Basic laptop for writing

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by snowflake, Dec 9, 2007.

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  1. snowflake

    snowflake Newbie

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    I'm looking for a laptop which I will mainly use for writing. Writing is not my profession but I enjoy it. I don't want to sit at my desk at home so a laptop will be nice to go out to a patio or a local coffee shop and write for a bit. Not traveling with it though and no games. It would be mostly weekend use as I work full time. A comfortable keyboard is a must.

    I know desktop systems fairly well and built my own desktops, so hardware wise I'm not green or a noob.

    I'm soon getting a new high end desktop so I am not looking for a desktop replacement notebook.

    Budget = about $600 - $700 CAD w/ taxes (I've seen a few Dells around this price).
    Size = betw. 12 to 15"
    Brand = Don't care too much. I'm using a Mac desktop but I'm going back to Windows so Apple is out of question (and my budget too ;) )
    Games = NO
    Battery = 3 hours max. I see myself using it mostly plugged into a wall.
    Buying Online = Don't care.
    OS = Windows XP. Don't want Vista. Likely won't use Linux on it.
    Screen = non-glossy, either XGA or UXGA. No Widescreen. Only for writing.
    Build quality - Very important. Style no. Probably get something that doesn't stand out if in a coffe shop.
    Durability = Important ... hopefully 3+ years. ;)
    HDD = 640 KB ought to be enough ;). I'm probably looking for 40 to 80 GB. I can't write anymore than that and have a desktop to back up to.
    Optical - DVD-R minimum since many OSes and my discs are DVD now anyways (though this is often config choice.
    CPU = I'll go Intel prefeably. I find chipset quality has been better on desktops and caused me less problems. Looking for Celeron level performance. Core2 or AMD-64 is going to be too hot and kill battery I gather.
    RAM = 1 GB.

    Right now, I'm mostly stuck on manufacturer to choose from. I've heard good and bad from different companies. I would also very much prefer a 3-year warranty since when something goes wrong on a laptop - the screen dies etc etc, its very costly to replace.

    Again, I've seen Dell systems in my price range. The only problem is if I add 3-year warranty, it kills my budget and pushes over $900 ... I'm buying a new desktop soon anyways and don't want to spend more money then I have to. I'm quite hesitant of buying any computer or electronics at big-box stores as I know their sales staff and techies are mostly incompetent. HP Canada's on-line store is horrendous so I'm not sure I'll buy from them.

    A few local retailers with good reputations sell refurbs. But they're generally 30 day warranty. I'm quite aware of the Asus EEE PC and it would fit very well in my budget. I don't like using Desktop Linux and dredge using Open Office. I'm not sure if I like to use Windows XP on the EEE because I'm concerned of wearing down the Flash memory in the laptop. The on-board flash should have as high an MTBF as an hard drive, but my understanding it is not user replaceable (according to Anandtech unboxing). So even if I have a perfectly usable system 3 or 4 years down the road or whatever, I wouldn't be able to replace the on-board flash. I know there's SD expansion and USB (for USB HD enclosure etc could be used).

    Will probably purchase on boxing day on-line to take advantage of sales. Not much later than that though.

    Thanks for reading and hoping you have suggestions!
     
  2. sly

    sly m1530 owner!!!

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    A Dell Inspiron 1420
     
  3. Johnny T

    Johnny T Forum Moderator Super Moderator

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    ...standard size screen is almost impossible to find in budget range nowadays...the only 4:3 ratio I know are the X61 and T61...which is obth over your budget...
     
  4. ChristopherAKAO4

    ChristopherAKAO4 Notebook Nut

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    Dell 1400/1420
     
  5. Johnny T

    Johnny T Forum Moderator Super Moderator

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    The OP said no wide screen..........
     
  6. vespoli

    vespoli 402 NBR Reviewer

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    If you're willing to use an external optical drive for the occasions you require a cd/dvd, I'd look at a lightly used x60 or x40 series. Light, non-glossy screen, durable, very nice keyboard. A T-series might also fit the bill.
     
  7. SpacemanSpiff

    SpacemanSpiff Everything in Moderation

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    First,
    really eliminates the bulk of notebooks out there now. Widescreen is the new standard. You might want to reconsider here.

    Several of your other requirements would put you in Thinkpad territory
    and
    But
    is a little bit meager.

    Perhaps an R61, or a previous generation Thinkpad or HP or Dell business notebook ?
     
  8. snowflake

    snowflake Newbie

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll check them out. I'll either go with a barebones Dell, but based on my price range, I think I might stongly reconsider the EEE. For the few hours of use I'll put it through I'm not willing to break the $1000 barrier.
     
  9. FusiveResonance

    FusiveResonance Notebook Evangelist

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    the eee sounds perfect for the task. Reconsider, and find out if theres any suppliers in your area that have a floor model that you could get your hands onto. It would fit the bill nicely too
     
  10. lowlymarine

    lowlymarine Notebook Deity

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    You said a comfortable keyboard was a must, so I'm going to have to reccomend against the EEE PC - a 7" notebook doesn't lend itself well to a full-sized keyboard, so it'll probably not be well suited to your needs. A low-end, 15" Dell would be better suited for you, and you can get one in your price range.
     
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