Laptop for college kid

Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops. I was
figuring on getting that brand for her but now am wondering what the
reliability of the Dell laptops is? Any input is appreciated.

Craig
30 answers Last reply
More about laptop college
  1. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    "SCraig" <sassy@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
    >students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops.

    Some of that is self-selecting, if everyone has Dells then that's all
    the problem laptops she'll hear about. I'd put Dell right about in
    the middle of the pack in terms of reliability.

    It mostly depends on how tough on her stuff she is, Dell wouldn't top
    my list of well built, substantial, tough laptops, but all that stuff
    comes at a price. If she's likely to toss it unprotected into a
    knapsack and bounce it around, you might be better off looking at a
    ToughBook or something deliberately ruggedized.

    Either way, get the 3-year 'on-site' warranty, the "everything's
    covered, even if my roommate spills Coke on it" extended warranty
    coverage, and a good backup scheme (external hard drive OSLT). Add
    BIOS-level and hard disk passwords, and impress on her that it's up to
    her to replace if if it's stolen.

    McAfee ASAP might make a nice virus scanner, as you can know remotely
    if it's up to date, and the IP address reporting _might_ help you
    locate it if someone stupid steals it. Make sure she knows how to
    keep her virus scanner, spyware program (I like MicroSoft
    AntiSpyware), and Windows Update up-to-date, and cross your fingers.
    8*)
  2. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    The Dell laptops themselves are OK. They are just built very cheap and won't
    stand up to much abuse. The problem with Dell is the support. Dell support
    has become horrible. If she will be carrying the laptop around, I would
    recommend IBM. They are built much more superior to Dell laptops, but the
    IBM's cost a tad more as well.
    "SCraig" <sassy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:TvoWd.12382$OU1.3454@newssvr21.news.prodigy.com...
    > My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
    > students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops. I was
    > figuring on getting that brand for her but now am wondering what the
    > reliability of the Dell laptops is? Any input is appreciated.
    >
    > Craig
    >
    >
  3. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    I've sent two kids off to college with Dell Latitudes. Dell set up a great
    price for their college, with a couple of configurations in an online store
    just for their school. I believe the Latitude is a better built laptop than
    is the Inspiron (this is an opinion). I also use one for work, that is the
    same as the one I bought my most recent student, a D600. I carry mine every
    day, use it docked most of the time, with at least one wireless walkabout
    every day for a remote meeting or presentation. I probably am a little more
    careful than an average college student, certainly more than my two. In my
    experience, dust, and general risk of flying debris is greater than physical
    abuse. My experience so far, has been hardware flawless, software, spyware,
    viruses, and general overload of non-spying, but equally bothersome adware
    requiring a remote cleaning about once or twice a semester.

    Jere
    "SCraig" <sassy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:TvoWd.12382$OU1.3454@newssvr21.news.prodigy.com...
    > My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
    > students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops. I was
    > figuring on getting that brand for her but now am wondering what the
    > reliability of the Dell laptops is? Any input is appreciated.
    >
    > Craig
    >
    >
  4. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sat, 5 Mar 2005 19:58:46 -0500, "JC McDonald" <jcmcdonald@aol.com>
    wrote:
    >"SCraig" <sassy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    >news:TvoWd.12382$OU1.3454@newssvr21.news.prodigy.com...
    >> My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
    >> students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops. I was
    >> figuring on getting that brand for her but now am wondering what the
    >> reliability of the Dell laptops is? Any input is appreciated.

    > My experience so far, has been hardware flawless, software, spyware,
    >viruses, and general overload of non-spying, but equally bothersome adware
    >requiring a remote cleaning about once or twice a semester.

    Same here. 2 kids to college, 1 to Japan, all with Dell laptops.
    Absolutely no problems.

    The one thing I'd advise is to watch the weight. We went for bang for
    the buck, so the 2 college ones got 1150's. My dad had bought the one
    going to Japan a 600m. What a difference in weight; the power supply
    too!

    My daughter also told me the people that bring bright, shiny new Macs
    are getting ripped off... I mean, literally! Their dorm rooms are
    targeted; they know who has the expensive laptops. I don't know if
    every school has that problem, but I'd think twice...
  5. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    Like most product lines, some are good, and some are terrible.

    Stay away from the low-end Dells - the Inspiron 1000 and 1150 (the
    latter is being dropped) and the discontinued 5150/5160. The others are
    mostly reasonably reliable.

    Reasonably is relative - something like 30% of all notebook computers
    require a major repair during their lifetimes - so get a 3-year warranty
    at least, and for a college student, complete care is probably a good
    buy as well. Major parts for notebooks are expensive (a mainboard for a
    Dell system runs $700; parts prices for other manufacturers' models are
    similar).


    SCraig wrote:
    > My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
    > students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops. I was
    > figuring on getting that brand for her but now am wondering what the
    > reliability of the Dell laptops is? Any input is appreciated.
    >
    > Craig
    >
    >
  6. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    SCraig wrote:

    > My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
    > students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops. I was
    > figuring on getting that brand for her but now am wondering what the
    > reliability of the Dell laptops is? Any input is appreciated.
    >
    > Craig
    >
    >
    I'm a 4th year engineering major (meaning I use my computer more than
    the average student) at UCSD; I too purchased a laptop (IBM Thinkpad
    T21) just before college (which died last month and am now on my second,
    a Dell D610). I know you're only asking about Dell reliability, but
    since I just went through researching and buying a new laptop, I figure
    I may have some info that may help:

    First off, regardless of the brand you go with, get AT LEAST a 3 year
    warranty! I recommend an OEM warranty as opposed to one from Best Buy,
    Fry's, or CompUSA. I had to send my IBM in two times in 3 years, and
    their service is amazingly good (they're known as the best in the
    industry). As I've only had my Dell for 5 days I can't say anything
    about them yet, but so far it seems very sturdy.

    The next big thing I'd recommend is check the college bookstore for
    student discounts. For example my school has IBM Thinkpad's listed for
    close to a $1000 off MSRP. Dell are also discounted for students but
    generally not as much as IBM -- but IBM costs a lot more in the first
    place (I found a better deal buying my Latitude from the Small Business
    section of Dell.com than on campus, but in general student prices are
    better).

    On a side note, does she plan to use the laptop as a laptop or just keep
    it in her room 90% of the time? If she actually plans to take it
    around, I wouldn't go heavier than 5.5lbs. My roommate went with an
    Ispiron 9200, and it's a monster; I doubt it's left the condo twice in
    the last 6 months which makes me wonder why he bothered with a LAPtop.

    Some brands/models I'd highly recommend looking into are: IBM Thinkpad T
    series (T43 will be available at student prices in April), Panasonic
    Toughbooks, Fujitsu LifeBooks S series, & Sony S series. Brands I'd
    avoid are eMachines, the consumer Compaq/HP's, any brand you've never
    heard of (not worth the risk for laptops). If you'd like more
    suggestions, etc. feel free to email me (just remove nospam from my
    reply-to). It should also be noted I would have gone IBM again if the
    T43 was available, but I needed the notebook sooner than April.
  7. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    1. Check with the college, but in most cases when you order the laptop, make
    sure you order it with WinXP PRO on it, not the Home edition.

    2. Also get the four year warranty, PLUS the 4 year CompleteCare accidental
    damage coverage on a Dell laptop. My wife's Inspiron 1100 had two (2)
    instances of hardware damage, due to spilled soda. One time it was sent to
    the repair facility, key/mother board replacement, returned to us within 72
    hours. The other, a replacement HDD was received within 24 hours after I
    called.

    --

    Rich/rerat

    (RRR News) <message rule>
    <<Previous Text Snipped to Save Bandwidth When Appropriate>>


    SCraig wrote:

    > My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
    > students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops. I was
    > figuring on getting that brand for her but now am wondering what the
    > reliability of the Dell laptops is? Any input is appreciated.
    >
    > Craig
    >
  8. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    >
    >Stay away from the low-end Dells - the Inspiron 1000 and 1150 (the
    >latter is being dropped)

    The 1150 is being dropped?

    Sure abt that?
  9. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    >I believe the Latitude is a better built laptop than
    >is the Inspiron (this is an opinion). I also use one for work, that is the
    >same as the one I bought my most recent student, a D600.

    Don't the Latitudes still have the serial and parallel
    ports whereas the Inspiron lines do not? Inspirons
    only have USB ports, right?

    If yes..... is the lack of serial or parallel ports
    really a big deal?
  10. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    me@privacy.net wrote:
    >
    > >I believe the Latitude is a better built laptop than
    > >is the Inspiron (this is an opinion). I also use one for work, that is the
    > >same as the one I bought my most recent student, a D600.
    >
    > Don't the Latitudes still have the serial and parallel
    > ports whereas the Inspiron lines do not? Inspirons
    > only have USB ports, right?
    >
    > If yes..... is the lack of serial or parallel ports
    > really a big deal?

    Latitudes, historically, have been built for business users,
    while Inspirons have been geared towards home users.

    While I don't know the whys/what-fors/etc., Latitudes
    seem to withstand the rigors of the road better than
    Inspirons.

    Notan
  11. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    >The one thing I'd advise is to watch the weight. We went for bang for
    >the buck, so the 2 college ones got 1150's. My dad had bought the one
    >going to Japan a 600m. What a difference in weight; the power supply
    >too!

    So you fell the 600m is a better choice.... size wise
    and weight wise?
  12. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 11:10:32 -0600, me@privacy.net wrote:
    >>The one thing I'd advise is to watch the weight. We went for bang for
    >>the buck, so the 2 college ones got 1150's. My dad had bought the one
    >>going to Japan a 600m. What a difference in weight; the power supply
    >>too!
    >
    >So you fell the 600m is a better choice.... size wise
    >and weight wise?

    Weightwise most definitely. Size didn't really matter, although, I
    think the smaller footprint the better.

    Add an internal wireless adapter if it doesn't already come with it.
    The dorm rooms should already be wired, but sometimes student centers
    or libraries will have wireless routers to access the school system.
    Or, if she's rooming with others in an apartment off campus, they'll
    have to get a router to share a connection. Going wireless will make
    it easier to share.

    Also, upgrade the drive to a burner. A dvd burner is nice to have,
    but I don't think it's necessary; cd burner is good enough. I did
    upgrade to dvd burners. My kids first told me, no need, but now they
    ask me to send them blanks for it. Dvd blanks are really cheap these
    days, but cd blanks are practically free.

    Just curious, what laptops were her friends recommending, instead of
    Dells?
  13. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    >Brands I'd avoid are eMachines,

    eMachines actually got a pretty good review on their
    laptops from PC Mag. Why do feel to avoid them?

    >It should also be noted I would have gone IBM again if the
    >T43 was available, but I needed the notebook sooner than April.

    Did you like your T21?

    Im thinking of buying a used one from eBay. Hence the
    question
  14. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    >I'm a 4th year engineering major

    Im curious.... instead of a laptop what abt buying an
    using a Pocket PC such as the iPaq?

    Can a Pocket PC make a good replacemnet for a laptop?
  15. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 08:33:59 -1000, Sharon Westfall wrote:
    >
    > On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 11:10:32 -0600, me@privacy.net wrote:
    >>>The one thing I'd advise is to watch the weight. We went for bang for
    >>>the buck, so the 2 college ones got 1150's. My dad had bought the one
    >>>going to Japan a 600m. What a difference in weight; the power supply
    >>>too!
    >>
    >>So you fell the 600m is a better choice.... size wise
    >>and weight wise?
    >
    > Weightwise most definitely. Size didn't really matter, although, I
    > think the smaller footprint the better.

    Don't forget to get theft and accidental damage insurance on it. The
    smaller they are the quicker they get stolen.

    --
    spam999free@rrohio.com
    remove 999 in order to email me
  16. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 18:30:05 GMT, Leythos <void@nowhere.lan> wrote:
    >Don't forget to get theft and accidental damage insurance on it. The
    >smaller they are the quicker they get stolen.

    All laptops are stealable. But theives don't want Dells, they want
    Macs.
  17. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    I don't blame them. Why steal a Geo Metro when you can steal a Porsche?
    "Sharon Westfall" <westfal@lava.net> wrote in message
    news:bmlm211sdr5ig3ds7ma2dgs0istm12n0f2@4ax.com...
    > On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 18:30:05 GMT, Leythos <void@nowhere.lan> wrote:
    >>Don't forget to get theft and accidental damage insurance on it. The
    >>smaller they are the quicker they get stolen.
    >
    > All laptops are stealable. But theives don't want Dells, they want
    > Macs.
  18. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sun, 6 Mar 2005 15:43:00 -0500, "linuxman44" <etlyons@gmail.com>
    wrote:
    >I don't blame them. Why steal a Geo Metro when you can steal a Porsche?

    Good tip: Don't drive a Porsche to school either. <g>
  19. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    me@privacy.net wrote:

    >>Brands I'd avoid are eMachines,
    >
    >
    > eMachines actually got a pretty good review on their
    > laptops from PC Mag. Why do feel to avoid them?
    >
    >
    >>It should also be noted I would have gone IBM again if the
    >>T43 was available, but I needed the notebook sooner than April.
    >
    >
    > Did you like your T21?
    >
    > Im thinking of buying a used one from eBay. Hence the
    > question

    Definitely, would buy it again. It's a great laptop for its size/weight
    combo and ran Linux flawlessly (XP worked well too when I had that
    installed). My only problem was with the inverter card which was
    covered under the warranty twice (but it's cheap an easy to fix
    yourself). Unfortunately my motherboard died last month, but I beleive
    that was just bad luck (considering I've got a IBM 600 series that still
    runs).
  20. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    me@privacy.net wrote:

    >>I'm a 4th year engineering major
    >
    >
    > Im curious.... instead of a laptop what abt buying an
    > using a Pocket PC such as the iPaq?
    >
    > Can a Pocket PC make a good replacemnet for a laptop?

    I do have a PocketPC (the older Dell Axim X5), but it wouldn't work as
    your only computer. I'll elaborate more later.
  21. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    It is still in the lineup, but reports say it will not be for much longer.


    me@privacy.net wrote:
    >>Stay away from the low-end Dells - the Inspiron 1000 and 1150 (the
    >>latter is being dropped)
    >
    >
    > The 1150 is being dropped?
    >
    > Sure abt that?
  22. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 19:57:36 GMT, "Edward J. Neth"
    <ejn63@netscape.net> wrote:
    >me@privacy.net wrote:
    >> The 1150 is being dropped?

    >It is still in the lineup, but reports say it will not be for much longer.

    It's still a great laptop. It's just kinda heavy. If they're
    discontinuing it, the prices will get even better still.

    My girlfriend got an Inspiron 1000. We went by price (as you can see,
    I go for cheap...:-). Her husband said he would pay for it, so we
    kept it close to his threshold. it's really nice, and light (the
    power supply too). Absolutely no problems with it.

    Honestly, unless you're doing intensive computing (movie editing?) you
    don't need the biggest and the best, you just need connectivity and
    office software. And a reliable machine. Dell's are very reliable.
  23. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    Notan wrote:

    > me@privacy.net wrote:
    >
    >>>I believe the Latitude is a better built laptop than
    >>>is the Inspiron (this is an opinion). I also use one for work, that is the
    >>>same as the one I bought my most recent student, a D600.
    >>
    >>Don't the Latitudes still have the serial and parallel
    >>ports whereas the Inspiron lines do not? Inspirons
    >>only have USB ports, right?
    >>
    >>If yes..... is the lack of serial or parallel ports
    >>really a big deal?
    >
    >
    > Latitudes, historically, have been built for business users,
    > while Inspirons have been geared towards home users.
    >
    > While I don't know the whys/what-fors/etc., Latitudes
    > seem to withstand the rigors of the road better than
    > Inspirons.
    >
    > Notan

    These days, unless you're going to be building interfaces to custom
    hardware or plan to use a very old mouse/printer, serial and parallel
    ports are not necessary. In general I've found the business line of
    most manufacturers to be superior to the consumer ones (at least in
    terms of durability).
  24. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    me@privacy.net wrote:

    >>I'm a 4th year engineering major
    >
    >
    > Im curious.... instead of a laptop what abt buying an
    > using a Pocket PC such as the iPaq?
    >
    > Can a Pocket PC make a good replacemnet for a laptop?

    Most students use a laptop for a handful of things: download/listen to
    music, talk to friends on AIM/email, and hopefully do a little
    research/write papers. For these tasks, a PocketPC is a poor choice
    (the only plausible one is communicating over AIM/email). PocketPC's are
    great Personal Information Managers (PIM's) but are not suitable as a
    primary computer. Even with an external keyboard, they're a headache to
    use for notes (screen too small) and don't even think about writing a
    paper. I mainly use my X5 as a Blackberry like device (checking email
    while in the lab/lecture, etc.). In class it's useful for when the
    professor has posted something online (like homework, etc.) that I've
    forgotten to print out. I also use mine to SSH into my home computer or
    the school lab. Also it's a great place to record all your professor's
    office hours.
  25. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    In general, yes. The 11xx and 51xx systems have not proved very
    reliable - they are extremely susceptible to overheating and component
    failure.

    The Inspiron 1000 is fine for what it is, but it's a throwaway - very
    limited upgradeability and a very limited, slow chipsets.

    Those are the only models from Dell I'd suggest avoiding - and if you
    decide to go with an 1100/1150/5100/5150/5160, get the longest warranty
    you can - you will very likely need it.


    Sharon Westfall wrote:
    > On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 19:57:36 GMT, "Edward J. Neth"

    > Honestly, unless you're doing intensive computing (movie editing?) you
    > don't need the biggest and the best, you just need connectivity and
    > office software. And a reliable machine. Dell's are very reliable.
  26. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 09:21:56 -1000, Sharon Westfall wrote:
    >
    > On Sun, 06 Mar 2005 18:30:05 GMT, Leythos <void@nowhere.lan> wrote:
    >>Don't forget to get theft and accidental damage insurance on it. The
    >>smaller they are the quicker they get stolen.
    >
    > All laptops are stealable. But theives don't want Dells, they want
    > Macs.

    Wrong, I had a client have two brand-new Dells, just opened the box, right
    out of his office in LA, they were about $4000 each as configured.


    --
    spam999free@rrohio.com
    remove 999 in order to email me
  27. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sat, 05 Mar 2005 20:20:03 GMT, "SCraig" <sassy@yahoo.com> wrote:

    >My daughter wants a laptop for college. She says she's asked around and
    >students she knows have had problems with their Dell laptops. I was
    >figuring on getting that brand for her but now am wondering what the
    >reliability of the Dell laptops is? Any input is appreciated.
    >
    >Craig
    >
    I seem to recall IBM laptops rated best, but that was before the sale.
    All laptops are more problem-prone than desktops, on the average.
    --
    Top 10 Conservative Idiots:
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/top10/
  28. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    On Sat, 5 Mar 2005 19:58:46 -0500, "JC McDonald" <jcmcdonald@aol.com>
    wrote:

    >I've sent two kids off to college with Dell Latitudes. Dell set up a great
    >price for their college, with a couple of configurations in an online store
    >just for their school.

    I didn't think of that. If the OP can get a good deal on Dell, that'd
    be the one to go withl.
    --
    Top 10 Conservative Idiots:
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/top10/
  29. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    >I use an old IBM
    >Thinkpad that I picked up used for cheap. It is sturdy and long lasting. My
    >wife and son at college use the same model of Thinkpads, also picked up used for
    >cheap. They are equally sturdy and long lasting. My wife and son are sturdy
    >and long lasting. So am I... Ben Myers

    What model ThinkPad did you buy used?
  30. Archived from groups: alt.sys.pc-clone.dell (More info?)

    Thinkpad 390e, with CPU speeds ranging from 300 to 450MHz. Not stunning speed.
    Took a while to boot up until I did some cleanup of junk in the start menu,
    uninstalled old unused software and defragged the hard drive. It has Windows
    2000 installed and I use it on the road a bit, but also to test lots of hardware
    and to troubleshoot network and wifi problems. So it needs cleanup every so
    often to restore whatever pizzaz it has. I've maxed out memory above the
    published spec of 256MB, installing a 256MB and a 128MB SODIMM... Ben Myers

    On Thu, 10 Mar 2005 22:07:31 -0600, me@privacy.net wrote:

    >>I use an old IBM
    >>Thinkpad that I picked up used for cheap. It is sturdy and long lasting. My
    >>wife and son at college use the same model of Thinkpads, also picked up used for
    >>cheap. They are equally sturdy and long lasting. My wife and son are sturdy
    >>and long lasting. So am I... Ben Myers
    >
    >What model ThinkPad did you buy used?
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