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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Looking for laptop recommendations

    Hello colleagues one and all. My granddaughter is about to graduate from high school and will attend college this fall. My wife and I have decided to purchase a laptop for her. We would like a nice laptop with a descent feature set, reasonable processor/ram/HD, etc. We are looking to spend approx. $500 to $700 USD. I am looking to the experts here in the Lounge for recommendations. I would like not only a manufacturer and model, but a short reason as to why this is a good choice for a college student.

    There are so many options out there and so many experts here, I felt what better place to get excellent recommendations.

    Thankyou in advance, and my granddaughter Danielle will thank you all when she gets her new PC.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Ted,

    I would highly recommend the Dell XPS 14z. It's light, compact, has a nice screen, 1 USB 3.0 for zippy images and one USB 2.0.
    The one I purchased for the better half is a little above what you want to spend since I got the i5 processor and 6Gb Ram, 500GB HD, but I'm pretty sure you can get it in your price window with an i3 and 4Gb Ram. It has a nice back lit kbd also.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    Medico (2012-02-18)

  4. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The Dell XPS 14z was a little high. Dell's customizing is not what it used to be so I could not cut back on specs but, I just priced an Inspiron 15R-2nd Gen with i5-22450m, 6GB DDR3 Ram, 750 GB (5400 rpm) Sata HD for $599 plus tax, $0 shipping. ($289 off list for another 2+ days) Sounds like a great price. Specs are close to what I have been finding locally. I'll see if I get any other recommendations. Thanks RG

    Edit: The one thing I do not like about the Dell is that it comes with McAfee Security. Along with all the other fluff included I would have to remove this. I just wish they would give the option to not include it at all.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-02-18 at 18:33.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  5. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I've always had a preference for Lenovo, specifically the X series.

    Go for the SSD on this one, compensation for the reduced processor capacity in the 500-700 dollar price range.
    If it's a 64 bit os, don't settle for anything less than 4 GB RAM.

    The specs and pricing on this IdeaPad Z570 Laptop are sweet as well.
    (With the addition of Office Home and Student, this should be a very affordable option as a gift: $719.19)
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-02-18 at 19:57.

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    Medico (2012-02-18)

  7. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I am more partial to the Intel CPU rather than the AMD CPU. One option I have been looking at is the Lenovo Model V570-1066AWU IdeaPad laptop, 2nd generatio i5 2450m, 6 GB DDR3 Ram, 500 GB HD for $629.99 plus tax. It's a little more than a comparable Dell, somewhat smaller HD. No Bluetooth, Dell had Bluetooth

    Other possibility is the is a Sony Model VPC EH35FM/P. My granddaughter would love the pink color. Specs are very similar to Dell and Lenovo. Price is also $629.99 plus tax.

    One nice thing I found out from my daughter. She can get a corp. discount for either Sony or Dell so I will have to check that out as well.

    Thanks for your input Clint.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-02-18 at 20:08.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  8. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Well RG, we bought the Dell. Their President's Day sale was $289 off and was less than my daughter's corp. discount so I could not say no. Free shipping as well. Thanks for your recommendation. I have bought several Dell desktops in the past although it has been several years. I have it coming here so I can get it set up and get the fluff cleared off and Office installed and such. They live in Alabama so we will not see then until the end of March. She will be so surprised. I do appreciate your input. You have a fine rest of the weekend.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  9. #7
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Ted,

    Glad you got it sorted. What I'd recommend, and I always do with a new unit, is before your even set it up boot from your Acronis, if you're still using Acronis, disk and take an Image. Then:
    1. Do the base setup chores, e.g. User Acct. {no PW yet}, internet access, activation, etc.
    2. Download the PC-Decrapifier and run it to get rid of the McAfee, etc.
    3. Download and set up all your usual utilities, CCleaner, WinBubble, MSE, MalwareBytes, Revo, etc.
    4. Create a Data Partition if you are so inclined.
    5. Image {of course I don't need to tell you that }. Actually, I guess the question comes to are you going to include a USB drive for images in the gift? If so you might want to start out with Macrium and burn the Win PE disk so she'll be all setup and you don't have to buy another Acronis license.

    As you know I just went through all this with my better halves new Dell. Of course, that was a lot more complicated as she had a ton of genealogy software and data, not to mention an Outlook PST file with what seems like the last 50 years of emails in it, and It HAD to work just like before! Luckily I already had her using Win-7.

    Good luck!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  10. #8
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Thanks RG. This PC is actually more powerful than my wife's and my PCes that were considerably more expensive. Ours have a few more features is all, but smaller HD's and less (slower) RAM. Yes, already have Decrapifier, and definitely will get rid of McAfee and install MSE. Yes I will be setting up a data partition for her. I will have to show her how to put new app data into it when she loads new apps for school.

    I might talk to my daughter to see if she will spring for the USB drive. We are also getting MS Office for the laptop (wife works at a University, We get huge discount). You betcha on the Images. I'll have to decide on which app to use, but I will. Thanks for all you help.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  11. #9
    5 Star Lounger
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    Hi Ted - I am thinking of ordering that same laptop. Is the 720p display adequate for everyday use like MS Office apps, email, web surfing?

    Do you recommend extended warranty? If so, how many years?

    Thanks

  12. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I do not actually have the PC yet. I just received word that it was shipped today although delivery is not expected until Friday. I will try to remember to post back on Friday after using it for a while to asnser these questions but I expect it to be fantastic. I seldom get extended warranties. So far this has not caused me problems. I hope discussing this does not jinx me since this is going to my granddaughter for her graduation present. I did think about it, but my finances are a little tight right now so I decided against it.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  13. #11
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfspry View Post
    Hi Ted - I am thinking of ordering that same laptop. Is the 720p display adequate for everyday use like MS Office apps, email, web surfing?

    Do you recommend extended warranty? If so, how many years?

    Thanks
    TF,

    The only thing you need a 1080p display for is if you plan to use it to watch HD movies or similar content.

    As far as extended warranties I'm with TED. Extended warranties are very very expensive insurance. Of course if you happen to be the one to get a lemon. But if you consider that most electronics will die, if they are going to die, within the first 90 days and since you get 1 year free why bother. Also the moving parts like HD, DVD, etc are user replaceable and the parts can be had at much cheaper prices than from the manufacturer. In the end though it all comes down to your tolerance for risk avoidance and your willingness to pay if you have a low tolerance level.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  14. #12
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfspry View Post
    Hi Ted - I am thinking of ordering that same laptop. Is the 720p display adequate for everyday use like MS Office apps, email, web surfing?

    Do you recommend extended warranty? If so, how many years?

    Thanks
    I mostly agree with RetiredGeek, 720 is more than adequate for day to day tasks. The exception being watching movies. You won't notice the difference between 720 and 1080 until you get into 50 inch or larger screens. In other words, your movies will look just fine at 720p.

    Where you will notice the difference is with still photos, that is if you are at least semi-serious about photography. I bought a "720p" laptop a couple of years ago and returned 2 days later because photos I knew were sharp as a tack were quite soft on the 720p.

    BTW, the whole Full HD thing with computers is nothing more than a sales gimmick riding on the back of the HD TV wave. 720p is nothing more than 768 on the vertical (on a 16:9 aspect ratio monitor its 1280x768) which was standard vertical resolution on PCs and monitors back in the 90s (4:3 aspect ratio is 1024x768). Manufacturers have simply used different terminology to present the "same old, same old" as something new and sexy on laptops. Us consumers are suckers.
    Chuck

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    5 Star Lounger
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    Ted, RG, and Doc - Thank you for the informative replies.
    Today, that same 15R is almost $100 more than what Ted got it for.

  16. #14
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I found it during a 3 day President's Day sale. I just checked and it indeed is $100 more than I paid. Sorry folks.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  17. #15
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    With Dell, just wait a week and it will be a different price. Their pricing model as they used to say "Defies All Human Understanding."
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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