Laptop Shopping Advice

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by oleada, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    Wise, computer savvy FSU-ers, I need your help.

    I'm looking to buy a new laptop this winter, around Christmas time. I'm a PC person, and not interested in going for a Mac. I'm really interested in a Sony Vaio, since they have good reliability and seem well-made, by what I've researched; everyone who owns one seems to love it and they come in pretty colors (a big draw, not going to lie). Specifically, I was looking at the E series. The EA 14" inch is my first choice at the moment, but I'm open to other options.

    I guess my real questions are:

    1. What laptop do you have and do you like it? Especially if you have a Sony, but I'm open to other options, particularly interested in Toshiba & Asus. Do you like their customer service?
    2. What do I really *need*? I tend to get carried away when I get all the options. Do I really *need* 500 GB of hard drive? Do I need the more expensive graphic cards? For reference: I only use my laptop for FSU, Facebook, homework, iTunes and so forth. The only game I ever play is Sims 3, so I'd like my laptop to run that (but my current laptop runs it fairly well, so not too worried on that front).

    I currently have a Dell. I've been a Dell costumer for pretty much my entire life, but I'm very frustrated with my current laptop. It's so cheaply made, and overheats easily. It's literally splitting open. I've had great customer service from them, though. But I'd rather not get another Dell.

    Thanks for reading :)
  2. Allen

    Allen Glad to be back!

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    I have a Mac now, but I had a Toshiba before and a Dell before that. I wouldn't recommend a Toshiba. The one I had before I got my macbook pro froze constantly and would take upwards of five minutes to load up. It also overheated quite a bit. I can't comment on a Sony, but I would not recommend a Toshiba.
  3. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    I've heard great things about Sony and am considering them for my next computer. I had a toshiba for 3 years, and my only complaint was the fan which was very loud and overheated, but in spite of it being very hot and noisy, the computer worked fine. I replaced it 2 years ago and had heard the newer toshibas were better, but I don't know.

    I currently have an Asus. It's about 2 years old, and for nearly 2 years it worked like a dream. A month before the warranty was up, the dvd drive stopped working. This is a generic part that has nothing to do with Asus and could happen in any computer, so even with that broken I would have still recommended them. BUT - I'm not in the US. You need someone in the US to advise you on the service there, because the sevice I got in Europe was AWFUL.

    They took 6 weeks to replace my dvd drive and 6 other parts that were fine when I sent it, and when I finally got it back the dvd drive was new, but defectie, and they'd broken the mic trying to get the new parts in. I'm still furious about this.

    It would seem that Asus in Europe outsource their repairs to another company, so I've got an apology out of Asus but my only options for fixing it are to send it back to the repair centre that ruined it, or wait 2 weeks till I move to the UK to get it repaired there. I've chosen option 2. I don't THINK the UK service centre can be worse than the one I've just encountered, but I can't be sure... ;)

    Point being, service is everything. Asus has a 2 year international warranty, comes with an extra battery, bag and mouse. All of that is pretty impressive, but if the service in your area isn't good then it's not something you want to buy.

    Then again, Mac service in Europe isn't great either and it is in the US, so you really need to find out more about Asus service in the US. If they do their own repairs there then I don't think you can go wrong.
  4. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I have a Sony Vaio CW. I actually, when determining what I needed, talking to a customer rep for a long time. I would suggest that. They really know their machines and are honest and easily able to help you find what you want. I was convinced I wanted an E series, but I do a lot of graphic design for my band program and the CW was better for that. I also got Photoshop bundled into the laptop and increased various things like RAM to give me more control and abilities. I freaking love this laptop. Plus it's indigo :)

    I would talk to a representative. They're really helpful.

    Are you a student?
  5. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    I've never owned a laptop. :shuffle: It took years to get a blackberry, I hate traveling with electronics. But I'm being forced to acquire one....

    I don't need anything but email, ITunes and the ability to access word documents and edit them. I'm thinking of just getting the next generation IPad. (Sorry to hijack Oleada's thread but I'm in need as well.)
  6. dbny

    dbny New Member

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    How about a netbook? You can get an Asus Eee PC for $219 (Win XP) if you keep your eyes open (usually at TigerDirect or NewEgg.) I have one and love it. If you use OpenOffice, you can also save yourself the price of MS Office.
  7. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    I don't know what that is....
  8. AYS

    AYS Cruder than you thought

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    I've had the exact opposite experience with my Toshiba Satellite notebook. It's not my primary computer but I've had to use it for some high-stress work meeting situations...it was ridiculously easy to get started with, boots up about 1000 times faster than my Dell desktop and has never frozen up on me.

    Would definitely *not* recommend a Dell laptop.
  9. C_T_T_

    C_T_T_ Well-Known Member

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    I have a dell and love it so that doesn't help you! My brother had a Toshiba and had lots of problems with it. had to go back to them not long after he bought it and they took ages to send it back, not to mention the problems with collection and delivery. It played up all the time and dies recently after not much more than a year. He now has an acer which he seems to like even if I don't!
  10. Andora

    Andora Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking to get a laptop for my mom, and she has her eye on an Acer. I've heard from a couple people that they're not really ideal machines. What about HP laptops?

    I'm surprised there aren't more "get a Mac" folks in here. :p Anytime I make noises about replacing my dying Dell, that seems to be the main response I get. I'm sure they're amazing computers and I could adjust, but I don't find them especially user-friendly myself.
  11. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    Well Oleada specifically said she didn't want a Mac, so... :)

    My brother is a computer technician, and he has an HP. He thinks it's the best. I would have got one but the Asus best met my needs at that time.

    I was using an Acer while my Asus was being "repaired" and found it okay. It was a netbook and it was all in French, but I had no problems!

    PRlady, as well as my laptop, I have a samsung netbook and it's great. If you need to edit documents then I don't know how good an ipad or any tablet computer would be because they don't have a normal keyboard and I find that REALLY frustrating.

    OpenOffice is a program which allows you to view and edit word documents - but without buying word. On that note, the Samsung NC10 netbook comes with office, the old version that's easy to use :p
    Andora and (deleted member) like this.
  12. Andora

    Andora Well-Known Member

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    It's true, but in my experience, it hasn't stopped some Mac fans. ;)
    *Jen* and (deleted member) like this.
  13. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

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    I don't think ipad has word documents does it? At least not the most commonly use ones. Ipad is mostly for fun.
  14. talulabell

    talulabell New Member

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    You can get an app for editing word docs (there's an app for that! :D ), as well as powerpoint and excel.

    As for laptops, I have an HP and I love it. Now, I got some big behemoth, because I wanted widescreen and the separate numeric keyboard, but they have smaller options. I've had it for 3 years at this point, and it's been very reliable.

    As for what you need, I doubt you need the more expensive graphics card if the system you have now can handle your gaming. I probably would NOT skimp on hard drive space tho. A hard drive can fill up pretty quickly if you store music and pictures and movies on it. It's hard to believe my first hard drive was 40 meg (with an "M"!) and the sales guy said that I'd never fill that up. Ahh... good times.
  15. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the advice, I appreciate you guys taking your time to answer to my thread.

    Thanks for this, I hadn't thought of contacting a rep; it's a good diea. I haven't checked out the CW, but I will now. I am a grad student, but I don't use anything really, aside from the Office Suite, which will be cheaper to get through my university anyway. And yes, the colors are a big draw ;)

    Heh, I was expecting "get a mac" responses even with me posting that I didn't want one. :p


    The Toshiba Satellite is the other one I'm looking at; though most people seem to either love or hate Toshiba.

    I read a couple of bad reviews on HP laptops...and they don't come in purple :eek:
  16. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    I have an Asus and love it. I hadn't looked at them at all until the Manager of our desktop services department recommended checking them out. FWIW, we're a Dell shop.
  17. dbny

    dbny New Member

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    A netbook is an ultra small and lightweight laptop (no larger than a 10" screen) that is optimized for web surfing and travel. They don't have any optical drive, so you would need to buy a USB DVD burner, which can be had for under $40 these days. The Asus Eee PC series are top rated.

    Re Macs - I have a friend who is a super IT professional (PhD included) and has his own micro computer, etc. He finally got so disgusted with laptop quality issues (even Toshiba, which used to be THE laptop,) that he caved and bought Macs for his wife and daughter. That way he didn't have to be involved in their care and feeding. It's what made me cave and get one for my younger DD also.
    I'm still a PC person, myself, but I'm considering an iPad so I can do app development.
  18. canbelto

    canbelto Well-Known Member

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    I have a Sony Vaio and like it. It's not that fast but I've had no major problems with it.
  19. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

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    I lurve my red Sony Vaio. :) I have had it almost a year and had no issues with it. I think it's plenty fast, but I don't have a ton of stuff loaded on it.
  20. Norlite

    Norlite New Member

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    I have a Dell, son has a HP other son has a HP, husband had a Sony Vaio, (still has I suppose) daughter has a Toshiba, other daughter has a MAC, DIL has a Dell, grandson has a HP.

    Crappiest of them all....the Toshiba. Best besides the MAC :)P ) the HP's.

    One person's opinion.
  21. CoolGuy

    CoolGuy New Member

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    I have a Thinkpad, which is one of the most (if not the most) solidly built laptops you can get. It's black, ugly, and all business; I love it. I bring it back and forth to my classroom everyday, and even let my students use it. I would recommend it in a heartbeat, especially for business or professional use.

    If you want something nice, sleek, and pleasant, the Sony should be fine; however, I've heard good things about the HP Elitebook and Envy.
  22. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

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    If any of you don't like the color of your lap top you can get skins for them. I went to gelaskins for my iPod, they have skins for just bout most devices.
  23. kedrin

    kedrin Active Member

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    I also love my Thinkpad- I've taken it to Cambodia several times, so it's pretty sturdy.
  24. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    I have a dell, son has a dell, daughter had an acer (piece of crap), then went to an HP which works very well.

    I've had my dell laptop for 3 years and haven't had any issues, son's seems to be working fine as is daughters. So another vote for dell and hp. :)
  25. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

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    I hate my Dell laptop which is now 4 years old and having more problems by the minute. I'm trying to schedule time with my company's computer support people to see if they can fix it or if I should start begging for a new laptop.

    I have known people who had good results with a SONY and a friend of mine (who is really not very good with computers) just bought a Toshiba and says she likes it a lot. I think the suggestion to check on the quality of tech support in your area is a good one.

    And as far as Macs go, I have to say, we Mac users are damned if we do say something and damned if we don't! LOL.
  26. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

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    Our laptops at work used to be Thinkpads and we all loved them. They switched to Dell a few years back. Meh. :blah:
  27. Christina

    Christina Well-Known Member

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    I've had a Toshiba, which was fine until the video or graphic card died. It is on the motherboard, so it was cheaper to buy a new laptop than to replace it. I then got a Dell, which was a piece of crap.

    Then I got my Vaio. It's pink. I absolutely love it. No problems so far, and I've had it for two years. One of the keys on my keyboard went wacky and I had to replace the whole keyboard (don't ask, it was a freak bending thing), but I got one on ebay for about $20.

    I highly, highly recommend the Vaio.
    oleada and (deleted member) like this.
  28. ainouta

    ainouta Well-Known Member

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    I have a plain black Vaio, SR series. It's super light (lighter than a 13-inch MacBook, in fact) and seems kind of delicate, but I abuse the heck out of it (I take it everywhere, whether it's class or an international trip) and it's held up on me just fine, absolutely no issues save the time I got some water damage on the screen when someone spilled a drink on it (but I mean, that's no fault of the laptop!) It's also deceptively capable - I do a lot of work with Photoshop and InDesign, and I honestly haven't had any issues with performance as long as I'm not like editing 14 4000x3000 images at once.
    I would recommend the base EA model, or maybe one with a couple upgrades - 4 GB RAM and the cheapest discrete graphics option should suffice and let you run the Sims 3 on full settings. If you have money to burn, the Sony Z is perhaps the most beautiful and powerful ultraportable available today, but you definitely don't need it.
  29. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    I've taken my Asus everywhere too. It's been from Australia to Europe and back 2.5 times, all around Europe, to uni and back every day for a year, to work sometimes...

    I think it's pretty durable and was happy with it.

    It's just the service in Europe that I can't recommend :p
  30. skatefan

    skatefan Well-Known Member

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    I had a Dell laptop which was great, replaced it with an HP Pavilion Entertainment laptop and I hate it, would replace it in a heartbeat if I could afford to! It's been back to the manufacturers at least three times. I would get another Dell and have had the Sony Vaio recommended.
  31. myhoneyhoney

    myhoneyhoney Well-Known Member

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    My 1st laptop was a Compaq that was purchased 5 years ago. It doesn't even have 1 gig or ram and only 75 gig hard drive. That said, my kids use it now and works great for their needs: using it for research projects for school, typing up reports, listening to music, and playing games. As long as I clean and defragment once every other week, it runs perfect.

    This past Feb. I purchase my HP Pavilion dv7. It's a 17" laptop with 4gig ram and 500 hard drive. It has lightscribe and plays blurays to boot. It came with Corel PSP and VideoStudio along with a bunch of other useful programs. I can do multiple things at once without a hitch, that includes surfing the net while it renders my homevideos taken on a 1080 hd camcorder. I LOVE my laptop!

    I did extensive research before purchasing this HP but I also came across another brand that usually had excellent reviews: Asus, NOT Acer, ASUS. I probably would've bought the Asus but I saw this HP on a great deal: $698!
  32. Ajax

    Ajax New Member

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    I've owned both Toshiba and HP laptops and had an absolutely miserable time with both.

    With the Toshiba, the screen stopped working after about a year - it would keep flickering on and off for hours. There were also problems charging the battery. When I took it in they said the motherboard would have to be replaced - 500$!! Thankfully I'd bought the extended warranty so I didn't have to pay. They replaced the motherboard, and three months later, had to replace it AGAIN when the same problems reoccurred. They also told me that mine was a common defect in that model but did Toshiba do a recall and reimburse customers? Of course not. Instead they chose to rob customers of 500$ to replace motherboards :-/ Interestingly, my roommate bought a Toshiba laptop 4 months ago and her screen doesn't work either!

    The HP pavilion I got to replace the Toshiba wasn't much better. The wireless card stopped working four months after I bought it and the battery after ten months. I couldn't use it unless it was plugged in. It was also slow as hell, would keep crashing etc.

    Finally I got a Mac and lived happily ever after :D
  33. oleada

    oleada Well-Known Member

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    Just an update on the original post - my hard drive died last night (in the middle of finals writing. A meltdown ensued), and after a not at all positive experience with Dell Tech support (which is not my first), I went ahead and ordered a new Sony Vaio EA today. 500HD, 4GB ram, the i5 processor, etc. It's PURPLE :D (and they tossed in a new keyboard skin for free which I got in pink, wheee, so glam, my new laptop).

    The NYU computer stored helped me get my files and pictures back, so it all ended well.