Laptop for a friend of mine

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Danja, Jan 16, 2011.

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  1. Danja

    Danja Notebook Evangelist

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    One of my friends is in college and needs a new laptop. You guys helped me find my college laptop a couple years ago so I'd like your help once again. Here is her form:

    1) What is your budget?
    Somewhere in the range of $1000-$1200, but that's including some sort of warranty

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen

    3) Where will you buying this notebook?
    Wherever it's cheapest and offers the best warranty. I'm willing to go to a local store or order it online.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    a. Like:
    b. Dislike: HP, Apple

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Yes but I would prefer a new one

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Both, I will be carrying it to all of my classes and using it at home

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    I would like something that lasts at least 3 hours or so.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    I would prefer to see them in person, but if the notebook has really great reviews online I wouldn't be against ordering it without seeing it.

    11) What OS do you prefer?
    Windows (note from me: 7 home premium would probably be just fine)

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. If you are unsure of what to purchase, we would highly recommend you check some notebook screens before you buy to see what you like. You may also wish to take a look at the notebook screen guide for more information.

    Midrange resolutions
    (note from me: she's currently on a 1280x800 15.4" DV6000 and says that while the resolution is ok, she could stand going up a little bit. I think 1400x900 would be good (or whatever the widescreen equivalent is))

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?
    I'm not certain, either will work I suppose.

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Mildly. I would like it to look nice but I'm more concerned with it working well.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Sometime within the next couple of weeks

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    3-4 years minimum

    17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?
    I'm not certain. However much a typical college student would need. I do have a lot of music I need space for.

    (note from me: she has a 160 GB HDD with 33 GB free currently. I think a 320 GB HDD at least would be nice. SSD is not necessary unless it's an incredible good deal; I don't think many laptops this size have dual drive bays and 1 single SSD wouldn't be enough storage)

    18) Do you need an optical drive?

    We'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
  2. mrPico

    mrPico Notebook Deity

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    Uh... More specific idea of what school work it does would greatly help.

    If it is just regular school work like taking notes and doing powerpoints then a regular 15 incher would do it flawlessly. Just pick a style she likes or build quality :)

    She's awesome! What I mean is that most girls complain that a 15" laptop is too heavy to carry. My friend who has a 12 inch complains about hers!

    Cheap price and good battery life. More than enough performance for normal school work. Check out Acer 5820T

    If your friend doesn't need the full SSD performance, she can consider upgrading with a Seagate Momentus XT which is a hybrid spin drive + 4GB NAND.
  3. edit1754

    edit1754 Notebook Prophet

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    Latitude E6510 Laptop Details | Dell

    I have one of these and I like it; it's also recommended by the university I go to.

    Click the first option ("Essential", all the way on the left, first page)
    or the 3rd option if you want the Inspiron Mini-10 deal.
    "Enhanced" doesn't offer the 1080p display, but it does offer 900p.
    Don't choose any of the shipfast options because they all have the crappy display except for the very last one on the second page. ShipFast won't let you configure anything.

    For the CPU, choose one of the i5's, not the i3. The website lies about the i3 having "Turbo Boost" (it doesn't, but the i5's and i7's do), and Turbo Boost is a significant advantage.

    For the operating system, choose XP Pro 64-bit, because I really recommend a 64-bit OS.

    For the memory: 3 or 4GB. preferrably 4, as that's the standard for most decent computers. (pay close attention not to accidentally leave it at 1GB, that would suck unless you plan on upgrading the memory yourself :p)

    Hard drive: whichever fits your needs, though go for at least 250GB.

    Battery: 9-cell. Definitely 9-cell. It sticks out the back but it boosts the lifetime by +50%. My university sells this computer in their bookstore and refuses to even offer the 6-cell as an option (and with good reason).

    Wi-Fi: doesn't really matter too much, but for increased compatibility with 802.11a networks, go for the 1520 or the 6200.

    Bluetooth: a lot of computers come with this by default, but it's your call (or rather, her call)

    Camera/Microphone: get it. If you opt out of it now then you can't later decide you want one.

    LCD Panel: Avoid 1366x768. 1366x768 is a disgrace on such a nice machine. choose HD+ 1600x900, or FHD 1920x1080
    1600x900 is a nice balance between content size and display room
    1920x1080 might make things seem small, but it's excellent for multitasking with side-by-side windows. (stuff will be similar in size to content on the 11.6" macbook air display, and most other 11.6" laptops, but there's more area)

    Modem: you probably don't need it

    Backlit keyboard: I personally find this really helpful, especially in dark rooms.

    Video Card: While my university recommends the NVIDIA NVS 3100M, she may not experience the full benefits.

    If you purchase before January 19, use the coupon code RWJT8NWVQP2D1N to save 30%. (Dell Coupons, Dell Coupon Codes, Dell Deals)
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