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shepherd
05-03-2010, 03:37 PM
I'm looking for recommendations for a small laptop computer that I can tote along for an upcoming two week vacation.

Main uses will be for internet access, downloading and storing photos from the digital camera, iTunes, and maybe some simple games (solitaire, chess, etc.) to kill time during the long flights.

Since I want to keep cost down (less than $500 reasonable?), I guess I should be asking what is the best value for the dollar.

thatsmrmastercraft
05-03-2010, 03:46 PM
I bought a Compaq Presario at under $400. Not really impressed - seems a little fragile. Work like a champ though.

shepherd
05-03-2010, 03:49 PM
Small and light weight are the most important factors for me, but durability would definitely be a plus.

Craig
05-03-2010, 04:01 PM
I have a Lenovo X61t and I love it. It is out of your price range but I would highly recommend any of the x-series Lenovo products, rock solid IMO.

I have owned Dell's, and HP laptops previously and nothing really compares. In all fairness though this is one of only two 'business-grade' laptops I have owned, the others were the dime-a-dozen commercial laptops.

ski_king
05-03-2010, 04:11 PM
I got an Acer One Netbook a year and a half ago and it works great for travel. It cost me right around $300, weighs less than 3 pounds. It surfs the internet well and even handles most office functions well.

Down side it dosn't have a dvd drive, which could come in handy to watch moives, etc.

mattsn
05-03-2010, 04:55 PM
I have a 3G iPad. It would be great for your use. 3G may be a little high for your price range, but if you can get by with WiFi, it would be less then 5 bills. My recommendation, go with the biggest 3G you can afford.

piper_chuck
05-03-2010, 05:13 PM
There are a bunch under $500 that will do what you need. Get one with a good size hard drive and from a known brand. HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and others all seem to hold up reasonably well. If you go with Windows 7, get at least the Home Premium version, the starter is too watered down. Aim for at least 4 GB of RAM, but you can probably get by with 3. Any less and things quickly bog down due to swapping.

The online computer place I shop most often is newegg.com, but I've also bought from tigerdirect, amazon, and a few others. I like newegg because the prices are usually good, they've got a good system for collecting user feedback, and their search tools work well.

Shaun315
05-03-2010, 06:50 PM
There are a bunch under $500 that will do what you need. Get one with a good size hard drive and from a known brand. HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, and others all seem to hold up reasonably well. If you go with Windows 7, get at least the Home Premium version, the starter is too watered down. Aim for at least 4 GB of RAM, but you can probably get by with 3. Any less and things quickly bog down due to swapping.

The online computer place I shop most often is newegg.com, but I've also bought from tigerdirect, amazon, and a few others. I like newegg because the prices are usually good, they've got a good system for collecting user feedback, and their search tools work well.

2nd this.. newegg has some ASUS laptops for around 549, they're decent quality and seem to hold up well.

Ski-me
05-03-2010, 06:56 PM
Although my new one is more expensive ($1400) it is SO much quicker now! I don't know which item has the most impact but the speed blows away my wife's Vista 17" laptop.

What I have:
• • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
• • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-720QM Processor (1.6GHz, 6MB L2 Cache, 1333MHz FSB)
• • 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)


I'd say it takes 1/2 if not 1/3 the time to boot up compared to the Vista machine. So much better!

ccelia
05-03-2010, 08:24 PM
I have an Asus laptop that I picked up from Best Buy about a year ago to use for the same activities that you mentioned above. I have no complaints to date - very light, the battery life is great, and the computer is still very quiet. I think I got it for under $300 at the time.

I was a little skeptical about the brand (as I have never heard of Asus prior to my purchase), but I am very impressed with the fit and finish of laptop.

CruisinGA
05-03-2010, 08:53 PM
Sounds like you need a netbook.

Friend has a $330 one from Costco that has very good battery life, big enough screen, and will do just about anything a regular laptop will, cept play DVD's.

Shaun315
05-03-2010, 09:03 PM
I have an Asus laptop that I picked up from Best Buy about a year ago to use for the same activities that you mentioned above. I have no complaints to date - very light, the battery life is great, and the computer is still very quiet. I think I got it for under $300 at the time.

I was a little skeptical about the brand (as I have never heard of Asus prior to my purchase), but I am very impressed with the fit and finish of laptop.

Asus, like Acer, is one of the major Taiwanese ODMs that manufacture all the name brand laptops. They have great build quality, and often lower failure rates than the name brand hardware such as HP/Dell/Apple... You're just not paying for the marketing (likely why you hadn't heard much about them).

atlfootr
05-04-2010, 12:41 AM
Everybody has great advice along w/ positive feedback, expect we have not seen any pic's w/ them ... remember

JDK
05-04-2010, 03:29 AM
I have a 3G iPad. It would be great for your use. 3G may be a little high for your price range, but if you can get by with WiFi, it would be less then 5 bills. My recommendation, go with the biggest 3G you can afford.

X2
They also have bluetooth, so you can use an Apple wireless keyboard with them

ProStar190Fan
05-04-2010, 09:08 AM
I would go with a Dell Latitude e5400, without customization its 439.00, I have switched all of my computers over to dell and their xps or latitude models and they are absolutely awsome. IMO no one can come close to their tech support if you ever need them.

http://www.dell.com/us/en/business/notebooks/laptop_latitude_e5400/pd.aspx?refid=laptop_latitude_e5400&s=bsd&cs=04

http://i539.photobucket.com/albums/ff359/tbergman002/delle5400.jpg

shepherd
05-04-2010, 11:35 AM
IMO no one can come close to their tech support if you ever need them.


Really? A friend just went through a customer service/tech support nightmare for her defective Dell. Sitting on the phone for hours trying to get someone in customer service (in India, she said) to help her... Tech eventually came out to her house to try to fix it and he ended up spending over a half hour on the phone with India. Eventually she was told to send her computer back and they'd send her a new one. It took 4 months for the new computer to arrive.

I won't be buying a Dell.

millers_35
05-04-2010, 12:07 PM
I bought a HP Mini 110 about a year ago and it's all I use anymore. I have other bigger laptops laying around the house but I always stick with the netbook. It's so lightweight, about 5-6 hours of battery life. They can be bought for ~$300

Miller

ProStar190Fan
05-04-2010, 12:09 PM
Shep,

I know there consumer stuff is crap, like i said i deal with only the corporate class machines. If were talking inspiron lines of dell please do yourself a favor and get a different brand. Latitudes/Workstations/Optiplex are the absolute best in my opinion.

DJnGA
05-04-2010, 12:22 PM
http://tigerdirect.com

ski_king
05-04-2010, 12:29 PM
If I was to buy a new one, I would get this one. (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5265612&CatId=3987)

I have one of the first Acer One's out there and it has served me well. I did have to replace the keyboard for $20, because the kid stepped on it.

shepherd
05-04-2010, 12:32 PM
Shep,

I know there consumer stuff is crap, like i said i deal with only the corporate class machines. If were talking inspiron lines of dell please do yourself a favor and get a different brand. Latitudes/Workstations/Optiplex are the absolute best in my opinion.

Thanks Tom, I didn't catch the distinction there. For the corporate class machines, could one expect better customer service than one gets for the Inspirons in the (however unlikely) event that it's needed?

ProStar190Fan
05-04-2010, 11:46 PM
Thanks Tom, I didn't catch the distinction there. For the corporate class machines, could one expect better customer service than one gets for the Inspirons in the (however unlikely) event that it's needed?

How the business sides works is very different than the consumer. Dell realizes time is money with business machines, there is extended hardware warranty which will for the term of the plan will allow you to be sent replacement parts after remote diagnostics (dell will either take control over online or through the bios diagnostics). if you can install the parts yourself it takes 1-2 days to get the parts, parts are currently shipped through fedex, if you need a tech to install the parts it takes 5-7 days as a tech will come to your house with ProSupport with on site service. Then there is complete care which covers the accidental damage to the machine, almost anything is covered as long as it is "accidental". on my E6500 currently i have had no problems with my machine except bad keyboard but that was on me since i knocked my coffee all over the computer. I had the new part in 2 days and i did my own install.

here is the link to dell ProSupport site
http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/services/prosupport/end_users?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

and a pdf brochure
http://www.dell.com/downloads/global/services/prosupport/en/us/ProSupport_SMB.pdf