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  1. #1
    ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹoıuǝs wheeldeal's Avatar
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    Budget 14" notebook advice needed (Dell vs HP vs Lenovo

    You guys seem to be pretty tech savy.....so here goes.

    I'm currently using a 3yr old 14" Dell Inspiron that's dying on me. Everything works fine (except the battery and the charger). The other thing that annoys me is the screen hinge that's very loose.

    I would like to keep it at 14" as I find this to be the ideal size for me. It's big enough so that I don't have to squint to read, but small enough so it isn't too much pain to carry around. I'm looking for a PC. Not really interested in a Mac right now.

    The brands that I've been looking at are:
    Dell (Inspiron & Studio)
    HP (DV4)
    Lenovo (not sure which model)
    But I'm open to other brands if you think they're superior (in design, more efficient, more robust & more reliable) than the brands I've listed above.

    Of the three brands (Dell, HP & Lenovo)....in general, which brand seems to be the most reliable? Does one brand stand out more? Or are they very similar? Does one brand stand out more for being unreliable (i.e. lots of warranty repairs needed?).

    One last comment/question. Intel came out with their "i" line of CPUs. Are they much superior than the Duo Cores (or Duo 2 Cores)? I see a few machines within my price range spec'd out with an i3 CPU.

    I'm also a little worried about their new line because it hasn't been proven yet. Let me know your opinion on this.

    1) What is your budget?
    $600 - $700

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    14"

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    USA

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    None

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    No

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Mostly web browsing, e-mail, exel work, online banking, Instant messaging, webcam chats (Skype), watching DVDs, burning CDs, using it for travel (for the tasks above), playing music (as background music as I'm doing the tasks above).

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Mostly leaving on my lap, but I do occasionally take it with me.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    Not really a gamer.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    The more the better. But I think 3+ is a good number since I would like to watch a movie and do some work on it before it dies out.

    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?
    Ok to buy online without seeing (as long as you guys think it's a reliable brand).

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    XP & 7

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer?

    •Standard Resolutions: WXGA, HD, 720p
    •Actual resolutions: 1280x800 and 1366x768
    •Offered on larger Netbooks and Notebooks up to 16"

    OR

    •Midrange Resolutions: WXGA+, HD+, 900p
    •Actual resolutions: 1440x900 and 1600x900
    •Offered on all Notebooks. Keep in mind text will be very small on a 12" WXGA+ notebook.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?
    No preference, although I don't like glare too much....but I can live with it.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    No. But I would prefer something small & light if i had to make a choice between two identically priced machines with identical specs.

    15) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last?
    At least 4 - 5 years

    Notebook Components

    16) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?
    300GB range is fine. No idea what an SSD drive is. Can someone pls explain?

    17) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?
    I would prefer a CD/DVD drive (burner preferred)
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  2. #2
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    Apple's macbook beats em all but if you REALLY need to get a PC then the Lenovo is a good choice (mostly because of its quality).

  3. #3
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Can't contribute much, but the answer to #16- SSD = Solid State Drive.
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  4. #4
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    I would say you should focus on the little features instead of the brands (although I never really like Dell). You can probably find laptops in the same price range with similar specs from different venders so pick the one you like. Pick the one with the screen you like, with the right keyboard feel, and with lighted keyboard, and the trackpad that you can use. These little things will make using your laptop much easier to use but are impossible or rather bulky to add later.

  5. #5
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aadhils View Post
    Apple's macbook beats em all
    And until you get one you'll have no idea how badly it beats them. At least to to an Apple store and check out the 13" Macbook Pro. Stay away from the cheaper plastic Macbook, they really don't hold up very well compared to the sliver metal case machines.

    You owe it to yourself to do that much, even if you wind up with another Windows laptop.

  6. #6
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    Check out batteryrebuilders.com and you can get chargers on e bay. I just got a dell charger, new in the box for under ten bucks with shipping.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right

  7. #7
    Senior Member NinetiesKid's Avatar
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    It seems to me you have pretty basic needs and requirements for a laptop. That price range, for those uses, and only 3 hours of battery life...you can get nearly any laptop to meet those requirements these days.

    In other words, for that price, those specs, those needs, you can't go wrong with anything. I've owned HP and Lenovo and I appreciate the build of both of them. The T400 gets rather good reviews, slightly more than it seems you want to pay though. The dell inspiron and studio 14 series are very cheap and would perform the tasks you require. The HP dv4 series may be slightly cheaper for slightly better specs.

    Overall I think the biggest variable is battery life, which you can find good real life measurements of online (google "brand model review").

    i3, i5, i7 will be faster, generally consume less power (for the speed) but be more expensive.
    I just purchased an Acer 11.1" 1366x768 'netbook' with a 1.3ghz dual core, 4 gb RAM, 320gb HD, windows 7 64bit and integrated graphics. Does all I need quickly and more for less than $500. I surf the net, play music and movies, use SAS, epiInfo, and word processing etc. It is very responsive. My biggest complaint would be the speakers not being that powerful. (for reference)

  8. #8
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    I like my T400. I checked out lenovo website and it looks like they have a sale on their 7417 model for $737.... link
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
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  9. #9
    Senior Member enjoi07's Avatar
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    my girl has the 13" white macbook, i have the alu 15" pro. hers is holding up well. i can not believe Microsoft is still in business, and that i put up with that platform for so long.

    here is some encouragement


  10. #10
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    IMO stay away from all things Dell. HP is reliable (recently bought one for my son for x-mas - a 17", direct from HP, for $700), and I've not heard any trash about levorno.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  11. #11
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    Stay away from the cheaper plastic Macbook, they really don't hold up very well compared to the sliver metal case machines.
    Actually the latest macbook revision is way better than the older model more fragile macbook. In fact I'd go as far as to say that it's almost up to par with the quality of the macbook pro. They use thicker polycarbonate plastic using the same unibody construction as the macbook pros.

  12. #12
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    What is budget about anything apple?

  13. #13
    Senior Member enjoi07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tspek View Post
    What is budget about anything apple?
    in the long run, you save yourself from the headache of dealing with windows, not paying for tech support, etc. i payed about $1500 fro my mbp and never have felt better about a purchase.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by enjoi07 View Post
    in the long run, you save yourself from the headache of dealing with windows, not paying for tech support, etc. i payed about $1500 fro my mbp and never have felt better about a purchase.
    Who pays for tech support?

    The mac is a great piece of hardware but it's not budget minded. My Dell was cheap, it's beat to hell and a lot of stupid things have broken as a result but it still runs.

  15. #15
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tspek View Post
    Who pays for tech support?

    The mac is a great piece of hardware but it's not budget minded. My Dell was cheap, it's beat to hell and a lot of stupid things have broken as a result but it still runs.
    Given the price one has to pay for anti virus software and OS upgrades, macs always end up cheaper in the long run. I paid $10 to upgrade my mac OS, Windows cost starts from $200.

  16. #16
    ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹoıuǝs wheeldeal's Avatar
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    How much do the cheapest Macbooks go for nowadays?
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by aadhils View Post
    Given the price one has to pay for anti virus software and OS upgrades, macs always end up cheaper in the long run. I paid $10 to upgrade my mac OS, Windows cost starts from $200.
    What are you talking about? That last "upgrade" to OSX was not much of an upgrade and a lot of people felt it shouldn't have cost even $10. Furthermore, I've run my laptop without anti-virus software for 3 years. No problems. Aside from that, there are plenty of completely free antivirus and anti malware solutions out there.

    Macbook: Great piece of hardware, expensive.

    I don't get why mac users are under the impression that everyone must need a mac. It's not always the right solution.

    The real advice here is to get a new battery. I doubt the charger has anything wrong with it unless the cord is physically damaged. Unless there is some desire to get a new computer, in which case "budget" really doesn't make sense as the most budget thing to do would be to spend $50-$70 on the battery.

    Or, I'll buy the laptop off of you.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheeldeal View Post
    How much do the cheapest Macbooks go for nowadays?
    $999--in plastic

    $1300--in aluminum

    Or you can get a lenovo for $480

  19. #19
    ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹoıuǝs wheeldeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tspek View Post
    Or, I'll buy the laptop off of you.
    How much?
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  20. #20
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tspek View Post
    What are you talking about? That last "upgrade" to OSX was not much of an upgrade and a lot of people felt it shouldn't have cost even $10. .
    I bet People who've said that have never owned a mac before. Snow leopard is a very solid upgrade. My computer is faster and I got aback 60GBs of hard disk space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aadhils View Post
    I bet People who've said that have never owned a mac before. Snow leopard is a very solid upgrade. My computer is faster and I got aback 60GBs of hard disk space.
    My source for this one in particular is Leo Laport, tech extraordinaire, general mac fanboy.

    I would imagine your computer is faster because of the new OS installation.



    Don't bring out that "you've never owned a Mac" crap. This guy is looking for a budget laptop to replace his laptop which seems to only need a $70 battery. Your advice here is to spend $1000 on a mac?

  22. #22
    Senior Member mustang1's Avatar
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    i always read lenovo was top-notch for quality, easily beating the other brands you mentioned. I knew someone would post Macbook, but I didn't know it was gonna be the first post after OP
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  23. #23
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tspek View Post
    My source for this one in particular is Leo Laport, tech extraordinaire, general mac fanboy.

    I would imagine your computer is faster because of the new OS installation.
    Nope. It's still about the same speed as when I first installed it. Lol @ mac fanboy.




    Quote Originally Posted by tspek View Post
    Don't bring out that "you've never owned a Mac" crap. This guy is looking for a budget laptop to replace his laptop which seems to only need a $70 battery. Your advice here is to spend $1000 on a mac?
    Yep

    p.s. Amazon has the Macbook for approximately $970 and they do not charge taxes or shipping. The price does fluctuate and can sometimes go as low as $850.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by aadhils View Post
    Nope. It's still about the same speed as when I first installed it. Lol @ mac fanboy.
    I guess the initial release of OSX just sucked then. I thought Apple was immune to that. Doesn't it bother you that they didn't just get it right the first time?

    p.s. Amazon has the Macbook for approximately $970 and they do not charge taxes or shipping. The price does fluctuate and can sometimes go as low as $850.
    That's still not a budget laptop.
    This is a budget laptop.
    This is a budget laptop.
    This is a budget laptop.

    There a ton of budget laptops out there that will do everything your $1000 macbook does, if not more.

  25. #25
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tspek View Post
    There a ton of budget laptops out there that will do everything your $1000 macbook does, if not more.
    Actually those are not budget laptops. I like to call them One time use yearly laptops. Thats when they get so laggy and they break within a year and you're forced to ditch them and buy another laptop.

    Cheap in the short term but costly in the long term.

    Mac Laptops typically last at least 5 years and I know some that are still being used as back up laptops after 10 years.

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