Which of the following laptops/netbooks would you rec? (Also a tech question...)

My sister’s doing some spur-of-the-moment computer shopping and she wants to buy from QVC. Yes, yes, I know. But it’s simple to buy there, they offer nice easy-pay options and perhaps most important, their customer service is excellent, in my experience. While there are better places to buy technology, for her purposes I think this is a good option.

So if possible, try not to be too judgey, with lots of “well she SHOULD be buying from ____” or “QVC/Dell sucks, what an idiot!” or “why not build her own machine?” responses. This is the route she’s going, so we might as well stay on point. :slight_smile:

Anyway, from among the Dell systems linked below, which would you recommend? She has a desktop already; this would be a ‘traveling’ computer, which she could take to class or on vacation, or just use while lazing in a park somewhere.

The Comparison Chart.

Personally I think I’d go with either #1, #2 or #5, though the latter is much heavier than the other options. Also, and here’s my tech question:

#5 lists an ethernet connection versus the wireless LAN options that the others have. Is it possible that this means it requires a cable connection? Isn’t the point of a laptop being that you can use it while traveling? (I’m strictly desktop so I don’t know much about that stuff.)

#3 is clearly the lowest spec of the bunch and is much less use as an alternate should something happen to her desktop. The tiny weight is impressive though, but I don’t think she should go with a system that doesn’t allow for a DVD.

I don’t even know the prices on these systems, btw. What do you think?

I own all these screen sizes from various manufacturers and am familiar with tote-ability.

17" is way too big and heavy to be an easy traveling computer. A 14 inch unit is typically a good screen size for traveling around without getting into netbook territory.

5 does specify it has wireless “•Dell 1397 b/g wireless”.

Having said this, and despite your entreaty not to comment, I will note that those prices are f***ing cuckoo for cocoa puffs, and are 30% to 50% higher than the same spec notebooks from manufacturers of equivalent (or better IMO) quality can be gotten via your weekly Staples, Best Buy etc units on sale + rebate deals. Plus with those you can actually do a hands on evaluation to make sure you like the screen size, keyboards etc.

On mine, that’s number 4, which is the one I like. It’s got the graphics card of #1, but also has the DVD drive you want. You actually get the 4GB memory instead of the ominous “up to” crap (as that usually means you get less), You get a slightly smaller screen, but the resolution is better. You get a faster processor, and a longer warranty.

Then again, looking at prices, it’s the most expensive one there. But, since you’re going with QVC, I assume price is not that big a deal to you. If it is, go with #2, especially if you don’t expect her to ever want to game on it (Intel graphics suck for that). It’s close enough to the same specs as #4, but almost half the price.

NETA: #5 does have wireless in the FAQ. But it’s very large and heavy. I think it’s more of a workstation type that can be made portable. Plus, it’s got the icky Intel Graphics.

Oh, and I’m going from left to right. I think it possible astro was going the other way. It would explain the discrepancy on the wireless line.

Thanks! Well now I’m all kindsa confused, figuring out which numbers match which computer. BigT, doesn’t #5 (going left to right) have “Accelerator X4500 HD integrated graphics”? The only Intel graphics cards I see are on #2 and #3.

Both you and astro are so right about the prices! My sister’s mostly being seduced by the Easy Pay option, since while she can’t afford laying out $800 - $1400 all at once, she can see paying $299 a month for ___ months. “Easy low payments” is a siren call that beckons to many of us, I fear. Also she likes the pink covers. (And this is an extremely intelligent, serious-minded woman. Honest! :D)

I’ll do some more looking around, though. Maybe I can convince her to save up and find a more reasonably-priced unit that, yes, offers a cover in fashion colors. But just in case, I’d like to find one of these that I can recommend with good conscience.

Instead of going the left/right route, maybe it’ll be easier to just use the model numbers. Ah screw it, I’ll just copy the specs and prices, as I should’ve done in the OP. Sorry about that guys:

E212469 - Studio

Includes notebook, lithium-ion battery, AC adapter, and manual
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor T6600
15.6" diagonal HD+ bright TrueLife LED display with 900p resolution
6GB shared dual-channel DDR2 RAM
500GB 7200 RPM hard drive
Blu-ray/DVD/CD combo drive
802.11n wireless LAN
10/100/1000 ethernet
Two USB 2.0 ports
USB/eSATA combo port
HDMI port
Four-pin IEEE 1394 port
15-pin VGA port
RJ-45 port
AC adapter connector
Line-in/line-out, microphone jacks
ExpressCard/34 slot
Genuine Windows Home Premium, 64-bit
Measures approximately 14-5/8"W x 10"D x 1-1/2"H
UL listed adapter; 1-year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty
Cost: $1279.96

E212463 - Inspiron

Includes notebook, six-cell battery, and AC adapter
2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor T6600
14" diagonal glossy widescreen WLED display with 720p resolution
4GB shared dual-channel DDR2 RAM
320GB 5400 RPM hard drive
CD/DVD+/-RW drive
Dell 2GB DataSafe online backup/storage for one year
Intel 5100 wireless-N mini-card
Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
Integrated Intel high-definition audio 2.0
Built-in 1.3 megapixel Web cam with facial-recognition capability
10/100 ethernet
Standard keyboard
3-year Computrace LoJack theft protection
7-in-1 media card reader
Three USB 2.0 ports
VGA, RJ-45 ports
Microphone, line-out jacks
ExpressCard/34 slot
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit
MS Works Plus 2008, with Word 2003
15 months of McAfee Security Center
Power DVD
Measures approximately 13-1/4"W x 9-3/8"D x 1-1/2"H
UL listed adapter; 1-year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty
Cost: $799.96

E165284 - Inspiron

1.6GHz Intel Atom processor N270
10.1" diagonal glossy WSVGA LED display with 1024x576 resolution
160GB 5400 RPM SATA hard drive
2GB online storage with Box.net
802.11g wireless LAN
Integrated Intel 945GSE UMA Graphics Media Accelerator
Integrated stereo sound
Built-in stereo speakers
1.3 megapixel Web cam
Integrated 10/100 ethernet
3-year LoJack theft protection
3-in-1 memory card reader: compatible with SD/SDHC, MMC, MS
Three USB 2.0 ports
RJ-45, VGA ports
Two audio jacks
Genuine Windows XP Home Edition, SP3
Microsoft Works 9.0; Word not included
24 months of McAfee Security Center
Approximate measurements: Closed 10-1/2"L x 7-1/8"W x 1"H; Open 7-1/2"H
UL listed adapter; 2-year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty with in-home service
Cost: $479.00

(I just noticed this is a Nickelodeon netbook – it’s got Slime on it! HEE! I can just imagine my 45-year-old sister going off to NYU for her masters in social work shlepping around a Slime-covered netbook!)

E200857 - Studio XPS

Includes notebook, six-cell lithium-ion battery, AC adapter, Creative noise-isolation earbuds, manual, and setup diagram
2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor P8600
13.3" diagonal glossy widescreen display with 1280x800 resolution
4GB shared dual-channel DDR3 SDRAM
320GB hard drive
Slot-loading CD/DVD+/-RW writer
Dell 10GB DataSafe online backup/storage
Dell 1397 wireless-G mini card
NVIDIA GeForce MCP79MX graphics card
Integrated Intel high-definition audio 2.0
Built-in 2.0 megapixel Web cam
Facial-recognition software
8-in-1 media card reader
3-year Computrace LoJack theft protection
Two USB 2.0 ports
HDMI, VGA, IEEE 1394a, RJ-45 ports
Two audio line-out jacks
Microphone input
AC adapter connector
ExpressCard/54 slot
Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium, SP1
MS Works 9
15 months of McAfee Security Center
Power DVD
Roxio Creator 10 Dell Edition
Measures approximately 12-1/2"W x 9-1/4"D x 7/8"H
UL listed adapter; 3-year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty

Cost: $1369.96

E165863 - Inspiron

Includes notebook, 9-cell battery, AC adapter, manual
17.3" high-definition WLED display with TrueLife (1600x900, 900p)
Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo processor T6600 (2.20GHz, 800MHz)
Intel Cantiga GM45 chipset
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium OS, 64 bit
4GB shared DDR2 SD RAM
320GB SATA hard drive
DVD+/-RW with double-layer DVD+R write capability burns/plays CDs and DVDs
Intel Graphics Media
Accelerator X4500 HD integrated graphics
7-in-1 memory card reader (card not included)
Built-in 1.3MP Web cam
Dell 1397 b/g wireless
Integrated 10/100 ethernet
Intel high-def audio 2.0
Ports: AC adapter connection, integrated network connector 10/100 LAN RJ45, three USB 2.0 compliant 4-pin connectors, VGA video output, 34mm express card slot, line out audio, line in microphone
2GB DataSafe online backup and sharing, 1 year
LoJack, 1 year
McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010, 3 years
Measurements: closed, 16-1/2"W x 1-1/2"H x 11"D; weighs 7 lbs
UL listed adapter; 1-year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty
Cost: $1165

So of these, you seem to gravitate to the E200857 - Studio XPS, is that right, BigT? I wonder why this costs more than the others. The only reason I wasn’t thrilled about this one is that it’s Vista, rather than Win 7. In fairness I’m using Vista myself and I’ve never had a problem with it, the way so many others have.

You’re looking in the wrong place on the Dell website for affordable machines. Look under Small Business and the Vostro series. I own two Vostros and wouldn’t buy anything else.

Here would be my selection for you:

Vostro 1015

My System Details
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, with Media, 32-bit, English
No Pre-installed Productivity Software
1 Year Basic Limited Warranty plus 1 Year Mail-in Service
No Onsite System Setup
My Services & Warranties
No DataSafe
Also Included
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T6570 w/VT (2.1GHz, 2M L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
Obsidian Black LCD back cover
3GB Single Channel Shared DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz, 2 DIMM
320GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
15.6 inch Anti-Glare LED Display
8X DVD+/-RW with double-layer DVD+/-R write capability, Roxio and Cyberlink PowerDVD™ DX 8.2
Trend Micro Internet Security, 30-day trial
Intel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
Wireless Network Card 802.11 b/g/n
2.0MP WebCam Included,1015
Vostro 1015 Config 18
6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
Purchase is Not Intended for Resale
Intel Core 2 Duo Label
US Keyboard and Documentation
65W AC Adapter
Dell Resource DVD, Vostro 1015

Price as stated: $569