Geek Love

Laptop Advice…

My Mom is considering shopping for a new laptop computer. Her desktop computer is several years old, and due for an upgrade. She doesn’t like how much room it takes up in her kitchen, so a laptop makes sense for her. My laptop is a Dell Latitude with Attitude, but it’s a business product, not something they sell to consumers. So she called me earlier to ask what brands I recommended for laptops. I’ve always been happy with the HP/Compaq family of laptops, but I figured I should turn to you. Here is your chance to share your tales of laptop joys or sorrows. Tell me what you recommend!

Hey, who needs ePinions when you can just ask your friends?

Edited: Windows laptop. Windows only. I know the iBooks look great, run well, etc. but I don’t think switching to a Mac is a good idea for her. I would have a hard time making that change, and I know that some of her favorite software wouldn’t run on a Mac. My apologies to the iBook lovers out there.

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

50 replies on “Laptop Advice…”

I’d suggest a nice iBook — it’s compact and reliable, and the OS is extremely user friendly. The cost of a Wintel laptop might be more appealing, but the investment in Apple is well worth it. I’ve been using a G4 Power Book for about four months now and I (figuratively) cry whenever I have to use Windows now.

I would seriously consider the Avaratec models – I just bought the 3150 HS from Sam’s Club, and it’s a lot of machine in a tiny package at a reasonable price ($900); some earlier models (last year) are even coming with enormous rebates – check out Office Depot or Staples. I’ve had it and used it for a week and a half, and even though I’ve given it quite a workout to make sure everything’s working correctly, it’s holding up well. Plus, I now have enough memory to run Photoshop *while something else is running* – that’s a big step up for me. πŸ˜‰

I’ve used many Apple laptops and loved them. If she can afford to buy the new software I would suggest those (yeah, coming from a pc user, I know). I would highly suggest NOT using a Compaq laptop. When I worked with the inventory and care of computers at a company a couple years ago they were the ones that always had issues. The Sony ones seems to work just fine, though I never used one myself.

Good luck! I like epinions, but when there’s only a few reviews on something, it’s hard to make a decision. Hopefully you’ll get some good feedback.

Oh – I guess I should toss in – we’re not talking about switching to an iBook. I know they’re great, I know they’re wonderful, but she is comfortable with the Windows interface and not changing over.

My apologies to all the Mac lovers out there…

My wife uses a Gateway laptop and has been very happy with it. I think they have some Celeron models at $799 right now. I use a Panasonic Toughbook, and while I love it, a new one would cost waaaaay too much to recommend it. (thank heavens for eBay)

Ok, ok, I won’t even mention how much I love my new iBook. I won’t mention how cute it is and how well it runs. πŸ˜‰ Moving on, I recommend a Sony Vio or a Gateway.

Sony Viao is rumored to be the best (and the price tag shows it) πŸ˜‰ Also rumor – Dell makes good desktops but NOT!!! laptops. If you want more information than you ever wanted (ok, that doesn’t make sense)… Call Sam. He’ll lay it on the line for ya. πŸ˜‰

Knock on wood, I guess I should be thankful that my Dell Latitude has served me so well for almost 2 years now. I’ve beaten the poor thing to death, and it just keeps chuggin’ along. However, I’ve heard a ton of Dell laptop horror stories, so I wouldn’t recommend one to her anyways.

It probably needs to be one we can walk in to a store and get off the shelf. She’s going on vacation soon, and I think she might want to take it with her. Best Buy, Fry’s, CompUSA, Circuit City, all within close range.

You know, Circuit City had some good deals when I looked – plus I like them much more than Best Buy, for some strange reason. Maybe it’s that I don’t feel I need to be a teenager to enjoy my Circuit City shopping experience.

I agree with *scrolls up* barkingmike…

I’ve been using my boyfriend’s old IBM Thinkpad. He’s had it for a few years now, and used it alot (until he got an ibook, of course *wink*, and I’m still using the IBM laptop with no problems.

They are very durable. I just throw mine in my backpack and go. πŸ˜€

Well you know my feelings on Dell… πŸ˜‰ Like the others, only heard good things about the Sony Vaio. And we sold our iBook after just over a year, so switch-experiment failed in this household ultimately.

HP?! Compaq?! Please oh please shoot me in the foot before you subject someone to such misery! πŸ˜‰ Hehe, maybe your mom should check out a tablet … that could be fun. Okay, now for some real advice – I’ve heard good things about the Vaio myself. Dell also has (or at least had) consumer laptop models that were fairly highly ranked at one point. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be giving advice about laptops – the only one I’d ever buy is a powerbook. πŸ˜‰

personal experience with laptops:
Kelley’s got a Compaq laptop – it’s 1 year old and has gone through 2 power adapters, has keys broken off of it and gets scalding hot when playing DVDs. It’s a piece of crap. The thing wasn’t treated roughly or banged around at all – it barely left her room.
I got my IBM ThinkPad through my school lease september of 2001 and will be getting rid of it this coming september. I throw it in my backpack and take very little care of it and have not had one problem with it. it’s basically in mint condition.
My friend with a dell laptop had problems similar to kelley’s as well as issues with his screen getting dead pixels after about 6 months of use.
Based on simply my experience and that of those around me, I’d recommend a thinkpad – even if you don’t get the highest-end machine, mine has been reliable, sturdy, and an all around decent machine. (and the one time I did deal with IBM tech support they were very curteous and responsive).

just my .03 πŸ˜‰

I have a Gateway laptop, hubby has a Compaq. We have not had any problems with either. Next time though, it will be a Dell, just for the awesome customer support. Gateway is good, but Dell is better! Good luck to your mom! πŸ™‚

Having had to use a multiplicity of notebooks for production use, I can offer these brief words of wisdom:

– Avoid Sony Vaio like the plague
– Go Dell, with cover-everything-extended warranty and massage your feet technical support plans
– Make sure it can burn CDs or DVDs

Sure, we could discuss the whys and wherefores, and everyone could get into a religious flamewar, but hey. Life’s short. This is my opinion.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about Sony Vaio. And that’s pretty rare, since most geeks have firm opinions about their hardware. IBM ThinkPad i-series would be my second choice. πŸ™‚

the laptop i use for work is an IBM thinkpad and i’ve had no problem with it. thinkpads are very solid and reliable. for personal use, i’m thinking of getting the new emachine laptop. looks like a great deal.

i too have a Dell Latitude and i love it. powerful, lightweight and reliable. if it came with a built-in wireless card it would be perfect. but pay the few extra $$ for XP Pro over XP Home – well worth it for the stability.
i’ve owned two Compaqs before and both constantly had little things go wrong with them. i ended up having to reimage the damn things every six months, just to clear out the bugs. if it’s a Win machine you’re looking for, go with a Dell.

I know lots of folks are anti-Dell, but I have to say I’ve had my Latitude for just under a year and I adore it. Plus, if you do get that extended warranty you can rest easy for at least three years – already I had my whole screen replaced, as well as my entire keyboard (separate occasions, mind you), and they were sweet as pie on the phone AND when they came to my house to fix it. Dell Dell Dell Dell.

Even the Farmer got a Dell. Hi Ho the merry-oh, the Farmer got a Dell.

Sony Vaio’s: had problems with i/o, particularly their oft-touted multimedia features; every unit ended up with a defective keyboard, power supply problems, battery duration problems,…. oh… the humanity!

personal experience of a brother tells me to stay away from compaq. he must have sent his laptop back for service 2 or 3 times during his 2 year warranty…because it would stop recognizing things like…the harddrive or the keyboard. sure, they always fixed it…but it didn’t seem worth it.
at least with dell, a friend had issues with her harddrive, she called them, and they sent her a new one.

We’ve had two Compaq laptops that have held up just great. Both, though, had to go in for service for minor stuff (one key just didn’t work, in both cases), however being without it sucked.

I have a Gateway Solo w/ a screen bigger than a 17″ monitor’s display and it is WONDERFUL. This machine has given me no trouble at all.

$0.02! πŸ˜€

I think the ultimate answer is that no matter what you decide, go for as much extended warranty and handholding that you can get.

Notebooks (of any brand) tend to have more problems with their component parts. You can always luck out with your experience, but if you don’t then without the extended warranties it becomes yet another horror story to add to the pile.

I do hope you’ll let us know what the eventual decision was. =)


I bought an emachines M5305 in June for a killer $649 (after two $100 mail-in rebates) from Circuit City. I commute on an ’82 Suzuki GS550L motorcycle over country roads. My laptop gets bumped around quite a bit (it’s also been knocked off the coffee table twice by the dogs) and its still runnin’ just fine. I’m not a gamer, so it’s great for me. I use it for school, work, and home. I love the big screen and the easy-to-carry 6.5 Lbs. I would suggest getting a cordless mouse to save your carpal tunnels. I have a Kensington mouse that was dead easy to set up, and I can use anywhere – even on my leg, or where ever. :o) K

Aloha! I purchased a Dell Inspiron 8100 notebook about 2 years ago, and have not had any significant problems with the notebook. It is a pretty solid machine, and the customer support is outstanding. I am now in the market for a “laptop”, and have looked at the Avaratec 3150 line of computers or the Apple Powerbook G4 12.1″. I have heard some good things about both computers.

i’m thinking of buying a laptop and i need some advice what sort of memory,windows,processor ect would i need for playing games and going on the internet. please help

Here’s my 2 cents. Over the past four years I’ve use 4 Dell notebooks (2 latitudes at work and 2 Inspirons for my kids at home), and I’ve had 2 friends with Sony Vaios for 1 1/2 yrs. With the Dells I’ve experience 3 dead batteries in 6 months each were replaced under warranty and 1 dead power supply after 2yrs 11months which was also replace by the 3 yr warranty I bought with the Inspiron. The Latitudes my work supplies me with have never experience any problems, and I’ve take them home every night, I’ve have drop them numerous times and even have had them fall out of my notebook case onto the concrete sidewalk several times without any damage other than cracked cases. Now for my friends with the Vaios, one died right after the warranty expired (my friend says Sony does not offer extended warranties), so he bought another one (he like’s the vaios’ looks). My other friend with a vaio has not had any problems yet (its 13 months old).

Choices, choices. Unless you are looking at very, very expensive equipment; all the MS versions above are basically the same as far as abilities and longevity. Extras such as dvd writers or cd writers aside. THREE WORDS OF WISDOM : AVARATEC,AVERATEC,AVERATEC…..12.1″ Tft SCREEN, YOU’ll get alot of VAIOishness (did I use that word)? Plenty of power, cd-rw/dvd, user friendly key board and very stylish. Light at around 4 pounds. The mind Blowing conclusiion around 2003 model around $750.00 after rebate. That’s dollars, not pesos. No brainer. Office Depot, Staples etc. etc. etc…….Good Luck. No better value on the PLANET..ProbablyPaul

Averatec, Oh, I forgot to mention the built in Wi Fi and AMD athlon, do not get fooled by the absurdley low price, this is not a Pocket PC (lol) I paid almost as much for my ipaq 5555. ProbablyPaul.

hello. im looking into buying a laptop, with durability, hardwearing ruggedness and portability being the most important consideration. im the travelling type and need something that can handle life in a backpack. can any one help?

i want a pink laptop from dell or apple for my conformation badly i whant it to be good and not to dear pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee help me .

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