Saturday, November 13, 2004

What's a Good PC Laptop?

update 12/16/2007: A few months after this post was originally written, Brandy's parents ended-up getting an iMac at home, and getting her Dad a PowerBook to take on his assignment to Canada.
Brandy and I are trying to help her Dad find a good laptop. His budget is $1500-ish. He'll very likely use the Microsoft Office Suite, especially Excel. There are also good chances he's looking to get into digital photography and digital video, for family stuff. He's also very much a PC guy, and chances are he might require some PC-specific enterprise applications for his work, at some point, but I need to get more details.

We'll be trying to obtain a more refined set of requirements:
- 12" screen / 14" screen ?
- Bluetooth ?
- Microsoft Office ?
- DVD Burning ?

I really could use suggestions/advice on good PC laptops, let's start with two main parameters:

- $1500-ish
- durable

And let's see what features/software/horsepower remain available.

Om Malik had covered one of the Averatec laptops on his blog: The $999 3250.

13 comments:

OakMonster said...

I let Brandon know last night. He'd take a look at the specs here later today when he's up from his nap. ;-)

Peter said...

YOur comments are piled up here :)-

om said...

dude i think in the pc arena - if you can afford it, buy him an IBM thinkpad. however, for $1500 you can get a great dell, which means he doesn't have to worry to much about breaking down or tech support. i still think ibook is the way to go

Chris Holland said...

Peter: thanks :)

Om: yeah i'm still looking to hear feedback about durability in the PC laptop world, and not the "toughbooks" kind. heh. Many people have mentioned the IBM thinkpads are of good quality, indeed. But yeah as far as i know, iBooks just don't die. Brandy's had hers for over 2 years, I see much older ones being sold on eBay all the time. And Apple's latest lineup is looking very sweet.

From the call I had today, he actually seems open to getting a Mac. His main concern was being able to use Microsoft Office, and I was like, holy crap, that's it?, we've got that covered!. He seems also very interested in working with home videos, and pictures, and the whole iLife thang. I had impressed them a few times already with CDs and DVDs I'd made for them when I visited. Plus ... there's an iPhoto plug-in for flickr.com ... HOW FRICKIN' SWEET IS THAT HUH!?

I do want to see what the PC world has to offer though.

Sanjay said...

For 1500, you've got a few options.

1) ebay- You can get Thinkpad T41's for 1400 in very good condition.

2) If you buy dell, you could(should) buy the D600 with 3 years on-site warranty. The D600's are very nice machines with good reliability.

3)A similar laptop to the Thinkpad(in build quality and reliability) is the PowerPro C:17
and they are in the right price range(1500)
http://powernotebooks.com/product.php?itemId=102
I don't visit the site often but I noticed now that they are offering a free upgrade to 3 year warranty on all powerpro models.

If I was in the states, this would be the notebook I would own.

If you are really looking for deals on laptops, I have bought 3 laptops from a seller I know for a year now. His prices are quite good and he deals with dell latitudes, thinkpads and apple notebooks.

Marc said...

Two suggestions:

1. The iBook with Office X is a great way to go. No one does digital photos and video better than Apple at present.

2. I just bought my son a new HP laptop that absolutely rocks! It's the new dv1000 unit. Check out these specs:

- Centrino 1.6 Ghz processor (w/built in 802.11G)
- 512 MB RAM
- 60 GB HD
- 14" widescreen with Brightview technology and WXGA res
- USB 2.0 and Firewire
- DVD-R/RW+ - CDRW combo drive
- PC card wireless remote for DVD and music playback
- DirectPlay for DVDs and CDs (play media w/o booting Windows and enough juice for watching two full-length movies)
- Harmon Kardon sound system

$1199.00 at Best Buy after a $200 rebate. A lot of machine for the $$ and it seems to be a really well-built unit.

Chris Holland said...

ilovelaptops: thanks for the info, will look it up. i subscribed to your feed btw.

Marc: Interesting perspective from someone who's invested in both platforms. thanks! Wow. cool blog too. subscribed!

Chris Holland said...

Holy shit Marc, Those are impressive specs for a PC laptop. Does it mean it can burn DVDs?

The other thing that i find really appealing about the Mac platform is iSync. Windows just doesn't have that yet. Sure you can buy 3rd-party solutions such as intelliSync, but those fit a restricted set of systems. iSync is an open spec all device and software vendors can build to. And it comes with the OS. I've got mine set-up with the sony ericsson t610, a 3-year-old iPod, .Mac, and this powerbook.

I think it is of utmost importance for operating systems to have such sync'ing technology built-in, as well a strong Address Book/Contacts/Calendaring apps and APIs to interact with. If you leave it up to 3rd parties to develop disparate sync'ing APIs, it will be almost impossible for hardware vendors to figure out which sync'ing platform to support. I want many applications to tie-into Mac OS X's Address Book's API. And many already do. Anyway, That's the way to go. I'm rambling, and this should be the subject of another post.

Austin White said...

Chris go with the iBook and Office X. He should have no difficulty making the switch. I have had very good luck with IBM Thinkpads as well but I love my my Mac for digital photography

Marc said...

Chris: yes, the optical drive in the HP burns DVDs. It is a pretty packed little unit. The only shortcoming it has is that it does not have a dedicated video card. Still, Halo and Diablo play really well on it.

Marc said...

Oh, one more nice feature is a 6-in-1 card reader for SD, MMC, XD, etc.

Chris Holland said...

Marc: DVD burning! Daaamn. I also like the media card reader, not an absolute requirement, but a most definitely nice touch. Very cool. thanks for the info! :)

Devon said...

MacBook pro from apple is the best laptop. It's the way to go they are super fast and loads instantly and ur chose of size. Mine was 1300 and it was the slowest one they had an it's legit!