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Old 06-27-2008, 03:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default need advice/choices for cheap laptop

I am trying to help out a friend who is going to make a choice for his girlfriend on which laptop she should purchase. She is a incoming sophmore student and needs it for school, aim, youtube / other videos music etc. I need a laptop where she will be satisfied with the performance, durability and lifespan at a cheap price.

Budget:$600 at most not including tax and shipping
Needs: Basic everyday use for simple multitasking, watching a youtube video while on facebook(multiple tabs on internet browser), on aim and maybe itunes on at the same time at most
Desire: Stability, lifespan of 3-5+ years, reliability

My friend is leaning towards a cheap dell laptop while I am leaning towards a custom build laptop from a manufacturer. We ended up having the long dell hater vs computer noob conversation LoL.

If anyone could suggest some manufacturers or direct links to a perfect match laptop it would be awesome because I don't know too much about laptops. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any help you may provide.

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Old 06-27-2008, 06:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: need advice/choices for cheap laptop


With that kind of budget you are looking at a EEE PC or a Dell Inspiron 1525. The cheapest one with a bit of extra on it.

Dell Inspiron 1525 Laptop Product Details

HP has one as well.

Buy an Compaq Presario C700T series notebook PC from HP


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Old 06-27-2008, 01:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: need advice/choices for cheap laptop

I was going to say Compaq, that's probably the best choice for this type of price range. I'd take one over a Dell any day.
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: need advice/choices for cheap laptop

Originally Posted by jorsoft03 View Post
I was going to say Compaq, that's probably the best choice for this type of price range. I'd take one over a Dell any day.
I'd recommend just the opposite. I had a Compaq Presario budget laptop for nearly two years. So far:

1) its DVD drive stops working randomly
2) its battery died (which is to be expected for any laptop)
3) the hinges on both side of the screen have snapped

It was a decent enough laptop, but it wasn't very durable.

I just got a Dell Vostro 1400 and love the build quality on it. Although they don't sell the 1400 anymore, they do have others. The Vostro is their business series, so it's not as glamorous as the Inspirons, but it still looks pretty nice and seems very solidly built and is usually less expensive than their Inspiron counterpart.

You can get a Vostro 1000 with an AMD (think slower yet still plenty usable) dual core processor, 120gb hard drive, 2gb RAM, and Vista Home Premium for about $520 without tax. It wouldn't be the fastest at games or very intense programs, but it'd be fine for surfing the web and IMing -- my single-core laptop is slower yet worked perfectly fine for that.

If you want something a little more powerful, the Vostro 1500 can come with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 120gb hard drive, 2gb RAM, and a relatively decent graphics chip for about $650. You can cut back on some stuff if you want to cut back the price. It'd be best if you were doing some gaming or something, but the graphics card can help the Vista interface too.

It really depends on what you want to do with it and personal preference. I've had surprisingly good luck with Dells - two very old computers and a PDA that I never had a single problem with.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: need advice/choices for cheap laptop

With that budget he can have a look at the Dell an lenove laptops, they are with good price and quite reliable.
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: need advice/choices for cheap laptop

Get that Compaq Mak213 said. Pentium Dual Core 1.83ghz, free upgrade to 1gig ram and a x3100. Thats a good choice.
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Old 06-28-2008, 01:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: need advice/choices for cheap laptop

For durability, I'd say go with Lenovo...not sure about the new Lenovo ones, but my old IBM ThinkPad A21p from back in 2000 is built like a rock. The hinges are super stiff even now, 8 years after it was made, and the build quality is incredible. My new HP is nice, but I don't think it has as good of build quality as my old IBM. If you can, cut the OS completely and save a hundred dollars (if all you're doing is YouTube and IM...Linux will suit you perfectly! I'm using Ubuntu 8.04 right now and can browse, watch videos, listen to music, write documents, etc).

If you don't need a big screen I'd say go for the eeePC or HP Mini-note PC because the cool factor of those little things is awesome (not to mention incredibly portable and still plenty fast for browsing, watching videos, listening to music, office stuff, picture viewing, etc) and they probably have incredible battery life.

As for Dell, I've had mixed reviews... the only thing that I personally own that is made by them is my Dell Axim X50v PDA, which is very nice, but it's not a laptop. The old Latitude D602's that we had at school were the worst built laptops in the universe. The things felt like cheap plastic, looked like cheap plastic, had cheap loose weak hinges, had keys that fell right off the keyboards, stiff touchpads and trackpoint controls, low resolution LCD's, potentially explosive batteries, those things were just plain horrible. However, two of my friends (one of them being Trekkie00 who posted above) just got new laptops, one an Inspiron 1420 and the other a Vostro 1400. These are practically the same machine, the Inspiron being the home class and the Vostro being the business model. The Inspiron is silver and you can customize the top panel color, but it is made of plastic. The Vostro is the same shape and layout but made of a magnesium alloy and flat black. The Vostro is cheaper and probably more well-built but they don't sell the 1400 anymore. Either way, new Dell laptops don't seem too bad anymore, all the cheap parts have been replaced and they look and feel very solid now.

I have an HP though, and it is also very nice. The glossy finish attracts fingerprints, but the PC is well built and feels solid. The finish has a cool pattern and the keyboard and touchpad are nice. The 17" screen on mine is awesome but you won't get that for under $600.


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