1_What is your budget? -- $1000-$1500, the less the better.
2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? -- I schlep it around in my bag all day, but need a full size keyboard. so 14” or 15”
3_What screen resolution do you want? -- LED HD
4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? -- This is my main computer.
5_How much battery life do you need? -- Would like 6 hours or more. Willing to install a 2nd battery if that’s an option.
6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? -- No games.
7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? -- I’m a journalist, author and web media producer so plan to use it mostly for heavy writing, web page development, photo editing, some occasional video editing. I also use a lot of research software such as zotero and x1
8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need? – 250 or more.
9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links? Dell and Apple so far, open to other suggestions. I am specifically looking at the Dell Vostro line and a MacBookPro, both with an i5 processor.
10_How long do you want to keep your laptop? -- 2 to 3 yrs
11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? -- DVD writer, don’t see the need for blue ray, but happy to have it.
12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer… – I am a long time Dell user through work, and am satisfied, if not passionate about their gear. I am drawn to an Apple bc of the fast bootup and stability of the software, especially as I do more graphics-focused work. I am /soooo/ tired of Windows sclerosis too. I have a 3 yr old Dell Lattitude D630 that i've had to reghost 3 times, and it's once again grinding down, takes 15 minutes to boot up fully.
I have also considered Toshibas and IBM/Lenovo (which has the best keyboard, still). I hear terrible things about Lenovo support
13_What country do you live in? -- USA, NYC, NY
14_Please tell us any additional information if needed. -- Any advice on alternative grands and or refurb deals is much appreciated. Also how long do you recommend for a service contract? Any scams there to avoid?
I hope this can help people to better find their ideal notebook.
Additionally... you should also consider what support options are available in your area. If say you buy something abroad, will you be able to have it fixed near where you live? Does the warranty apply? How quickly do local accredited technicians fix laptops?
It sounds to me like you are leaning towards going with a Mac. If you can find a decent one for under $1500, there is nothing wrong with going with one. Just keep in mind that if you use Office and a few other common programs, you'll have to buy such programs for Mac OS. If you cannot find one, I see no problem with the Dell, as I've found them to be rather reliable. If you have had issues with them in the past and can afford it, invest in an extended warranty or service plan just in case.