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Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:07 PM

Advice on a new laptop?

So I'm shopping for a new laptop. I suffer some iPad envy and would love the option of carrying something smaller than my laptop around when I travel, so I'm looking at some convertibles. I don't game enough to matter, but I love to be able to watch videos and movies so good display is fairly important.

Primarily though, I'm a writer and politics newsreader and internet schmoozer and promoter of my work. I need a good, good writing laptop, something that can withstand the physical ins and outs of the pad being connected and disconnected, as long a battery life as humanly possible, nice wiritng software, and so forth. I have a PC now but am not adverse to changing to a Mac. I hate Wondows 7 so I can only imagine what a delight 8 is, but again I'm mostly interested in what can enhance my writing life.

Suggestions? I've perusing the Macbook Air, the Dell, the HP Envy, but am open.

Thanks, guys. I renewed my membership just before posting this and am reminded why I did...DU is one-stop shopping for ALL my opinions. LOL!

79 replies, 4527 views

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Arrow 79 replies Author Time Post
Reply Advice on a new laptop? (Original post)
nolabear Nov 2012 OP
ChairmanAgnostic Nov 2012 #1
gateley Nov 2012 #27
flamingdem Nov 2012 #2
targetpractice Nov 2012 #3
Awknid Nov 2012 #39
flamingdem Nov 2012 #49
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #54
Aerows Nov 2012 #61
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #4
ChairmanAgnostic Nov 2012 #31
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #36
nmbluesky Nov 2012 #5
WiffenPoof Nov 2012 #6
dogknob Nov 2012 #7
jonthebru Nov 2012 #15
dogknob Nov 2012 #21
Aerows Nov 2012 #24
theKed Nov 2012 #40
Aerows Nov 2012 #53
Logical Nov 2012 #8
Awknid Nov 2012 #42
Logical Nov 2012 #50
Poiuyt Nov 2012 #60
Logical Nov 2012 #68
wtmusic Nov 2012 #69
Logical Nov 2012 #70
mythology Nov 2012 #78
LiberalArkie Nov 2012 #79
MineralMan Nov 2012 #9
dogknob Nov 2012 #10
sammytko Nov 2012 #75
flamingdem Nov 2012 #13
MineralMan Nov 2012 #18
sammytko Nov 2012 #76
Aerows Nov 2012 #14
MineralMan Nov 2012 #17
Aerows Nov 2012 #19
Zorra Nov 2012 #32
MineralMan Nov 2012 #35
SheilaT Nov 2012 #66
behindenemylins Nov 2012 #11
Aerows Nov 2012 #12
Initech Nov 2012 #16
Aerows Nov 2012 #20
Aerows Nov 2012 #22
HopeHoops Nov 2012 #23
Aerows Nov 2012 #25
HopeHoops Nov 2012 #26
Aerows Nov 2012 #59
HopeHoops Nov 2012 #73
matt819 Nov 2012 #33
Aerows Nov 2012 #63
pinto Nov 2012 #28
aletier_v Nov 2012 #29
matt819 Nov 2012 #30
jackbenimble Nov 2012 #34
ohheckyeah Nov 2012 #37
obamanut2012 Nov 2012 #38
Aerows Nov 2012 #58
Old Codger Nov 2012 #41
Lizzie Poppet Nov 2012 #43
HooptieWagon Nov 2012 #44
BlueCaliDem Nov 2012 #45
aletier_v Nov 2012 #64
SomethingFishy Nov 2012 #46
SoCalDem Nov 2012 #47
mahina Nov 2012 #48
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #51
Science Geek Nov 2012 #55
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #65
Aerows Nov 2012 #67
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #72
nolabear Nov 2012 #52
Science Geek Nov 2012 #71
trixie Nov 2012 #56
democrattotheend Nov 2012 #57
MerryBlooms Nov 2012 #62
JCMach1 Nov 2012 #74
mzteris Nov 2012 #77

Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:09 PM

1. the new macbook with retina screen is amazing.

I liked the air, the weight is unbelievable, but the pro kicks butt, too.

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Response to ChairmanAgnostic (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:28 PM

27. Yeah, Air isn't much bigger than an iPad. It's my fantasy laptop. But OP might

Do better with the new Pro -

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:10 PM

2. I'm also interested

there are some tiny PCs around for about $300 at our local tech outlet but reliability is another issue.

I haven't really checked out the iPad - it's not useful for writing and some editing? The newer small one looks verrry nice.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:14 PM

3. There are a ton of iPad apps for writing...

Pages is Apple's version of MS Word. There are others that provide clean distraction free interfaces, sync with Dropbox, etc.

Plus, you can use a bluetooth keyboard with it if you want.

And, the dictation feature is awesome!

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:37 PM

39. There are apps for the I Pad that let you use and edit MS Word

My husband uses his to write all the time. Keeps it with him as one would a note pad and whips it out wherever he is when he gets inspired. Don't rule out the I Pad as a writing tool. But if you need to edit books, get a MacBook Pro with Adobe creative suite!

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Response to Awknid (Reply #39)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:54 PM

49. I want to find software to create an ebook, ibook ? for kindle, iPad etc.

Is that why you mentioned Adobe Creative Suite? Do you know if there is a particular program that is generally used to make ebooks, downloadable books (not sure of the industry term)

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #49)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:43 PM

54. Calibre

And it's free

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #54)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:03 PM

61. Calibre

Rocks. Great suggestion.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:16 PM

4. Macbook, and I will tell you why

SCRIVENER (which is also available for Windows), is a godsend to write with.

Also it is LIGHT and long battery life. If I could do with the tiny drives, I would consider one, serious.

And I will add something else, my macbook, which is having some issues (after almost eight years, and it is the wireless, it is behaving right now), is well, eight years. I have yet to experience any other brand lasting that long.

Oh and since the Macbook air is a solid state drive, it is fast to wake up.

The downside, you might have to consider an external storage solution.

Alternatively, consider an IPAD with an external keyboard, though I mostly use the on screen keyboard when out and about. I got my first Ipad, due to severe back issues, and quite frankly it is a joy to do research on... with Goodreader installed markup of pdf's is a breeze.

Right now I am testing a beta of a writing piece of software that has existed on the IPAD for ever, called Notebooks, on both the macbook and the Netbook... it is far more mature on the macbook.

Now compatibility issues,. though I have word on this (due to hubby), at times it still misbehaves.

As to windows seven, trust me, it is far less of an issue than eight... uggh... I only went, my mother would never be able to get a handle on this. No, not because she is not bright, the implementation.

Here is one more thing, you are thiking of upgrading, take your old machine to best buy, and do the trade in. They will recycle it, and you might be surprised at how much you will get. I was able to upgrade my 32 bit gen one IPAD for the 64, for example. It covered the difference and taxes.

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #4)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:45 PM

31. been using the logictech KB cover.

nice feel, really long battery life, and it makes editing easy (arrow keys)
it also hooks up magnetically to the ipad.

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Response to ChairmanAgnostic (Reply #31)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:09 PM

36. We have the mac external keyboard

which now is parked in front of my mackbook. After some keys... did I mention it is just south of eight years?

Though I can see that. I considered it, but I needed a tad more "armor" on mine due to where I take it when covering news. The ones with attached keyboards did not really meet that requirement.

Right now using my Samsung Netbook. Testing the beta of Notebooks for the windows platform... so I needed to get that out of the house where I do some typing and leave my beloved Ipad at home. I know when the nettie dies there will be no replacement for it. But the program works, so will go on the gaming machine (attached to the printer)

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:17 PM

5. MacBook Pro

I'm Mac at all

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:17 PM

6. MacBook Air - - Without a Doubt n/t

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:18 PM

7. Win 8 is a disaster.

I just got a new laptop myself. Had it built. If you can avoid buying from a retail store, do so; I got a clean machine with no BS and Win 7 Ultimate.

I used to be a Mac guy, but I got problems with Apple's entire philosophy these days.

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Response to dogknob (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:45 PM

15. Please if you can explain your comment that...

"Win 8 is a disaster."
I just bought a acer touch laptop with a touch screen and windows 8. I am still on the learning curve but so far it is not by definition,"a disaster."

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Response to jonthebru (Reply #15)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:07 PM

21. My neighbor had win8 for months before release... seen it in action.

It is designed for iToys. Probably rocks on the Surface, but for someone who does a lot of writing, a lot of coding, and a lot of pro multimedia, nah...

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/rejected-74-of-organizations-have-no-plans-to-deploy-windows-8/6828?tag=content;siu-container

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Response to dogknob (Reply #21)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:14 PM

24. Windows 8

is awful. It's Windows Millennium with even less robust (and I say that sarcastically) underpinnings.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #24)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:38 PM

40. Strange

I must've gotten a different release, because mine's like a reskinned windows 7 with extra toys.

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Response to theKed (Reply #40)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:41 PM

53. I've been working with Microsoft products

including Enterprise products since the DOS 3.3 days. Please feel free to assume that I know nothing of Microsoft products, including Exchange, Windows OS, and the intimacies of Active Directory.

Windows 8 sucks. Microsoft screwed this one up so badly that the lead in development of Windows 8 resigned. People don't resign from MS unless they are shown the door because it is a highly lucrative company to work for, and has great benefits.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:19 PM

8. Buy a mac if you want to pay twice as much......

I own a mac for iPhone development. And Windows PCs also.

But went shopping for two laptops for my kids college. The MAC was TWICE as much as the same Dell or HP.

Apple is way overpriced.

And at work we have Macs and PCs. Both have their issues.

The MAC guy told me they don't get virus, etc. Typical Apple BS.

I told him I could buy two HPs or Dells and throw the one away that got a virus and still save money. No answer from him.

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Response to Logical (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:45 PM

42. Macs DO NOT get viruses

As much as PCs! This is true. It is because the hackers who start the viruses don't like to bother with Macs because there are fewer of them than PCs. They don't get as big a result.
I thought the prices on Macs had come down not long ago. The original MacBook Air was $3,300.00. They brought it down to approx. $ 1,500.00! How cheap are the PCs? I bought a Sony a couple of years ago and remember it being almost as much as a Mac?
Always buy a Mac if you want it for long term!

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Response to Awknid (Reply #42)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:00 PM

50. Not as much. Because the smaller install base. And they are much more expensive!

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Response to Logical (Reply #50)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:02 PM

60. The fact that it is a smaller userbase has nothing to do with Mac's superior security.

Mac OS is built on the bulletproof Unix operated system. I won't say that Macs are imune from viruses, but you sure don't hear about them.

And yes, Mac laptops are more expensive than base Windows machines, but with comparable features, they are priced similarly. You get what you pay for.

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Response to Poiuyt (Reply #60)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 07:13 PM

68. Yes it does. And the virus writers admit it. And what the hell does "you get what you pay for" mean?

What does the MAC have that the PC makers can't understand? LOL, you fan boys crack me up.

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Response to Logical (Reply #68)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 07:15 PM

69. It means you get a superior OS and a lot less wasted time and frustration. nt

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #69)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 07:19 PM

70. LOL, ok.

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Response to Poiuyt (Reply #60)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:49 AM

78. There is no such thing as a bulletproof operating system

Yes Macs get malware. Recently 600,000 Macs were found infected with one particular piece of malware that opened users up to having their passwords and other sensitive information compromised.

If you didn't hear about this and other malware on Macs, you probably aren't paying as much attention as you should be to your computer security.

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Response to Poiuyt (Reply #60)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 12:24 PM

79. I might add that all Apple products are designed in USA unlike other manufactures.

They all use 1st quality IC's unlike the others which are low bid. Unix is the best and most reliable OS.
Unix is what made me change from someone who laughed at Apple machines, and now only have Apple products.

They hold their value.

I had a HP notebook and the touch pad went bad. They told me to trade it in on a new model.

Believe it or not, my trackpad went bad on my macbook pro. I took it to the Apple store and was charged out of warranty charge of $75. Far cheaper than a new notebook.

Apple products are products that you hand down.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:20 PM

9. If you're a writer, I'll assume that you're a good typist.

If you're a good typist, the keyboard on whatever you buy is very important. My old notebook computer has a terrible keyboard, and I hate typing on it. In fact, when I'm forced to, I plug in a separate USB keyboard and use that instead.

Before making a choice, try typing on the unit you're considering for more than a few seconds. Actually write something substantial in length on it. See how selecting text goes, too, since that's another thing writers do a lot. Don't compromise ease of use for how you use the thing for any other factor.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:22 PM

10. What he said! n/t

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Response to dogknob (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:36 AM

75. I agree! Keboard is key lol n/t

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:37 PM

13. This is my concern about iPads, I'm not sure if their editing functions

are acceptable for a writer. I know a few people who bought them and really don't use them much, partly for that reason

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #13)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:50 PM

18. Not really. My wife, who is also a magazine writer and web writer,

got an iPad, but it's pretty much useless for actual writing and editing. Even with an accessory keyboard, its built-in writing tools are primitive for someone who makes a living with writing. She's abandoned it for that purpose, and uses it as a multimedia tablet, as it was designed to be used.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #13)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:38 AM

76. Yeah, I downloaded Pages for my Ipad and I never use it. Thought I would transfer my school papers

back and forth from my PC to iPad and work on them whenever I was in the mood, but it never happened. I prefer a regular PC for school work.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:41 PM

14. I wouldn't own a computer

without a keyboard. That's what I have a smartphone for. If I buy a computer, it's a computer!

Screw Ipads. I can get a netbook (and have one) for my computing needs away from my massive desktop self-built, my Android phone for light duty, and have all of my mobile and computing needs met. Plus I have a kickass real computer with two video cards, 8 hard drives and overclock the piss out of it for gaming

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Response to Aerows (Reply #14)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:48 PM

17. My wife has an iPad. She did buy a bluetooth keyboard for it,

but it quit working after two days. So, she uses the iPad for what it was designed to do, be a multimedia tablet. She won't be writing on it.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #17)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:04 PM

19. I love my phone

It is a bit large, but it's thin with a big screen, and can do whatever I need it to do. My netbook, I wouldn't be without Both are perfect in what they do - one is a pda/phone, the other is a tiny laptop that I can type on.

Everybody is different, and has different needs out of their electronics, I've just found mine to be a great system for me.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:48 PM

32. Good advice! My laptop has been very dependable, but I have a really rough typing touch

born on old typewriters, and my keyboard sounds like a freight train rolling through the coffee shop or the library when I do any work there.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #32)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:03 PM

35. I learned to type way back in 1962 in high school.

Over the years, I've graduated from manual typewriters, through the IBM Selectric, and finally to PC keyboards. Over the years, I've also written more and more, and my typing speed has kept increasing. These days, I average about 100 wpm. Since I'm an absolute touch typist, I get to watch my words appear on the screen as I go, and catch typos, etc. almost instantly. That's how I've typed for many many years. Even in the manual typewriter days, I watched the words appear, instead of the keys. Because of that, my first drafts are usually my final drafts. I edit as I go and read what I write as it shows up.

My wife, on the other hand, never learned touch typing, so her eyes are on her hands and the keyboard. Amazingly, she hits about 50 wpm that way, and uses multiple fingers in her hunting and pecking. But...she doesn't see the words as they appear. Instead, she reviews after each paragraph, makes any necessary changes, and moves on.

The difference in the quantity of our output in a given time period is quite large. We're both professional writers, but I crank out more work. I think she's a better writer, overall, though. It's funny how differently people work.

I'm an aggressive keyboarder, and go through about two keyboards a year. I've just never been able to type well on my notebook. So, I just plug in a good PC keyboard and pay no attention to the built-in one. I use a regular mouse with the notebook, too. I have a compact keyboard and optical mouse. They all fit in the laptop case.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:49 PM

66. Yep. It's the keyboard.

I resisted getting any kind of a laptop for several years, and rarely use the one I did finally acquire about five years ago because the keyboards were apparently designed by and for people who don't actually type.

They are perfectly designed for carpal tunnel syndrome, however.

I'm a good, fast typist (and if you could see the simple typos I've been producing and correcting as I type this, you'd fall down laughing) and I adore computers precisely because I don't have to be perfect, as I did back in the days of actual typewriters.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:29 PM

11. Dell Latitude E5400 series

Work purchased me one (Latitude E5420 to be exact) over the summer and I love it. Sturdy, easy keyboard, holds a charge real well for stock battery and exchanging parts inside is a snap. Dell's site tries to make it a "business thing", but you can easily purchase one for yourself. Only modification I did was adding a 7200RPM hard drive and rolling Win 7 back to 32-bit because of company software.

Has drivers for XP as well, since you don't like 7. And your assumption of Win 8 is spot on. It's a total POS - Windows ME for the pink and fuzzy bunnies crowd.

*Avoid laptops with integrated batteries, which a lot of these "green" units contain. They're motherboard killers.

*If you choose to use XP on a new unit, have somebody who knows what they're doing install it - SATA drivers issue. Or, if you feel you're savvy enough, look for ICH7 sata drivers from Intel and use a great tool called "nlite".

Hopefully, I'm not being too techy here.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:36 PM

12. HP Envy

Is an *AWESOME* choice if you are going with Windows. I would make certain you can get it with Windows 7, however, because Windows 8's Metro is annoying as hell.

No to the Dell.

Macbook Air, you are paying a lot for a machine that isn't worth that much.

HP Envy is called "Envy" for a reason. It's sweet. The magnesium alloy frame, the slim contours, I'll envy you for having one. Great little box that one is.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 12:46 PM

16. I really hate Dell. If you want one of those convertible ones try Toshiba.

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Response to Initech (Reply #16)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:05 PM

20. Toshiba makes great stuff

My netbook is a Toshiba and I adore it. I've had it for over two years, and it is solid as a rock.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:12 PM

22. One quick question

Why do you hate Windows 7? It's a great OS. If you hate Windows 7, you aren't going to like the Mac OS any better.

Windows 8? It's a piece of trash, so I can understand not liking it, but 7 is every bit as solid and good as XP. The only thing better you could ever get is a customized Linux OS, but I'm guessing you probably don't want to go there.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:13 PM

23. I'm all HP and quite happy with the products. Note: the main reason...

 

... was the feel of the keyboard, touch pad, and ESPECIALLY the mouse buttons on the touch pad. Use the stores to get the "feel" on each brand and then go online to order it - you can configure them however you want, even down to the color of the casing. The screens are pretty much all the same (and probably made by the same company), but the interface you'll be using is what you do with your hands.

The price is irrelevant. They've pretty much got the market locked up in inter-brand price fixing. $20 here, $20 there. That's about it.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #23)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:15 PM

25. The Envy

is SWEET! I might get one in the near future. I've had my eye on that little darling. I love my Toshiba netbook, but I kind of want an upgrade. I love the mag frame on it.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834127694R

Though I am about to pull the pin on this little number.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #25)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:28 PM

26. Well, the price is good, but the stats are sort of, well, outdated.

 

I've found that it's better to go for the highest end laptop you can get within your budget. You get more service life out of them and can delay replacing them for longer. In the long-run you save money. Desktops and towers are far easier to upgrade than laptops and give you more options. This laptop (I'm typing on) was top of the line five years ago, but it topped out on memory when I upgraded it (myself) to 2GB. It can't handle more.

Don't be fooled by price. That machine says "All I use it for is e-mail and looking at LOL Cats."

Hang onto the Toshiba until you can get something beefier. Generally (in current prices), $600-$700 will get you a damn nice box with longevity and some pre-loaded software thrown in. Check out HP's site and try some "configure my own" options to see what I mean. It's really easy to use and gives you a baseline for looking at other machines. Like I said, it seems like the industry has a price-fixing scam going on. No manufacturer is actually "cheaper" in that sense.




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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #26)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:02 PM

59. I'm still waiting

I do want another Toshiba, to be honest. The HP is pretty sweet, and I decided I'm not getting another Sony. It was a fleeting thought since it was cheap.

Toshiba makes great stuff. I know I want an E1800 based or higher for the graphics. RAM and hard drives mean nothing to me because I almost always upgrade both after the fact. CPU and GPU can't be upgraded, so that is my most important consideration. Oh, and USB 3.0

Oh - and I want an 11.6 screen, so no, this won't be my primary box, just a netbookish type thing. My main box has an OC'ed 4.5Ghz i5, dual GTX 560's in SLI mode, and multiple hard drives attached to a 28" monitor for gaming.

I won't settle for less, though, in a netbook even unless I can play one or two games on it

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Response to Aerows (Reply #59)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:27 AM

73. OCing to 4.5 is dangerous! Make sure you've got a SHITLOAD of ventilation!!!

 

You might even want to consider a secondary fan. That's like a 27% OC there.

My server's got a 27" widescreen with a 19" secondary. I still want more real estate. But I do have 24GB and 9TB of storage. I don't really play games anymore, and if I do it's on a Win98SE machine using MAME to play all my old favorite arcade games. It also has the old joystick port which fits my favorite flight stick.

As for the new Toshiba, unless you've had an 11.6 or so screen before, go try the keyboard on one at one of the office supply stores. It takes a lot of getting used to and "fat finger syndrome" is common. I love my mini (all solid state - no hard drive) but it was a bit tricky at first. Keys weren't where I expected them to be and they're a lot smaller. Then again, I'm pushing 100wpm now and rarely have to use the backspace key. With no hard drive, it's easy to hold in one hand and type with the other - like above my head in bed. The 10 hour battery life is nice too.

Brand loyalty is funny. I'm all HP with printers and computers, all Sony with video and headphones, all Nikon with still, LS with DVD players, Radio Shack for speakers, VTech for cordless landlines, Seagate for external hard drives, and all Samsung with cell phones. Curiously, a lot of it has to do with the feel of the physical interfaces than the specs, but reliability is really the primary concern. I don't even bother with looking at other brands in those categories.

The list has changed with time because companies have. Dell used to have great tech support and then it moved to Suck City. The first Toshiba "portable" I used had an orange monochrome screen, was larger than a portable typewriter, and weighed about 20 lbs. That was shortly after I did a long stint with an Osborne. The Toshiba was a nice box, though. I still have an original IBM Thinkpad (with the nipple in the keyboard). After they offloaded it to Lenova, the keyboards sucked. Motorola used to be my cell phone brand (and cordless land line too) but they took a nose dive when they threw all their chips behind the Razor (or whatever it is called). I need a flip phone and Samsung makes some really nice ones.






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Response to Aerows (Reply #25)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:50 PM

33. Windows 8 question

Since you can't get the HP Envy with Windows 7 (at least on the HP site), would you get the touch screen version, which Windows 8 seems designed for, or the non touch screen version?

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Response to matt819 (Reply #33)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:16 PM

63. Personally

I'd get the Windows 8 version without the touch screen, wipe it, and then put Windows 7 on it. Not everyone can do this, of course, but that would be what I would do. I don't have much use for touch screens since I have a great phone that functions like a tablet.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:32 PM

28. I have an ASUS Notebook PC I'm really pleased with.

Nice size screen, very good readability and display. I don't game, either, but watch movies. The color quality / clarity is good. Keyboard is very user friendly. Touch pad or mouse. Easy to move / carry about. Battery is ~ 2.5 - 3 hours, not as good as some but plenty for me. Came w/ W7 installed, so that may be an issue for you.



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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:33 PM

29. I've had Dell, Tohisba, HP. I switched to Lenovo/w Ubuntu three years ago

I'm pretty happy with x200/x201.

It's simple, cheap ($900), light (3.9 lbs), 4+ hour battery life

All my Dells failed after 12-18 months, usually the keyboard.

I'd probably get this if I were buying a new system.
I have Mac fanatic friends, and i goofed with Mac Air for awhile but they just don't interest me.


http://www.lenovo.com/products/us/laptop/thinkpad/x-series/x1-carbon/

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:40 PM

30. I was going to post the same question earlier this week

So. . . all this info is helpful.

My spouse is on the road a lot and calls me for information that she doesn't have on her ipad (and wouldn't use even if she did have it). If I'm in the office, great. If not, well, you get the idea.

I love the idea of a tablet and was thinking of the Surface so that I could load quickbooks and have the information she needs no matter where I am. That rules out the ipad. Plus, the ipad really isn't an office-type computer. The Surface with Windows 8 got panned, so that's out. I was thinking of the Acer tablet, and still am. But the recommendations for the HP Envy are interesting.

I'm using Windows 7 and have no problems with it as an OS. I do have a computer problem that I'd be interested to have commented on. I keep my PC on 24x7, mainly for middle of the night updates and online back up. Well, when I get to my desk in the morning and start opening programs, the computer takes its sweet time. It's not waking up from sleep mode; I'm just using after it has a night-long break from human interaction. Any thoughts.

And thanks for the info.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:55 PM

34. HP user here.

I have an HP EliteBook for work and I liked it so much I bought one very much like it for personal use, an HP ProBook. My first laptop was a 17" but was too big and cumbersome. I like the 15" better. I also like the stainless case that doesn't show fingerprints like the shiny plastic HPs.

Good luck making a decision.




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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:29 PM

37. I like Dell

because I can go to the website and order what I want. I get the size HD I want, the processor I want, etc. I have 3...one is an old Dell Dimension 3000 and it's still going strong. I've upgraded it some since I got it about 7 years ago. My laptop is probably bigger than you want but they have new, slim laptops and notebooks.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:34 PM

38. Toshiba -- terrific laptops

Save the money you would spend buying a Mac and get a tablet. FYI: the Nook HD and Kindle HD are better than the iPad Mini.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #38)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:59 PM

58. They are terrific

Mine is a little over 2 years old, and I still love it. Great tactiles on the keyboards, nice touchpads, and they are pretty sturdy in build quality.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:40 PM

41. ASUS Transformer

Last edited Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:29 PM - Edit history (1)

ASUS Transformer is pretty impressive, the tf300 or higher with keyboard/dock is pretty decent 10.1 screen and they only go $20.00 more for 32 gigs over 16.... also has or can be updated to Jelly Bean Android..... lots of up time with keyboard dock having extra battery, also has USB port and can connect to computer with USB charging cord.Been using it for 4-5 months now and works great.
Has mini HDMI port, and has SD port also.


on edit ..............This is not a laptop, it is a great tablet but will not take the place of a decent net book of the same size.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:50 PM

43. Consider one of the smaller makers.

First off, I wouldn't buy HP with someone else's money. They can NOT be relied on to stand by their products. Like thousands of other users, I've fallen victim to the Pavilion series' problem with failure to recognize the AC power supply when powered up. This problem occurs with a significant percentage of these machines, enough to consider it a design flaw (and thus worthy of a recall). Nope. HP essentially says I'm SOL...and will never get another dime of my money.

Dell/Alienware offer actual product support and very good products. They're comparatively costly for a given level of performance and features (although not in Mac territory...), but are a dependable option.

A lot of the smaller makers, like Cyberpower or iBuyPower, offer more for your money...but almost without exception get poor reviews for their customer service. If you think that's going to matter to you, caveat emptor. A happy exception to that rule about smaller makers is CybertronPC (google it...), who offer a lot for the money and get glowing reviews for customer service. My gaming desktop's one of theirs, and it's superb; haven't needed their CS yet, but the reviews of their service are what made me pick them.

Can't comment in an informed fashion on Macs. I'm pretty heavily invested in PC software (pro music production applications...kind of expensive stuff, a lot of it), and I've never been able to get past the poor value-for-money equation. But lots of folks that have 'em rave about 'em.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:50 PM

44. I have a MacBook Pro that I love!

A little pricey, but well worth the extra $ if you can afford them.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:52 PM

45. The best laptops according to warranty company, SquareTrade, is

ASUS and Toshiba, both with a malfunction rate of 15.6 and 15.7 percent. I was surprised to see Apple had a 17.4% malfunction rate!

Anyway, here is an excellent article about the different laptops:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10400447-1.html

Hope that helps. Btw, I did this research because I *needed to get hubby a new laptop and I got him a Toshiba.

*Edited for typo.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #45)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:26 PM

64. Ah, this is by brand, not by model

There's probably a big skew in it.

I had a total of 4 or 5 Dells and 2 Lenovos (ThinkBooks).
I eventually had failures on all Dells but neither Lenovo.

The stats are mixing Lenovo's new line stats with IBM Thinkbook stats, I think.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:53 PM

46. If you are going to go with a PC and want Mac quality

Check out "I Buy Power" or "Alienware". They custom make rigs to your specs, the prices are a bit higher than a Dell or an HP but lower than a Mac and the systems are solid as a rock.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:14 PM

47. Find an old "new" one with XP

I paid extra for my Toshiba (new with XP and a disc to upgrade if I wanted to .,,.to Win7...)

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 03:14 PM

48. use newegg and get the extended warantee.

I got my son's laptop on newegg. It was @350-400, sorry.I don't. remember the brand or specs but it was easy to compare and we got a good deal. He uses it for school - engineering- and gaming.

This isn't answering your question with what we got but how we got it. Newegg makes it easy to decide based on your criteria. It was packed safely and in hand in 3 days when though we're. out here in the middle of the Pacific.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:10 PM

51. Stay far away from Dell and HP, you don't want the problems you will have dealing with either

 

of these 100% outsourced brands, should you get one of their all to common defective units.

Toshiba has typically made a solid product and they can take a fair amount of abuse.

As everyone else has warned you, insist on windoze 7.

Personally I get mine from custom makers so I can specify everything and then not worry about the next one for 7 - 10 years, but not many people want to go that route.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #51)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:50 PM

55. My Aunt purchased an HP...

...Desktop about a few years ago. Kept getting strange glitches, crashes, lock-ups, blue screens, finally the HDD lost its master file table. Turns out that it was all being caused by defective RAM, one of the sticks had a bad bit. Before it was finally correctly diagnosed and the RAM was replaced, you simply cannot believe the sting of weird problems I was called weekly to troubleshoot. None of the problems were reproducible because things get loaded into different physical places in RAM each time. We both thought it was a machine from hell.

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Response to Science Geek (Reply #55)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:41 PM

65. I, sadly, worked for them for a few years in their notebook division. None of it was my fault!

 

I, and most of my department tried to tell them, but after Fiorina sacked all the technical people in upper management, it was just MBAs and nobody could even understand what we were telling them and were constantly making multimillion dollar mistakes trying to save a few thousand.

Your experience is a great example. Checking the HDD and RAM is one of the simplest and first things that should have been done. Of course the technical assistance guys are trained, first to upsell you, and then to focus on their notorious bloatware.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #65)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 07:02 PM

67. Eons ago

I worked in Pavilion support as a level 2 tech. And yes, the level 1's frequently had no idea what they were doing. I got the escalated customers. You can imagine how much of a joy that was. I was exhilarated when I got a much better job by virtue of my experience doing that one!

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Response to Aerows (Reply #67)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 08:14 PM

72. Wow, small world. I might have been your bosses boss. The whole division was outsourced

 

in 2006, IIRC. The guy that got my old job is/was an Indian making $5,000 p/yr.

Back in my consulting days I had a gig with HP scientific and it was really amazing. Everybody I encountered was just so damn good at what they did. It was one of the most pleasurable contracts I ever had, 7 years later when I went to work for them it was an entirely different, and pathetically inept, company.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:10 PM

52. Thanks to everybody. I have a lot to chew on.

I've got a fairly elderly Lenovo Thinkpad now and it's not only got a fried battery (I know I can replace but I'd kill for a long lifespan) but things are beginning to show signs of wear that I can't keep going a lot longer.

It's interesting to see why people develop their loyalties. I need a sturdy keyboard but I'm not too big a pounder. My husband, who's a computer guy, loves the PC and likes the idea of a convertible, but the idea of having those two pieces worries me for some reason. The Dell just seems odd with that mount.

I don't doubt I could adapt to Mac software, though as I said I don't like Windows 7. Outlook makes me want to scream. And whomever decided .docx was a good idea should be whomped on. However, I don't have much trouble formatting ms in Word and dealing with editing and tracking changes, so it might be worthwhile to stay with that. I need light as I wag the thing everywhere.

I'll keep reading posts and let you all know what I ultimately decide.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #52)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 07:43 PM

71. Consider a Gateway...

I'm typing this on a Gateway machine from 2005 with a Pentium D processor running at 3 Ghz. It was a $2,000 machine when I bought it, and nothing has ever gone wrong with it in 7 years. I've owned other Gateways before this one, and I've had very good luck with all of them. I only had to replace a power supply in one of them, after 4 years of use, it was a snap to do so and inexpensive. Also, consider an external USB hard disk drive and some free disk-imaging software like Macrium Reflect. With it, you can back up your entire HDD, OS and all your programs and documents (every last bit on the drive) in about 10 to 15 minutes (typically). Even if you took the HDD out and put it in a wood-chipper, you could buy another HDD and restore the image from the external USB drive and be at the exact point in time of your last backup. A 2TB drive can hold many, many backups. Disk imaging software is really easy to use, and has saved my keister on several occasions.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:51 PM

56. AlienWare, AlienWare!!!

All the cool kids on Big Bang Theory have them.......

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 04:52 PM

57. I have a Samsung 350U that I like, for the most part

It's lightweight but has the same keyboard as the MacBook, unlike a lot of small computers where the keys are crunched together. However, the one criticism I have is that the screen does not tilt very far back, so if you are unable to position it at eye level it may put some strain on your neck. But if you don't have neck problems it's a good computer otherwise. I have been very impressed with the battery life on it.

I still like my Mac better, but the Samsung is a very good laptop and seems like a fit for your needs.

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 05:11 PM

62. I purchased a Toshiba about 6 mths ago and I love it. n/t

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:30 AM

74. IF you are on a budget, get a Lenovo with an I5 processor

great value for your money...

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Response to nolabear (Original post)

Sun Nov 18, 2012, 10:41 AM

77. Toshiba Portege

Solid state - no disc to get screwed up. Small, lightweight, sturdy powerful.

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