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New Work Laptop Suggestions

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 25, 2010 6:13:47 PM

My 3-year old Inspiron 1501 is about done. Doesn't seem to hold a charge even though I recently replaced the battery. I work for a small company, and they leave it up to me to determine what best meets my needs.

1_What is your budget?

Want to spend $1,000 or less.

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

Either a 16” true matte/anti-glare screen or a 12-14”. 16” is a nice desktop replacement size, but the anti-glare screens are hard to find. So, a better travel laptop would be 12-14”. If I get that, I’m also likely to get a separate monitor for use when I’m in the home office – so a laptop that’s easy to hook up to an external monitor (ideally when closed?) would be good. (My current Inspiron 1501 turns off when I close it, my New Lenovo netbook does not).

3_What screen resolution do you want?

Not so picky about that. No real game playing or videos. Spreadsheets, text documents, and presentations are my main uses.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

12-14” would be portable, 16” would be less so, but would be used that way. I’m disinclined to get a 16” unless it has a true anti-glare screen.

5_How much battery life do you need?

The more the better. A reasonably low power draw processor (for what I do) with a decent battery would be optimum. I sometimes find myself on very long flights. I realize I may need to do some software tweaking to optimize battery life.

6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low, Medium or High)?

I don’t think the games I play (FreeCell and Solitaire) really count in this regard.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing, watching movies, Etc.)

The most graphics-intensive thing I do is probably cutting and pasting images (photos and pdf drawings) into proposals. So, no high-end graphics card needed. Probably best to think of a low-power consumption card.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?

Right now I’ve been using an 80 GB Inspiron 1501 for 3+ years. There are 40 GB stored on it, and most of that is Outlook PST files. So, size is not very important, say 250 GB or so – towards the low end of what’s on the market now, but with an eye towards longevity.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.

I like Newegg and have purchased from Dell. And I have no problem buying from Best Buy or Staples (both have stores locally) if they have something suitable. I did a walk-through at Staples recently, and saw all glossy screens – which is part of what got me thinking I should seek some opinions on this. Would like to avoid getting too much bloatware, as some vendors like to do.

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?

Durability is very important to me, goal would be 3 years.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer, Bluray ROM/Writer, Etc?

No special needs here. To be able to burn data CDs would be sufficient. And I can always get an external drive for that. Internal would be nice, but is not absolutely essential.

12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

My desktops have all been locally made and/or upgrades I’ve done. Just built a new Windows 7 system that I’m gradually getting set up the way I want it. Laptops are a bit fussy that way, as there’s less that’s easily user-upgrade-able (from the hardware side).
I’ve got a Lenova S-12 Netbook I like for home use. They’ve done a surprisingly good job with the keyboard for such a small machine. The screen size is smaller than I’m used to, but the compactness is wonderful. Would be great for travel. The glossy screen would not be preferred for extended desktop use, but is fine for general use at home. And it’s got Windows 7, which partially inspired me to build the new desktop. I don’t need the built-in webcam, and hate the Veriface logon. Need to strip that off when I get the chance.
The Inspiron 1501 has been ok to work with. Battery life has recently become an issue, but was ok for a long time (had one of the 9-cell batteries). Seems a bit flimsy at times – there’s a little plastic bit including the hard drive indicator light that’s taped in place and a screw has fallen out of the bottom. But it’s old, so these things aren’t that bad. Biggest issue has been it has been rather high maintenance with large Outlook PST files in Outlook 2003 – have had to do lots of archiving to separate PST files. But they're all on that bard drive now. That should be solved when I get the new laptop. We’re all migrating to Outlook 2007 to be compatible with a rollout of Salesforce across the company.

13_What country do you live in?

USA

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.

Any links you want to suggest on easing the migration from an old to a new laptop would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance
January 25, 2010 6:30:17 PM

One other thought - I have one of these Dell travel chargers - would be nice to get something that works with this. Seems to be compatible with everything Dell from the looks of it, so maybe compatible with other brands as well?

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c...
January 25, 2010 8:57:56 PM

Thinking about a Lenovo T400 set up like this.

Low power draw processor, integrated graphics, and backlit LED for minimal power consumption. Large battery for maximum battery life.

Any thoughts?


Processor1 Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8600 (2.40GHz 1066MHz 3MBL2) 25W
Operating system12 Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64
Operating system language Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 US English
Display type 14.1 WXGA TFT, w/ LED Backlight
System graphics Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
Total memory8 2 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1067MHz SODIMM Memory (1 DIMM)
Keyboard Keyboard US English
Pointing device UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad)
Hard drive4 160 GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
Optical device5 DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer, Ultrabay Slim (Serial ATA)
System expansion slots Express Card Slot & PC Card Slot
Wireless card10 Intel WiFi Link 5100 (AGN) with My WiFi Technology
Mobile Broadband Integrated Mobile Broadband upgradable
Battery60 9 cell Li-Ion Battery
Power cord Country Pack North America with Line cord & 65W AC adapter - Low Halogen
Language pack Language Pack US English for Windows 7
Microsoft productivity software preload Microsoft Office Small Business 2007 - English
Additional software application preload Norton Internet Security 2009 - 15 months

30R6305 Belkin Easy Transfer Cable for Windows Vista


Subtotal: $1,610.99
Sale Price: $1,141.79
Estimated total: $1,141.79*
Total savings $469.20
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January 25, 2010 9:10:02 PM

Acer Aspire Timeline AS4810T-8480

Intel Centrino Mobile Processor Technology-
Intel Core2 Solo Processor SU3500,
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit with Service Pack 1,
14" HD Acer CineCrystal LED-backlit Display,
Mobile Intel GS45 Express Chipset,
4096MB Dual-Channel DDR3 1066MHz Memory,
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD,
320GB SATA Hard Drive,
8X DVD-Super Multi Double-Layer Drive,
Acer Crystal Eye Webcam,
5-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader,
2nd Generation Dolby Sound Room Audio Enhancement,
Intel WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/g/Draft-N Wi-Fi CERTIFIED,
3 - USB 2.0 Ports,
1 - HDMI Port,
6-cell Li-ion Battery (5600 mAh), 8+ hours of battery life,
4.2 lbs. | 1.9 kg (system unit only),
AC Power Adapter, AC Power Cord, Wireless Setup Card, Registration/ Limited Warranty Card, McAfee Internet Security Suite (60-day insert)


I had similar needs as you before I heavily researched and purchased this laptop. (Mine had an update to Windows 7, you can prob still get that deal).

It's low power/heat, and the battery claim is legit. And it costs around $600.

I couldn't be happier with my purchase.

Good luck, and any questions feel free !
January 25, 2010 10:08:26 PM

JV_Toms said:
Looks good, and that one seems to be available with Windows 7 64 bit -

http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de...

And much more available than the Lenovo - 18 days for them to make it.

Need to go have a look at a couple of machines at Best Buy tomorrow.

Thanks


I just mined Google for a little bit to find the best price. Odd that it happened to be Staples.

Keep in mind that these computers (Acer Aspire Timelines) come in a few different configurations.

The AS4810TZ-4474 you linked to has a different processor (a dual core 1.3ghz vs a single core 1.4ghz).

Not sure it would make a huge difference in price or battery life, but something to look out for before making a purchase.


January 26, 2010 11:31:10 AM

Interestingly, here's a thread discussing the two processors a bit (SU3500 and SU4100) -

http://communities.intel.com/message/70431

There are also some great reviews of both machines (Lenovo T400 and Acer Timeline) out there. This one on the T400 touts pretty good battery life:

http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4946&r...

These Intel overview summaries make both of these look like good laptop choices:

http://www.intel.com/shop/laptop/S5752311
http://www.intel.com/shop/laptop/S6596146

I'm struggling a bit with the thought of a single core, low performance processor. Don't get me wrong, the power draw is low, which is great. It's more that my Inspiron 1501 has a 1.60 GHz AMD Turion 64 X 2 (two cores), and can be slow, even with the simple things I do. Although none of the apps I use are true resource hogs, I run a lot of programs/ windows at once. And my Outlook files are monstrous in size.

So, my current leaning is towards a relatively low voltage dual core processor of some sort. I should get lower power draw and better performance than what I have now. This would provide better battery life and be more likely to be something I'd be able to keep for years.

Naturally, still going to have a look at some models prior to buying or ordering anything.

January 26, 2010 8:25:01 PM

After looking at Best Buy, I decided a 13" would be best, and that I like the fit and finish of the Sony Vaio's the best. Then I found the Y series on their website - new model. SU7300 10 Watt processor (2 cores), 8 hour battery life, and I like the look even better (matter black vs white).

Looks like this will be the one.
!