Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

College laptop suggestions needed

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
Share
July 2, 2012 2:10:32 AM

Hello,
I need to purchase a laptop for my daughter who leaves for college soon. She needs something fairly sturdy (my laptop has not fared well with her use (chips/cracks around screen) ). She needs it for papers, and note taking, and will be taking it to all her classes. Help..
July 2, 2012 2:23:46 AM

Get her a macbook pro. At the university where I teach, macs are now more common than Windows machines which means she will have more support from her classmates. And everything new and exciting is now done on iOS before being ported to Windows. While I (as a 50ish professor) continue to use Windows computers because they are what I know, if I were starting over today, I would be using a mac.
m
0
l
July 2, 2012 2:24:36 AM

alicenmc said:
Hello,
I need to purchase a laptop for my daughter who leaves for college soon. She needs something fairly sturdy (my laptop has not fared well with her use (chips/cracks around screen) ). She needs it for papers, and note taking, and will be taking it to all her classes. Help..



Look at any of the E6000 series laptops in the Dell Outlet (outlet.dell.com) in the business laptop section. Get ProSupport and CompleteCare (accidental damage coverage). She will still be using it after she graduates. They really are great systems. I know this since I work on all sorts of systems in my field repair work.
m
0
l
Related resources
July 2, 2012 2:37:12 AM

habrams2154 said:
Get her a macbook pro. At the university where I teach, macs are now more common than Windows machines which means she will have more support from her classmates. And everything new and exciting is now done on iOS before being ported to Windows. While I (as a 50ish professor) continue to use Windows computers because they are what I know, if I were starting over today, I would be using a mac.


Do NOT waste your money on this... in the nicest way to say this she sounds a bit clumsy and accidents certainly happen in that time of your life. Shelling out over $1300 for the LEAST repairable laptop in history doesn't sound like a good idea, besides the fact that you can get a similar spec'd PC for half the price.
m
0
l
July 2, 2012 3:24:13 AM

Budget? Screen size? Usage? Note-taking and writing papers are the least demanding tasks in existence. Literally any working laptop will do that. The cheapest $200 netbook from Target will suffice.

But if she wants to edit photos, upload videos to YouTube, watch Blu-rays, Skype with you, browse the internet with multiple windows side by side, or play any game that isn't run from a browser, that will require something more.
m
0
l
July 2, 2012 3:57:35 PM

Macbook Pros are cool but I disagree with a poster above saying that all the new stuff comes out on MB before being ported into windows. I work with new mobile gadgets and stuff and I almost never find diagnostic drivers or similar for Macs. If you use your Windows laptop correctly and keep junk out, I think it'll be as fast as any Mac at any given time and it'll save you some money for something else you might want to get.

I you're going to spend 1200+ on a MBP then you should also consider the 1200+ options windows has to offer. I think you'll get a lot more computer for your money most of the time.
m
0
l
July 3, 2012 12:01:37 AM

erikalikesfire said:
Budget? Screen size? Usage? Note-taking and writing papers are the least demanding tasks in existence. Literally any working laptop will do that. The cheapest $200 netbook from Target will suffice.

But if she wants to edit photos, upload videos to YouTube, watch Blu-rays, Skype with you, browse the internet with multiple windows side by side, or play any game that isn't run from a browser, that will require something more.

1. What is your budget? ~$1000

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? unsure, must be easy for my daughter to carry to classes and take notes, also sturdy, since she is a bit of a klutz.

3. What screen resolution do you want? unknown

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

5. How much battery life do you need? several hours, she needs it for classes, and may not be able to charge during classes.

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)? Sometimes, medium

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) photo editing, social media. Also, my daughter has NVLD, and uses several programs to assist her with her learning disorder. (she speaks her notes, uses photo's of the board to capture notes from the board etc)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? unknown(see above programs and needs)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. Open to suggestions

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? 3-4 years.

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

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. I have not had good luck with HP laptops in the past.

13. What country do you live in? U.S.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. She needs something sturdy so that it will last if she bumps it, or grabs it roughly.. My current Dell laptop has cracked around the screen (screen is fine). This laptop needs to last through her college years.. Or does anyone recommend something else? Ipad, etc for this sort of use?? Help!
m
0
l
July 3, 2012 12:12:10 AM

habrams2154 said:
Get her a macbook pro. At the university where I teach, macs are now more common than Windows machines which means she will have more support from her classmates. And everything new and exciting is now done on iOS before being ported to Windows. While I (as a 50ish professor) continue to use Windows computers because they are what I know, if I were starting over today, I would be using a mac.


no no no and no. just because a lot of people have macs does not mean they know how to use them and take care of them. a lot of people own cars but dont know the first thing about maintaining them. also this is a very surprising thing to hear from a professor, recommending something that will not benefit their future computer skills. kinda weird and disappointing because 9 times out of ten your graduates will be using a windows based machine and the better they can use it the more valuable they are.

Sephypoo73 said:
Do NOT waste your money on this... in the nicest way to say this she sounds a bit clumsy and accidents certainly happen in that time of your life. Shelling out over $1300 for the LEAST repairable laptop in history doesn't sound like a good idea, besides the fact that you can get a similar spec'd PC for half the price.


agreed.


OP i recommend nothing larger then a 14 inch laptop. anything large do not fit well in normal back packs. if your budget is around 1000 and you dont necessarily need a 1000 dollar laptop look into an intel SSD. it will help in case she drops the laptop and just overall usability. also try to stay in the intel gang of laptops. they are in general better for battery life and faster stronger processors.
m
0
l

Best solution

July 3, 2012 9:53:26 AM

I'm thinking 14" or less, a SSD, and accidental damage protection. SSD stands for Solid State Drive -- mass storage for files and programs with no internal moving parts, that therefore isn't susceptible to mechanical failure. This way there's no danger of losing all her files or trashing her Windows installation if she drops her laptop a few inches. If she drops it from a more significant height, or spills something on it, that's what the accidental damage protection is for. Your only other option for someone as accident prone as you describe your daughter is one of the truly rugged, military grade machines, meant to be used in desert sandstorms and literally bulletproof. Unfortunately, those are heavy, expensive, and terminally uncool.

The only manufacturers I know that offer accidental damage protection are Dell and HP. Dell doesn't seem to offer real SSDs on their cheaper machines, so after adding the warranty and a decent amount of RAM you're already at ~$1400.

The best and easiest option I see for you is the HP dm1z. Add the 4 year (!) accidental damage protection plan, upgrade the processor the the E2-1800, change the hard drive to a 128GB SSD, MS Office Home and Student, and I'm seeing $1003. You may also want to consider a RAM upgrade to 6 or 8GB and LoJack. Note that as this is an 11.6" netbook, it does NOT come with an optical drive for listening to CDs/watching DVDs. You'll need an external optical drive for that (~$30).

If you're willing to do the RAM upgrade yourself, you could get 8GB for ~$40, instead of paying HP $100 to do it for you. And for the $200 they charge you for a 128GB SSD upgrade, you could buy a drive with twice the capacity and install it yourself -- but that would void the warranty. And if you were willing and capable of doing that, there are better laptops that you could get. You could get a laptop that is much faster for ~$600, do your own upgrades, and have a machine better in every way for less money -- but without the godly warranty. That's what you're really buying here. There aren't many options for clumsy people. No one is chasing the "people who break things and want new ones for free" market.

I have last year's dm1, and it has served me well. It's light and solid enough that I pick it up and carry it around by the lid without worrying that it's going to snap or the screen will crack. The keyboard is nearly full size and comfortable to use, and the battery lasts about 6 hours. The processor is very weak, but it's still good enough for HD YouTube and Skype and some light gaming.

If you want something light, durable, with good warranty protection including accidental damage, fast enough, and you want all of the upgrades done before the machine gets to you, this is the machine for you. Just be aware that on a processor this slow, any bloatware is too much. You're going to have to do a decrapify or clean install the moment you get it.
Share
July 3, 2012 3:01:27 PM

Best answer selected by alicenmc.
m
0
l
July 3, 2012 9:34:07 PM

erikalikesfire said:
I'm thinking 14" or less, a SSD, and accidental damage protection. SSD stands for Solid State Drive -- mass storage for files and programs with no internal moving parts, that therefore isn't susceptible to mechanical failure. This way there's no danger of losing all her files or trashing her Windows installation if she drops her laptop a few inches. If she drops it from a more significant height, or spills something on it, that's what the accidental damage protection is for. Your only other option for someone as accident prone as you describe your daughter is one of the truly rugged, military grade machines, meant to be used in desert sandstorms and literally bulletproof. Unfortunately, those are heavy, expensive, and terminally uncool.

The only manufacturers I know that offer accidental damage protection are Dell and HP. Dell doesn't seem to offer real SSDs on their cheaper machines, so after adding the warranty and a decent amount of RAM you're already at ~$1400.

The best and easiest option I see for you is the HP dm1z. Add the 4 year (!) accidental damage protection plan, upgrade the processor the the E2-1800, change the hard drive to a 128GB SSD, MS Office Home and Student, and I'm seeing $1003. You may also want to consider a RAM upgrade to 6 or 8GB and LoJack. Note that as this is an 11.6" netbook, it does NOT come with an optical drive for listening to CDs/watching DVDs. You'll need an external optical drive for that (~$30).

If you're willing to do the RAM upgrade yourself, you could get 8GB for ~$40, instead of paying HP $100 to do it for you. And for the $200 they charge you for a 128GB SSD upgrade, you could buy a drive with twice the capacity and install it yourself -- but that would void the warranty. And if you were willing and capable of doing that, there are better laptops that you could get. You could get a laptop that is much faster for ~$600, do your own upgrades, and have a machine better in every way for less money -- but without the godly warranty. That's what you're really buying here. There aren't many options for clumsy people. No one is chasing the "people who break things and want new ones for free" market.

I have last year's dm1, and it has served me well. It's light and solid enough that I pick it up and carry it around by the lid without worrying that it's going to snap or the screen will crack. The keyboard is nearly full size and comfortable to use, and the battery lasts about 6 hours. The processor is very weak, but it's still good enough for HD YouTube and Skype and some light gaming.

If you want something light, durable, with good warranty protection including accidental damage, fast enough, and you want all of the upgrades done before the machine gets to you, this is the machine for you. Just be aware that on a processor this slow, any bloatware is too much. You're going to have to do a decrapify or clean install the moment you get it.


if changing a hard drive will void your warranty then so would changing your ram. also ive had 3 laptops in the last 18 months and none of them had any sticker or the like that the manufacturers would use to determine if the laptop had been opened. i think that the hard drive and ram are allowed to be upgraded by the end consumer.
m
0
l
July 3, 2012 10:40:11 PM

cbrunnem said:
if changing a hard drive will void your warranty then so would changing your ram. also ive had 3 laptops in the last 18 months and none of them had any sticker or the like that the manufacturers would use to determine if the laptop had been opened. i think that the hard drive and ram are allowed to be upgraded by the end consumer.


Like I said, I have last year's dm1, with the E-350. To change out the hard drive, I had to almost completely disassemble it. This included taking out a screw with a little sticker on it that said "Removing this screw will void your warranty." Removing the screw destroys the sticker.
m
0
l
July 3, 2012 11:15:06 PM

erikalikesfire said:
Like I said, I have last year's dm1, with the E-350. To change out the hard drive, I had to almost completely disassemble it. This included taking out a screw with a little sticker on it that said "Removing this screw will void your warranty." Removing the screw destroys the sticker.


ah didnt see that part.
m
0
l
!