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Thread: Advice Needed On Laptop Computer Purchase

  1. #1
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    Question Advice Needed On Laptop Computer Purchase

    Okay, the days of shlepping to the Stanley Cybercafe and the Avenue Parc Battlenet are about to come to an end for me. I have decided to buy a new laptop computer as an early XMas gift to myself. I have also identified the Dell Inspiron 1521 as the model I want to buy:

    http://www.dell.com/content/products...=19&l=en&s=dhs

    Click on 15.4" HD widescreen-

    What I am interested in knowing is what extras on the Dell website I should add on to it. I figure I will need anti-virus protection, a wireless mouse, and a carrying bag. Is there anything else I really need? I don't want their extended maintenance package. If the computer craps out after 1 year, which I doubt it will, I will buy another one. Any input would be appreciated. All I will really use the laptop for is when I travel, email, reviewing escort websites etc. The only work application it will have is checking my email and occasionally downloadling, modifying and re-sending documents. So I really don't need anything fancy in terms of extras in my mind.

    By the ways, I own a Dell Dimension Series 8400 Desktop which I bought in 2004 and I am very pleased with it. The only problem I ever had was with the wireless mouse, and Dell sent me a new one after running the old one through a battery of tests which it failed. So I decided to go with Dell even though I fully realize that they are sort of like the HDH computer company and charge you a high base price and then everything else is an extra.

    As for the Stanley and Battlenet Cybercafes, I have probably spent hundreds of dollars in those places, but those days are over. I can no longer ignore the convenience factor especially since I will be flying on a few upcoming trips both domestically in the USA and overseas, and I want to make a constructive use of those long downtimes in airports.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 11-20-2007 at 12:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver
    So I decided to go with Dell even though I fully realize that they are sort of like the HDH computer company and charge you a high base price and then everything else is an extra.
    The HDH laptop would be the MacBook Pro, by Apple Inc.
    The mounties always get their man.

  3. #3
    I would not buy ANY of the extras Dell sells, just the laptop only.

    You can get anti-virus protection for free from Avast.

    As for the wireless mouse, you can buy that separately at Staples, Comp USA, etc. I've not had much luck with wireless mouse. The batteries die fast, and I constantly get frustrated with lack of precise response due to wireless signal variations. I recommend a wired laptop mouse from Targus or Belkin, with a retractable USB cord.

    As for the carrying bag, IMHO, nothing beats a laptop backpack, again from Targus.
    Last edited by bond_james_bond; 11-20-2007 at 12:30 PM.

  4. #4

    Ram

    Don't worry so much about the extras but get as much RAM as the computer will allow. Lack of RAM is the single biggest cause of poor performance.

  5. #5
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    Avast and/or AVG for virus protection. I use both (on different computers) and I would opt for Avast!
    Lenovo? Interresting computers on the light side!

  6. #6
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    Basically, almost anything you purchase new on the market will do the job for you. Look for screen quality first. Get the highest contrast ratio you can get. This will be very helpfull in situations where there's lots of sun or bright lights. Also about screens, don't forget the "wide screen" you purchase is still the diagonal measure so, a 15" wide screen is shorter in height than a regular 15".

    Stay away from mega speed processors and "just out" models: you're paying way too much for the novelty factor with those when an older generation will do just fine.

    Memory: 1Gb minimum, 2Gb preferable.

    Dual core, quad core... What do you want to do with this? With what you mention, if you get a good deal on an "older" non-dual core, take it.

    Operating systems? All new Windows computers will be Vista. XP is only sold upon request. There's many variants of Vista. The "top of the line" might be too much for you.

    You might want to get BlueTooth connectivity. It's pretty useful for synching PDA, phones and such. Also, if you do like me and buy a Blue Tooth GPS receiver (EBay) and a good GPS software, (check www.inavcorp.com ) and you get a big screen, talking GPS that is easy to take with you in any car, is more flexible and upgradeable than most stand-alone units and is way easier to read, all for about $200 instead of $800 for a stand-alone with same functionnability.

    Dell are good and reliable and they stand behind their products very well. Not that expensive when you take it all into account.

    Lenovo (ex IBM) is also pretty good. Good screens and very reliable.

    Acer is making an appearance. Not too bad but not the top.

    Why an external mouse? Try getting used to a touchpad for a while! That what I use on my laptop and my only problem is I can't get one for my desktop! No parts that you can lose, no extra space on desk required, can be as precise as you like, no batteries to change, no need for a level surface... It took me 2 month to get used to it but I now use this since 2000 and it's great!
    Last edited by metoo4; 11-20-2007 at 12:48 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bond_james_bond
    You can get anti-virus protection for free from Avast.
    BJB, thanks for the advice. I will check it out.

    I have had the same problems with you with the wireless mice, they suck up juice from batteries like Kobayashi eats hot dogs. I have never seen anything that fries a couple of AA batteries quicker than a wireless mouse.

    metoo4, I hate the touch pads. I want to have the mouse in case I can't adjust to the touch pad.
    Last edited by EagerBeaver; 11-20-2007 at 12:50 PM.

  8. #8
    EB, I just checked out your Dell 1521. For what you want to do, it should be fine. If I were you I would take everyone's advice about buying Dell extras..... don't. I would buy all your listed extras somewhere else like BestBuy or Newegg.com. I also hate wireless mouse, so I would suggest a wired laptop or fullsized USB mouse. About RAM...... it comes ships with 2GB DDR2, so play around with it & it seems slow, you might need two buy 4 GB of RAM(2 x 2GB) to replace your old RAM(2 x 1GB)...... please open the laptop case to see how many RAM slots you have..... most laptops only have 2 total slots for RAM, if you have 4 slots, you will only need to buy 2GB. I believe your system max is 4 GB total. On the good side you can get a way better brand of RAM for way cheaper than what Dell will sell it for. I think you will be fine with the standard 2 GB, though. I did like one option from Dell.... the intergrated webcam....... it's a cheap option too! Yeah, you don't really need it, but you can take pictures or chat with people....... with your smiling face on video!

    Overall, I think you have chosen well on your Dell. Good luck with that.

  9. #9
    Hey EagerBeaver, It not easy to advise someone on what to buy if we are not sure what he wants to do with the Computer.
    But Personally I have to say that I am pleased with Dell Laptop, the oldest one I have is Inspiron 4000, bought in 2001, and it’s still kicking. It’s on everyday for 7:00 to 11:00 PM. The screen is small so I got myself a 21" WD Screen at the store for $350 – a real joke.
    The only advice without knowing what you need the Computer for is, be careful with what options you buy, there are sometime cheaper options at the conner store, for example buy the Antivirus online, cheaper than what Dell offers.
    Other advice is buy the 3 Yr warranty onsite since this is a Laptop, you never know!
    My Laptop had screen problems after 2 years, small problem but it was there, I called and the guy came over to the office and changed the screen on the Laptop, took him 15 min, and of he was. Way Cool.

    Give us a better feel of what you want to do with the Computer, use it to re-arrange your films, music, photo’s you have a heavy duty simulation program on it???

    Hope this helps.

    Johnny

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZoneAlarm
    Oh and dont buy a Dell, take it from someone who has worked there . ZA
    ZA, you sound a bit like an ex-employee with an axe to grind. As I previously reported I already have one Dell computer, it's been very good for me, and Dell's reward is that they get my business again. That's how it works in the real world of business - if a company makes a product that is good, you buy from them again. If the product sucks, you don't. I had a Compaq before the Dell, and the Compaq sucked monkey balls.

    I appreciate the feedback I am getting from everyone on the extras. HGL, I have heard that 2GB is sufficient RAM. Is there any reason to have more? That's why I am looking at the Inspiron 1521 rather than the 1520.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny_view
    Give us a better feel of what you want to do with the Computer, use it to re-arrange your films, music, photo’s you have a heavy duty simulation program on it???
    I stated in my original post exactly what I intend to use the Computer for. None of these things apply.

  12. #12
    Then the Model you are selecting, will do fine, I would say that 2G of memory is also file, I not sure how thay say it, but the new Dell I bought is capale of linking to any Wireless Network System, outside of the office to give you access to the Web, I don't know what you call it, but it's a special attenna made for those people one the Road or in Airports, you can check it out, Latitude D830.
    Looks like -> BroadCom NetXTreme 57xx
    The other option I took since my plane rides last more than 6 hours sometimes is another Battery.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by johnny_view; 11-20-2007 at 01:22 PM.

  13. #13
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    Beav...I'd go with the Inspiron 1520 for $849 then add 1GB of memory. It has a much better processor than the 1521 as well as a much larger hard drive and the ability to burn CD/DVD's.

    Also, Rumples was right on, the HDH of laptops is definitely the Macbook Pro by Apple which comes in at about 2K for the bottom of the line.

    Oh and welcome to the new millenium!

  14. #14
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    Beav, a question... or a comment here... why are you going for a 15" screen? If you will be mostly travelling with your laptop, may I suggest you go for something smaller and lighter? I have a 15" myself and altough it is great for work I would not want to travel with it as it is large and "heavy". I know Dell has a 12" version with all the "fixins" wich I would opt for if I had to buy one for travelling. Sure it might strain your eyes a bit more, but you won't be spending hours in front of the screen anyways.

    My 2 cents
    Last edited by MG_mtl; 11-20-2007 at 03:25 PM.
    MG

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    Quote Originally Posted by Special K
    Also, Rumples was right on, the HDH of laptops is definitely the Macbook Pro by Apple which comes in at about 2K for the bottom of the line.
    True, but you can get a refurb directly from Apple for $1700. I've purchased nothing but refurbs for the past 10 years and haven't had a whit of trouble.

    Beav could have gotten a Macbook for free had he had the foresight to wager $1700 on the Red Sox.

    And as for your welcoming Beav to the new millennium, considering how cruel the new millennium has been to his kind, that was quite a heartless gesture. People have been banned for less.
    Last edited by rumpleforeskiin; 11-20-2007 at 03:51 PM.
    The mounties always get their man.

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