Print Story Ask Husi: Laptops
Technology
By R343L (Sun Apr 16, 2006 at 07:03:56 PM EST) laptop, computer (all tags)
So, as I seem to find most of you trustworthy, knowledgeable people, I'm going to mooch off your brains.

What is a good laptop brand?



The hubby's laptop (a dell inspiron 1150) is dying a horrible death. It is probably a known problem with the chassis (used in 1150s and 5150s) where connections on the motherboard are very sensitive to how you grasp the machine. I had opened it up to clean it out (it had been flakey possibly from overheating or a loose lcd connection). After I put it together, it booted fine once, so I thought it was okay. But not too long after it died again. Now, it whirs up a bit then stops (fan spins for a few seconds, then it stops). This is probably fixable, but not quickly and I'm not sure it would be trustworthy again.

Thus, the question. What brand or models do husites consider trustworthy? Price isn't a huge object (i.e. I don't need to get one of the cheapies under US$1000), but I'm not really going to smack down for some ultra-pricey thing either. Husband mostly takes notes and writes on it, but likes having some multimedia ability on it. DVD/CD+RW is pretty essential as that's how we usually do backups. Other than that, it's pretty wide open (well, no apples, as the husband has a hate against them.)

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Ask Husi: Laptops | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Why teh Apple Hate? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 3) #1 Sun Apr 16, 2006 at 08:00:54 PM EST
Y'know, I used to be a Pee-Cee user, but now that I THINK DIFFERENT, my productivity has shot up about 400% PRAISEJOBS.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

IAWTP by Rogerborg (4.00 / 3) #6 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 01:14:07 AM EST
Only with about 90% less sarcasm.  Unless you have some shit that you really need to run on a WinTel, buy a new or slightly used Mac and an extended warranty.

-
Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
lenovo by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Apr 16, 2006 at 09:03:33 PM EST
Avoid dell at all costs.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

Yes! by blixco (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 02:57:06 AM EST
Except that five of seven Thinkpads in my office have failed after roughly 8 months of road warrior use.  System board failures, power supply failures, cd-rom failures, screen failures, you name it.

Te other two are flaky.

And the only good thing is, you can submit and manage service calls via a web site, vs having to wait for Dell to pass you to eighty layers of impossible-to-understand tech support.

I'm heartbroken by these failures.  From many different batches, purchased at many seperate times.  My T43 has been awesome, but one of my users has a T43 that died just this morning.

So we're evaluating the new Dell dual core Latitude.  Latitudes tend toward more hours in testing, less cutting edge stuff, and have a good rep with test techs at Dell.  But I really don't know, now, who to go with.  Winbook?  Apple?  I just don't know.
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Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

[ Parent ]
I am not a fan of stinkpads by cam (4.00 / 1) #12 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 04:02:19 AM EST
I have had multiple ones fail on me. I am gun-shy now, but my wife still likes them.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
odd by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:35:17 AM EST
all our laptops are thinkpads, and only one failure that I know of in about 3 years.. (Granted, I don't support 'em). Also, most folks take 'em home at night, but we're rare travelers.

I like mine, t42, nice weight/feature/size ratios.

[ Parent ]
Are they by blixco (4.00 / 1) #19 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:39:27 AM EST
post-Lenovo?  All of the ones that have failed us, are.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
How would one know ? by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:17:07 AM EST
I mean, it's got the big IBM logo on it etc. and drivers come from ibm.com, so ... ?

[ Parent ]
When they were purchased. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:30:17 AM EST
As far as I know, Lenovo has been handling complete manufacture and supply since about a year ago (May, 2005), previous to that they did manufacture and some supply, though the manufacture was to IBM specs.
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Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
Brilliantly helpful post by theantix (4.00 / 3) #3 Sun Apr 16, 2006 at 09:19:02 PM EST
I'd suggest Apple (which you said you didn't want and tiammoniacal already suggested, or Lenovo which MillMan already suggested.  And also as MillMan suggested, stay away from Dell.

Basically, don't buy something with the greatest CPU but get at least 1G of RAM and a three year warranty because I promise you it'll break the day after your warranty expires, and it will cost hundreds of dollars to fix.

____________________________________
You sir, are worse than Hitler.

My words precisely by thunderbee (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Apr 16, 2006 at 10:53:38 PM EST
I couldn't have put it better.

[ Parent ]
see, I was stupid at the time by R343L (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 04:02:07 AM EST
My work dell was fine. Workhorse. No problems at all.

So I didn't get the the 3-year warranty. In any case, it kind of galls to think of paying extra for a warranty. If it it doesn't last three years, there is something wrong.

Oh well. Live and learn.

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
I have to recommend by Herring (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 01:08:06 AM EST
Osborne.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
Not right now. by ObviousTroll (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:47:54 AM EST
I hear they have a new model coming out real soon now.

--
You're no good to me dead. Even half-alive would be socially awkward. - Hugh MacLeod
[ Parent ]
WIPO: Apple by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 3) #7 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 02:04:59 AM EST
Shit, they even run widows now.

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.
Indeed. by blixco (4.00 / 3) #9 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 02:58:01 AM EST
Damn fine hardware.  Te only manufacturer out there that I know of that doesn't use the same supplier for systemboards that Dell, HPaq and Lenovo use.
---------------------------------
Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco
[ Parent ]
Apple, by blixco (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 03:26:03 AM EST
unless you don't want bulletproof OS with (now that they've worked the kinks out) really good hardware.  It'll run windows.

Otherwise, I'd start looking toward Fujitsu or Panasonic.  Fujitsu Lifebooks are pretty cool, and they have good support.  I like Gateway, and a friend at Dell has a Gateway tablet that he loves.  Hasn't had any prolems with it at all.  You have to understand, though: Dell, Gateway, HP / Compaq, and to a certain extent Lenovo (plus a couple of others) all get their systems from the same manufacturer.  When I was working at Dell, I had a few assignments to work with the desktop and portables guys (I worked in server test, but we'd get loaned out quite a bit).  The Dell systems with the best reputations were Latitude (for notebooks) and Precision (for desktops).  The Precision notebook was not very well regarded; too big, too hot, too heavy.

Anyhow.  It'll be whoever has the best support.  Lenovo has good support...I've had to use it a LOT lately.  Or you can buy an Apple and just sort of never think about it again.
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Taken out of context I must seem so strange - Ani DiFranco

To add to the Apple suggestion by cam (4.00 / 2) #13 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 04:03:58 AM EST
you can get refurbished ones from the Apple Store pretty cheaply. It is not uncommon to see iBooks for $850 there.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
perhaps I must start convincing by R343L (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 04:05:52 AM EST
I've suggested apples before to the husband because the thing that annoys him most is an irregular, undependeable computer. But unfortunately, he had to use some god-forsaken misconfigured piece of crap in some apple lab in college and hates them now. Don't know how they messed up an apple that badly.

The latitudes are good (I'm typing on one!) But for some reason I didn't get the husband one.

:(

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Get another Dell by greyrat (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 04:14:41 AM EST
but not an Inspiron. Get a Latitude instead. That's the business class machine from Dell. Much more robust.

Re: Apple by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #16 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 05:14:04 AM EST
Just in case you get the impression that Apples are perfect, I wanted to point out that they can't take a 50 lb. dog jumping on them. Also, the letters on my keyboard rubbed off after a year or so of working it hard. That said, with the extended three-year warranty (which I think cost something in the neighborhood of $100), they completely fixed my broken iBook, replaced the keys on the keyboard that had rubbed off, and had it back to me in about a week. Free of charge - I didn't even pay for shipping.

More seriously, iGrrrl's 3-ish year old iBook has had some problems with the logic board, but even though it's technically out of warranty, they replaced it free of charge. My experiences with Apple service have been exceptional, and I am pretty rough on my computers. The laptops aren't perfect, but they're far better than anything else I've owned.
--
I've got more than one membership to more than one club, and I owe my life to the people that I love. - Ani DiFranco

wouldn't expect dog jumping by R343L (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:31:42 AM EST
But at least heavy use on a lap over time (the inspirons apparently have trouble with the case flexing if used on laps, etc. and causing problems on the board. uh, oops.)

Maybe I can convince the hubby though...

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Lap use. by edward (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:15:27 PM EST
If you're looking for a laptop that can actually be used on a soft cloth/skin surface for long periods, that pretty much discounts almost every normal laptop out there. Whether it's an Apple or a Dell, operating a laptop in that fashion is against the manufacturer's instructions. You'll need a computer based on a ULV Pentium M for that. Check out the Fujitsu Lifebook ultra-portable series, or Panasonic's Toughbook ultra-portables.

By specifications, you must allow air to flow around the bottom of the computer for most laptops, and placing them on a soft surface prevents that proper airflow, and they will run hotter than they are supposed to. This will shorten the life of the computer and can discolour the LCD along the bottom of the screen where heat-generating components usually sit under the keyboard.

I actually find that my G4-based PowerBook runs very cool when on battery power and the processor speed is set to "reduced" in the Power/Energy Saver preferences, usually cool enough to sit on my lap, but I wouldn't recommend it.

[ Parent ]
Dell by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 06:12:33 AM EST
I would refuse to buy Lenovo for stupid cardboard-patriotic reasons.  Don't bother lecturing me on how all the parts come from Asia anyway so it doesn't really matter (matter matter matter) where the company is headquartered.  It just feels dirty to buy from the company that IBM sold out to.

Anyway, Dell laptops are about as high quality as you can find outside of Apple.  Since Apples are now Intel-based and run Windows, I would strongly consider an Apple, but if not, so be it.  And nobody is perfect or bulletproof; if you use something every day that has moving parts you can kind of expect something to fail at some point.  Sony laptops are also pretty cool, but may be too "closed" for your tastes, plus the batteries die and cost too much to replace.

Dell. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #27 Tue Apr 18, 2006 at 02:05:15 AM EST
That's the Latitudes, not the Inspirons, I take it you forgot to mention.

[ Parent ]
Probably by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #28 Tue Apr 18, 2006 at 11:28:40 AM EST
I think anybody can come up with a horror story about something as complex and hard-used as a laptop.  I agree with blixco in that it's not a question of whether it will need service, it's a question of how annoying that service experience will be.

[ Parent ]
I'm very happy with Fujitsu: by crux (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 07:14:04 AM EST
Here were my considerations when I was shopping a year ago: Overall, big thumbs up so far.

metal case! by R343L (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Apr 17, 2006 at 08:35:07 AM EST
What a good idea. :)

Rachael

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

[ Parent ]
Ask Husi: Laptops | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback