best reliable laptop under $2500?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by stapan, May 5, 2006.

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  1. stapan

    stapan Notebook Enthusiast

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    I begin law school in the fall. I need a notebook that must last 3 years with NO PROBLEMS. Mostly for taking notes and internet, but since the laptop will be with me every day I don't know what else I will later want to do with it (games, multimedia, etc.) but those are secondary. Keep in mind that all my exams will be on my laptop. Reliability is #1 importance, Screen quality #2 (I prefer 14"-15.4"), Keyboard quality #3, Portability/Weight #4, Performance/technology #5. I am price sensitive, but this is such an important purchase that I am willing to spend up to $2500.

    Note: I want a very cost effective option. I don't want to pay $400 for a very slight upgrade, but I'm willing to pay for major upgrades that will benefit me. Which upgrades are worth it?

    Here are some options I am looking at:
    **** OPTION 0 ****
    Dell Latitude D620
    Core Duo T2300 (1.66GHz)
    14.1" WXGA+ UltraSharp 1440x900 / Integrated graphics
    512MB memory
    80GB Hard Drive, 7200 rpm
    8X DVD-ROM
    Dell 1490 802.11a/g + Bluetooth
    6 cell primary battery / "starts at 4.37lbs" probably more like 5 with this config
    3 year on-site economy plan warranty
    price: $1,274
    ****************
    **** OPTION 1 ****
    ThinkPad T43
    14.1" SXGA+ 1400x1050 / ATI Mobility Radeon x300
    Pentium M 2 GHz
    512MB Memory
    80GB EIDE Hard Drive, 5400rpm
    DVD Recordable
    Thinkpad 11 a/b/g Wi-Fi Wireless II + Bluetooth
    6 cell battery / 5.14 lbs
    3 year warranty
    special price: $1,399 (anniversary sale)
    ****************
    **** OPTION 2 ****
    ThinkPad T60 (custom config)
    15" SXGA+ 1400x1050 FlexView IPS / ATI Radeon X1400 128MB
    Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz)
    1GB Memory (1 stick, 1 empty slot)
    100GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
    ThinkPad 8x Max DVD Recordable Dual Layer
    Wi-Fi wireless + Bluetooth
    6 cell battery / 5.5 lbs
    3 year warranty
    special price: $1,799 (EPP)
    ****************
    **** OPTION 3 ****
    ThinkPad T60p 2623DDU
    15" UXGA 1600x1200 FlexView IPS / ATI Mobility FireGL V5200 256MB
    Core Duo T2500 (2 GHZ)
    1GB Memory (1 stick, 1 empty slot)
    100GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
    DVD Recordable
    Verizon Sierra CDMA2000 EVDO / Intel Wireless 3945ABG / Bluetooth
    9 cell battery / 6.25 lbs
    3 year warranty
    special price: $2,199 (EPP)
    ****************
    **** OPTION 4 ****
    Panasonic ToughBook Y4
    14.1" SXGA
    Pentium M 778 ultra low voltage (1.6GHz)
    512MB Memory
    60GB Hard Drive
    WiFi
    unknown warranty?
    price: $2,268.40 (Page Computer - don't know if they're good or not)
    ****************
    **** OPTION 5 ****
    Panasonic ToughBook eLite Y4
    14.1" SXGA
    Pentium M 778 1.6 GHz
    512 MB memory
    DVD/CDR-W Combo drive
    Intel Pro Wireless(802.11 A+B+G)
    WinXP Pro SP2
    unknown warranty?
    price: $2,562 (ToughBookSales)
    *****************
    **** OPTION 6 ****
    Asus S9J
    Core Duo T2300 (1.86Ghz)
    15.4” WXGA (1280x800) TFT display ColorShine Enhanced Screen
    ATI X1600 256mb
    1,024MB DDR2/667 Dual Channel Memory (1 stick)
    100GB 7200 RPM sata Hard Drive
    DVD-RW SuperMulti DVD Burner
    Built in IntelPro 3945 Wireless 802.11a/b/g LAN + Bluetooth
    Windows XP Home
    3 year extended dealer warranty + accidental LCD damage and dead pixel protection + overnight clone replacement
    unknown weight ??
    price: $1,731 (Geared2Play.com)
    *****************
    **** OPTION 7 ****
    Fujitsu LifeBook E8110
    Core Duo T2400 1.83GHz
    15" 1400x1050
    80.0G
    1024MB Memory,
    DVD-Multiburner,
    802.11a/b/g Bluetooth,
    5.68lbs,
    1 year warranty (can you get 3 years on lifebooks?)
    WXP Pro, Fingerprint Sensor High Capacity Battery, New
    price: $1,844 (EuclidComputers.com)
    *****************

    what to get? any other models / deals I should look at?
     
  2. Alexz

    Alexz Notebook Geek

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    Hi.
    I'm student also (though B.Sc.EE, final year) considering my first laptop. I'm researching the market for some time now, talking to people, reviews and corporate IT dept: for best reliability I would opt for ThinkPad T43 or T60.
    BTW, where did you find those deals (for T43 for 1.399k$ and T60 for 1.799k$) ? Can you provide the link please ?

    Dell D620 reprotedly is also very good, so My preferences would be T60 -> T43 (if dual core CPU isn't something appealing to your in particular) and D620.
     
  3. ejl

    ejl fudge

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    the best of the best is the t60p. you will have incredible durability and reliability. you will have the really nice ips screen. and on top of that, the firegl card if you are gaming.
     
  4. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I'll second the ThinkPad, that's your most solid notebook choice for the money. Great keyboard is a selling point. You can see our review of it here:
    http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2864&review=ThinkPad+T60

    I would consider the Dell D620 a good budget-oriented option, but in this case, the T60 is the way to go. If you're a student, see if you can get an educational discount.

    Chaz
     
  5. Alexz

    Alexz Notebook Geek

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    Where do you get guys such incredable online deals for T60 ?
     
  6. Reize

    Reize Notebook Virtuoso

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    It's a secret!

    =P

    I'll third the Thinkpad, the D620 is excellent for how much it costs, but since you can afford it, the Thinkpad would be your best bet.
     
  7. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    You might want to consider the on-site support if you need it to be bullet-proof.
     
  8. stapan

    stapan Notebook Enthusiast

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    Just wanted to say thanks everyone for the advice, I will definitely take your thoughts under consideration.

    Since the laptop is going to be my wingman for the next 3 years, I think I'm going to have to bite the financial bullet and get the T60p. The on-site warranty sounds like a good option also, maybe with the accident protection. That brings the price up to about 2400 though, and man, I'm getting some serious sticker shock as I certainly didn't expect to spend that much for a laptop at the beginning.

    Its interesting to see noone recommended asus, toughbook, or fujitsu. I tried to research a lot and these were highly regarded brands, but I couldn't figure out how they compare to thinkpad. I guess the jury is in on that one here.

    Alex, to get some of these great deals go to the lenovo website and click on anniversary sale. Theres a T43 there which is $1000 off the regular price!! For my T60p I have a friend that works at IBM and he is getting me the employee price (EPP), 2199 instead of 2749.

    One questino though, one guy said that if you buy from EPP you can't return it within 30 days, like you can with other purchases. Is that true??
     
  9. ejl

    ejl fudge

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    i love asus and fujitsu....even more than thinkpad b/c they look much nicer and offer more for the price. however, i can't deny that very little can beat thinkpad's durability. and that is a great price you're getting for the t60p. not to mention the ips screen! good luck with your notebook!
     
  10. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    You might want to consider something like this. Then just upgrade the warranty after you get it which you are able to do anytime while it is under warranty. If you need a DVD recorder you could opt for this one. Like EPP you won't have an opporttunity to return it, but there is no tax on there internet which will save you $100-150. I think the 14" is a little more portable. If I had my druthers I would trade my 15" for the 14", but the screen on the 15" is better. As you can see there is no perfect notebook.
     
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