Looking for advice on laptop purchasing, any help at all would be appreciated. I’m pretty computer literate (have built a couple desktops), but I’ll be purchasing my first laptop soon (for law school). I’ve read the laptop guide and found it helpful, but I still need a little guidance…
Basic things I’m looking for:
-Decent quality… i.e. no worse than Dell. I don’t need anything top of the line, but would like a good sound card at least. This computer will basically be for playing music (through my own speakers, of course) and doing schoolwork, so K|N, et al are out of my price range.
-Must be a PC: My school’s networks have problems with Macs.
-Windows XP: Not interested in dealing with Vista right now… once it’s matured in a year or so, I’ll upgrade through my school for $50
-Low cost: i.e. something below $1200, including warranty; preferable $1000 or below. Anyone know when new Dell coupons will hit slickdeals, etc.?
-Minimum 3-year parts and labor warranty: This part of the process is proving to be a real headache. I’ve found lots of great deals on Newegg, et al, but they all seem to lack Dell’s warranty prowess. I really need this for convenience purposes… but then Dell gets a terrible resellerrating.
-Portability: I don’t need something ultra-portable, but my ideal screen size is 14.1-15.4 and weight as little as possible of course
My wife has a Dell 1505 and has had no problems with it. Toshiba seems to have pretty could reputation. A couple of advantages to Dell, you can buy the Windows CD for $10 (Got this, formatted the hard drive to get rid of the crapware and did a clean install of XP), now supposedly you can order Dells without crapware but I'd still get the Windows CD, and I've read you can order XP instead of Vista. Upgrading laptops is expensive and you're best off getting what you want at the time of purchase, e.g., a separate video card, hard drive, RAM, etc. Learned this the hard way a number of years ago when I bought a cheap laptop and later tried to do some upgrades. Given your budget you will likely trade off some durability going with an ultralight computer. This could be important if you'll be taking it out a lot. I've used Dell "chat" support and got the answer I needed, no muss no fuss. If money is an object, when isn't it?, and I needed a laptop, I'd go with Dell. Prices are very competitive and they at least give you some choices.