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Notebooks Best Laptop to Buy for a college student?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by computerman5, 21 Nov 2009.

  1. computerman5

    computerman5 New Member

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    I am planning on buying a new laptop..What can you guys recommend that I buy?
    Laptops with
    -built in camera
    -lots of memory
    -lightweight (I'm tiny so I want to carry something small and handy)
    -fast
    -not too expensive

    My friend recommend this black friday sales: http://blackfriday2009sale.info/index.php?keywords=computer,laptop&store=10 @ bestbuy

    what should I watch out and which one should i choose?

    Please help. I am clueless about buying laptops.
     
  2. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    In my opinion you should look at Small Buisness, yes the System are yes a little more expensive but it pays off. from computer manufacture directly, here is why on a general level:
    - System comes junk free
    - System comes with OS disk and driver disk seperatly
    - Most of the time you can negotiate a better price just by asking (doesn't work, hang up try again)
    - Better service than Home. In the case of Dell Canada - the tech support department is IN CANADA, not outsourced, unless you call after business hours, of the region of the tech support center. And because your a business, they don't/should not tread you like an idiot.
    - Warranty is with the manufacture directly, ensuring a good job, with the correct parts.
    - Some companies like Dell, has next business day on site service, this gets your system fixed the next business day, by a subcontracted firm which offer services to small companies without or too small IT department, IN FRONT OF YOU! So you ensure that the problem is solved, and the job is well done.. no need to ship your system. Definitely worth the extra for this service, especially if you need a laptop everyday for school.
    - Usually better build quality (depends on the model, of course)
    - Usually have a non-glossy screen - you'll thank me when you are next to a window, or near any light source. You'll be able to reduce the backlit of your screen as you see well teh screen, which translate increasing your battery life.
    - Usially have longer battery life.


    Just remember that battery life decrease very fast with Lithium battery. If you get a laptop with 3 hours.. within months you'll have 45min or even less.

    My laptop has 9 hours of battery life, and now after 1 year, is about 5 hours. 3 hours is MINIMUM for me as battery life.. so I expect to chnage the battery in summer. Also, when you dont' use the Lithium battery, it actually ages faster, so don't get a second battery at purchase, unless you plan to use both a lot.
     
  3. Cupboard

    Cupboard I'm not a modder.

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    I would mostly agree with what Goodbytes says. I am in the fortunate position of having a laptop and a desktop, so I have a 12" laptop making it a lot easier to carry around. If you don't have a desktop or external screen then I would probably go for a 14" screen - one of my housemates has got a Samsung small business equivalent 14" laptop and seems to love it.

    With battery life - depending on your college you may find there are plenty of power sockets around. My uni is pretty good for providing an internet connection and somewhere to plug in but yours could be very different.

    Another thing to consider - what will you be using it for? if it is a primary computer then it clearly needs to be rather more powerful than if it is complementing a desktop machine. The less powerful your laptop is, the less you pay and you tend to get a better battery life. If it is just for general "office tasks" then you could probably just get one of the 12" netbook-type thingies.

    With batteries - don't buy a second until you need it as capacity reduces pretty much no matter what you do with it. The big no no is charging too quickly/getting too hot but that is mostly down to the design of charging circuits so not something you can change.

    One last thing (sorry for the length!!) on one occasion using my laptop last year whilst it was on my knee, I had a massive sneezing fit. Laptop fell on the floor, ~1m, and because of the position of the power connector round the back, landed with its full weight on that. It hasn't been the same since. Charging can be unreliable and in certain orientations the area around the socket can get skin-burning hot. Just something to consider!
     
  4. quietguy

    quietguy D'orc

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  5. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    I actually have to disagree with the list. They are WAY better models for the price. I assume that list is kinda old.

    Here is are things I recommend:
    If you are engineering or computer science department you will need power on the go for programming under Windows/Linux, or using special tools like CAD MathLab and such depending on the degree you take. Windows is the best platform, of course, therefor Apple product are out of the list. If you are getting a MAC to surf the web.... then look at the Nvidia ION based laptop with the most powerful Intel Atom, as it does that with the power of a Geforce 9400M, and runs Win7 smothly and allows you to play HD content and heck even some old games (that means light 3D projects, will be doable) under minimum settings,.. and the system is very small. Just remember that the Geforce 9400M uses your SYSTEM RAM, it doesn't have dedicated memory.... MacBook Pro has a Geforce 9400M, so watch out.

    If you want a MacBook Pro replica including design, look at the HP Envy. More powerful, and better all around (same thickness as well). But like the MacBook Pro it has a glossy screen.

    If you want a more powerful system, check out the Dell Latitude E6400/E6500. It features a Quadro NVS 160M with 256MB of RAM - it's equivalent to a Geforce 9400M but with 256MB of RAM for the Video card. Like the MacBook Pro, it has a backlit keyboard, SSD option, uses very faster 5400RPM HDD that provide near performance than a 7200RPM HDD (7200RPM HDD is availible as option, of course), outdoor view LCD (very bright LED backlit), metal base used as heatsink, ambient light sensor, about 9 hours of battery life (this varies depending on your configuration) with teh 9-cell battery, solid build quality with really thick solid steel screen hinges. Looks great. Oh and, has one screw panel which provides you with FULL access to the system. Just by opening this (unscrew and slide) panel you have access to - for changing: Wireless card, bluetooth card, Wireless on the go card (using cellphone service for internet), CPU (you can change it), heating sink, fan RAM and the GPU.. but that one is soldered on.
    Excellent port location, including DisplayPort/eSATA ready, metal screen lid (but screen frame and palm rest (other than the speaker grid) are in plastic) and finally battery never gets warm.
    I even overclock the **** out the my Quadro to provide a close to the same performance as a Geforce 9500M, and the laptop manages the extra heat and keeping the battery cool, excellently.

    Lenovo has an interesting Nvidia ION model as well, for you to check out. I trust Lenovo for making quality system.

    BTW, something i forgot to mention. You DO NOT need to be a business to buy from Small Buisness. In any case, if they ask, your starting a business or say family business. They wont; say no to a sale.
     
  6. computerman5

    computerman5 New Member

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    Thanks, that link is helpful.
     
  7. lex90

    lex90 Member

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    I dont understand how tech people could even consider something else than a thinkpad.

    Seriously, they look like ass so they wont get stolen, lenovo gives amazing discounts if you search right. The entire laptop has a magnesium cage around it and if you get the thinkserv warranty youll get accidents included.
     
  8. mansueto

    mansueto Too broke to mod

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    I has me a dell latitude e6400 through my school, but we got a base model with onboard graphics. At first I hated it, but for internet, basic documents, and a bit of light gaming it holds up, looks alright, no glossy screen, and the keyboard is really nice. Since I got it through my school as it was mandatory for my program I can't comment on dealing with sales representatives but I can vouche for the laptop, it seems solid enough, and i had a slight accident already, it slid off my bag and fell maybe an inch or two but it was perfectly fine and no marks.

    I also like it because all my friends have the same one, and they have hot swappable cd drives, so when they make me mad i just take their cd drives XD
     
  9. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    They are other laptops.

    - Dell Latitude D and E series (Business laptop for individuals - To be thrown or stack up... as the lid is in magnesium... so it's like a car... if you do a deep catch.. you'll metal and not black like plastic)
    - Dell Latitude XT series (Tablet PC) (It's a tablet... fragile.. but very solid for one)
    - Panasonic Though-book (I think you can troughs out the window on a rainy day and still have it working).
     
  10. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Yea, the bass model is REALLY LOW performance. Which I don't get Dell move because the E5000 series is supposed to be the E6400 with low end performing components. In result... E5000 is like the same price as the E6400 base model. The difference is that the E6400 can go way higher, and have the backlit keyboard option (which I highly recommend, cool and useful feature - but on the E6400, it's also a quieter keyboard over the non backlit one).
     
  11. Xlog

    Xlog Active Member

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    +1 for e6400.
    Had mine for ~1 year and apart from "cracking" sound issues (something to do with Intel matrix storage drivers for Vista), haven't had a problem with it.
     
  12. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    This issue can be fixed - strangely enough it only affects few users. They are many solutions (For 64-bit Vista):
    - Set the SATA controller to AHCI instead of Intel own crappy system in the BIOS.
    - Don't install the Intel Matric Application
    - Uninstall the IDT sound card drivers, use Ccleaner to clean the registry, restart the computer and install IDT sound card drivers.
    - Use Intel's website Intel Matrix drivers instead of the ones from Dell.

    The real issue is that your system has a too high latency, if I am not mistaken.

    Anyway, this is getting off topic. Look up on the internet for solutions to the problem, if the above don't work. If all fails.. then it could be a faulty motherboard.. just call Dell and have it replaced.
     
  13. Sheiken

    Sheiken Wat?

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    Goodbytes I agree with all of your above recommendations...well mostly!
    I disagree with the fact that the HP envy is better all around as a mac substitute. Have you ever taken a closer look at it in the flesh? I have and I am not impressed! Yes, I know that I am a mac user myself, but I'm not a fanboy, so my judgement is not clouded.
    The HP Envy might have better specs, but it just seems so cheap! It gets SUPER hot and there is quite a bit of flex in the screen!
     
  14. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    When I saw it in store shelf, I saw no flex (actually I saw minimal flex on teh keyboard when pressing hard on the keys and lid cover.. but those are security features to protect the screen against high pressure.. this is standard on all high end laptops - else it's bad engineering), temperature feel when touching the system was what I call normal. The only real difference I saw is that it's not a unibody build... no backlit keyboard, no ambient light sensor. However you can change the battery yourself. And of course, it comes with HP Certified Junk Package™... but the price of the system is cheaper (well in Canada) than the MacBookPro. One thing I forgot to check, is if there was an optical drive or not.
     
  15. mansueto

    mansueto Too broke to mod

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    Mine is the base model e6400 I believe, I've got a centrino duo at 2.0 or 2.2ghz, 2gb of ram, and I believe a 80 or 120gb hard-drive. For school it's more than enough, but since I like to game it doesn't have the balls for newer games. Again, I like stealing my friends hot swappable cd drives, they keyboard is great, and the warranty for it is fricken sweet. I can literally throw it down my stairs and say it dropped and they'll replace it, though the data back ups are my responsibility. Short or purposefully / stupidly breaking it, i.e: superglueing a broken key back on, or being stolen, it's covered!
     
  16. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    [Miss read post above - Request to Delete this post]
     
  17. computerman5

    computerman5 New Member

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    I am considering the Toshiba 16" Laptop listed now, what do you think?
     
  18. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Humm I can't find it.. can you please provide me with the model number.
     
  19. computerman5

    computerman5 New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Toshiba Satellite L455-S5980
     
  20. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Well..

    - the CPU is VERY slow... it's a Celeron... aka a really broken Intel Core Solo.
    - It's a T series so it consumes a lot of power and produces a lot of heat (no efficient).
    - 2GB will allow you to surf the web under Win7... and that's about it.
    - GPU is fine... bare minimum (X4500HD)
    - Keyboard is not full size or even standard layout
    - Only a 6-cell battery
    - No Gigabit Ethernet
    - 5.86lb.. that is heavy (you can carry my 14inch laptop + a small laptop of the same weight)
    - 1366x768 is not a standard aspect ratio... too low resolution for a 15inch, I say. Things will be pretty big on your screen :/
    - No wireless N
    - Mouse button "CLICKS" when on press - not quiet... you will annoy a lot of people in class
    - No webcam
    - Glossy screen.

    The plus side:
    + Cheap

    You know what this is? This is Toshiba going "Dam look at all these old 2005 hardware we have... let's make it a laptop.. put Win7 cross our fingers it works.... Hey look it somehow works! Ship it!"
    Also remember, you always get what you paid for.

    If your budget is under 500$... I say forget it. Work during summers, like I did, save up for a real laptop. When comes university, get something that will actually be useful.
    I don't know how college is in the state... but in Quebec, it's a 2 year thing... before you go to university. And a laptop was REALLY not necessary. I mean you can't do physics, math, biology on it, and the rest of the courses was really given to you electronically.

    Tell me something, what do you plan to study in University?
     
    Last edited: 23 Nov 2009

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