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Need New Laptop

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LA Woman

Thread Starter
Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
I'm in the market for a new laptop. Dell is my preferred choice, but I'm open to others.

I would love to get XP instead of Vista and need a good screen that doesn't dim down when running on battery power. Also, the bigger the keys, the better! I would use this laptop in the car and back at the office, and keep the desktop I have as a backup machine.

Anyone get a new laptop for Xmas that they would recommend?

Thanks for any input.
 

Riick

Elite Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Delaware
They all dim down when running on batteries.
Buy a machine with an upgraded battery - 8 or 10 cells
Then you can set it NOT to go dim, and still have a decent amount of battery life.
Don't know what the story is today, 2-3 years back, Toshiba had the best no-repairs record of most anything on market.
Would check w/Consumer Reports on repair rates today.
Best of Luck !!
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Kansas
My friend has had 2 Toshiba's flake out. My family buys HP/Compaq and nobody has had an issue yet. I strongly recommend a Core 2 Duo processor.

My sister just bought a Dell desktop and got XP as an option. I configured it for her but not sure if the notebooks have that option but I would check as XP will be soon gone by mid 2008.
 

D-Max

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I'm a fan of HP/Compaq and they also offer XP as an option. Most people overlook the XP option because Dell and HP only offer it on computers ordered for business.

Get a better battery and the dimming will not be an issue. I also think there is a way to disable that feature but it eats the batterys 2-3 times faster.

If you need something that will be "banged around" then you might want to look at the Panasonic Toughbook line which is what is used in most police cruisers, utility company trucks etc. The cost a lot more but can withstand a beating. I think you can order these with XP as well.
 

Randall Garrett

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Texas
FWIW, the Lenovo line gets the highest marks from our users. Lenovo bought the IBM ThinkPad line a while back and they have continued to produce an excellent business class product. Their durability is rated somewhere close to what is known as a semi-rugged laptop. What that means is that it'll take the normal dings realized during inspection type activities, etc., but it is not rated for a 4 foot drop onto concrete, etc. Of course, we favor the Lenovo X61 with SuperView screen (the base option on this product) vs. the more expensive MultiView + MultiTouch screen simply because it performs better in the direct and indirect ambient lighting conditions common with appraisal activities. Generally, the X61 runs about $1500 and up depending on options. Most of our customers end up spending just under $2,000 including a drop/damage policy... :) Here is a link to their site if one wants to look and shop. http://tinyurl.com/2texdx Let me know if you'd like a suggested options list based on what others have found to work well. You can also find a couple of threads on this site about this particular unit and you'll see some recent purchasers' feedback.

[Edit 1] Here is a link to that thread here: http://appraisersforum.com/showthread.php?t=131296

Anyway, MY advice is to MAKE SURE you can read the screen on your laptop in the environments in which it will be used. DO NOT rely on looking at it inside at a store. Take it outside if you're going to use it there! The glossy screens that look so sexy on most computers in the big box stores are almost unusable when you get into the sunlight. Even most screens with anti-glare treatments get really washed out when in indirect light (say, under the overhangs or in the car.) So, unless you are only going to use your laptop inside, be sure to pay attention to the screen. If it is only going to used inside, my narrow way of thinking begs me to ask why one would pay a premium for a laptop vs. a compact desktop unit... ;-)

[Edit 2] I have uploaded a cropped picture of two identical devices sitting side-by-side in an outdoor setting. The images are unaltered except for cropping and any artifacts caused by the jpeg lossy compression. Sorry for the smudged screen on the one on the right, LOL. If you look closely, you can still see the image on the screen, which is identical to the one on the left. The one on the left is not perfect but you can clearly see the differences. Anyone want to guess which one is the indoor screen and which is the outdoor screen? LOL. The devices, BTW, are at least 4 or 5 years old and the technology has improved.

Hope this helps! I have nothing to sell - I am simply reporting what we have observed ourselves and what our many, many users have reported over the years.
 

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Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
LA, I'm with you on Dell's, have several and love them. As for the screen, on Dells, you can change the screen brightness setting. They have an "energy manager" where you change the setting so that the screen is brighter.

I also loved IBM, but they have been bought out and are now Lenovo. So I don't know anything about them. I will not buy HP, too many past problems and their customer support was nonexistent... so they lost a big customer for life. I tried an Acer, and it died twice... both within 6 hours after I spent hours loading it up and getting it ready for business. So I won't buy another one of those either. Since Vista was a big belly flop, all computer manufactures offer XP as an option. So I'd say find the best deal you can for the most speed and memory. I don't care about graphics or music, but I can NOT stand a slow computer. So I spend extra $$$ for a faster RPM Hard drive, faster dual core processor, and upgrade the memory. I paid about $1200, after coupon code, for my fastest Insprion. Bought my wife a Vostro basic for $600 on close out. She loves it, but doesn't use it as intensely as I do, with multiple window open, etc.
 

Randall Garrett

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2004
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Texas
FWIW, for the most part, you should not fret over the CPU speed. Other things are more important for the "seat-of-the-pants" feel of speed. As pointed out by M Leggett, having adequate RAM and the HDD speed play a far bigger role in how fast things run in real world scenarios.

A "slower" Core 2 Duo CPU will be faster for you than a "faster" regular old Core Duo CPU or even older "Pentium M", and it'll be much friendlier to your battery life, as well... :) Avoid the old Celeron CPU's at all costs, LOL. They were slower AND ate up more battery... :-\

Anyway, in the case of the Lenovo, note that you can only get the (superior IMHO) SuperView screen with the lower-clocked (1.6 GHz) processor. If you select the 1.8 GHz CPU, your only option is the inferior (again IMHO, but I DO own both) and more expensive MultiView + MultiTouch screen option.

FWIW, this particular laptop, even though it is a convertible Tablet PC, weighs only 3.77 lbs which is considered light today. The new MacBook Air ("The World's Thinnest Notebook") is right at 3.0 lbs. The Dell Inspirons are in the 6.5 lb range, the small Vostro is 5.39 lbs. and even their excellent (IMHO) M1330 is 3.9 lbs. The new Dell convertible Tablet PC is about the same weight as the X61, but costs a LOT more.

Hope this helps!
...
 

LA Woman

Thread Starter
Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Great advise from all! Thank you for your imput. I'm still leaning towards dell, and now that they are in retail stores, I think the prudent thing to do is convince the store clerk to let me take a laptop outside to see how the screen looks! Again thanks for all the imput.
 
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