Cheap Windows Laptop suggestions? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 2008-08-26, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Markham, Ontario,
Posts: 185
Question Cheap Windows Laptop suggestions?


Call me old...but I am a very heavy desktop user. However the time has come to pick up a Windows based laptop and the options available have me more confused than ever.

I am looking at FS and BB as the main sources since I could take it in for repairs if there were quality issues.

My requirements are:

Budget : 1000 but prefer something around 750
Screen size : 13.3 or 14.1
CPU : Intel Core 2 duo atleast 1.8 GHz
Memory : 2 GB but I can live with 1 GB initially
L2 Cache : atleast 2 MB
Weight : Upto 2 Kgs
Quality : Very Good quality (I know this is subjective)

This will be carried around and used on a daily basis.

What has me confused are the various reviews around the models available on sites such as FS/cnet/laptopreviews/amazon itself. The things that pop out are low price/performance ratios and quality concerns.

Are my requirements against budget too narrow or am I missing something in this whole search???

Thanks for you input in advance.

Note to mod: I tried to search for similar info on the site and could not find stuff thats too relevant to my needs.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 2008-08-26, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Ottawa
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Personally, I would avoid FS or BB.

Just go to the Dell website, click on the deals link, and pick from their. If you are worried about service get the upgraded service package.

Our last few computers have all been Dell laptops and we've had no issues (knock on wood) so far. They get heavy use every day including the kiddies.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 2008-08-27, 12:18 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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And that is where we differ! Dell IMNSHO is not where the deals are. They are overpriced IMNSHO. They do occasionally have some good deals but watch for the "upgrades"!!! Got a $449 Best Buy Compaq a while ago and it is great.
You cannot live with 1GB, believe me and for about $40 you don't need to. Get 2-4GB of memory and a decent processor.
I have a 4 year old Compaq desktop, which was my first of that brand and after 4 years of 24x7 seti@home work the hard drive was getting flaky.(That's a lot of work over 4 years) Mirrored the drive and replaced it and the computer is like new.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 2008-08-27, 12:45 AM
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I have to say I have been completely satisfied with my 'cheap' laptop that was a birthday gift and came from FS. I was so happy with it I bought a slightly better one as a gift in return(for my girlfriend). It's an Acer with an AMD processor. It came with 512 megs of RAM but was supplied with an additional 512megs at the time. Since then, I have upgraded to 2gigs and am very happy with that. It came with XP Media Center Edition. The only problem I have had with it is the CD drive died just after the warranty ran out. Acer wouldn't do anything for me and wanted to charge me $185(not including shipping from Texas no less) for a replacement. I got a new one locally for just over $50 that was better anyway. It has a 15" 'Wide' screen and this is really nice for watching DVD's on the road.

I had been looking at a Toshiba but there is a problem with most of their keyboards in the key placements on the right hand side of the keyboard. Also, I was looking at spending almost $1500 on a laptop and am I ever glad I was given this one. It showed me that all I needed was the bottom of the line. It does everything I ever need and more.

The important things I have found are:
1)RAM-get as much as you can(this is even more crucial in a laptop).
2)HDD Size-Bigger is always better(I have 80gigs, wish I had 160 or more).
3)Battery Size-Again, bigger is better.

The only option I wish I had built in is BlueTooth. Dell is great when it comes to getting exactly what you want. You can go to their site and pick the lowest version that has most of what you want and then just go through the options and pick and choose as you like. The price is updated on every page. I actually used Dell to buy a laptop for a friend in New Zealand this way as it guaranteed me the warranty coverage and also the power and phone connection capabilities for the region. I was able to send a very well equipped machine(MSOffice Software, Lrg Batt, BT, Service and Support and a Carry Bag) to a friend in need for $1500 Can.

So, just for fun, try the Dell website and see what you can come up with. Then, if you are more inclined to buy local, go in and see what you can get for the least amount of money. About the only thing you can 'upgrade' at a big bix store is the RAM and that is only as an 'add on' since they don't want the RAM that comes with the computer either.

Some years ago I heard a 'computer expert' on one of the many 'computer shows' say that he always tries to stay on the 'trailing edge of technology' as it is always cheaper and, in most cases, there isn't any software that can take advantage of the power in the latest and greatest machines anyway. By staying on the trailing edge, he can afford to upgrade every other year(if not every year) and still do it for about half the price(or now about one quarter) of the current high end machines.

I have dragged my Acer from here to the West Coast and back a few times, banged it around(not intentionally) and it does everything I ask of it and I am pretty happy. Since getting the laptop, I hardly ever use my desktop and this laptop is on virtually every day(and most of the day at that).

I hope this helps.

If you can then do rather than not. You're your own worst enemy. They're parking their car over there.

Last edited by Jetranger; 2008-08-27 at 01:04 AM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 2008-08-27, 05:36 AM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sudbury ON, and Red Lake ON
Posts: 1,054
I have an IBM laptop that gets used daily and is about three years old. Depending on your employer, you might be eligible for a group discount with IBM so check with your company HR department to see. I am looking into getting a new laptop and customized one which came out to alost $1500, after the company discount it was under $1000 for a very powerful laptop.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 2008-09-01, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Markham, Ontario,
Posts: 185
Thanks to your suggestions.

I ended up buying a HP 14.1 inch screen laptop from FS with Intel Core 2 duo. The machine is pretty good in performance as it has 2 GB RAM and a 2.0 GHz CPU. Hopefully I get to use this for a few years.
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