Yet another "Help me buy a laptop" thread....

I’m planning on buying my wife a laptop for Christmas. I think she’d be fine with a netbook, except for the screen size, so I’m focusing on the 15.6" screen size that’s all over the place with 1366 x 768 resolution. I’m also specifically looking for Windows 7 as opposed to Vista, which we hate (I’ve seen a few cheaper ones with Vista). Beyond that, anything in this class seems more than sufficient in terms of RAM and hard drive (lets call 2 GB and 250 GB minimums). She’s not a gamer, so I don’t have any particular video requirements. I’d also want it to have built-in wireless networking (802.11G), but I think they all have this anymore.

I’d prefer one I can buy at a store, to avoid shipping it to our home, although now that I think about it, my laptop was shipped by mail anyway (about 4 years ago). Any ideas on this issue? Can they usually ship it to the store, for me to pick up?

I’m looking at this Toshiba, which is in the OfficeMax ad today. Is this a decent laptop? What’s a 1-eSATA/USB combo port? I assume all laptops come with battery and AC adapter, but that link doesn’t say so. The Toshiba site does, though.

I had been considering the Dell Inspiron 15, but after searching for laptop threads here, maybe not.

Any brands better/more reliable than others?

Not really too impressed with Toshiba build quality over the last few years. I used to be all Toshiba, but have moved away toward HP and Lenovo lately and IMO they are better built machines vs Toshiba. Lenovos (made IBM Thinkpads) are a bit more expensive (not much) but have terrific build quality, however, they are mainly available on the net (see Tiger Direct & Newegg) vs B&M stores. HP’s on sale/rebate at Staples or Best Buy are also good deals.

This HP would be OK. They have free delivery to the store, which would work well.

Here’s a Compaq Presario on sale. Wife likes a good sale.

Sister unit also on sale.

In 14.1" this unit’s also a nice deal

Here’s a good guide:

I don’t agree with his netbook recommendation(s) at all. (IMO) There are better overall netbooks out there for the money.

At the risk of angering the anti-Dell factions on this board, I will recommend the Dell Vostro series.

You can find them on the Dell website by clicking on the Small Business section.

My wife and I both have Vostros, I’ve recommended them to several of my clients, and not one of them has been disappointed.

Try the Vostro 1015. You can upgrade a few things, and it should fit into your budget very nicely.

ETA: I missed that you wanted to pick it up in a store, sorry. But I still highly recommend the Vostro line.

The Compaq Presario was out of stock yesterday, but was back in stock this morning, so I snapped it up. Thanks all.