internet and dope-slap anyone who tries to start such a debate.[/li][/ul]

Everything else is negotiable and will be decided when I actually go to look.

Basically, I’m looking for a solid workhorse that will do what I want it to do, and do it gladly. I will entertain all suggestions and probably print the thread to take with me when I go to the store.

I don’t have an immediate suggestion but are you looking for something that’s a house computer you can take from room to room or a computer to carry with you on the go? In other words, how much do size and weight figure into your wants?

I am not an expert and I haven’t bought a PC laptop for four years, but I will share with you that my Dell Inspiron was a very, very bad purchase that I regret. It had battery problems starting from practically the second the one-year warranty ended. I ended up replacing the battery twice and it still didn’t help with the power supply issues. It wouldn’t ever charge properly. And the overheating was insane. If I wanted to do anything CPU-intensive on it, I literally had to keep a fan running directly on the back of the machine, and keep it elevated on a little platform thing. I’ve heard from other people that Dells have a lot of battery/overheating issues. I don’t know if it’s been solved in the intervening few years or not, but I’d look into it if I were thinking of buying one.

Laptops are almost commodity items anymore. I just bought a mid-range Gateway form my son to take to college. $268 total. If it lasts a year or gets stolen I’ll buy another one.
I was surprised not to see any Apple suggestions. Perhaps your price comments prevented anyone frm suggesting a $2200 laptop.
I shop Fty’s Electronis. Look for Saturday morning specials. Good hunting.

I have a wheeled bag, so size and weight aren’t really issues here. I look for overall comfort.

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Anything in the $700-$1K range should serve admirably.

Dont bother going to the store, they dont play nice with retailers, just order it from the company website.

Lenovo aquired IBM’s PC division in 2005. I have reccomended their machines to dozens of customers who have so far had zero complaints.

I seriously doubt you got anywhere close to “mid range” anything at that price point. Dramatic technology cuts are always made to make those “WalMart special” price points.

Wow. I’m currently on my Dell Latitude D610. I bought three of them years ago. My daughter still has hers at college. My son still has his as a backup for a desk top at his mom’s house. All three have been trouble free.

Yeah, it’s possible I just got a lemon. I did find a lot of other people online who had similar power supply/overheating difficulties, though. Maybe it was just a bad model year. Shrug.


Plus, Lenovo is always offering discounts. For example, see if they have any active- or ex-military discounts on top of their regular discounts. Also, check out the Lenovo Outlet. You ca buy brand new direct from them at really good to great discounts. I bought two brand new W700s last year at almost 50 percent off because the original purchasers did not go through with their sales. That means my computers never originally left the IBM in North Carolina (er Lenovo) but IBM (er Lenovo) has a policy that requires them to be discounted.

The Lenovo Outlet is hands-down the best way to buy a laptop if you don’t care how pretty it is. Lenovos don’t have the shiny glitzy cases that Dell and HP feature, but everything else is vastly superior.

Yes. Whenver anyone asks me which way to go with laptops I say apple or lenovo. Since, you’ve already eliminated the Apples. Lenovos is the best choice. Powerful machine, quite a few price points, quality parts, and good support. I don’t know how sturdy the Ideapads are, but the Thinkpads are awesome.

So, I agree with all of the Lenovo people.

And install extra memory and a SSD (Yes, you want one) yourself, it’s outrageous what manufacturers charge.

I find the lenovo think pads to be much better looking than the HPs or Dells so I guess there is no accounting for taste. I Love my ThinkPad X220.

I recommended this machine to my sister recently -

17", intel i5, 640gb har drive, 4gb RAM, Radeon 6550m = $679

She’s been pretty happy with it. She’s a gamer (WoW) and I seem to recall you are too, Ms. Robyn? Which means you’ll want some kind of graphics card.

That said, if I recalled incorrectly, you could swap that model with a discrete graphics card for a model with 4-8gb of ram instead, for about the same price.

Ruggedness and long-wear is mostly a question of how much traveling you do with it. Acer has an ok reputation. But I’d agree with TheBori that’s it probably better to not pay through the nose for a laptop today with the expectation of keeping it going for four years. I mean, you’ll probably get four years out of that Acer, no problem. But paying a lot of money for a laptop won’t guarantee it, no matter what brand you get.

I bought a high end Lenovo last winter on the recommendation of my department’s sysop and I am very happy with it. It does not have a hard drive but 128 GB silicon storage (the kind used in memory sticks). If I needed it, I would have an external hard drive that I wouldn’t carry with me. But in the meantime, it boots nearly instantaneously since no hard drive to read.

That’s my baby (mine is black). It’s a bit pricier than the other laptops (about $1000) in its range, but still the best in its range of the 13" laptops. The keyboard isn’t cramped and is very comfortable, 2 usb 2.0 and a USB 3.0 port, HDMI, card slots, and the first laptop with an optical drive for a long time for me. That link boasts 14 hours battery life…in reality for school I get clear past 7 hours, low brightness no sound with internet, and I’m still very impressed by it. Unless I’m at school all day, I don’t need to bring my charger with me.

I’ve heard good things about Sony computers, but I’m still of the opinion that durable and laptop are words that seldom fit in the same sentence. I ruin hard drives and AC pins like they’re going out of style. At least this one keeps telling me it’s got HD protection going on if I move the computer around while it’s on, so that’s one less thing that (may not) go kaput on me!

I looked at this one, and I looked at a Toshiba at Best Buy this afternoon. The Lenovo at Best Buy doesn’t have the super-spiffy graphics card, which is OK with me. I’m not that hard-core of a gamer, so I don’t need much of a graphics card, but I was impressed with the rest of it. The Toshiba was kind of cool, too, but when I checked some of the ratings and reviews, it didn’t score as high as the Lenovo. So I guess I’m getting a Lenovo.

Thanks, everyone! When I get it, I’ll let y’all know!

Anyway, I have a couple of reasons why I didn’t want a Mac. It’s not that I have any great hate for Apple or for Macs; I’ve got an iPad and I’ve had an iPod, after all, and I’ve used a Mac before with no problems. I just didn’t feel like paying twice the money for what is essentially the same computer, and I’ve got a lot of software that isn’t compatible with Mac. That’s all. :slight_smile:

Friends do not let friends go spend money at Best Buy.

My favorite laptop is a Lhasa Apso. :stuck_out_tongue: