Need some help choosing an inexpensive laptop [Archive] - Glock Talk

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FCastle88
09-14-2010, 08:09
I need an inexpensive laptop to use mostly for fooling around on the internet, storing music, watching DVD's/streaming videos, and some casual gaming, mostly World of Warcraft. My problem is I have no idea just what specs I need or will give me a noticeable increase in performance, and what will just be a waste of money for my purposes. I'd like to keep the price around $400-$500, but may go up to $600 if necessary. This is going to be the replacement for a Dell 1525 that has a whole list of problems, including literally falling apart due to poor design of the casing/hinges, overheating to the point of the touchpad becoming painfully hot, and randomly shutting off when in use, so Dell isn't at the top of my list, though I may give them another shot. I'm mostly looking at Asus, Toshiba and Acer, would like to avoid HP and Compaq.

Again, not sure what specs I really need, but some features I want are a fairly sturdy casing/hinges, a responsive touchpad, a decent screen and battery life around 4 hours.

I've been looking at this Asus model- http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+Laptop+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Pentium%26%23174%3B+Processor+/+15.6%22+Display+/+4GB+Memory+/+320GB+Hard+Drive+-+Bronze/9963747.p?id=1218202472261&skuId=9963747
It has good reviews, and has pretty much the same specs as a Dell Inspiron for about $100 less. A few cons I found are some reviews complain that the touchpad isn't the best, and apparently Best Buy has a deal with Asus that you can't purchase an extended warranty from Asus, you have to buy the overpriced service plan from Best Buy, so if it craps out after the 1 year warranty runs out I'm screwed.

I'm also looking at a Dell Inspiron 15R with 4GB ram and the new i3 processor, it looks like it has a much sturdier design than my 1525, but I'm not sure it's worth an extra $120 over the Asus, though it does have a decent extended warranty available.

I'm also open to suggestions for a decent model for around $400 that would fit my needs.

IndyGunFreak
09-14-2010, 08:37
I don't play WoW, but do the Intel graphics usually run it fairly well? That would be my only concern w/ the Asus. If I was gonna use it for gaming, I'd rather it have something w/ ATI or Nvidia.

IGF

FCastle88
09-14-2010, 09:06
I don't play WoW, but do the Intel graphics usually run it fairly well? That would be my only concern w/ the Asus. If I was gonna use it for gaming, I'd rather it have something w/ ATI or Nvidia.

IGF
The Asus has the same graphics card as the Inspiron, and I know people that play it on them with no problems, I think pretty much any computer can play WoW.
It seems the more research I do the harder it gets to choose, the Asus is supposed to be a good computer but I checked into the warranty some more and there are a lot of complaints that their warranty service is pretty much non-existent, the Toshiba Satellite has the same specs as the Asus for the same price but the battery life sucks and the fan is really loud. Dell has decent warranty service but the Inspiron 15R is $670 with an extra year of warranty coverage and my current Dell is a POS so I'm somewhat leery of buying another one.

jswest86
09-16-2010, 14:18
As someone who repairs computers for a living, go with the Dell, we see far fewer catastrophic component failures (eg. motherboard fries or power jack comes off the motherboard) than we do in other models. Certainly the Dells have their problems but they are much less costly to deal than say Toshiba or ASUS. Toshiba also does have some proprietary stuff built into their computers as well so they are a pain to fix. I don't think you will be disappointed with the Dell I have that exact model sitting in my shop now and it is quick and rather well equipped.

FCastle88
09-19-2010, 18:34
As someone who repairs computers for a living, go with the Dell, we see far fewer catastrophic component failures (eg. motherboard fries or power jack comes off the motherboard) than we do in other models. Certainly the Dells have their problems but they are much less costly to deal than say Toshiba or ASUS. Toshiba also does have some proprietary stuff built into their computers as well so they are a pain to fix. I don't think you will be disappointed with the Dell I have that exact model sitting in my shop now and it is quick and rather well equipped.
Does the casing on the new Dell seem sturdier than the older models? Also, is it normal for Dells to run hotter than other brands? My girlfriend has one of the business class Inspirons, a Vostro 1520 I think, and it seems to get rather warm when playing games and watching videos as well, not as bad as my Inspiron but more than other laptops I've used.

wrenrj1
09-19-2010, 18:40
Best Buy Had a couple for $399(?) and $499 (HP) in their flyer in Sunday's paper. I'd just make sure you can upgrade the memory to at least 4GB. Windows 7 I assume.

wrenrj1
09-19-2010, 18:45
As someone who repairs computers for a living, go with the Dell, we see far fewer catastrophic component failures (eg. motherboard fries or power jack comes off the motherboard) than we do in other models. Certainly the Dells have their problems but they are much less costly to deal than say Toshiba or ASUS. Toshiba also does have some proprietary stuff built into their computers as well so they are a pain to fix. I don't think you will be disappointed with the Dell I have that exact model sitting in my shop now and it is quick and rather well equipped.

Both the wife and I have Dell Laptops purchased at the same time that are now 2-3 years old. My Dell's HD went out at less than two years of minimal home use.

Lesson learned, keep all of your installation disks! Installing a new HD is simple if you have your operating system disks, and to Dell's credit, you can look up your particular machine by serial number and download all the original drivers and start from there.

FCastle88
09-27-2010, 18:58
Are any of the Acer models for around $400 any good? Dell has a free extra year of warranty coverage on the 15R if ordered by wednesday, so I made the trip to Best Buy to check out the Asus and the 15R. They didn't have the 15R but they did have 14R on display, it had a very nice touchpad and seemed to work well, but it had the flimsiest screen I've ever seen on a laptop, I could actually bend the screen, there was light coming from large gaps between the screen and the casing, and the plastic hinges were starting to come apart, even the casing around the keyboard felt very thin and cheap. I know display models get beat to hell, but the 14" model has only been out for a few months, so it shouldn't have been this bad.

In comparison, the Asus was built like a tank, there wasn't any looseness or flex in the casing, the hinges opened very smoothly, and the screen didn't wobble or shake at all unlike most Dell's, I think it may have been the sturdiest laptop they had. They're were a few small details I didn't like, the touchpad is somewhat small, the webcam is crappy and as I said before you can't buy an extended warranty from the manufacturer, but overall for $500 this seems like a very nice laptop.

The only Dell's I liked were the Studio models, and they were way above my price range, so unless I can find a decent Acer or Toshiba for around $400 I'll probably be getting the Asus.