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New Laptop

Discussion in 'Computers' started by fullerne, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. fullerne

    fullerne Member
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    Hi, not really sure if this is the appropriate place to post/ask this, but if not hopefully someone will put me in my place.
    I need a new laptop and I'm feeling stuck. I've always had PC's (besides my old Mac Plus YEARS ago) and always had Android phones. I'm not really looking to move to Apple, though I suppose I would consider it. I've usually bought cheaper laptops because I don't do anything crazy with them and I've never had the extra money to spend. Right now, I have a 8 year old Toshiba Sattelite and it's not long for this world. I only spent $400 on it then, and it's been fine but now it needs to go. I've been researching online a bit for a few months, and here's what I think ( I'm really an intermediate type user-- not a novice, but no expert)--

    I have some money to spend this time, so I want to buy something that I can count on for a while, and spring for extras like more storage, RAM, and better processor. I wanted to want a Surface Book, but I've been closely following the MS forums and right now it still seems like a bad idea. I've looked at some other alternatives, and read some reviews and forum posts, but haven't been able to come to a decision. Meanwhile, my wife got a top of the line Macbook Pro 6 months ago, so I have been using that a bit and it is very nice. I'm not looking to get into a war of the fans, but some thoughts would be appreciated.
    Should I try to hold out on the old Toshiba and hope that something new comes out this year? Consider a Macbook? Dell XPS? My needs are basic, but I do want something nice (a premium laptop I suppose) since I have the money to spend now and I want it to be an investment. Thanks for any help, and sorry if I am in the wrong place or this is too long!
     

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  2. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    I have an Asus Zenbook with touchscreen, i5 processor 8GB ram and SSD drive. I barely use the thing. I also have an el-cheapo Dell 3000 that I picked up on sale for $200 and spent an extra $100 for an SSD and 4GB ram. It's my daily driver and runs Windows 10 and Linux Mint 17 like a champ. And, I don't worry about spilling anything on it, scratching the case or dropping it on the carpet (which has happened already a few times).

    If you were happy with your cheap Toshiba for 8 years, then stay cheap. ;) :D
     
  3. Dngrsone

    Dngrsone Android Expert
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    I am liking the Toshiba's right now except for one thing: the S55t I have now does not have an external battery, so I will have to crack the case when it comes time to repair it.

    I have had to research and buy a new laptop twice in the past three years, and both times I got a Toshiba, and both times I actually got the best deal through Wal-Mart online.

    You might wait until late July or August when the back-to-school sales kick in, though.
     
  4. rootabaga

    rootabaga Android Expert
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    I recently joined the Mac folks by purchasing a used macbook pro from a friend when the drive died. A new ssd later and it screams right along. So that might be an option for you, even a few years old it has terrific specs.

    However, it's a heavy beast, in part because it's very sturdily built. Apple uses really good components.

    By comparison, though, my HP work notebook also screams, and it's thinner and lighter. HP definitely makes a high-quality notebook/laptop.

    To me it really boils down to what you want to do. If you don't need the Mac benefits, like imaging, then stay with the Windows world. If you do decide to go Mac, though, be sure to install AV software. That's often ignored in the Mac universe, and that's a mistake, because more and more viruses are being written for that OS, and let's face it, Apple doesn't issue vulnerability patches with anywhere near the diligence of Microsoft.

    Just some food for thought. You sound like a bright guy and you have history with both, so keep digging around and mulling it over until you have a good feeling one way or the other.

    I work in IT, so feel free to toss out specific questions if you like.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Dngrsone

    Dngrsone Android Expert
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    One thing about HP, they have a wonderful online parts catalogue, and the guys are pretty modular for a laptop).

    Some of their designs suck at great management, though...
     
  6. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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  7. Fox Mulder

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    Look at the Dell Outlet site for refurbs, you may find a good deal there. Also if you're in the US check out MicroCenter, if you're not near a store look at their website. They also have some really good refurb deals. I got my Dell i7 ultrabook at MicroCenter two years ago for close to half the price of a new one and you can't tell the difference other than the sticker on the bottom.
     
  8. mrex

    mrex Android Enthusiast
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    whats wrong with your zenbook? i have zenbook (2012, i7qc/8/ssd) and it is my daily driver - just loving the thing! it is so amazing, still running like the day one (now runnning win10). i upgraded it alittle bit, changed the wifi n card 6235 to ac 7260 =}
     
  9. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    Nothing at all. It's a thin sleek well designed piece of tech ... that I rarely use. It's like having a Porsche in the garage but driving the old Camry every day.
     
    mrex and Dngrsone like this.
  10. LV426

    LV426 I say we take off and nuke this place from orbit
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    Incidentally I know someone who does just that. But the Porsche is an investment asset, whereas the piece of tech will just become a worthless chunk of metal in a few years.

    But I take your point.
     
  11. basic 101 user

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    Fullerne, you and I may have bought near exact Toshibas, right around the same time! Still adore mine to this day, although it is no longer my daily driver. I further take from your writing that we may have similar attitudes toward the lifespan of a device, and what our expectations from it are. Like yourself, I never come close to maxing out a device's abilities; Am not a novice, but far from a power user, sez' so right in my username. A few thoughts on my "upgrade" experience when buying any new device, very few of which will be meaningful to the majority here, (I actually was one of the few who liked and miss Vista, if that says anything) :oops:But anyway....

    So very much of my satisfaction (or lack of) when using a device comes from its ergonomics, the physical user interface, as well as the software interface.
    The Toshiba is a piece of hardware which may well include many features never again to be assembled in a single unit, (some with good reason), but worth talking about as examples of the kinds of considerations some of us find important.
    It had a touch pad, and two independent, mechanical buttons below; Not a region of the touch pad at its lower edge which serves as "virtual" buttons. I could rest my thumb or index finger directly on the "left click", and navigate all day long with middle finger, and never generate unwanted multi finger gestures or unwanted clicks. When returning my hand to the touch pad, I never had to look down to get a sense of where on the pad I was, the two hard buttons were an immediate reference. My new device now has a ridiculous, filthy strip of masking tape on the lower edge of the pad, providing tactile reference for position, in an otherwise undifferentiated plane .
    In the front edge of the Toshiba's chassis was the volume control; A mechanical thumb wheel that fell right to hand every time, it was infinitely variable over its range, and didn't require searching for a remotely located key to stab at again and again. I never really thought about how often I change the volume within a session, the subtle adjustments I make, until I lost that feature.
    The power button was prominently located, just above the keyboard. Protected when the lid was closed, and readily available under the only condition when one would need to press it....when the lid was open.
    A row of 5 indicator lights were on the front edge of the chassis, near the volume control; Semi protected by the closed lid, but still readily visible and reporting information in either condition, lid open and functioning, or lid closed and sleeping. Where the Toshiba could display a wealth of information in a rather intuitive fashion, at a glance (Some of the lamps would illuminate either green or amber, as well as blink at different frequencies), My replacement has its power button so "cleverly" integrated into the design, that it is often a struggle to find, or even depress. Both the button, and sole indicator light (battery condition) are best used by lifting the whole device from the table, rotating it 90 degrees, and holding it up at eye level. Sheesh!
    The Toshiba didn't even have a touch screen. Largely of no use to me, given how I use the device, I often find myself thinking "This feature causes me more grief than benefit". I don't imagine one could buy a device without these days, so hardly worth mentioning, but perfect example of how the market evolves, and you just have to go with the flow.

    The Toshiba's keyboard was neatly laid out. "Standard" PC keyboards are far from standardized. Each key had nice separation from its neighbors, and a relatively long "stroke"....The old IBM "clicky style" keyboards were hugely popular for a reason! As another example, the far right edge of the keyboard offered a short stack of four keys, slightly separated from the others; "Home" at the top, "End" on the bottom, and "Page up", "Page down" neatly stacked between. Also close at hand, but in their own little distinct region.... the cursor positioning keys. Obviously, other devices I have owned all have those keys as well, but far less thoughtfully positioned and organized.

    I genuinely loved the Toshiba, and therefore don't hesitate to call it out by name, wouldn't hesitate to try another one. Also fully recognize, however, mine is one person's experience, with a single device; Hardly statistically valid. My bad experiences similarly represent a small hand full of encounters, shouldn't be considered representative of an entire manufacturer, throughout their entire history. But patterns do emerge. Two gentlemen from silicon valley started their proud, namesake company in the late 1930's, and produced some groundbreaking technology, and fabulous devices. Recently owned a 1960's era device of theirs which I adored. But three of the four (consumer grade) devices I have purchased from them in the past decade have not merely disappointed, but left me positively enraged, from the day they were new.
    The laptop I am composing this post on was made by a Chinese company with ties to older IBM technology. It has never failed me to the point of requiring outright repair, but has had numerous, ongoing problems and frustrations, has never given me a moment of satisfaction. The majority of this is due to ergonomic concerns, but much of it is due to software issues, both environmental, and O/S. My (often well founded, but occasionally irrational) distaste for Windows 10 could fill an entire site, but it is the starting place for any PC based thing likely to be considered. :( Why it should be, for instance, that reliably in certain environments, the left shift key will simply not operate. In other environments, the "volume up" key goes entirely dead...."Up", no problem, "Down" completely unresponsive, and both as happy as a clam, in other environments. Who do I blame for that, device manufacturer or Microsoft? (Seriously, I'm asking the room, out of ignorance.) These, and many similar are the kind of issues I never once encountered in 8 years with the Toshiba. Have already gone on far to long to go much further down the "software ergonomics / disappointments" road.
    Sorry to take up so much space, but figured I could blow off some steam, offer some questionable advice, and try to do much of it in the form of offering praise to something I do like, rather than venom toward something I don't.;)
    The overall advice I would leave anyone still reading, as follows. While no amount of research will ensure a happy purchase, much of the research is done for all of us by considering the collected experience of thousands of customers over time, and unless one is a habitual early adopter, you can stack the deck in your favor, then make the final decision based on very personal criteria. Once you have narrowed down the field to the top two or three contenders for any purchase, try to take each one for a reasonably long "test drive" to see if anything leaps out at you. It may sound like a great deal of work, but I am often surprised at the little things, which never previously considered, turn out to be quite annoying over the life of a device. I can think of any number of small annoyances noticed in the showroom, which I simply dismissed. "It's just something new", I thought, "I'll break my old habits, and get used to that in a few days." Sometimes, not so much!
    "I'm way overdue for a new machine, anything I get is going to be so much better than what I have now, and so much nicer than I actually require, I shouldn't over think it.....Gimme' that one!" Sometimes, not so smart!
    This current laptop is "styled" in such a way that its lead edge has fairly sharp features , and after 20 minutes of use, my right wrist feels like I have been resting it on a serrated kitchen knife; Within a few weeks of purchase, I had the device clamped to a bench in the shop.....More than just gently deburring it, I went to town on the case with a large double-cut file, contouring and blending the chassis to within a millimeter of its life. Better now, but definitely not pretty no more!
     
  12. Davdi

    Davdi Android Expert
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    HP for build quality, when my old Probook (AMD athlon ll x2/4GB DDr2 800, bought 2nd user ex-corporate in 2010) was getting a bit past it for my needs I bought a Pavilion10 x2 - with the optional 1TB HDD. it's a great bit of kit, fine for everyday tasks, and when the warranty is up, it'll be getting PCLOS, Mint or Xubuntu instrad of win10
     
  13. doniago

    doniago Android Enthusiast
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    CNET recently posted a review of the Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1, which they seemed fond enough of, and which was cheap enough, that I sprung for one that will be waiting for me when I get home. $750 base price for a 15-inch.

    I was looking for a replacement for my older 15" ultrabook that's gotten a bit laggy at times. It wasn't a high priority, but I trust CNET (most of the time), and their review was so positive that I figured I'd give this a shot.

    http://www.cnet.com/products/dell-inspiron-15-7000-2-in-1/
     
  14. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    A year ago, I had a very slow Win8.x laptop that was just really pissing me off, it was soooo slow, it took forever to watch a page draw if full of graphics.

    so, I went to Best Buy in a funk, and bought an ASUS 15" TP-500L
    it of course was Win8.1 which went to Win10, which 3 weeks later, went to Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon...

    I detest the damn thing, the internal WiFi adapter is a piece of crap. It drops the WiFi from every motel that I have stayed in during the past year, and that is several.... it is so bad, I now only use my Verizon MiFi 4g WiFi router when away from home....

    I am hoping to acquire a newer HP hi-performance graphics laptop, 15" or may bigger? don't know enough about it yet, acquiring it in a "black box deal" take it or leave it with a lot of other stuff.... sort of like a Storage Unit auction.
     
  15. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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    Okay, just saw this in Gizmag newsletter.... uh, el wrongo, they changed the name to New Atlas...
    now how crappy a name is that for a newsletter? Gizmag was a hell of a lot better.... New Atlas???? sounds like a paper map.

    anyway, if you got $7,000 bux to throw away, here is a screamer of a laptop.
    liquid cooling for some heavy overclocking.

    http://newatlas.com/asus-gx800-sli-gaming-laptop/44926
     
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  16. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Android Expert
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