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Help selecting a Laptop

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November 3, 2011 5:49:19 PM

Hello. I am helping a friend select a laptop for her 12 year old daughter. I am familiar with Dell laptops, but would like to hear other people's recommendations, particularly because I know AMD's fusion product is very competitive and may offer a better value (though not offered by Dell). Here's the questionnaire:

1. What is your budget? $800.00ish

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 15" screen and light weight.

3. What screen resolution do you want? Not important, matte screen

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Portable

5. How much battery life do you need? as much as possible

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)? Facebook games, little/no 3d gaming

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) ; Webcam, download photos onto it, projects (Word)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? enough for some tv shows and movies (500GB)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. - purchasing in Canada (Dell.ca, newegg.ca, bestbuy.ca, etc)

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? at least 3 years

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

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 - friend used to work for UPS and saw a lot of HP laptop returns, may want to avoid HP

13. What country do you live in - Canada

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed - would be nice if vendor offers accidental damage coverage (dropped, liquid spill, etc)

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a c 572 D Laptop
November 3, 2011 6:46:49 PM

Hello torque79;
torque79 said:
Facebook games, little/no 3d gaming
The difference between none and some in 3D gaming can be important.
You mentioned a Blu-Ray reader but not 1080p screen resolution. I'm guessing your OK with have Blu-Ray downscale to 720p

And the preference for a matte screen is leading you away from consumer laptops to business class laptops. (which I approve of actually).

Not many MFGRs offer standard accidental damage warranty and even those that do - it's for the higher end models.
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November 3, 2011 6:49:30 PM

Well 1 year standard warranty is fine, and Dell offers the accidental dmg warranty on their XPS 15 as a $50 option for example. it doesnt have to be standard.

Let's assume NO 3d gaming then.

I would not mind having both some business class and some consumer class ones (glossy screens).
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a c 572 D Laptop
November 3, 2011 7:05:17 PM

And maybe one of the AMD Fusion models as well? It's going to cover modest 3D gaming if there's ever the need.
Dell Vostro 3555 Laptop @ $CAD 589 15" notebook with matte screen.
AMD LLano A8-3500M 1.5Ghz quad core APU, 4GB RAM, 320GB 7200rpm HDD, 15.6" 1366x768 LCD w/ Radeon HD 3320G graphics. No Blu-Ray option - just DVD
5.45lbs, backlit keyboard probably 5hr battery life in 'note taking mode' - 4.5hr with Wifi running and less watching movies, games, etc. 9 cell battery upgrade option.

With $69 1yr accidental damage warranty $658
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a c 572 D Laptop
November 3, 2011 7:21:44 PM

With the option for light-moderate 3D gaming' .. and my recommendation:
Dell XPS 15 $700 base price you can often find a good deal and some coupons to shave the price a bit
Core i3-2330M 2.2Ghz CPU, 6GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 15.6" 1366x768 LCD w/ GT 525M graphics
Blu-Ray reader is $100 option (not recommended) Bluetooth $20 option (recommeded) Backlit keyboard $25 option (teen favorite) Lid color $75 option (stylish)
~$745 with Bluetooth and backlit keyboard.
1yr accidental damage warranty $69, 2yrs $119


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a c 572 D Laptop
November 3, 2011 7:23:25 PM

There is always the option to get an anti-glare screen protector.
Static cling keeps them attached. Not idea, but an option if glare becomes a real issue.
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November 3, 2011 7:31:33 PM

excellent suggestions, exactly what I was looking for showing what you can get at different price points. the xps may stretch the budget depending on what options she chooses, but her daughter would probably really love the extras.

Are Dell consumer laptops generally as good as the business ones? I used to work with Latitude laptops all the time and they were very reliable. I was curious to see if anyone would suggest some other manufacturer they prefer (Acer, Lenovo, etc).
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a c 572 D Laptop
November 3, 2011 7:42:55 PM

XPS are a cut above the budget models (as they should be). Latitudes are better than Vostros.
Generally, any laptop at the same price point is going to have reliability with a few percentage points of any other in the same range.
And any laptop has a chance of being drop kicked. And any laptop that's well taken care of has a good chance to outlast a higher end, premium business class laptop that goes through a tough duty cycle.

Occasionally, you see models have much higher problems (HP a few year back) but the MFGRs really do try to avoid those type of troubles.
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November 4, 2011 7:30:40 PM

Best answer selected by torque79.
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a c 572 D Laptop
November 4, 2011 7:32:55 PM

Which options did you end up going with?
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November 5, 2011 3:11:23 AM

I would have gone with a stronger cpu if your not going to be gaming much
, which a sandybridge cpu will make many tasks quicker
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